back to article Bill Gates: Windows Phone strategy was 'a mistake'

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 …


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  1. Bob Vistakin

    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.

    1. Pet Peeve

      Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

      Discredited almost immediately.

      Bing is, or at least started as, a rebranding of yahoo's search technology (and that's not saying anything good about it), but it's not google.

      1. dogged

        Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

        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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

      @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.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

        Anon, you are wrong. Why did you give Radon the opportunity?

  2. xpusostomos

    I like their strategy

    I like Ballmer's strategy. I like it a lot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Poor Stategy over last 10 years

      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?

  3. Pet Peeve

    Gates quote

    "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.

    1. Rukario
      Thumb Up

      Re: Gates quote

      Upvoted for, at the very least, the Zaphod Beeblebrox reference.

    2. Oninoshiko

      Re: Gates quote

      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)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gates quote

        I wouldn't even say the Xbox is successful. The 360 is in profit, but preceding versions ran up a nine-figure loss which has been written off; also bear in mind they initially marketed it without the Microsoft name.

        1. Philomena Cunk

          Re: Gates quote

          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....

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gates quote

      "...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 ...

    4. earplugs

      Re: Gates quote

      Ballmer is lowering the stock enough so those he and Gates can take Microsoft private.

    5. kb
      Thumb Down

      Re: Gates quote

      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.

      1. Godwhacker

        Re: Gates quote

        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=''>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.

    6. LarsG

      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.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        It's still too early to announce WP as a total fail. They're playing the long game so for now it's only a disappointment!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Don't knock Ballmer

        No... just put some music on and wait for him to knock himself.

    7. RT tablet

      Re: Gates quote

      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.

      1. xpusostomos

        Re: Gates quote

        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.

    8. JDX Gold badge

      there is no line of business that was started after he took over that has gone ANYWHERE

      Kinect. There's one solitary note of success :)

    9. jai

      Re: Gates quote

      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.

    10. Dick Pountain

      Re: Gates quote

      "Giant Hate Boner", fabulous linguistic invention, may I use it for the name of my band?

      1. Pet Peeve
        Thumb Up

        Re: Gates quote

        "Giant Hate Boner" is an Andrew Hussie thing, but yeah, totally great name for a band.

    11. BrentRBrian

      Re: Gates quote

      Self critical -- I don't remember Ballmer throwing a chair at himself ......

    12. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gates quote

      " (zune, kin, VISTA, and win 8 desktop, likely to be the next OS that everybody skips)"

      I like the Win 8 desktop. OK I hated it for about 2 weeks but now I wouldn't go back to Win7!

      Would you go back to Office without the ribbon?

      1. Vic

        Re: Gates quote

        > Would you go back to Office without the ribbon?

        In a heartbeat...


  4. Schultz

    The big question is ...

    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?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: The big question is ...

      "It doesn't seem to work, so can they innovate instead?

      No, their best bet is to copyright 'innovate' and start charging the hardware manufacturers revenue for using Android ...


      todays mentions of windows == 5 and mentions of microsoft == 9

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    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.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Jumping on bandwagons then hijacking them has been an unbelievably successful strategy for MS for most of its existence. With everyone else doing it Cloud must be the next bandwagon... even if you and I might disagree ;)

      1. kb

        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.

        1. bazza Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          "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...

          1. Silverburn
            Thumb Down

            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.

            1. bazza Silver badge


              "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.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                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.

          2. Philip Lewis

            iMac logistics issues

            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.

        2. Arctic fox
          Thumb Up

          @kb Thank you very much kb for demonstrating that it is possible to comment on issues.....

          .........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.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: @kb Thank you very much kb for demonstrating that it is possible to comment on issues.....

            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.




        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          just plain daft

          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

        4. Bruno Girin

          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!

          1. Paul Shirley

            "kinect being the best example"

   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.

        5. Carl

          Allow me to correct you

          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.

        6. GeekinOrpington

          Don;t forget the cut down windows developer kit

          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.

        7. HandleOfGod

          Bumbling henchmen?

          "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.

          1. Philip Lewis

            Re: Bumbling henchmen?

            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.

        8. PhilBuk



          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.


        9. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          MS has good marketing. It has saved them over and over. But...

          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.

    2. Moeluk
      Thumb Up

      "when Windows Phone can't even sync with Microsoft Outlook without going through a damn cloud service."

      This! 100% this....some of our guys have switched to windows phones, and I've had to tell them I can't get their numbers off their iPhone and onto the Lumias. Simply because there is no way to put windows address book contacts on there. Now I know someone will say you just need the outlook to hotmail connector or just use exchange..., but I can't do that either due to Dynamics crm, so basically as is usually the case, ms technology stops other ms technology from working.....

      I am about 9 days away from a mental breakdown I spend so long on the phone to Microsoft these days, even their O365 hold music has become turgid and depressing

  6. jonfr

    Bad news for Nokia

    I guess this is bad news for Nokia Windows phones.

    1. RT tablet

      Re: Bad news for Nokia

      Why do you think that?

      Nokia has WP8 not WMobile 6.

  7. GrantB


    "There were a lot of amazing things that Steve's leadership got done with the company in the last year"

    Amazing.. is like saying 'interesting'. Amazingly good or amazingly bad?

    Lets look at Steve's amazing leadership...

    "Windows 8 is key to the future"

    All they had to do was roll out a slightly faster/better version of Win7 and they would have sold as much or more than Windows 8 has. Perhaps even had a version of Windows optimised for touch or an option built in for defaulting to Touch/TIFKAM or Classic styles, but forcing TIFKAM on buyers has not really gone down well has it?

    " ... the Surface computer"

    Which one? The RT models look to have failed in the market. Pro versions are tainted with the same brush, but too early to tell. Amazingly well? - I don't think so.

    " ... Bing, people have seen is a better search product"

    Even if that were true, despite being the default in Windows, people are still actively switching back to Google and other engines. End result is billions being poured into a search engine sink hole by MS for little result. Look at complaints by Yahoo about the switch to Bing being a failure.

    " ... the Xbox"

    Success at great cost I guess, but in the last year? Been overtaken by PS3, and nothing really done by Balmer, no great hype yet or vision outlined for future Xboxen, so pretty hard to call that amazing by any stretch.

    Windows Phone can only be considered an amazing fail given the time and money poured into something that is only a port of Windows (in theory).

    So "amazing things that Steve's leadership got done"?

    "breakthrough things"?

    I would say that Gates would have to be thinking long and hard about dropping Balmer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wow

      I would say that Gates would have to be thinking long and hard about dropping Balmer.

      The problem is somewhat identical to what Apple has at the moment: for a company to lead in any way you need someone at the helm who is a leader, not a good sergeant. Regardless of what I think of Microsoft in general, IMHO, Ballmer doesn't fit in any scenario with a line that goes upwards.

      However, Apple still has some upwards momentum, whereas Microsoft is firmly established on a downwards trajectory because they actually haven't innovated in a long time. BS and market abuse can only carry you so far.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: wow

      All they had to do was roll out a slightly faster/better version of Win7 and they would have sold as much or more than Windows 8 has. Perhaps even had a version of Windows optimised for touch or an option built in for defaulting to Touch/TIFKAM or Classic styles, but forcing TIFKAM on buyers has not really gone down well has it?

      Spot on. Windows 8 with its clusterfuck of Metro, Secure Boot and a new version of Internet Explorer has probably done more than anything to damage Microsoft's reputation with the CTO's of the world.

      Adding the bells and whistles as a service pack or even a paid for Windows 7 R2 would have reassured users that they weren't about to be thrown under the bus of the next fashion wave. Instead people actively want to avoid Windows 8 on the desktop with the result that they will be avoiding Windows 8 tablets.

      1. John L Ward

        Re: wow

        Like it or hate it, I think that the reason for the mangled interface that is Win 8 is threefold:

        1. MS needed to move away from the mouse-driven Start menu addicted interface that has been with us since Windows 95. They couldn't move straitght to Metro because the market (particularly the commercial market) would not have been able to take such a shift in an interface we are all too used to using, also;

        2. Most of the ISVs are locked into the Start Menu paradigm and needed time to re-write their apps to work with touch rather than mouse. The real driver?

        3. They realised that if they can get true integration between MS O/S's on desktop tablet and mobile then they have the ability to provide a one-size-fits all solution that the opens up the market to developers that embrace Notro. After all it's something that worked before (NT anyone?)...

        I'm not saying I agree with any of this strategy, but it is almost like Windows 8 is the 'fall-guy' operating system (Vista anyone?) designed to wean consumers/developers all off the bottom left corner of the screen, because they realised that it will happen anyway.

        Epic fail? Maybe, but perhaps 'betting the farm on Windows 8' seemed better than a slow death...

        1. Dave 126

          Fall guy OS

          That was my take on it. MS probably figured a good number of people and business have only settled into Windows 7 in the last couple of years, and so were never going to be in the market for windows 8. Therefore, they chose to be a little bit experimental, and then sell Windows 9 as "Hey, it's not Windows 8".

          Most of the annoyances with Windows 8 are in the UI and are easily fixed with a bit of 3rd party software - one to skip past 'Metro' to the desktop, another to restore the start menu, plus some other details. Hardly a massive extra effort, given that most of us install software and tweak settings on a fresh Windows install anyway.

        2. Philip Lewis

          Re: wow

          " MS needed to move away from the mouse-driven Start menu addicted interface that has been with us since Windows 95"


          What is the compelling business case for this with respect to the billion machines in use that do not have touch screens and all the machines used in applications where touch is a pointless diversion?

          1. graeme leggett Silver badge

            Re: wow

            "Why?" you ask did MS have to move away from the Start Menu interface.

            If MS stuck with mouse and keyboard and pen/touchscreen but better done under a revised Windows 7, then they would either have to

            a) give up the tablet/big phone area of computing


            b) have separate lines of O/S for those devices (as Apple have with their OS and iOS)

            If a, then there's a chance that the tablet OS (Android, Linux, iOS, etc or something new) from competitors would break out of that area and invade the desktop borne on its small scale popularity. If b) you've got two lines to support which means more effort.

            I don't think Win8 is the sacrifical lamb at this altar, so much that MS had to start somewhere. Perhaps they have bodged their attempt to deliver something that works for the 17 inch desktop in an office, a home cinema system, and a 10 inch tablet. To continue the OT theme, will God intervene at the last moment to save the first-born, time (as ever) will tell.

        3. danbi

          Re: wow

          "They realised that if they can get true integration between MS O/S's on desktop tablet and mobile then they have the ability to provide a one-size-fits all solution that the opens up the market to developers that embrace Notro."

          This, even if in theory doable (not by Microsoft), does not make sense.

          We have moved from mainframes to smaller (including personal) computers to the current Internet "cloud". The computer of today is actually spread all over. It is also heterogenous. You can have the backend run OS ABC, the storage run OS MNT, the middleware run OS WRT and the front-end run OS XYZ and still be perfectly "compatible", as long as you use standards compliant protocols. Other companies do this for decades. Microsoft apparently can't -- perhaps because they insist on "inventing" their own incompatible variations of existing protocols and for some reason they believe "compatibility" means having the same code everywhere -- which is not only impossible, but not neccesary at all.

          Until Microsoft stick to their policy in this area, they will follow the downward spiral.

    3. Piro Silver badge

      Re: wow

      You pretty much hit it all on the head.

      Let's not forget Vista, Kin, Zune.. To be fair, I think Zune was probably not as bad as people recall. I never used one, it wasn't released in the UK, but people always said good things about the software and so on.

      Vista was an engineering exercise which left the OS far too heavy for most hardware at the time, even that which was sold with it (512MB Vista machines, anyone? Fancy waiting all day swapping?).

      There's clearly talent at Microsoft, but with so many decisions it has been wasted.

      Faster/better version of 7? Exactly was needed - polish 7 to a mirror shine - remove inconsistencies in the UI, unify the control panel, streamline deployment and management tools and so on..

      Instead, we get 8, with more inconsistencies than any previous version of Windows.

      1. Dana W

        Re: wow

        Biggest fail for Zune. Nobody wanted to "rent" music. Zune was a monthly Microsoft payment. What little iTunes music content I have is mine with no DRM even if I never give Apple another cent.

        The only people who said nice things about the Zune software were Microsoft shills.

        1. El Andy

          Re: wow

          I actually have a Zune 80 and it's got loads of non-rented music on it because like every other music player on the market at the time, you could quite happily rip your own CDs to it. And most people who saw it at the time (not knowing what it was) liked it and many asked if it was the new iPod. There were a few fairly useless features (the whole music sharing "social" thing springs to mind) but as a music/video player it was great and one of the best of it's era. Far too late to market (and never officially outside the US) to have anything like the kind of impact it needed to have to succeed though.

          And FWIW I still use it every day, never found a really good replacement.

          1. danbi

            Re: wow

            "as a music/video player it was great and one of the best of it's era."

            There were and still are plenty of great and utterly cheap MP3/MP4 players out there. Real cheap, like $10 with the design of an iPod. But still, the Apple's iPod sells by millions and those do not --- because it is the sensible service that sells these things. Microsoft were just too greedy, as always.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: wow

          "Nobody wanted to "rent" music."

          What is Spotify then?

          Did people change?

    4. Tony Paulazzo

      Re: wow

      " ... the Xbox"

      Success at great cost I guess, but in the last year? Been overtaken by PS3, and nothing really done by Balmer, no great hype yet or vision outlined for future Xboxen, so pretty hard to call that amazing by any stretch.

      And if the recent news coming out is true, the new Xbox (720?) is going to destroy the second hand market by locking games to the machine - much like retail Office 2013.

      It almost feels like someone is trying to destroy the corporation from within.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Re: I would say that Gates would have to be thinking long and hard about dropping Balmer.

      At least he has not issued a statement that Balmer has his full confidence and support.

      As in Politician-speak for "His resignation will be on my desk by the end of the day."

    7. danbi

      Re: wow

      "Windows 8 is key to the future"

      But, this is true! Windows 8 is key to the Microsoft-less future. As is Windows Phone, as is Surface.

      That won't happen overnight, but people embrace all sorts of "alternative" computing devices simply because they do not run Windwos.

      They say, nobody else can do to you what you can do to yourself. Go Microsoft, go!

  8. Andrew Moore
    Thumb Down


    ...the guy who completely missed the internet in his semi-autobiography also missed SmartPhones. Yeah, I'd call that 'innovative'

    1. Connor

      Re: So...

      They didn't miss smartphones, they were right there leading at the beginning. I believe that the phone with the first full HMTL browser was a Windows smartphone and everything we think of now as being a smartphone is from the early Microsoft smartphones. Microsoft just did nothing with them. As they always do, they dominated and then stagnated.

      1. Pet Peeve

        Re: So...

        Hold on there! Palm is really the genesis of the smartphone, especially once handspring came long. Windows mobile has been around for a long time (though probably in platforms most people never saw, like in barcode-reader based handhelds used in enterprises), but they are strictly an also-ran in terms of innovation in the handheld space.

        WinMO is also very incoherent, with major changes to use experience between relatively minor version numbers, which led to a lot of people never upgrading their handhelds EVER (if you even could). They had a lock on that market for a lot of the 2000s, but with everyone wanting to use much cheaper iphone and tablet style devices in that niche now, they're poised to lose it too.

        They are really, really in trouble in the mobile base. I'm not sure even being third is going to be an option for them, especially if TCFKAR (Blackberry) gets their act together, which I think is a real possibility with BB10 being surprisingly good.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: So...

          Hold on there! Palm is really the genesis of the smartphone, especially once handspring came long.

          Hold your horses young fellow me lad! Psion/EPOC/Symbian were in there at the beginning with Nokia's Communicator the first integration of a PDA like the Palm with a phone. What Palm did do very well was concentrate on a task and touch centric GUI.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So...

        You mean the STNC browser? That was the first. Microsoft didn't invent it; they bought it. And their primary motivation wasn't to put it on Windows phones - it was to remove it from Symbian phones, which as a result were left without a full featured browser for 18 months.

      3. Dave 15

        Re: So...

        First HTML browser on a phone... the first I know about was Microsoft mobile explorer - the v1 was contracted by MS from one company, vsn 2 on (as on the Sony Z5) came from a company (STNC) which was purchased for Microsoft for the very purpose of providing the browser. This was NOT on a 'smart phone' but a 'feature phone'. The browser coped with the then WAP wmlc browsing but ALSO html and even provided email functionality (it was also the software running on the amstrad emailer). Even by that time Microsoft had a smart phone - basically a version of the pocket PC software - eventually the two were merged into windows mobile. Whether the pocket PC should be considered a smartphone is possibly made more likely now given that its bulk was considerably less than the bulk of many supposed smartphones from the likes of Samsung. If it is then the early pocket PC's (which did provide phone call capability) certainly did have html browsers.

  9. Nanners

    Swore that last sentance said

    "in terms of breaking things, that we're doing everything possible."

  10. Jim Lewis

    'Bing, people have seen is a better search product', than what? not searching???

    Microsoft must have quietly got ahead of Google Glasses 'cos Gates seems to be viewing the world in a very strange way!

    1. Benjol

      I read that as "better than it was"...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bahhhahha - Really bill?

    ""There were a lot of amazing things that Steve's leadership got done with the company in the last year. Windows 8 is key to the future ... the Surface computer ... Bing, people have seen is a better search product ... the Xbox ..."

    All of those are dismal failures. What planet is Bill now living on? One where everyone uses Bing to search for stuff, and a 60% Xbox failure rate is perfectly normal?

  12. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    GOD Particulars. AI Peculiarities for Export and Exploration .....

    ... of the Massive Singularity Controlling SMARTR Enigmatic Man and Colossal Virtual Machines.

    Message to Bill Gates and all Wannabe OS Control Freaks

    It is not hardware or software which delivers to a platform an unassailable lead with the really artificial power that is control in the marketplace, it is attractive and exclusively aligned meta data and intelligent future information which all would clamour to hear and be privy and party to.

    To say any more on the matter, methinks, would be unnecessarily superfluous and prone to be misleading and even more confusing.

    So Billy, cutting directly to the chase, who in the company owns the Keys to Future Master Scripts with AddICTive Content …… Sticky Sweet Nectar for Global Operating Devices.

  13. Milo Tsukroff

    Sorry, Billy, You blew it with Windows CE ....

    Sorry, Billy Gates, you blew it with mobile OS's starting with Windows CE. And weren't you in charge back then? If you want to know why Windows doesn't rule the smartphone, look in the mirror. And you also didn't kill Spam "in two years" like you predicted in 2004.

    1. Christian Berger

      Re: Sorry, Billy, You blew it with Windows CE ....

      Hmm, I wouldn't see it that way. Of course Windows CE wasn't good. It lacked essential features, crashed a lot and was limited in strange ways, but at least you could get your own software onto it easily without having to mess around with keys. It was a serious competitor to Java ME. It was, in a nutshell, an approximation to the win32 API.

      Now imagine Microsoft would have just ported the Windows NT kernel to ARM (as they already did with PPC, MIPS, Alpha, etc) and added an x86 emulator (as they already did on Alpha) and they had an interesting product. You'd have to change the GUI guidelines of course, but other than that, porting to it would be easy and sometimes you wouldn't even have to do any porting. Plus you'd immediately be able to run all your "non-visual" software. Need some special VPN software? Just run it, it might be slow but it'll work.

      What they have now is a deliberately incompatible version of Windows. It has all the disadvantages of the desktop version, but no advantages. Microsoft seems to have misunderstood that their lifeline, particularly in the business sector, is their compatibility with their previous products.

      1. GrantB

        Re: Sorry, Billy, You blew it with Windows CE ....

        I agree with much you say = CE was close enough to the Win32 API to help development for Windows developers like me back in the day, but MS moved away from classic Win32 API into .NET which didn’t help.

        I used to do development with Windows CE 1.0 and 2.0, then got buried in a world of slightly incompatible versions like Pocket PC/Handheld PC versions across a range of different processors, form factors and manufactures. I remember one client ordering Phillips Pocket PC's for a vertical market application, (after we had tested our code on it and certified the device), then Philips withdrawing entirely from the CE device market. Switching to other handhelds (Sony or Toshiba from what I recall) through up new bugs in the firmware and OS layers which meant starting again with certification testing.

        So Windows CE always had issues, but found a decent niche as a relatively light-weight OS that was relatively easy to develop simple graphical applications for and could run on a range of specialised devices.

        Problem I always saw was the name. Windows CE was never ‘Windows’ that could run full Windows apps, but they still pushed many devices to look like Windows complete with start menu and ‘Pocket Office’ that was near useless. Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT continues this to a lesser extent. As you say, all the disadvantages of the desktop version without the advantages of running Windows apps unchanged. Software repositories for CE devices used to have something like a simple Chess game available in lots of different versions – consumer had to know the exact version of CE and CPU to buy the right software. Apple simplified this – I remember getting an iPod Touch and finding a big range of cheap apps that mostly just worked – compared with Windows Mobile app stores at the time, it was a revelation.

        I don’t think MS could have done much else though. NT kernel was too big for low powered devices back in the day and did not support all the odd ball processor variations that CE did. x86 emulators were also never going to run MS Office apps on a low power ARM or similar devices given the hardware available until a few years ago. It is only recently with WP8/W8RT that MS have had multi-core ARM variants and devices with enough memory and CPU to run a NT core and Office apps – even then, the RT devices are packing more memory than iPads or Android tablets from a few years ago.

    2. El Andy

      Re: Sorry, Billy, You blew it with Windows CE ....

      For it's time Windows CE was a good idea and a reasonably solid OS. Let's not forget that before the iPhone came along Win CE based smartphones essentially owned the vast chunk of the market. It was really only Apple coming along and showing how a fully thought through touch interface should be done that changed things.

      Microsoft made a definite mistake back then of thinking that a "familiar" interface was more important than something optimised around touch (and most people were agreeing with them). Whether they are right to try to avoid making the same mistake with the PC OS will probably only be something that time can tell.

  14. Chairo

    Too late by a long shot

    Could it be that customers just don't want to be locked in to a Microsoft app shop? Might that be the reason that Windows RT also fails to win our hearts?

    Apple could get away with it because at the beginning they were seen as the good guy and later there were so many apps available that there still was the feeling to have some choice (albeit limited to Apples whims). And of course there was the "coolness factor" of buying Apple.

    For Microsoft there is no such bonus. Their products were successful because they were relatively easy and open to use. WinCE might have been a pain in many aspects, but at least you could get a relatively decent choice of 3rd party software. The openness is now gradually being removed. First by more and more ridiculous activation schemes and now, finally, with a closed app shop that seems to be nothing else than a blatant try to monopolize the market.

    It might have even worked had Apple not shown to dog and the world what consequences such a lock-in has. Who would buy in such a scheme now?

    What is scary is that Microsoft still might have the power to enforce their lock-in on the desktop. They just need to remove the classic desktop and only allow Metro apps - just like on RT.

    As for phones - no way their strategy will work. It's too late for that.

  15. nhirsch

    I've read Gates is doing good stuff with the money he's earned. Meanwhile Microsoft is becoming a dinosaur.

  16. Martin Huizing

    regarding surface

    Was in a computer store the other day trying out the new surface notebook slash tablet pc.

    After a few minutes I typed out my feelings:

    "I think I like Android better. "

    I had to re-type it several times as the keyboard inexplicably missed several key strokes...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: regarding surface

      Who'd of thought that the sort of person who thinks it's amusing to leave messages about how the competition is better on shop floor computers wouldn't be able to type very accurately?

      I stopped doing this sort of thing when I was about 15.

  17. southpacificpom

    Bill Gates: Windows was 'a mistake'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A vastly profitable mistake, which helped to get a computer on every desk and break the strangle hold of big iron unix on the datacentre.

      I'm guessing you don't remember a time before Windows, let alone a time before Linux.

      1. Dave 15


        Loved that (esp DR-DOS) much better than windows, but yes, I was a kid when ICL still made massive computers and there was nothing more than a nascom-1 for the home

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: DOS

          And of course Netware

        2. mrwenni

          Re: DOS

          Nascom.... those were the days :)

      2. PhilBuk

        @AC 09:!8 GMT

        Big iron Unix in the datacentre - sorry sonny, it was VM/CMS, OS/370, TOPS-10, RSTS-E, VMS, RSX-11XM, etc, etc.

        Not many big data centres ran Unix. It was mainly reserved for Universities and research centres.


      3. danbi

        As someone who remembers the time before MS-DOS and of course before Windows and Linux, I can tell you have some stuff confused.

        There was never "big iron unix". Unix, at best was on mini computers and microcomputers at that time. The "big iron" was universaly running IBM's OS.

        It was IBM who got scared by "those garage sales" of Apple and decided to get hold of that market, by introducing the IBM PC. IBM wanted to play it safe, and the IBM PC had as primary goal bein an smart terminal for the "big iron" IBM computers. In order to do it, because they had no clue, they chose two companies, who were very envious, because their competitors fared better: Microsoft and Intel. The rest is history. But if you have something to complain about either Microsoft or Intel -- blame IBM: they were their creators.

        The IBM PC computers became popular not because of IBM, but because a lotof spec leaked and the (apparently) poor design was cloned by a number of non-name "will do anything for money" manufacturers.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Did he say Bing?

    He did say Bing, didn't he?

    1. DJ 2

      Re: Did he say Bing?

      What is Bing? I'll have to google that.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Mystic Megabyte

    An open letter to Mr. Gates

    If you want to do something useful then please start making sythethtic Rhino horn and flood the market with it.

    Seriosuly, it cannot be too difficult to do and if no one does it there will soon be no Rhinos left.

    Thank you.

    To Reg readers: Sorry for going off topic but I do not have a platform to spread this message.

    If you are a scientist then please forward this to someone who can make it happen.

    1. Fading

      Re: An open letter to Mr. Gates

      Given as rhino horn is used for the "handles of curved daggers called jambiya” I'd suggest maybe something in plastic would be a good substitute. As for medicine: "is used to treat fever, rheumatism, gout, and other disorders. According to the 16th century Chinese pharmacist Li Shi Chen, the horn could also cure snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning, and “devil possession." I'd suggest Aspirin, liver salts and maybe some kind of anti-psychotic maybe Levomepromazine.

      The problem with Rhino horn is not lack of substitutes but a cultural issue.

  21. Dave 15
    Thumb Down


    Surely by now some shareholders in Nokia must have got the message?

    The idiot Elop they bought in to run the company ditched Symbian when it had a 50% market share as a 'burning platform', and replaced it with the burnt out and sunk wreck called Microsoft.... He has made the biggest blunder in the tech world to date... why the fuck are the shareholders leaving the idiot in place?

    He must be fired - with no compensation, pension or even the worthless shares he has caused - along with the board that recommended him. Then the company can start with something that works and has a good track record - either restart Symbian (which would take a lot now that the engineers that made it work have all been fired) or swap to an Android device - although Nokia have also fired almost all their linux experts they are still developing a linux device over in Berlin (behind a facade to cover them for the folk they fired elsewhere in Germany who were also working on linux).

    I guess they'll do neither and end up a foot note in history or perhaps revert to making boots.

  22. Rhiakath Flanders

    although i'm not a microsoft fan...

    which is meant to be read as "I hate their freaking polytics"......

    I have to admit I admire Gates. He DID a good job. He gave us Windows 95->XP. Who amongst us hasn't used XP to the day they couldn't install the brand new DX11-only game?

    I know I have.

    And he seems to be passionate about what he does, and that has got to be admired. And he does it good, which is even better! He shares his incredible fortune helping people!

    Gates shows devotion and passion about Microsoft. He gives us his vision,and his ideas. That can be appreciated, and can bring people to Microsoft.

    Ballmer shows his by jumping around and screaming like a frightened ape. By telling that everything else sucks, that open-source is like a cancer, etc etc. That doesn't make me feel any better for the company. In fact, it makes me lose all respect for it.

    Yes, I too think Bill must either be living in his own fantasy world, which i think is good for him. To see Balmer destroy his life's work would be heart-breaking for him.

    I also have an XBox, and I love it.

    Now... I'm not a windows fan. not since Win 7. For me, it's Windows XP prettied up, with some extra features, sure... But is that enough to ask for 16 gig minimum in my hard drive??? or 2 gig RAM? No. No way.

    They seem to get things done this way, unfortunately. They give you a crappy OS, then the same crappy OS with some of the crap fixed, and you think "wooow, that is WAY better than the one before". That way, you don't even complain that you needed to upgrade your PC to run it

    Think about it...

    95 ( so-so ), 98 was super.

    ME ( was even erased from Microsoft's page ), XP ( über ).

    Vista ( need i say anything ? Nothing worked in this ) , 7 ( the savior ).

    Windows 8 ( already having all the negative reviews regarding Metro ), .....

    I've been a linux user for some years now, and I tell you... Although i like to imagine Microsoft losing it's monopoly, I hate it to be because of Balmer. I'd simply like for some friendly and fair competition.

    Also, as a thought. A few years ago, a rumour appeared that Bill Gates was going to return to CEO, chairman, whatever, of Microsoft. Basically, he would run the whole thing again.

    Microsoft's stocks went sky high. As soon as that was dismissed as a basic rumour, it dropped even lower than before.

    I think that says it all about people believing in Ballmer.

    1. dajames

      Re: although i'm not a microsoft fan...

      Who amongst us hasn't used XP to the day they couldn't install the brand new DX11-only game?

      Am I alone in finding it unutterably tragic the choice of desktop Operating System may be dictated by something as trivial as a game?

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: dajames

        Depends on what the PC is for.

        We had a few customers change from VIsta to XP to run their business software as it was DOS based

      2. Nelbert Noggins

        Re: although i'm not a microsoft fan...

        If the main use of the PC is for games and they run best on XP then why is it tragic?

        By the same reasoning if it's known that any OS upgrade (desktop or mobile device) borks a game or application you use a lot, should you still upgrade and end up with poorly performing or broken apps or should you wait until the apps work properly on the new OS?

        Do you think it tragic that the decision of which console/computer to buy is the one that has the games you want to play and runs the games best?

  23. David Simpson 1

    The sad truth is when Microsoft don't strategically close a market to potential rivals they don't have a chance !

    Windows Phone 7 & 8 is suffering from Sony disease - to much vertical integration, it is missing features to try and push you into other Microsoft purchases like Xbox, they are dying a death in 5 years, Microsoft will be a console maker and very little else.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who ?

    I think nobody here, even the most ardent MS fan, will say that barmy Ballmer has been a great CEO. I'm pretty sure of that, since I am an MS fan (if we're talking about enterprise products, I use OSX at home).

    But, having read comments, I just wonder : who would all commentards here prefer to see as CEO of Microsoft ? Who could be the leader to get them back on track ? Whatever anyone says, they did some great stuff with their server products during the last decade. At a substantial cost for the customer of course, but that's what business is about.

    El Reg, maybe time for a poll ? Who should be Microsofts next glorious leader ?

    Sidenote: is it just me, or does Eadon seem more coherent and to the point lately ?

    @Eadon: if you have mended your ways, big thumbs up from me.

    1. Greg D

      Re: Who ?

      No, he's just become less bitchy about his favourite company by the looks of it. Not sure about coherent though, as his points still dont make much sense to any rational person.

    2. fajensen

      Re: Who ?

      President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, porn star and five-time ultimate smackdown wrestling champion!!!! A great man, a great american. He will serve up a can of whoop ass if you cross him. He will stomp your ass if you don't! JOIN THE CAMACHO 08 MOVEMENT! CAMACHO WILL SAVE AMERICA................FUCK YEA!!!

  25. Lallabalalla


    You might have thought it had shrunk. I thought it shrank.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It'd be nice if Microsoft remembered it was a software company and that it doesn't need to be in the mobile OS market as long as it's in the mobile productivity software market.

  27. the-it-slayer

    Is Microsoft at the point where they regret not splitting the company up based on Euro pushers?

    Microsoft is too big for itself to cope with currently. Strategy is all over the place and nothing across the whole product range seems to integrate well enough with each other. Splitting Microsoft into several independent co's surely would of been more effective? Please tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure the Euro buffs at the top wanted Microsoft to be split up due to their huge dominance in the late 90s and early 00s? Maybe this suggestion is going to haunt them in years to come unless they can get someone tough enough at the top of the helm.

    Balmer keeps chucking money in the air for any project that deems to grab it within the corporation and it's seen within the lack of consistency with each of their products. No WP7 to WP8 migration. Windows 8 trying fashionablise itself under mobile, laptop, desktop and tablet in a messy integrated campaign. If Windows 8 is cool, then so must Windows 8 mobile.

    For what I thought was a good recovery from Vista (piss-up) to Windows 7, that momentum has been totally lost. I'm very against buying anything Microsoft at the moment. I have no idea what they're about any more. That makes me sad!

  28. sjsmoto

    I guess I'm just crazy. I have a two-year-old Windows phone that I like better than the new Android phone I also have. Still snappy, still downloads maps and such quickly.

    Probably the only way to make the phone more popular is to bundle it with a Windows computer, with a 6-month prepaid pay-per-month plan.

  29. Richard Plinston

    Re: Monopoly ??/

    > second it is what the public want.

    No. You are wrong. The public do not want Windows, but they do want computers that perform particular functions. They do want Internet access, email, YouTube, Twitter, and a bit of word processing. When they go into a shop to buy a computer they are offered Apple Macs or various brands of Windows PCs. Those used to be the only choices. Now there are iPads and Androids the public want those.

    The _Retailers_ want Windows machines because they make more profit by upselling with more software. When they sell a Windows machine they know that the customer will be back for upgrades, for more games and software, and within 3 years they will require a replacement as the old machine gets slower and it would be too hard to reload a new version of Windows.

    With Windows 8 MS is trying to take software revenue from the retailers and OEMs (as iPads had already done). As retail sales become commoditized to just the hardware then the retailers will carry what the public _actually_ want rather than what was the most profitable. That may include Chromebooks, Ubuntu, Android desktops and many others.

  30. Silverburn

    Bill copying Steve Jobs

    1. Take your company to plateau

    2. Appoint total muppet to lead in your absence

    3. Leave with golden parachute

    4. Take a long holiday, or until share price halves and your fall guy is fired

    5. Return phoenix-like to save the day

    6. Return to step 1, while trying to avoid contracting cancer.

    Bill is still at step 4, but step 5 is imminent, surely...

  31. MJI Silver badge


    Not fit to clean Gates shoes.

    Like or loath MS, Bill Gates was the right leader

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bill Gates was being courteous.

    It's just a roundabout way to say that Steve Ballmer is an idiot.

  33. Hooksie

    As a Windows Phone 8 owner.....

    The problem has nothing to do with the OS or its abilities. Yes, it has a couple of minor annoyances but then so do iOS and Android. The problem is a marketing/image one and partly down to API's not being exposed to developers. There are some glaring app problems and missing apps but realistically, the OS itself and the browser make up for a lot of the missing apps. This is an individual choice though, for me the only things missing are iPlayer and SkyGo but others will have different lists.

    One thing though, Bing is fucking awful. The number of times I've searched for something on Bing only to have to re-search on Google instead is unbelievable. They should keep Bing for the good stuff like translating live text (awesome!!!) and leave searching to the guys who know how to do it.

    MS need to behave like a start-up when it comes to mobile. They need to drop any charges for the OS to get it on more hardware and they need to liaise with app vendors to build quality Windows Phone versions of their apps, pay them if you have to but just get it done.

    Surface would have been a success at a $100 or £100 discount and a better explanation of RT use case, Surface Pro would have been a success if they had done an Apple and released it 3 weeks after the launch event. What are we now, 6, 7 months from when it was announced and you STILL can't get a release date? Idiots. They still have the "we are Microsoft, we're awesome!" attitude then act surprised when people aren't interested.

  34. SmartphoneDesigner

    Wot - no apps?

    The MS mobile phone failed on Day One.

    I worked on their very early 'Stinger' version of the OS way back in 2001 / 2002.

    It was a good attempt ... BUT ... MS didn't seem to understand that it should be easy to write apps for.

    At that time you couldn't take a simple standard desktop Windows app, tidy it up a bit, recook it and drop it on the phone ... the supporting code libraries were simply not there.

    If you COULD have done that way back in 2001 then the world might look a different place today.

    Zillions of apps would have appeared and MS would have owned the space ... but, no, we had to wait a further 10 years until other suppliers worked it out.

    Looking back I'm really not sure what the problem was : the MS Smartphone developers & management at that time were VERY capable people. In fact almost all MS people I have ever worked with were scarily driven and bright! Oh well, whatever the reason, they missed their chance.

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