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  • So what’s Joe Belfiore up to?

    Posted on November 30th, 2016 at 13:34 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Just a bit of idle speculation….

    I finished re-reading Paul Thurrott’s article about the future of the Windows Insider Program. It’s a good article, vetted by Microsoft, that shows how the Insider Program grew and will continue to grow. (Although, notably, neither he nor Microsoft address my six key problems with the Insider Program.)

    The story is so well-liked inside Microsoft that Gabe Aul, Dona Sarkar and Frank X. Shaw have all tweeted their approval.

    Anyway, that article has me wondering if Joe Belfiore is on tap to head up a re-designed Insider Program – or perhaps to lead a group inside Microsoft, reporting to Terry Myerson, that encompasses the Insider Program.

    Joe took a one-year leave of absence in Oct. 2015, but he’s been back on campus since early September. So far, there hasn’t been  a word about what he’s up to.

    As one of the most admired and genuinely liked people in the company, his next assignment should speak volumes about Microsoft’s intentions for Windows.

    FURTHER RUMINATIONS: So Microsoft Security Essentials now has a preview. What if Microsoft combined all of its Insider Programs – Windows (which is actually two different Insider Programs, one that does “previews”), Office, Visual Studio, Xbox (renamed Nov. 7), Skype (established Nov. 9), and who-knows-what-all. JoeB in charge. The products span all of Microsoft, but the Insider functions are quite similar. Sounds like a winner to me.

    UPDATE: JoeB’s trip to the dark side. Brad Sams at has just unveiled what Joe will be up to:

    Joe will be running the consumer-focused Windows Shell and will be reporting to Terry Myerson; his objective will be to find new ways to make money with Windows 10 as the traditional licensing model of the OS goes away, especially in the lower-priced segment.

    And that speaks volumes about Microsoft’s intentions for Windows.

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    Home Forums So what’s Joe Belfiore up to?


    This topic contains 55 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by

     wdburt1 2 years, 1 month ago.

    • Author
    • #20403 Reply

      Da Boss

      Just a bit of idle speculation…. I finished re-reading Paul Thurrott’s article about the future of the Windows Insider Program. It’s a good article,
      [See the full post at: So what’s Joe Belfiore up to?]

    • #20404 Reply


      I’ll take your word for it that this guy is among the best they have. So as you say, it does speak volumes that they put him in charge of extracting more $$ from the Windows franchise.

    • #20405 Reply


      Find out about the grilling of nadella about the mobile intentions of Ms for which he gave his usual marketing evasions.

      Ever since his promotion as CEO Ms has become obsessed with $ at the expense of everything else. This may work in the short term but large complex bureaucracies caring only abt $ never had much Lt future.

    • #20406 Reply

      Canadian Tech

      Microsoft has every right to change the way they do business to improve profits.

      However, when they sold Windows licences in the past, those licences rightly inferred the expectation of the same level and kind of service that the purchase of a Windows licence imparted for decades before.

      Therefore, I strongly believe they have no real right to change the rules of the licences already sold.

      It is not unlike signing a lease for a rental for a long term — 5 to 10 years, then the landlord rents out one of the rooms to someone else.

      I and millions of others bought our computers with an implied understanding of what we were buying. Microsoft has no right to change our computers into something we did not buy or would have bought.

      In effect, our computer (the whole thing) becomes a bad investment.

    • #20407 Reply

      Da Boss


    • #20408 Reply



    • #20409 Reply


      Sounds like more of the same on steroids. I have not liked the Windows OS evolution sine W7 and now it appears the consumer version of Windows is to be an advertisement supported entertainment vehicle. Hope I am wrong!

    • #20410 Reply


      This makes sense to me in that I see an entire generation of kids in K-6 right now that use Chromebooks and many are in homes that might currently have the last Windows PC/laptop that their household will ever have. Microsoft, as always, must adapt or die. Remember, they just about bungled this crazy thing called the Internet back in the 1990s. They appear to have completely butchered their chance to ever compete with Android and iOS in mobile. Despite the current marketing and focus of Windows 10 to being all about the home and consumer, it is really going to end up just being a niche for “power users” who do CAD, GIS/mapping, statistics/modeling, things like that, but the vast majority of humans just no longer need a Windows PC to do what would be considered “general computing”. I just hope they continue to hedge their bets against Windows and embrace being a software company, period, not a Windows-is-everything company.

    • #20411 Reply

      Da Boss

      Windows SHELL. Traditional licensing model of the OS goes away. Shoot for 2020 when Win7 support ends – you have three (3) years.

      What I’ve speculated all along:
      Microsoft is moving to clone Windows everywhere.
      Once that is done, we move to VMs of the clone on MS servers, which we RENT by the month/year.
      The array of apps you choose to be on the VM will be additional charges (like Office 365/2016). And each service you add, another charge.

      And your home computer becomes a dumb terminal or click-to-run.

      Then there’s the advertising.

    • #20412 Reply

      Da Boss

      And you have NO privacy

    • #20413 Reply

      Steve S.

      I run Win 7 Pro on three machines (two of which have Linux Mint dual boot) and will NOT seriously consider moving to Win 10 until 2020 — at which time, Linux will be at the top of my list for online activities.

      I paid for Win 7 licenses and am resisting all Borg-like efforts of M$ to turn me into
      1.) an unpaid Beta tester
      2.) a resource to be mined for more $$.

      Rant over…

    • #20414 Reply


      Well, yeah, but without enforcement, why shouldn’t they abnegate their responsibility for profit?

      If users tolerate it there is nothing to prevent them from it. Only some serious class action suit will and neither they nor I see it coming.

      In fact such behavior is now characteristic of us corps. Dumping commitments is the first thing to go. Incentivize mgmt to cut costs for zillions and that’s exactly what ure get. After u make 20mil in one year why should u care abt ur customers? As Louis xiv said “after me the flood”

    • #20415 Reply

      Da Boss

      It’s the old Thin Client argument, played out on Microsoft’s servers.

    • #20416 Reply

      Da Boss


    • #20417 Reply

      Canadian Tech

      Where are the litigious lawyers?

    • #20418 Reply


      QUOTE: … “Joe will be running the consumer-focused Windows Shell and will be reporting to Terry Myerson; his objective will be to find new ways to make money with Windows 10 as the traditional licensing model of the OS goes away, especially in the lower-priced segment.”
      _ _ _ _ _ _ _
      In previous related news articles about Win 10, some “bewitched” Win 10 users/commenters n tech reporters were insisting that a future subscription model for Win 10 Home n Pro was just FUD.
      IOW, mandatory auto-update n the pre-installed Windows Upgrade Subscription Tool were likely for M$ to impose subscription for all Win 10 editions, n not for “protecting” Dummy cptr users who did not know how to properly keep their cptrs up-to-date from malware, bc the default setting(= Automatic update) for Windows Update in Win Vista/7/8.1 already does that.
      ……. The irony is that M$’s Win 10 is n will be like a malware/ransomware, n also spyware, eg if u do not pay yr annual Win 10 subscription, M$ will lock yr system files via Windows Update.

    • #20419 Reply


      If ure a monopoly based on a single piece of software that is a buy once deal u cannot b profitable Lt once u reach a satisfactory functionality level. So they started to fool around with w7 for no good reason, which is what the 8 and 10 are about. They realize they cant make money w that so they minimize costs, which means everything is crap. Like every corp before them that reached this stage they dump consumers for business. Whether they can without the monopoly I dk but I doubt it – experience shows monopolies dont have the capacity to compete on quality – they dk how to.

    • #20420 Reply


      Exactly-monopolies don’t compete.

    • #20421 Reply


      Privacy has gone a long time ago. And by the time rogue states and criminals do their work, so will the internet.

    • #20422 Reply


      Took a long time for the industry that they should have brought the mainframes inhouse and sell timeshares.

    • #20423 Reply


      @ fp & CT ……. It is not a matter of lack of enforcement or litigious lawyers.
      ……. Recently(last year.?), the US Supreme Court has given its stamp of approval to US corps putting mandatory arbitration clauses in their T&C n EULA with their customers, thereby pre-empting class-action lawsuits being mounted by consumers. It is this “new” Federal law that has enabled many greedy US corps to abuse their customers.

    • #20424 Reply


      @ tfp ……. No, privacy has gone a long time ago only for the ignorant M$-sheep n Apple-sheep.
      ……. With Linux desktop OS, there is still privacy. With Google too bc Google mostly use their customers’ data for ad revenue n selling to marketers, in return for the free use of their OS n software, eg ChromeOS, Android OS, Search, Maps, Chrome browser, GMail, Google Apps, Google Cloud, etc(= a fair trade-off). Also, Google gets a cut from app sales.

    • #20425 Reply


      I have to agree with Canadian Tech that with a legitimate purchase should be honoured as was at the time of sale/install and basically your entering in to a tacit contract as to the content, functionality and serviceability of the product so purchased. (no i aint a QC, Barrister, Solicitor or Lawyer) As M$ sales encompass a global nature it would be impossible to litigate for every eventuality. Where CTs (sorry for the Abbrev.) arguement may fall is with win10 offered as a free upgrade. Does that negate the above premise? i would assert any lawful pre-purchase that encompasses a free offer should be binding as such. A quick look in the EULA (the bit no one reads and i did one day out of boredom) has a few interesting snippets “cannot alter or modify any way the software” (blows editing the registry out the water then) “data may be shared with M$ and affiliates” so much for privacy then “applicable to your jurisdiction” (hmm does that cover outer Mongolia?) and thats not even touching the thorny subject of piracy which i am pretty sure will come under Joe Belifores new remit.

    • #20426 Reply


      A prety “Orwellian” view of the future but entirely forseeable with a good deal of trepidation for the consequences for privacy.

    • #20427 Reply


      That’s what monopolists know. Nothing else.

    • #20428 Reply


      Pioneer of Thin-Client and Cloud Computing Changed How We Work

      In 1989, Iacobucci left IBM to co-found Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS) and implement his vision of server-based computing

    • #20429 Reply


      You keep saying this and I agree with you. One of the interesting aspects of monopoly is that to the extent that a company gains monopoly power, it loses the price signals (and other signals) that competition provides. To a much greater extent than most business people admit, they watch what their competitors are doing and learn from what succeeds and fails. For the monopolist these signals are missing. So they do stupid stuff.

      In the US railroad business, merger after merger finally resulted in a dominant firm, Penn Central, which after a couple of years became the largest bankruptcy in US history to date.

    • #20430 Reply


      By September 2015 over 7 million people took part in the Windows Insider Program. In reference to how well MIP is currently working is up for debate, Re: Microsoft Answers (Sept 24, 2016) …

      “Of the supposed 7 million insiders how many are actually installing and testing insider builds? The insider program was huge when Windows 10 was first launched a couple of years ago but I think 99 percent of the original insiders are probably down to around 1 percent. If you look at who is posting on this forum and scroll through the feedback app and you probably won’t see many people.”

      MIP has been good for Microsoft, but it looks as though the program has a few shortcomings (as Woody pointed out in his article on the subject).

      It appears Microsoft is more interested in access to ‘hardware testers’ rather than guru wannabees submitting improvement suggestions. Microsoft does not want their design strategy criticized.

      It is also possible that those in MIP who discover ‘real’ non-hardware issues already have an established relationship with Microsoft. They would be in direct contact with a software engineer who works in the Windows 10 Test Lab. These individuals are often journeymen.

    • #20431 Reply

      Da Boss

      Well put. The problems I addressed here:

      are still very much in evidence.

      Opinions vary all over the map, but a beta test with 7 (10?) million testers isn’t a beta test. It’s much more like a marketing beta (see the article). In that respect, Microsoft’s hit a home run: The Insider Program is the best marketing Microsoft’s ever done for afficionados.

    • #20432 Reply


      That’s true but there’s also more basic stuff: They get used to dictate and get away with it so they lose the motivation to make any efforts. By the time this catches up w them its too late and they no longer can dictate their way out of trouble. Remember IBM?

    • #20433 Reply


      Exactly right. That’s Ms way and and what has worked for a monopolist in the past but wont work now long term.

    • #20434 Reply

      Da Boss

      Well, yes, but IBM had different ills – and they’ve come back.

    • #20435 Reply


      I hope you’re not referring to Ubuntu Desktop as a Linux distro which respects your privacy. In some ways, Ubuntu Desktop (unmodified) does more “telemetry” than Windows 10.

    • #20436 Reply

      Canadian Tech

      OH! Do I remember IBM. Yes, MS is headed for the very same spot.

      The real question is who will be the new Bill Gates in town. That’s what we need. MS has set the table for Him/Her.

    • #20437 Reply

      Canadian Tech

      They’ve sort of come back. But nothing like the Big IBM days. Those were the days (just like it was with MS) when the best job in the country was IBM.

    • #20438 Reply


      I don’t understand how anyone can say that there is privacy with Google,
      or how anyone outside the top echelons of that company knows what in the world they have been doing, are doing, and will be doing with the massive amount of data they collect.

      Additionally, selling customer data, especially from scanning private communications and recording personal behavior, to make money from ads and marketing is not a fair trade-off in my book.

    • #20439 Reply


      Re: “they have no real right to change the rules of the licences already sold.
      It is not unlike signing a lease for a rental for a long term — 5 to 10 years, then the landlord rents out one of the rooms to someone else.”

      And the landlord installs video and audio recorders in every room of your rental property…

      And puts up posters in every room which show rotating ads…

      And takes all your stuff (including private, pre-owned stuff that you brought with you to the rental property when you first moved there), moves it all to a storage facility, then rents it back to you, by the day or by the month, for use on-site at the rental property.
      They might lose some of it when transferring it around, and some of it might be stolen or copied when the storage facility is inevitably broken into.

    • #20440 Reply


      You are not wrong… unfortunately.

    • #20441 Reply


      +1 🙂

    • #20442 Reply

      Canadian Tech

      Somehow, the reasoning that they have to make a profit, just doesn’t cut it for me. They blew a fortune by any standards buying up other enterprises and killing them off. I have no sympathy for that argument at all. I can see why someone would say that is the reason they are behaving this way, but it is no excuse to me.

      It is an inalienable right. The fact that others have invaded it already, does not excuse it as a corporate behavior.

      One thing you have to keep in mind is that Windows is an OS. Google is a search engine. Facebook is an app. You don’t need to use apps. You have no choice but to have an OS and there are realistically few choices. Which leads to the conclusion that this is monopolistic behavior.

    • #20443 Reply

      Bill C.

      BRAVO!!! My vote for one of the best posts since I started reading this blog. I fully agree with the last paragraph.

    • #20444 Reply

      Bill C.

      Interestingly, I have read about quite a bit of controversy raised by both educators and parents over what Google and Apple collect about the students on their devices, and what ads they may be serving to them.

    • #20445 Reply

      Da Boss

      Google settled a major suit about snooping on students’ accounts. We’re assured they no longer do that.

    • #20446 Reply

      Canadian Tech

      How do I get to be a “student” to get this treatment???

    • #20447 Reply

      Da Boss

      Google snoops regularly on free accounts but, best I can tell, doesn’t snoop on paid accounts. Education accounts used to be on the snoop list, but as a result of settlement of the lawsuit are now on the snoop-free list.

      That’s an oversimplification, but I think it’s accurate.

      All you need is an educational Google account.

    • #20448 Reply


      @ poohsticks ……. Google provide free basic software to their users. How n why.?
      ……. Google are not really interested in their users’ privacy or private data & communications, ie they only want their users private data n web-surfing habits anonymously, in order to be able to make more money from selling ads n selling the users’ anonymous data to marketers. Google’s business model is not very different from free-to-air TV companies like ABC, CBS n FOX, ie users get to watch free TV programs in exchange for being interrupted by TV ads.
      OTOH, M$’s paid-for Windows hv about 90% market share n M$ hv actively collaborated with the NSA, likely in exchange for not being prosecuted by the US govt for monopolistic or unfair business practices.
      ……. The NSA are very interested in the identity of Windows users n their private data n communications. It’s likely that Win 10, with Telemetry Data collection software or “NSA spyware” baked in, provides legal access of users’ identity n private data & communications to the NSA.
      So, my point is that both Google n M$ “spy” on their users but their intentions are likely very different. This can be seen by the actions of M$, eg their aggressive push of Win 7/8.1 users onto the Win 10 “NSA spyware”, Telemetry updates n Patchocalypse, as compared to Google’s ChromeOS n Apple’s MacOS.

    • #20449 Reply



    • #20450 Reply


      I saw an article last week about Google virtual reality goggles or something like that which Google is providing for free to school classrooms in the UK — with a photo of young kids walking about in their classroom with these contraptions over their eyes.

      Converting them early into future customers,

      taking them further from actual reality (in my opinion) and making the experience of normal life flat and boring, something to escape from, give short shrift to – encouraging their developing brains and developing characters to accept, and to prefer, doctored reality, and to think of truths/facts as malleable and re-design-able, which is dangerous. (In my opinion.)

    • #20451 Reply


      I was not familiar with his work previously, but the following part of the article caught my eye —

      “In 2002, Iacobucci co-founded DayJet Corporation with the mission of bringing affordable, accessible Per-Seat, On-Demand jet travel to more people and more communities.”

      because last week I read that Uber is getting into air travel now
      (I think specifically it’s ride-sharing in private jets,
      but I only skimmed the article —
      personally I don’t like the idea of Uber and AirBnB; am happy to be called a curmudgeon!)

    • #20452 Reply


      That’s just nonsense. Ubuntu used to come with an advertising tie-in with Amazon, but people complained, and they turned it off by default. It does not in any way have more telemetry than Windows 10, nor did it ever.

    • #20453 Reply


      Heh! I also have Windows 7 on three PCs, two of which are dual-booted with Linux Mint. The rest of what you wrote could also have been written by me… I had to check the name at the top of the post to make sure I hadn’t posted earlier and forgotten about it.

    • #20454 Reply


      The traditional Windows licensing model is going away? They say it like it’s just something that is happening as MS passively watches.

      Most of the revenue (nearly all of it) has long come from OEM sales. Can we now conclude that MS is going to give Windows 10 to OEMs for free?

      Stop laughing. I was making a point there.

      If they’re not going to do that, the traditional model is still in play.

      I know they’re concerned about the falling sales of PCs, but the way things are going, that’s the only way Windows 10 is growing, so either way, they’re only going to be able to monetize (in large numbers) new PC buyers who don’t have the wherewithal or desire to install something else. I wouldn’t buy one today unless I had some proof that it would work with Windows 7 as well as Linux… I’m not giving up the former until 2020, by hook or by crook, and maybe not even then.

      When it’s gotten to be a punch line to stay away from Windows 10 (as when the weather woman was interrupted by a GWX ad, and she said “don’t do it!”), it does not look good. “Windows 10” seems like a more toxic name than Vista was back in its day.

      It’s going to be an interesting three years between now and end of support for 7. As it stands, I’d sooner make a blanket out of stinging nettles and use it every night than upgrade to Windows 10, and while I might investigate whether I could tolerate 8.1 (suitably modified with aftermarket addons), I sure ain’t paying for anything MS again, so that’s out too.

      But things could change by then. Given how insistent MS has been at ignoring what their customers are telling them and force-feeding them garbage instead, I am not holding my breath.

    • #20455 Reply

      Da Boss

      Very well put.

    • #20456 Reply

      Canadian Tech

      I don’t think that magical date of Jan 2020 has any meaning left. The “support” that you expect until then consists of a continuing parade of “updates” that gradually (or maybe not so gradually) turn your Windows 7 computer into a sort of junior Windows 10 lite machine.

      Personally, I have stopped Windows Update and will likely never do it again. I will use Windows 7 as long as I can keep it working satisfactorily, safely, then switch to something other than a Microsoft product. The “end date” for my system is not determined by Microsoft.

    • #20457 Reply



      I’m afraid that I disagree with you about Google’s interest in, intentions about, and future options regarding people’s private data, behaviors, social networks, etc.

      Remember, they removed “don’t be evil” as their corporate slogan!

    • #20458 Reply


      CT, you may be right about that. The move toward the roll-up updates and the technique of introducing bugs in the security patches that are only fixed in the non-security patches with trojans in them (only being partly tongue-in-cheek here) are worrying developments.

      Even so, it may not come to pass as badly as we suspect. MS has repeatedly put telemetry updates into Windows 7 patches (hey, I thought 7 was in extended support, where it only gets security patches and bug fixes… the lack of spying is neither a bug nor a security issue), but so far, it’s pretty simple to eradicate the problem. Unlike with Windows 10, the spying is not part of the original design, but instead is tacked on the outside, and thus a lot easier to remove without introducing other problems.

    • #20459 Reply

      Canadian Tech

      Ascaris, Microsoft has a big problem. A stubborn, nearly 50% of PCs still run Windows 7 and they are not quickly “upgrading” to Windows 10 which still languishes in low numbers. Consequently the new organization which is built around Windows 10 just does not function well.

      The only way Microsoft can make the organization work is to change the reality of Windows 7. Therefore there is very strong motivation to move Windows 7 systems in the direction they need them to go.

      Fortunately for Windows 7 PURCHASERS (OWNERS), we have an on / off switch in Windows Update. Windows 10 RENTERS have no choice.

    • #20460 Reply


      One of the alleged reasons (which I never took all that seriously) that MS wants to move to 10 so badly is to save money maintaining older versions of Windows. Re-engineering Win 7 to have new “features” as such is the opposite of that.

      I never really thought that was a motivation as much as it was an excuse, though. The real reason is control, which they can use to many different ends– none of them beneficial to the user. As you say, we have an off switch… I personally only install updates once they’ve been out for a while and found to be safe. This site is a good source for that kind of info– if Woody hears anything, it will be up here for us.

      I haven’t yet gotten to the point that I shut it all off, but it’s a real possibility at the rate MS is going.

      Still, a lot of the crap that MS wants for us in 10 is almost certainly not going to be backported to 7… UWP being a big one. Fortunately for us, of course. Cortana would be another, and that is the source of a lot of the spying in Windows 10.

      MS could port Cortana to 7, but it would take a huge amount of work, not to mention that it would be a non-security update (and thus optional). MS has shown they have no concern for their SOHO and home users, but enterprise customers are still gold (mines) to them, and I don’t think MS would go so far as to inject Cortana into a security-only update for fear of annoying enterprise customers still using 7.

      It would make MS look foolish and desperate to start backporting key Windows 10 features that were supposed to get us to upgrade. It would be an admission of failure regarding Windows 10.

    • #20461 Reply


      When Win 10 achieves about 40% market share( = around end 2017.?), M$ will likely move Win 10 Home & Pro to a hybrid licensing & subscription model, like that for Office 2016(= licensing model) & Office 365(= subscription model).
      ……. But eventually, M$ will wanna phase out the licensing model by making Win 10 available only thru subscription, but ….
      … after about 2 years, the subscription-based Office 365 has not performed well = insignificant market share compared to the licensing-based M$ Office. So, M$ could not get rid of the licensing model of Office n move all users to subscription-based Office 365. This will likely happen to Win 10 if it is moved to the hybrid model.

    • #20462 Reply


      Mmmmh… Just check the number of times the media announce that some miscreant has had his Google searches held up against him by the police.

      If the police can grab terrorists’ Google searches as a matter of routine, what prevents them from grabbing those of people who just do or say things the government doesn’t like ?

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