Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?
Well I never. Next you'll be saying they have a search engine of their own, rather than merely chucking up some script kiddie style wrapper round Googles.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates may be devoting more time to running his philanthropic foundation than to day-to-day operations in Redmond these days, but that doesn't mean he's satisfied with how things are going at the company he founded, particularly where mobility is concerned. In an interview with CBS This Morning's Charlie …
Discredited almost immediately.
For reference, since "Bob Vistakin" loves this one, the Bing Toolbar - not Bing, not IE - sends URLs to Bing for analysis. Bing can then reproduce those results. In other words, it works exactly the same way as the, er, Google toolbar.
@Bob - How many times do you trot this one out? I've explained how it's not MS copying Google at least three times and I've seen several other people explain it to you, even Eadon doesn't use this one.
Once again, here is how it worked:
Google engineer creates web page which is unique, with unique spelling mistakes in it.
Google engineer manually enters this result into Google.
Google engineer then uses MS IE with Bing toolbar to search for this site on Google, and visit it.
Bing toolbar - as advertised functionality - sends the URL visited back to MS.
MS process the URL stream and after a week or so, the page created by the Google engineer appears in Bing.
This is not MS copying Google, Google do exactly the same, for the Google Engineer to report it on a blog as such is pretty shitty behaviour and I'm surprised that it's still up there.
It's also amusing that one of the demands the EU has for Google to reform is that they stop presenting other search engines' results as their own.
Its not just the phone strategy that is bad also their strategy with Surface and putting computer applications on the XBox that are also terrible.
The TV sets in most peoples homes are in the wrong position for writing documents or spreadsheets. The ergonomics is terrible. A budget conscious customer could just play DirectX games on their PC. Its a nice feature but not one that is going to make consumers rush out to but the product.
The strategy employed by Nintendo and Sega with Mario and Sonic would produce better results.
Microsoft asks the question - Where do you want to go today?
My question is - How did you get to where you are today?
"There were a lot of amazing things that Steve's leadership got done with the company in the last year."
Anyone have an idea what he could possibly be talking about here? ANYONE?
<Crickets chirp, tumbleweeds blow by.>
I don't have a giant hate boner for microsoft - I use their stuff every day, and some of it is quite good (win7, server 2008, excel). But Ballmer has to face it - there is no line of business that was started after he took over that has gone ANYWHERE, and there have been a number of what should be career-ending failures (zune, kin, VISTA, and win 8 desktop, likely to be the next OS that everybody skips). I've read articles that even his own employees have a barely positive approval rating of the guy.
I assume that Gates has insisted to the board that Ballmer is in charge as long as he wants to be. 10 out of 10 for loyalty to a friend, minus several million for good thinking.
Considering his next sentence is: "Windows 8 is key to the future ... the Surface computer ... Bing, people have seen is a better search product ... the Xbox," I would venture to speculate that might be what he is talking about. I wouldn't say that *I* think any of those other then the Xbox are successful, but obviously Mr. Gates believes that they they will be.
"Predictions are hard, especially when they are about the future." --(attributed to) Yogi Berra (amongst others)
You sir have been fooled by Microsoft's clever accounting.
Xbox360 will never make a dime of profit for Microsoft. The development costs and warranty repair costs will always outweigh any profit from the hardware and game licensing.
What Microsoft (and other American companies) do, is "reserve" cash for future costs. so the $2Bn (which eventually doubled) was "reserved" in a single REALLY bad quarter. The next quarter, that loss is all forgotten about, and they can claim profits, which the press gleefully report without question, and fanboys lap up without question.
It's how American business works, is why American business is so screwed, as quite clearly if I ran my personal finances like that, I would have been bankrupt years ago....
"...a number of what should be career-ending failures..."
Actually, I can't seem to think of a product outside of Windows 8 that Ballmer has overseen creation of...not one. If there is one or more, then to me personally that says enough. It's seems Ballmer is just along for the pay check, at least he has never forgotten his place!
As a now "Linux 4 Life" sort, I can't believe I'm actually hoping for the return of Billy G. At least Billy G. kept his mouth in a place that excited buzz for better or worse. But Ballmer's mouth adds no technical argument to anything, it's like hearing "Linux Sucks", "Macintosh Sucks", "Windows Rules" over and over and over and ...
To judge whether he is a success or a giant megafail (hint, its the latter) lets look at his win/loss ratio. Win-Win 7, WinServer 2K3, 2K8, half win, X360 (2 billion RRoD cost it being a full win). Now lets look at his losses, Zune, Kin, WinPhone, killing the profitable playsforsure for the flop Zune market and killing any forward momentum they had in the media biz, Sidekick, Bing (which now pays you to use it in the form of gift cards), the billions they had to write off for the ad company that went nowhere, the billions they spent to buy Yahoo Search, and by Xmas this year you can add Win 8, Surface (both RT and pro) and the new WinPhone.
I'm sorry but the guy is a trainwreck. he has cost the company at LEAST 40 billion in the past half a decade and has ZERO ROI to show for those billions flushed down the loo as you Brits call it. His "leadership" is so bad that one could have had a higher ROI having monkeys fling poo at the stock page and investing there than they got by having Ballmer at the wheel!
There is A REASON why Forbes names him the Worst CEO and that is because that is what he is. as a retailer of PCs I can tell you NOBODY wants Windows 8, I have stopped even having Win 8 systems in my shop because they gather dust. People would buy a system with half the power and memory rather than get stuck with Win 8, yes its hated THAT much by the public. You expect this clown to lead the company when he is losing share in a monopoly situation? I wouldn't trust him to catch a cold with a map and a GPS unit.
The sad part is if they would have stuck to Win 7 on the desktop, pushed Metro on tablets/phones along with a "it MUST just work" mantra? They probably could have made some gains. But with Ballmer in charge the strategy always seems to be "What is the other guy doing? We'll do that but poorly and half baked" and so it ends in disaster. Bottom line if the board doesn't get rid of Gates little buddy MSFT will be RIM in less than 5 years, a company that once ruled their market but now only has legacy customers and even they are looking for the exit. The OEMs are all on the phone to Google, Valve has ported Steam to Linux and will be coming out with their own console, everybody is jumping off before the ship goes down.
I expect to be shot down in flames here, but if you want to sell your customers Windows 8 just get them to download <a href='http://startisback.com/'>Start is Back</a>, which brings back the Windows 7 start menu and lets you boot straight to desktop. It costs $3 and it's got none of the additional crap the other start menu replacements have. I've even been able to get the start screen to be useful by rebinding the key to bring it up and removing virtually all the Metro apps from it.
The hatred is completely justified, however- my desktop PC is not an iPad. Everything on Metro seems geared around consumption and entertainment, and I want to use my PC to actually do things.
Don't knock Ballmer, the fact remains that the windows phone debacle has been going on for some time, just like most other successful CEO's of companies the ones that everyone worships and adores usually get out in the nick of time.
They usually know when it is time to go, leaving the company and letting the shi*t hit the fan and someone else taking the blame. 'We were always successful during my tenure!' they will claim, but during their tenure they left a lot of unanswered paperwork in the bottom draw.
Cue the 'new' guy, he takes over sits behind the desk and opens the bottom draw...... They are then left to try and put things right.
Happens all the time, the problems withy he windows phones started many years ago.
I personally don't see Ballmer as a right person to be at the front of the Microsoft (mainly because of his physical appearance not expertise).
Nevertheless good thing or products while he is CEO are:
Win7, Office 2003,2007,2010, Win Server 2003, 2008R2, Exchange Server 2003, 2007, 2010. SQL Servers ... (You have mention some of this already).
Windows 8 is fantastic product and it is excellent way of moving on from platform that we all know so well.
Surface project is fantastic.
Windows Phone 7.5 and WP8.
WP8 in particular is great mobile OS.
On the question what went wrong or if you like what was mistake I believe Bill Gates was referring to Windows mobile 6. That indeed was mistake, no doubt about it. Windows Vista yes that was mistake. Zune - personally I don't need anyone to make me my collection of mp3 music or similar. Once I have paid for my CDs I know how to compress them and put then on my mobile device. I don't want to pay it again (most of the iPod users, as well, will share the same opinion). But lets say Zune was also not very good product or if you prefer mistake.
There is also other great products from Microsoft like Visual Studio, Azure, Windows 2012 is still in early days but already has some brilliant reviews form experts.
None of these things in your list could, nor ever had a hope of moving the MS stock price up. Sure, MS can from time to time put out solid products. That's all they are: solid, not exciting, not life changing, not enough to make the needle move. If you want to be in charge of the (formerly) world's biggest consumer software company, making a new version of SQL server that doesn't blow up, really is not good enough.
Totally agree - i think he's just trying to find something to say to give the end of the piece a positive spin.
Windows 8 - too early to call, but if it's the "key to the future" then it hasn't had the greatest of starts.
Surface - again, doesn't seem to have done anywhere near as well as they would have liked it to, but need more time to tell i guess
Bing - "people have seen is a better search product" i dunno about that. i switched from Google to Bing after all the UK tax issue, but i'm going to be switching back again because Bing just isn't as good, the top results often aren't the ones i'm trying to find.
XBox - while yes, it's been a successful product, it's at the end of it's life and hasn't really done anything in the last year, has it? Everyone is looking towards the next XBox, not the old one.
Can MS succeed from a position as a small player? Their success for decades was built on leveraging their dominant OS position to capture new markets. The big convergence of windows operating system + tablet + phone software was an attempt to do exactly that to get into phones and tablets. It doesn't seem to work, so can they innovate instead?
I'm not what you'd call a fanboy, however in the past I've always liked both Microsoft and Nokia products and got on well with them. But what's with Microsoft's cloud obsession lately? It doesn't exactly do them any favours when Windows Phone can't even sync with Microsoft Outlook without going through a damn cloud service.
No it hasn't! God I HATE how people try to rewrite history to make MSFT this evil genius when at best they were bumbling henchmen. Here is what happened folks from somebody who is gotta more grey than Gandalf and was there since the days of the Altair, ready?
DOS was insider dealing thanks to Billy's mom but more importantly DR dropped the ball and blew off IBM, you'll see "the other guy does something REALLY stupid" quickly becomes a theme with MSFT. Apple was taken over by one bad CEO after another that flooded the channel with confusing products so MSFT was able to capitalize thanks to the "gang of nine" and the MHz wars. WordPerfect ruled the market but then decided "Meh Windows won't be big, no worries" and put out a half baked DOS based WordPerfect that crashed more than it ran, again giving MSFT a free shot.
Somebody at Netscape decided to do a full rewrite on the browser just as things were heating up, the result was a crashing mess called NS 4 that had people going out and downloading IE because while it wasn't as nice at least they could look at 2 websites in a row without crashing. beOS tied their OS first to a failed AT&T CPU, then one failing or dying chip after another and by the time somebody realized "Hey we should be on X86!" it was too late as Windows was everywhere and WinXP was around the corner.
You look at the entire history of MSFT and every win is followed by the sentence "And then the competitor did something REALLY REALLY dumb" which gave them a free shot. X360? PS3's $600 price tag scared off a LOT of folks. DirectX become the gaming platform? Khronos drops the ball with OpenGL and after much infighting decides they care only about CAD and doesn't bother keeping up with the latest GPU tech forcing the GPU makers to use "shims" which gives it worse performance.
Which brings us to today as so far neither Google nor Apple has done anything truly facepalming dumb so MSFT has gone nowhere in mobile. MSFT's only real strength has been to take obvious openings handed them by the competition and run with them, no stupid move by competitor? No chance of MSFT getting ahead because innovation and smart design has never been the strength of the house of Redmond. All the "EEE" and other schemes were frankly MSFT trying to justify their success in a way that didn't sound like "We bumbled into a lucky break" which again and again that is ALL that has happened. Linux gains no share when they put out the Vista bomb because at that very moment the Linux devs decide to shoot the OS in the face by throwing out the DEs and sound subsystem for alpha quality garbage. Again and again its not MSFT being smart, its the other guy being pants wettingly DUMB.
"Which brings us to today as so far neither Google nor Apple has done anything truly facepalming dumb so MSFT has gone nowhere in mobile."
Not just mobile, desktop too. The iMacs are quite hard to get at the moment, which could be because the market has decided that OS X is preferable to win 8...
And RIM too. They've more or less stuck to the theme "this is a phone, just a lot better" with the z10, and they're selling well here in the uk. MSFT's "It's also a desktop" win 8 is looking commercially overly complicated and unattractive...
The iMacs are quite hard to get at the moment, which could be because the market has decided that OS X is preferable to win 8...
I'm a mac fan, but even I know this is not true. I suspect imac shortages are due to manufacturing issues with the new cases and screens, since Apple disappeared up it's own arse so much that the machines are now difficult to manufacturer, upgrade (21" specifically) or recycle.
"I'm a mac fan, but even I know this is not true. I suspect imac shortages are due to manufacturing issues with the new cases and screens, since Apple disappeared up it's own arse so much that the machines are now difficult to manufacturer, upgrade (21" specifically) or recycle."
Fair enough. Now you mention it I do recall an article about how they were having trouble with their friction stir welded cases (pretentious or what?). However I do know people who have normally plumped for PCs who are now buying Apple because they didn't like Win 8. I'm not an Apple fan, but I think they've a better grasp of what a desktop is supposed to be than MS at the moment. I'm sticking with Win 7 and occasionally Linux.
I notice on Novatech's website that Win7 is still on sale, in stock and has good reviews. Win8 is cheaper, has hardly any reviews, and they're mostly bad. If Novatech can't shift it, no one can. Weirdly I reckon that MS might be doing quite well out of it. They get to sell Win8 with every new PC, plus a bunch of Win7 licenses to people who want to get rid of Win8. And that's still cheaper than a Mac.
They get to sell Win8 with every new PC, plus a bunch of Win7 licenses to people who want to get rid of Win8. And that's still cheaper than a Mac.
Until you buy software to make Windows actually *do* something. At that point your budget is shot. Overpriced rubbish with horrendous licensing conditions which force you to run a costly management scheme or the next pissed off member of staff who rats you out will get your business closed because of the fines, eternal updates (which also cost time and resources), compulsory anti-virus measures and the forced upgrade cycle that will suck that nifty bit of budget out of your pockets that you could have saved buying Macs instead.
Did I mention they rarely need rebooting too? Just saying..
I work with all 3 main platforms. Let's just say that I have my reasons not to like Windows, all the way up to military level.
I believe it was mentioned in the last quarterly call that there were issues meeting demand for both the iPhone5 and especially the iMac range, and that this should be fixed soon. So it is somewhat difficult to judge actual demand at the moment.
That being said, despite many very good windows 7 based "me too" products from the usual suspects, the forward march of the MacAir and MacBook lines continues unabated.
.........involving Redmond and describe the historical context (without attempting to "rewrite it") in a fashion that is scarcely complimentary to MS but does not involve $-signs and howling. I too have (more than) my share of grey hairs and your description of what was going on back in the day is right on the money.
describe the historical context (without attempting to "rewrite it")
Except for the bit about Kildall and DR "blowing off" IBM, which is a widely-debunked myth. Gary Kildall had a conflicting meeting with an important customer and let his wife, Dorothy, take the IBM meeting; but he returned and joined the meeting. Various participants have offered stories that conflict in the details about the ultimate reason why IBM didn't license CP/M as the primary OS for the PC, but most likely Kildall and IBM were unable to agree on terms.[1,2,3]
In hindsight that decision can be criticized, but it was perfectly sensible at the time.
Kildall and DR didn't make any "stupid mistake". Gates and Microsoft got lucky, yes, as did IBM - no one could have predicted (through any rational calculation) just how successful the IBM PC would be at displacing other personal computers in the workplace.
And yes, I was around at the time as well.
If you think you can put Microsofts success over the past 30 years down to an endless string of chance and mistakes by other then you are not only being naive but also very er stupid (sorry). And the fact that you would try to despite reality all around you is like the priest who trys to tell us evolution is not really happening when psst we kinda figured out that it is!
But hey if you’re strange version of chance is true it gives hope to ever the very lowest forms of intelligence on this earth, chance not selection could be the way forward! who knows the slugs might by chance rise to the top of the food chain any day and i for one whould like to welcome our new leaders!
Defo nothing to do with windows 95 , ms office , visual studio, vb 6 then? No sql server wasn’t a hit? Xbox? to name but a few key successes that explain things. Most companies out there by far use several of these at the very core of their business at some expense, do you not this this expense has to be justified regularly internally, if you’re not being naive then of course it is and has been over the decades, now that’s not chance is it, ya silly billy!
Obviously I’m just saying the good stuff here as there has been plenty of bad as with any large tech company I can think of, good news for me is I see it as I’m not a fan boy
True but being able to take advantage of your competitors' mistakes is part of good business management. To be a successful tech company you need both innovative products to build yourself a strong base and good management to be able to take advantage of opportunities (whether they be a result of your own strength or of weaknesses from competitiors).
In this sense Microsoft has had a business management team that was able to efficiently identify opportunities given to them and take advantage of them, even if they haven't been able to innovate themselves all that much (although they do occasionally, kinect being the best example).
As Microsoft are making mistakes in the smartphone market, it's down to others like BlackBerry, Mozilla or Ubuntu to take advantage of it: they need to take that chance as it may not come back any time soon!
"kinect being the best example"
...tech bought in from PrimeSense, driven by the need to compete with the Wii controller, constrained by the need to avoid Nintendo and Sony controller patent minefields. MS massively improved the software, it's very definitely an innovative solution, but it's also another example of MS being late to the party.
I was also there, but I guess I forgot to wear my rose coloured glasses.
DR were throttled because B.Gates had his lads change Win3/95 so it would only work with MS-DOS.
MS were hired to write OS2 but IBM got too amibitious and MS blew IBM off and came up with Windows.
MS changed their APIs or kept some undocumented to kill of competing products. They also routinely sabre rattle patents without actually disclosing what the patents are.
MS has been found guilty of antitrust offences in the the US AND Europe. They routinely spread FUD and attempt to discredit anyone or anything who gets in their way. They lied when they said IE was part of the OS.
IE was not a Microsoft "innovation", they bought it in (eventually, after simply using it without paying anything). It's based on a an old browser called Mosiac. Neither is SQLServer. Its Sybase.
Finally, MS' legendary marketing, sales and "hospitality budgets" are responsible for its sales. And they are good at it. But lets not confuse that with good products.
Wordperfect lost ground when they brought out the first windows version of WordPerfect because MS circulated an incomplete developers kit, which WordPerfect eventually won damages for but the damages at $100m were insignificant when compared to the damage done to WordPerfect in terms of loss of market share.
"God I HATE how people try to rewrite history to make MSFT this evil genius when at best they were bumbling henchmen" etc etc
Said with the benefit of hindsight. Fact is all these other companies that have screwed up aren't little one man bands making arbitrary decisions - there's some pretty major strategy planning gone into some of these failures and it's a fair bet that those making the decisions were reasonably confident of success, based on the information available to them in that place at that time. That history proved they were wrong, and Microsoft right, doesn't seem to me to lend the support that you think it does to the case you are trying to make.
When you strip away all the hyperbole your post is basically just a list of occasions where others got it wrong and Microsoft got it right. You might get lucky once and but you don't do it over and over and rise to the size Microsoft did purely by luck. You could even argue that there is no right or wrong, just that one company managed to persuade a larger (or large enough) number of people that their way was right that they were able to gain enough of an upper hand that the competition became almost irrelevant - but even so it's still Microsoft which is winning these battles. It would seem there is also a critical mass a company can reach beyond which their way will almost certainly be the chosen way, even if a technically superior alternative exists.
Unfortunately for Microsoft in mobile computing the way ahead is not so clear - at least in part because this is the present and so the hindsight your observations benefit from is not yet available. Once it is, 2-3 years down the line, you might have reason to think differently. Windows Phone 8 is their first serious attempt at taking on Apple / Google and it's only been out for 5 mins. I don't like it personally but it is certainly getting some serious backing from mobile phone operators, resellers, retailers etc and that is going to count for something given enough time. Fortunately for Microsoft they have the resources to play the long game. And as for the competition screwing up - well Apple and the Droid conglomerate have headaches of their own which may yet play into Microsoft's hands. Only time will tell.
I was (un) reliably informed yesterday that 20% of global international telephony was carried by Skype lat year.
If this figure is correct, I would guess that carrier enthusiasm for WP8 and by extension Skype is not larger than the bribes MS (and MS's bitch Nokia) pays them to carry their products.
Short of unbundling Skype (and burning the billions), I can't see how MS and its Nokia subsidiary will ever shake off the image of a consumer of Telco profit.
Ah - someon as grey as me. It's refreshing to hear the true story for a change rather than the wishful thinking from youngsters who were nestling cosily in their mother's fallopian tubes when all this happened. Agree on the subject of Netscape - never did like it anyway - Mosaic was better.
Excel was a good product. They made sure it didn't have any copy protection. Lotus 123 was expensive. MS spent their marketing money on speading Excel around like poison ivy. It was a rico suave move. Why buy Lotus when Excel was essentially free?. Right after Lotus started crashing from revenue loss Excel was copy protected, but still way cheaper than 123.
If anybody has the sense to make a decent word processor, Word would be gone in weeks. Tell me it doesn't take you months to get Word to stop doing crazy things that hang you up? Anybody know about Ami Pro? The first gui word processor? It was truly good. Would have killed Word but Lotus bought Ami (Samna) and IBM bought Lotus and death ensued.
It is a strange saga.
MS are not dumb. They are a marketing company. They've often been faking the coding just good enough for the marketing to cover it up. They also fire anybody that knows how to code within a year or two so they can't "run off with the secrets." Like the secret that nobody knows how to code over there. Plus, they design interfaces for children. Sorry, I also use MS stuff daily. If you have to bet on a horse, they're it. It's the only horse that has all 4 legs working, unfortunately.