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
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

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.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by Nelson
by Fergy on Tue 19th Feb 2013 08:33 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

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.

If it doesn't run windows applications can you still call it windows? What is the difference then between linux, android, ios, bb10 etc. That 'thinner and lighter than an iPad' device doesn't even run Firefox.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Tue 19th Feb 2013 16:54 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

My full blown Win8 tablet which is thinner and lighter than an iPad, and has 10 hour battery life, can run Windows apps.

At this point though, it's important not to split hairs, Windows Store apps are Windows apps. They're built using Windows development platform, and share a lot of commonality with Microsoft's other XAML platforms.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Nelson
by Laurence on Tue 19th Feb 2013 09:00 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

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.

A 16GB OS footprint for a tablet does suck. It's simply unacceptable.

The issue has never been that Microsoft are unable to progress, it's that their progress has been significantly slower than their competition. And why this is I don't know because Microsoft Research come out with some awesome technology.

Edited 2013-02-19 09:04 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Tue 19th Feb 2013 16:59 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

A 16GB OS footprint for a tablet does suck. It's simply unacceptable.

The issue has never been that Microsoft are unable to progress, it's that their progress has been significantly slower than their competition. And why this is I don't know because Microsoft Research come out with some awesome technology.


Is it really? I know this is heresy on OSNews, but people do actually embrace cloud computing in real life.

I personally store all my photos on SkyDrive. Take a photo on my phone, have it automatically replicate on my Tablet, Desktop PC, and Xbox 360. I was grandfathered in so I have 25GB of additional space for my pictures, videos, and documents.

As for music, I've never really been a music junky to have gigabytes and gigabytes of music, and to be honest, I don't think most people are either.

My mom usually puts Pandora on and lets that play through. I tend to do the same, I simply don't see the need in purchasing that much music or ripping my entire CD collection to my tablet for the hell of it.

But your point is taken, Windows is still too big and has a ways to go, and that will only happen when we can reduce further the dependency hell that sometimes manifests itself, and reduce the need for side by side deployment of libraries.

However I don't think there's denying that a few years ago the thought of Windows on a tablet was a pipedream.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Nelson
by M.Onty on Tue 19th Feb 2013 13:01 in reply to "Comment by Nelson"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

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.


Using commercial success as the yard stick to measure the soundness of a commercial company's strategy is not entirely unreasonable.

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.

...

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

...

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.


I think you're right about not writing them off yet. They could just buy their way back into the game if all else fails. As to the success of their recent 'innovations' as a way back to the top of the pile, I think it requires a degree of faith that goes beyond cold analysis to hold the view you expressed above.

Here's my view: I have no affection for Microsoft, or any of their products, which I don't use any more. But perhaps the best thing that could happen in the computer industry in the next decade would be for Microsoft to get richer and richer and richer, either by their cash cows, by innovations, or by good fortune. The richer they get, the richer Gates gets, and almost all of that goes to the eradication of deadly diseases in the real world.

I think eradicating polio, which will pave the way for the eradication of TB, even AIDS, would put all the ups and downs of MS/Google/Apple, Win/OSX/Linux, iOS/Android/BB/Win into the shade of relative irrelevance.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Tue 19th Feb 2013 17:04 in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


Using commercial success as the yard stick to measure the soundness of a commercial company's strategy is not entirely unreasonable.


Eventually, no, but I don't think it comes right away. Plenty of eventual market leaders did not become so overnight. It took Android years, many, many terrible years before it became this self sustaining powerhouse. Similarly with the 360.



I think you're right about not writing them off yet. They could just buy their way back into the game if all else fails. As to the success of their recent 'innovations' as a way back to the top of the pile, I think it requires a degree of faith that goes beyond cold analysis to hold the view you expressed above.


I think if you've seen posts where I've recently been critical, you'll see I don't make excuses for them where I think they don't deserve one. I'm very candid with my opinion of what Microsoft should fix. I just don't think that they need to fundamentally change direction. I feel that they actually have a compelling value proposition, they just really, really suck at closing the deal.

Another example I'd give of a dramatic turn around is Windows Live. Anyone remember the inexcusable mess that was? Look how it is now. Outlook. Skydrive. People (contacts in the cloud). Office 365. Its becoming way more coherent.

Reply Parent Score: 3