You will pry my cold dead fingers from Streets and Trips
My Point...Exactly
Marvin - thanks so much for providing a forum where we can show every day how PND's and online offerings don't come close to the functionality of Laptop GPS software.

I really, really get tired of hearing how Streets and Trips will be replaced by online mapping services. That may happen someday - but how far out - 5 years, 10?!

Below is an excerpt from the Puget Sound Business Journal:

(Few Microsoft consumer-software products left to kill - Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle):).

One piece of consumer software that has survived, so far, is Microsoft’s Streets & Trips mapping and navigation program. But like some of the Microsoft products already eliminated, Streets & Trips faces increasing competition from online alternatives and offerings from specialized technology companies.

Streets & Trips “would be a candidate (for cutting) at some point, as well, given all the availability of mapping software online,” said industry analyst Stephen Baker of The NPD Group research firm, of Port Washington, N.Y.
I think you speak for a lot of loyal users on this forum. My first version was '98, back when Streets & Trips was two separate products. Someone joined a few weeks ago who remembers when Microsoft acquired Nextbase. That's well over a decade of loyalty, and that's why many of us got very concerned when Microsoft started layoffs and the consumer applications got hit the hardest.

Refer to previous discussion at: http://www.laptopgpsworld.com/2077-navigation-software-have-future-microsoft

Unfortunately, the adequate is the enemy of the good. And doubly so when it's free (online mapping), or when it's more portable than laptops (PNDs). Just because we appreciate the advantages of laptop GPS software doesn't mean that Joe the Average User will. You need a lot more than a small and loyal core to make a success of a product.

S&T gets both benefits and disadvantages from being inside Microsoft. S&T gets to carry the Microsoft brand name and tie into other Microsoft properties (e.g., Bing Maps). Unfortunately, it also carries very little weight compared to other Microsoft products that take in billions of dollars in revenues, each year, every year.
Online service for mapping software will never replace S&T for me. I will never have online service in my car where i am mostly using S&T...
My Point...Exactly
Agreed Taoyue -

That's why I feel like it's a race to evangelize Streets and Trips to the business community - because there is a market there to be tapped!

I figure a few years back Streets and Trips was given away on new laptop purchases - I say that cause I run into allot of business people who tell me that it came with their laptop.

If I had a nickle for every time one of them said - "OH - I didn't know it could do that!", after I gave them my pitch, I wouldn't have to charge for training.

I'd hate to see S&T replaced by an online service that will not suffice for the mobile user - before business gets a chance to fully take advantage of it.
Ken in Regina
I'm not disagreeing with anything anyone has said so far. In fact I agree. But there are at least two other sides to the story.

The online side: With each move from PC-resident applications like Streets to the online "alternative", the manufacturer is able to exit the product manufacturing, packaging and distribution business. Support is simplified because you don't have to concern yourself with the variety of ways the users will find to mis-install the product. And they are picking up customers who will never consider buying and installing the packaged product.

That doesn't make it "right" but it sure makes it attractive to move as many customers as possible to the cloud and drop as many manufactured products as possible.

The user side: I am, I think, a fairly typical user of navigation stuff in a number of ways:

1. My travel planning is a trivial part of my life. Of course it's important when I'm doing it but it's casual .. vacations, not work. And I can't afford to do enough that it will ever become a significant part of my life like it is for, say, full-time RV'ers..

2. I want the latest information for planning. The latest information is generally available on the internet. It's really hard to match that with a product that only comes out once a year and takes months to compile, package and distribute.

3. I do my planning when I'm not moving and usually have an internet connection available.

4. The form factor and usability of modern personal navigation devices are such that I can easily mount one in the optimal location in a vehicle and pack it around on my person for navigation on foot. It has enough information and features that I can do any of the things I'm likely to need to do on the fly without an internet connection. I can make sure of that by downloading stuff to it from my planning sessions.

5. Because my needs are generally non-repetitive (and trivial), the flexibility of planning on the internet and navigating with a dedicated small navigation device suits my needs perfectly.

If I'm typical of the majority, as I think I am, this links back to the desire of biggies like Microsoft to get out of the physical product manufacturing and distribution business. If they can do it while retaining most of their customer base and even adding to it, they will.

As I mentioned in the other thread, this may be a good thing in the long run because it should lead to the sort of innovation you get from smaller companies who are focussed on one or a small number of products and can be more sensitive to their customer base than a Microsoft will ever be. But you have to get the big dinosaurs who dominate the market out of the game first.

Can you imagine the blockbuster we would have if some company would combine the online quarterly, or more frequent, map updates that Garmin supplies with the comprehensive planning features of a Streets&Trips?

Ken, while you might be a typical non-business user, the commercial application of Streets & Trips is hand over fist to other apps. It is the industry standard for what I do. The recent thread about importing addresses being a prime example.

Also, there is a privacy issue in online mapping. I can't imagine it's too hard to steal addresses from users inputting that info online. Then, all of a sudden your clients consumer list is flooded by offers for natural male enhancement.

While they are suffering now, brick and mortar isn't going away. If I'm going to buy a product, give it to me where I can feel it in my hands, thanks.
Ken in Regina
Hi tomrod,

Yes, to all of your points.

As I mentioned in this and the other thread, I think this trend may be good, not bad, for product categories like Streets. As long as they are dominated by players like Microsoft we will only get dribbles of attention paid to them. We are limited in what features we can expect by the internal influence the product managers have. For niche products like Streets, that's not much.

And right now there is competition for features by users like me versus business users. Streets, and products like it, need to appeal to the broadest possible market to get sales figures that will keep it from getting shut down in an organization like Microsoft. Smaller companies can afford to be more focussed on their target markets and there is less competition for unrelated features.

I'm hoping to see more products, like Money and Streets, get cut loose, not fewer. I got into PCs in the '70s, a time when most of the software for them was produced by smaller companies and startups. It was a time when competition was rampant. Attention to customers was the order of the day. You could actually communicate with people in the company, not some faceless call centre. Releases with useful new features were common.

You can still see this sort of thing today with a personal finance product called Moneydance. He is able to be successful on the dribbles of ex-Money and ex-Quicken users who have become disillusioned by their treatment at the hands of Microsoft and Intuit. I am hopeful that his business gets a real bump with Microsoft's abandonment of Money.

I hope we see more of this.

It's a matter of perspective. When I see a newspaper shut down, I don't jump up and down with joy and yell, "Hooray! More room for the bloggers." Sometimes things disappear and get replaced by something better. Other times, things disappear and get replaced by something worse.

When you buy a single-developer program, you essentially buy that one person's quirks and limitations. To take Moneydance as an example, many of its flaws can be traced directly to the fact that it's a single-developer project: the quirky UI, the dearth of keyboard shortcuts, the features that don't work outside the US, the awkward investments interface. To a large extent, its success comes from the Mac world, where Microsoft Money doesn't exist and Quicken development had lagged several times.

I use some single-developer products, but I first take a close look at the developer. I skim the forums. If the guy has a resume online or a Linkedin profile, I read it. It's a confidence-building measure. When I buy a product, I don't usually do it with the intention of making that my one and only version -- I expect to upgrade at some point, and I want to know that the product is headed in the right direction.

One more thing that's unique about Streets and Trips that the other Microsoft consumer programs didn't have: Mappoint. Again, this is both good and bad. Good because the development team isn't totally reliant on the revenue coming in from consumer sales. Bad because it means that the business sales don't necessarily subsidize the consumer product. (In other words, what happened to Autoroute could conceivably happen to S&T.)
Marvin Hlavac

I just spotted a reference to the 2010 version of Streets and Trips at Microsoft.com in the Knowledge Base article 267315 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/267315 - so far there has been no other official mention of the next (2010) version of the product.
I can't remember the first time I used S&T's, but it was a long time ago. I have had some real problems ie; 2008, but I still open Streets & Trips first before I go to MapSource, Google Earth and several other programs I have installed. I suspect that will continue, with me, for a long time. I hope MS doesn't discontinue it.

Mike Flannigan
My Point...Exactly
Oh NO he DIDN'T!

Microsoft just released its Streets & Trips 2013 program for Windows PCs, perhaps the final iteration of the desktop generation.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/08/07/digital-old-school-holiday-roads/

Just what do you think Mr. Quain means by 'final iteration of the desktop generation'?
I read the article and I think he is saying S&Trips is going away. I hope he is wrong.

Mike Flannigan
Let's face it, a Fox News pundit is not exactly the most well informed person in the world!

There are strengths and weaknesses for both online mapping and laptop/desktop mapping - the article seems to be merely reflecting the opposite side of the coin to comments earlier in this thread.

I regularly get people wanting to do fancy business mapping with Google Maps or Bing Maps - and they seem quite surprised when they realize how complicated or slow (or even, expensive) it is compared to MapPoint...
My Point...Exactly
Yeow....a little political winwead

I think he did a pretty good job of outlining a key benefit of S&T and the desktop mapping....doing a little more homework than your average drive-by reviewer.

I have fun resurrecting this post with examples of 'demise is imminent' media references for S&T.

Each time I read this - I perceive it a little differently....perhaps he means to portend the demise of the PC
:-) Not really - I just don't have a high opinion of US TV news media. Fox is all pundits of a certain political bias. CNN have problems with basic competency, and the less said about NBC's Olympic coverage, the better! lol

Anyway, returning back on topic, the demise of S&T / MapPoint has been predicted for a long time, but new versions keep getting released. My information is old, but a few years ago, S&T was about the only non-XBox consumer product that Microsoft was making any money on.

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