Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 7th Dec 2013 00:55 UTC
Microsoft

"It's pretty much a brick," says Pawn Stars' Rick Harrison as he rejects a Samsung Chromebook brought in by an actor playing a customer. Microsoft really doesn't want you buying this thing.

But why? Just how big of a threat are Chromebooks, Google's oft-ridiculed web-only laptops, to Microsoft's core business?

I'm puzzled too. It doesn't seem like Chromebooks are that big of a threat - why create terrible advertisements that only provide Google with free publicity?

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RE[2]: Microsoft are just scared
by Tony Swash on Sun 8th Dec 2013 12:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Microsoft are just scared"
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

One of the problem with reducing something as complex as a giant corporation like Microsoft down to a soup opera, is that one runs the risk of missing the forest from the trees. Because you're only focusing on an arbitrary subset of the company.

If you look at it from a more quantitativeish metric like profitability, a different image emerges. Because as it stands MS is still one of the most profitable operations in the world. And at the end of the day that's what dictates success for a capitalist public corporation.

And I say this as a person who tends to have little use for Microsoft's products or technologies.


I do think the long term blend of corporate culture and business strategy shapes a corporations decisions over time. There are reasons Windows 8 is as it is and it has almost nothing to do with what Microsoft's customers actually wanted. Windows 8 is a defensive response to the rise of tablets, it is an attempt to defend Windows rather than, say, an attempt to build a great tablet OS and experience for the customer.

It is true that at the moment, and probably into the medium term, Microsoft remain very profitable and very large, but they must see the same trends we can. The centre of gravity of personal computing is shifting to mobile devices (and MS had almost no presence in mobile devices), software prices and margins are declining across the board (and MS makes most of it's money from software) and PCs sales seem stuck in a long term pattern of decline (and MS makes most of it's money from PC related products). So any prudent manager at the top of Microsoft must be concerned and they clearly are.

Until comparatively recently the PC and Windows was utterly hegemonic in the world of personal computing, to all intents and purposes there was no alternative to Wintel products. As a result Microsoft was very powerful, it could set the agenda for the tech world, it could squash things it didn't like and promote things it liked. For almost two decades Microsoft was feared and it's power was respected by all. Now in a space of a few years all of that has gone. Microsoft is not powerful anymore, it does not set the agenda, it is ignored by many large tech players, it is no longer feared by anyone (except by some of the almost dead PC OEMs).

This is a new and deeply unnerving world that Microsoft finds itself in and its super sensitive response to things like Chromebooks is a sign of it's deep corporate anxiety.

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