Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Feb 2013 21:18 UTC
Microsoft "Although Bill Gates stepped away from his day-to-day role at Microsoft nearly five years ago, he still keeps a close eye on the company he co-founded - and he isn't always happy with what he sees. During a recent interview broadcast this morning on CBS This Morning, the Microsoft chairman was asked by Charlie Rose whether he was happy with Steve Ballmer's performance as chief executive. Noting that there have been 'many amazing things' accomplished under Ballmer's leadership in the past couple of years, Gates said he was not satisfied with the company's innovations." It's impossible to deny by this point that Microsoft hasn't done well in mobile. It would be more surprising if Gates had denied it.
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Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Tue 19th Feb 2013 04:03 UTC
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The idea here isn't that they need to retreat from their current course, but double down and increase the pace of innovation and the coherency of their product lineup. They are doing very good things.

Commercial success is a lagging indicator, believe it or not, but no doubt I'm sure that a lot of people who reply to this comment will try to use it to prove Microsoft is headed in the wrong direction.

Microsoft is a company very much in transition. It isn't a simple effort to do such a management and cultural change inside of a company of that scale. There won't always be messaging consistency and sometimes things will seem disjointed, but over time, the story for Microsoft is becoming a lot clearer.

Look at Microsoft just a few years ago. Every product looked differently, there was an absence of designers in the equation. They've since coalesced around Metro.

Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows all running a familiar user interface.

Look at their developer tools just a few years ago. You had XNA on the Xbox, NETCF on WinMobile and pretty much everything on Windows.

Now it's XAML on the Phone, XAML on Xbox, and XAML on Windows. That's a stunning achievement in such a little amount of time.

Look at how dramatically the Windows OS has been rearchitected to work on devices thinner and lighter than an iPad. Windows. On a tablet. That doesn't suck. That's progress.

Sinofsky et all ushered in a new era of discipline at Microsoft. He whipped WinDiv into shape, took what worked from DevDiv, and made a forward looking product in Windows 8. All only 3 years from Windows 7's launch, which was regarded as a tremendous success.

Another example being their phone efforts: They had Windows Mobile, Kin, and Windows Phone. Three competing divisions. Now there is one. That's a huge turnaround. There is less internal duplication of effort and more work towards a common goal.

The NT Kernel is used across devices ranging from small phones to beefy PC towers and server racks.

Azure has seen a phenomenal turn around too. It was basically useless for a good portion of its life. Now it is a very compelling PaaS and IaaS solution for developers. Its a complete joy to use.

Microsoft is also creating new opportunity. Look at SharePoint, look at their Yammer acquisition, look at Bing, look at how they've grown Server+Tools and their Office divisions especially with Office 365.

My point in all of this is that Microsoft isn't exactly stagnant, or fading into irrelevancy. Its just managing a mid-life crisis reasonably well. Transitions take time.

Remember -- this is the company that was ridiculed with their release of the Xbox but they stuck with it to turn it into a success especially with Kinect that pretty much obsoleted Nintendo's offering.

Microsoft is a company with iffy execution, but loads of cash, and very fat cash cows. They are in print money mode for the next decade. To count them out is shortsighted and ignorant of history.

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