Put my CV through but I have yet to hear.
Hopefully this El reg article will help during the interview.
Microsoft chief exec Steve Ballmer has gone sooner than anyone, even he himself, had expected. On Friday he announced he will give up the reins following a 12-month transition. A one-year exit is proper given Ballmer’s position: the CEO of a major listed company. What’s strange, however, is the timing - that Ballmer should be …
Compose all the following terms into a sentence which encapsulates your vision for Microsoft, instils sensations of immense profundity and authority in the naïve but means absolutely nothing at all:
opportunity integrated technologist platform
compute [but only as a ADJECTIVE]
leverage [but only as a VERB]
upward global trajectory
relationship monetization platform
Ballmer did have to go, he missed the boat on smart phones and now even though they have a great product they are way behind the curve with market share, he released vista (enough said), obviously windows 8 is also somewhat of a flop too even though imho its actually a great product. The next CEO is going to have their work cut out for them that much I do know as they are being given a pretty smelly pile by the lack of priority given to innovation over the last decade.
"...obviously windows 8 is also somewhat of a flop too even though imho its actually a great product."
It might be a great product but its failing is that it is targeted to the wrong demographic, that being desktop computer users.
The usage paradigm, as well as both the hardware and ergonomics, of the current desktop computer design simply does not sit well with Windows 8's design paradigm: the mostly-touch UI. What happened here is Microsoft lost scope of its TRUE money-maker: the corporate PC. Listening to pundits and tech writers it is easy to believe that consumer PC sales drives the the majority business that Microsoft specializes in, the desktop OS. In reality, when a single company, like IBM, can have over 430,000 staff to migrate to an OS update
that counts for a lot of business.
Multiply the number of business users by the number of existing companies that want/need to migrate, SOHO / midsize / large corporate. Then create an OS that is perceived to be not "business oriented", and you've lost your foundational customer core.
And then, you have a PROBLEM.
In other words, a simple rule of economics: when your products are perceived by businesses to be fundamental TO business, and you then create your next product line that forgoes that "businesses first" attitude, targeting consumers above all, you are going to have a fiasco.
You [Balmer] lost $10bil on WIndows 8 RT, and you probably are asking: Why?! When you make a product that has limited scope for your 'classic' market (business, as you can't run business apps on RT's ARM-restricted API space), you've got a BIG problem. And it came back to bite you in the butt, didn't it? Full Win8 Surface? Not enough bang-for-the-buck for said business, same fundamental problem with a different face. Dell shifts millions of laptops per year and I'm sure, if you look at the sales charts, it is mostly Latitude business series parts. Selling 2,000 laptops to a single [business] customer means that you must sell a lot of consumer product to try to catch that number equivalence up, no matter how much the media concentrates on the glamour of the shiny said consumer line.
I'm as interested as the next fellow to read about the latest consumer kit. But Microsoft's OS business is very different: its vast sales volumes depends upon business upgrades. Consumer upgrades fuel a part of the fire but their greatest market penetration is business, and its resulting volume, we/they can't deny reality. Windows 8 is being ignored by business, as Vista was, and it is a market dud as a result. That's the honest assessment. As several other comments have said here, Microsoft should have made 2 different versions of the Win8 OS: business (Explorer UI) and consumer (touch UI). Microsoft may not like hearing that, but it's the truth.
"As several other comments have said here, Microsoft should have made 2 different versions of the Win8 OS: business (Explorer UI) and consumer (touch UI). Microsoft may not like hearing that, but it's the truth."
It might be the sort of thing Microsoft would do but a better OS designer would simply ask if the user wanted touch capabilities and serve up the appropriate experience from the install disk.
Oh not that old FUD again. NOBODY is forced to use touch on Win8. It works just fine with keyboard and (if you insist) a mouse. On typical "heavy duty" desktop workstations with dual monitors and all.
On non-touch units modern is just another start menu. Unless you are one of the few people who used a specific capability of the old one - no feature is lost and some quite nice tuning was done.
And it is the ONLY OS to work on convertibles/2in1 in ALL modes!
Nobody is forced to use touch, but so many of the design decisions were clearly biased towards touch. End result; an OS that felt it was only grudgingly providing mouse and keyboard functionality, because it had too. For a system overwhelmingly used on desktops that's madness.
Microsoft thought they were going to ride in on a wave that changed computing forever. They wanted to be at the forefront of the change in the way people thought about computers, like the iPhone changed mobiles. But the problem was no-one liked Windows 8's ideas enough. There's nothing to excite. Nothing that made people want to change. All is has is innovations that annoy more than delight, and a nagging feeling that you're being told to change to suit Microsoft, not you.
In 10 years time maybe we'll all be seeing Windows 8 as a glorious failure that was before its time, but I doubt it.
"Nobody is forced to use touch, but so many of the design decisions were clearly biased towards touch."
Such as? Honest question. I find it works fine. I can understand some people don't like the new start screen, but that's got nothing to do with touch (and can easily be changed with a free utility). The full screen apps are optional - you can carry on running your old Windows apps same as before. I hated the Windows XP start menu, but I didn't go around claiming it was made for touch, or Windows was therefore a flop. I don't think everything's perfect - there are criticisms are made. But I fail to fathom how it's unusable without touch, or that the diferences were made from touch in the first place.
Some things are done with a right mouse click on the start screen - how does that work with touch? Indeed one of the biggest complains, lack of a start button, makes no sense with touch either - how do I hover my finger over a hotspot? I assume there are different ways to do these operations with a touchscreen. Normally you'd expect a UI made for touch to be requiring buttons, not getting rid of them!
"like the iPhone changed mobiles"
No, it didn't. It couldn't even run apps. It wasn't first with a touchscreen. Did it popularise them? Nope, the most successful smartphone of all time is the 2009 Nokia 5230, with 150 million sales, compared to a few million for the 2007 iphone 1. It had a touchscreen. By platform, Symbian and later Android did far more to popularise touchscreens to the masses.
"In 10 years time maybe we'll all be seeing Windows 8 as a glorious failure that was before its time, but I doubt it."
With 100 million sales, it's already a runaway success, whatever one thinks of it. It's painful how people insist it's a flop - yet the original iphone was regarded as a runaway success with a mere one million sales in 76 days!
The Surface sales don't seem unreasonable either (again compare to the first iphone, or how do they compare to many Android tablets, or the Nexus line of phones until the Nexus 4?) - the mistake seems to have been to make far too many of them. Same with advertising - there's vastly more marketing for Apple than anyone else (e.g., product placement in virtually every US TV show, and also in plenty of adverts). One has to endure an Applevert multiple times a day, compared to an MS advert every few weeks. If there was a mistake, it was getting ripped off if they spent so much money, for so little resultant marketing that I've seen.
And actually, if Windows XP is anything to go by, ironically it will be the Windows critics themselves spinning Windows 8 as a glorious success, claiming how wonderful it is, and that MS are now doomed because of their horrible new Windows 10...
"I can understand some people don't like the new start screen, but that's got nothing to do with touch (and can easily be changed with a free utility)."
And, right there, you missed your own fallacy. Why do WIn8 supporters always (end up) stating that the OS is SO great...yet is can be changed to suit [needs] with a FREE, THIRD PARTY UTILITY? If it is truly so great, why in the WORLD would a third party utility even exist?!
If the product was designed for purpose a utility - designed and available from a non-trusted, non-secure third party, no less - should not be needed. It should have been built-in. A settings choice. An optional manufacturer-supplied component install. A user profile switch.
A third-party app? Sorry, that's not even in the discussion, especially when discussing OS implementation on the corporate level. Untried, unsupported, unproven and unvetted third-party apps NEED NOT APPLY, thank you very much and leave your forms with the secretary on the way out.
Win8 certainly does not "force" you to use touchscreen...but, even when using a mouse, you still get the UI's touchscreen look experience. Read: ugly (IMHO) large monochrome boxes (didn't we do monochrome interfaces in the 80's?!) with hidden 'secrets' like hotspots, etc. And you always end up back to that point even if you ran a legacy program, once you close the program or seek to open another one.
Apps on the desktop? Had that for years in the System Tray, we don't desire an OS where one of the spoken primary benefits is to make said 'minor' apps a focal point of desktop interaction. An "app" has minimal functionality, "desktop=full spectrum advantages" is a mantra to sing to yourself. When you are on a phone, or on a tablet, people basically understand that the device has limitations and said limitations comes with the tradeoff in size. Desktop = "full function", so making restricted-function apps a major "advantage" is outright, well...stupid.
"If the product was designed for purpose a utility - designed and available from a non-trusted, non-secure third party, no less - should not be needed. It should have been built-in. A settings choice. An optional manufacturer-supplied component install. A user profile switch."
Moreover, once that mistake was apparent, they had a SECOND OPPORTUNITY to fix it with Windows 8.1.... and chose not to. Were this a boxing match, I'd begin to suspect that Ballmer was throwing the fight.
(A side issue is that no corporation is going to plan to deploy a product that relies on a third-party free (and thus untrusted) utility.)
" I hated the Windows XP start menu, but I didn't go around claiming it was made for touch, or Windows was therefore a flop."
Really REALLY bad example. One setting change would turn off the garish XP look and give you the classic Windows look and feel. Same is true with Windows 7. (All my XP and Win7 machines are running the classic look.) If Win8 had this feature, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
I'm not so sure. This exact conversation no. But I think the gargantuan size of the bone-headed move of forcing the touch metaphor on us is covering the enormous mistake of trying to force the app change on us. If they removed the gargantuan mistake, we'd be talking about the enormous one, and probably classifying it as gargantuan.
Deary me, it's amazing how deluded some people can become.
The start screen. Even if you leave aside the horizontal scrolling (clearly designed for touch), you also have the ridiculous method with a mouse of getting to it (Top right, wait for the charms bar, etc). Again, clearly designed for touch gestures. If (like me) you often access machines at work via remote desktop in a window, it's a royal pain.
" I hated the Windows XP start menu"
I wasn't a fan either. But big shocker! You could switch it back to classic easily and it was properly supported by MS (and could be easily enabled by group policies for businesses that wanted consistency with W2000). If MS had kept the start menu as a selectable option, this mess wouldn't have happened - at least not to this magnitude.
"Did it popularise them? Nope"
If you honestly think that iPhone didn't popularise touch-screened smartphones then your deluded in the extreme. The first models did sell slowly, but if you used one, it had a real "wow" feeling that no Nokia or Windows 8 device has ever delivered.
"With 100 million sales, it's already a runaway success"
Ahh, the Microsoft response. Let's ignore how many tens of millions of those are corporate PCs that are promptly wiped and knocked back to Windows 7. Looking just at sales is idiotic because of how Windows licensing and PC sales work. By that measure, Vista was also a massive success. Instead, look at online activity as it's a far better benchmark. After 9 months from general release, Windows 8 holds 5% of the market. By the same point after Windows 7's release, it held nearly 15%. No matter how you look at it, that is comparatively a flop.
Windows 8 is a confusing mess. A sort of messy consumer-oriented trainwreck between touch and classic. MS needs to sort its direction out and stop trying the one-size-fits-all. I do NOT want the same interface on my 27" desktop monitor as I have on my mobile. Trying to do so is just idiotic.
I agree that it may well be ahead of it's time. Perhaps too much change too soon for users. I always comment on the advent of the tablet era, and it's attribution to Apple and their iPad. Microsoft did this (the best they could using technology of the time) with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, and the tablets available at the time, but people weren't ready for that form factor, and the app eco-system wasn't available for that form of input to support it.
I don't think that has changed enough today, with Windows 8, it's a large amount of change, that if you can accept the way that Microsoft boffins envisage you using it, you'll work more efficiently, but for the large majority, the apps that they want to use are still desktop apps and therefore not part of the new vision.
Sorry, we have a convertible running Win8, and it doesn't work *well* in either mode. There are things that need touch and things that can't be done via touch, and basic phone-isms (like all metro apps being full screen) that don't make sense on a larger than 5 inch screen. It's clumsy enough to make it a chore even for standard Windows apps, resulting in going back to the Windows XP laptop it was supposed to replace. I don't recall ever being so profoundly disappointed in a computer purchase. Current plan is to upgrade to 8.1 when the update is finally released to mere mortals, and then find a new home for it.
I know, I know, we're all whiners who should just buck up and take whatever Microsoft gives us and LIKE it.
And there was a time when you just had to grit your teeth and work through it. Not true anymore.
"But they forced touch on everyone to guarantee that touch would be better supported. If nobody used the metro UI then nobody would write for it, leaving WinRT totally isolated."
That's true. But RT has now completely failed in less than a year, almost everyone who was tricked into buying Windows 8 on a PC has figured out how to install Classic Shell or the like to bypass Metro UI and restore the Start Menu, AND Microsoft has REALLY pissed of their enterprise and SMB customers who are the lifeblood of their revenue stream, so their "strategy" to FORCE EVERYONE in the universe to a touch-based UI hasn't exactly worked out too well for Microsoft, now has it?
But then again that's one of Microsoft's biggest problems: trying to FORCE their customers into doing what Microsoft thinks is best for Microsoft, rather than LISTENING to their customers and providing products that are good for the needs of their customers. After all, you've never heard Ballmer say, "Listen, listen, listen." or "Customers, customers, customers." have you? There's a reason for that.
I want Windows7 interface with Windows8 underneath. That would be ideal on my Windows machines at the office and home.
I agree fully, that TIFKAM was/is a bad idea on the desktop and that MS should release a windows 7.1 upgrade with all the OS improvements, but minus the pointless and appalling TIFKAM interface.
It would be embraced by the business world in a second and a gajillion sleepless hours would be avoided.
MS can keep pushing TIFKAM in the mobile space where it does indeed make some sense and is not in any way an interface contradictory to mobile usage patterns.
>MS should release a windows 7.1 upgrade with all the OS improvements
People don't pay for updates.
MSFT's business model relies on people updating their machine every 3years and getting the new shiny OEMed OS with it and then having to upgrade Office to keep up.
When people discovered that their 2010 3GHz CPUs are quite as capable or writing a memo or adding up an expenses spreadsheet as they were in 2010 they didn't upgrade and so didn't get the new OS
'2010.... lol Try ca~2006/7 whenever it was that the C2D Conroe hit. They still power my machines to this day.'
At home, oldest machine still in daily use is a Celeron 433, Circa 1999/2000.
At work I've an old P4 Optiplex GX520 (circa 2006) still running which still does more productive work on a daily basis than the shiny n-core wordprocessor/web browser/email boxen sitting on all the desktops. Oldest machine in daily use at work is the old IBM Aptiva system circa mid 1990's [Quite funny that one, it drives a £20,000++ piece of equipment, we've a new £500-- piece of gear which requires a multi-core, multi-GHz, multi-GB-ram box to run the proprietary software which drives it..]
If I went back to one of my old places of employ, I bet I'd still find systems from the early-mid 90's still lurking in the darker recesses just getting on with whatever their allotted jobs are (probably still he same ones I left them doing...)
"2010.... lol Try ca~2006/7 whenever it was that the C2D Conroe hit."
Yeah, three years ago I upgraded my desktop 2.4Ghz C2D Conroe to an Overstock.com Yorkfield Q9550 C2Q. Overclocked it to 4Ghz, for a total cost of $45 including a new cooler and shipping.
I'm thinking it'll do fine for another few years.
Actually Win 8 isn't exactly setting the consumer market on fire either. There are a limited number of users who want to use Windows on a machine they can hold in their hands and touch the screen. And those will have already bought an Android or Apple jobbie.
Even home users who buy a computer want to be able to sit and type - otherwise they can make do with a cheaper Android device.
Forcing lap and desk top users to work on a touch device is a formula for turning them away.
Microsoft, under Mr. B said they were listening to their users. But all the most recent innovations (e.g. Ribbon, WIn 8) seem to be showing that Microsoft have not been listening to what users were saying, but rather what they wanted to hear us say. The point about the Start button was not that users didn't want it, but that they wanted one that worked better. But Microsoft only heard the "don't like" bit.
That being said, how many companies would have migrated to Windows 8 anyway? Many are still trying to get to 7, so in Ballmer's defence, going after the consumer space was not a a bad idea. If you can fault him for anything, it is not pushing through the single framework that would have united the three OSes.
"That being said, how many companies would have migrated to Windows 8 anyway? Many are still trying to get to 7, so in Ballmer's defence, going after the consumer space was not a a bad idea."
A reasonable point. The problem is, it appears consumers hated it too. It's not just a business/consumer issue. It's a touch vs traditional PC issue. Come out with a touch-friendly OS, fine. Microsoft REALLY needed to do that. But force non-touch, traditional laptops and desktop PCs to use an inappropriate touch paradigm, only for the sake of forcing an ecosystem? Screw that. If I'm a non-geek and I just bought a conventional laptop, what is this crap?? Double screw that. If I'm the geek that has to help the non-geek try to live with his Windows 8 non-touch laptop? Triple screw that.
Windows 8 is a superb example of a company thinking they can dictate the marketplace, because they always had been able to do it in the past, and finding out it didn't work anymore. Coming out with a touch-oriented interface wasn't the mistake. Again, that was something Microsoft needed to do. Insisting that it be used on a non-touch device, when Microsoft mostly sells software that runs on non-touch devices, was a HUGE mistake.
Yes but a small business buyer just wants to walk into PC World or log onto Amazon or wherever and buy a new desktop or laptop with Windows 7 on it. Right now they have to buy a Windows 8 machine, buy a copy of Windows 7 and then faff about replacing Windows 8 with Windows 7! Probably going to cost them at least a day of their time or an employees time to do that. And then if it doesn't go smoothly, back to have an argument with the customer support personnel at the retailer/online supplier....
Not every business runs corporate apps... they just want 1 or 2 PCs that run Office, Internet, SKYPE and probably some accounting package plus attach to printers/scanners/cameras etc. and that is it! They certainly don't want all the Metro stuff and have to guess how it works Windows 8'ness and are exasperated about having to buy another OS and waste valuable time installing it!
NO! NO! And I say again NO!!!
The concept of the single framework is EXACTLY the problem. Even Jobs didn't have such godhood delusions that he thought he could do that. Different classes of hardware have different needs. Desktop processors don't work for laptops. Laptop processors don't work for phones. In the past some of these have been close enough on the OS level that you could fudge the difference. Some of them are too different to easily accommodate. When that happens the prudent CEO separates the products into different lines. Maybe you can share some core functionality, maybe you can't. But at the production end the products necessarily have to be different.
Many people would have migrated to Win8 if they hadn't of wrapped it in tiles, and then forced people to use it that way.
If they had made tiles an option, and provided a free mobile licence with every Windows desktop purchased, it would have been a no brainer.
It is not fixable, I'm already on Android, and am waiting until it is available for desktops. Goodbye MS.
So called usability experts seem to have a problem with the idea of "the right tool for the job". This is despite the fact that this idea is kind of embedded in the new paradigm. New devices won't necessarily displace the old ones. Microsoft missed the opportunity to create a tablet that works best with it's own "ecosystem" while sabotaging it's own flagship product.
The PC is a form factor and a level of end user control. Each of these independently have their own uses and use cases for which they are the best available option. Trying to ignore that in the rush to embrace the new shiny shiny is just stupid.
Although everyone appears to be making the same mistakes right now.
Not really an IT business problem. It's universal. Businesses run on fear of the shareholders, by accountants fighting for the short term bottom line are all playing "Follow the Leader" and are equally terrified of being left behind ( like Kodak) or sailing into uncharted waters.
Look at the film industry; Blockbuster chase movie1 is followed by Blockbuster chase movie 2, then 3 then 4 and so on.
Granted, at MS they had a built-in culture point that enhanced this blindness, but that doesn't change the core problem. Part of the MS OEM licensing agreement has always been that certain features would always be present to ensure a uniform out of the box experience for all users. It ensures that whether you buy a Dell, an HP or an OEM white box you know Microsoft is your real vendor and they are just the disposable commodity seller. With that mindset already in the place for the hardware vendors, it is a small step to extend it to your customers.
It's not so much the touch itself was a bad idea. I don't like putting my hand up onto a monitor because it's tiring and there's finger prints and such. A track pad like on the laptops just suck altogether since they are just a pain in the butt.
Now what MS could have done as an option would have like on Xbox gesture type design. Like a trackpad but you don't touch it you just have a small mousepad sized device connected wirelessly into your usb and have it so it can track your finger on xyz axis so you move back and forth front to back for movement and down to select. Sure you'd need a keyboard for doing anything business related since touching the keys just gives a more confident feeling yours fingers are aligned while typing and getting contact.
Basically the idea of making touchscreens seems like an expensive and a pain in the ass way of implementing touch when an easier on the arm way of using gesture tech on a desktop pad like the xbox has for games seems like a better experience for the users of a desktop systems.
You can buy a LeapMotion device that will let you do just that with the Windows 8 interface if that's what you want to do. You can place it just in front of your laptop, or just behind the keyboard (or wherever suits you) and hover your hand above the sensor and the swipe.
"""What happened here is Microsoft lost scope of its TRUE money-maker: the corporate PC. Listening to pundits and tech writers it is easy to believe that consumer PC sales drives the the majority business that Microsoft specializes in, the desktop OS."""
Nope, quite the contrary, they know the corporate market has no option but to swallow whatever comes of microsoft 's ass, and if it doesn't work corporates have the resources (money) and people (IT department) to deploy older versions of the software.
As corporates are locked-in in the foreseeable future all that is left is to conquer by whatever the means the minds and soul of the home user.
The problem seems to be that for some reason Microsoft must control everything, the corporate space, the home space, the mobile space, the mp3 player space, the online ads space, even outher space.
"Nope, quite the contrary, they know the corporate market has no option but to swallow whatever comes of microsoft 's ass,"
I have to disagree. Many corporations gave Vista a pass, for instance. Machines that were delivered with Vista were re-imaged with the corporate copy of Windows XP. It was one of the reasons XP has been in the field so long.
Yes it's obvious MSFT alienated business with Windows8 but the reason was loss of market share to tablets. Many such users were/are home users for whom laptops and desktops are unnecessary. Microsoft's major mistake was to assume it could enforce a single solution on both.
The new management will surely make windows 9 a proper desktop solution that does not try t o be the same everywhere
"Windows 8 is being ignored by business, as Vista was, and it is a market dud as a result."
That's because business recognises that the Microsoft "development cycle" means that only every other new OS is worth using, with the intermediate versions being a waste of space;
ME = Bad
XP = Good
Vista = Bad
Win 7 = Good
Win 8 = Bad
So at least we know the next version of Windows will probably be usable...
Do we? Well hopefully Ballmer will be long outta the picture to f'it up for the rest of us. But what about the other side of that Windows Coin? I wouldn't trust the Cloud as far as it were possible to spit One. How do you plan to get the REALLY BIG ACCOUNTS Onboard with that? Now in the post PRISM age?
I have no clue where Windows will go from here. But a return to Win95~7 seems to me unlikely.
>As several other comments have said here, Microsoft should have made 2 different versions of the Win8 >OS: business (Explorer UI) and consumer (touch UI). Microsoft may not like hearing that, but it's the truth.
There is another factor - MS succeeded in the 90's and early 2000's because of another factor - getting students to use their products. This has a cascade in that (when those students go into business), they will inevitably push for the tools they are familiar with. Whilst students don't necessarily initially have the traction to change toolsets, over time those students *do* gain those capabilities.
So the MS long-term plan goes as follows:
1. Accustom the future product decision-makers to our technologies
2. Wait for a while
Unfortunately for MS, this hasn't worked for a while now. Students (especially CS students) have little exposure to the MS stack (other than maybe their laptops) - they are far more likely to be using open-source tools like Eclipse than VS (free innit!)
In the corporate setting, things like AD are still some of the best tools around. But we are increasingly putting in linux-based appliances that interface with AD rather than MS products - it's not hard to see a future where AD is the lone MS product installed with a whole series of non-MS products interfacing with it.
And that future probably worries MS more than losing a consumer market where they have never been profitable.
I wouldn't even differentiate business/consumer but explorer/touch. Even some consumers are going to prefer the explorer to touch. And really it depends on the device. Yes, tablets and phones touch makes sense. Desktop, not really.
The problem is, in addition to those changes, MS thinks it has been losing out on non-OS software sales. Apps make for a less chunky revenue stream which is something they think the desperately need. Maybe they do. But marrying that shift with the UI shift and even worse insisting on cramming it down the throats of people who don't want it is a recipe for disaster.
Technically the next CEO probably faces fewer obstacles than we think he does. As others have noted, some of the fixes are straight forward from a technical perspective. The real problem is going to be building a new confidence in the company. I'd say rebuilding, but they weren't in the best of spots on that front to begin with. The Win8 fiasco shattered what little they had. And honestly, it would be easier to build confidence as an unknown than from where MS is now.
Ballmer also spent billions of dollars for no gain: $6.3bn on online ads publishing house aQuantive, written down by $6.2bn; $8.5bn on a loss-making VoIP biz called Skype; and nearly $1bn on parts for unsold Surface RT tablets, which are powered by an ARM port of Windows that can't run the gigantic library of x86 Windows apps.
That really is a staggering indictment of his tenure. But what was the board doing?
And while El Reg still thought in May that he could stick around there were those of us commentards who were saying he wouldn't last the year. Still I also said there wouldn't be an IE 11 but you can't win them all.
"$8.5bn on a loss-making VoIP biz called Skype;"
Clearly you have no concept of buzz around Lync / Skype integration and the money that will be generating in Lync licences, as will come under Office / Lync accounting, not Skype's, it will show no gain from this line of revenue.
Buzz is not revenue.
At one of my client's which is a big MSFT customer they have Lync and Cisco telephones. Lync is still of the pre-Skype variety and already does everything necessary: chat and screenshare. It's supposed to do audio but the VPN seems to scupper that and, as they're already on VoIP, what's the point? I don't see room for new synergies. I have been using Skype for over 10 years but have dropped it from my mobile devices because it is no longer a simple chat client. As a user experience Google's Hangout is far superior in my view even if all the kids are on What's App. Where's Microsoft in all that?
I realise it hasn't happened yet. I'm thinking about what could be possible.
I'm thinking that a business could publish a Skype ID alongside their phone number for the public to contact them. Some smaller ones already do, but it doesn't really scale to big, or even medium sized call centres with hunt groups and multiple people, possibly in different sites, answering calls simultaneously on the same number.
We were looking at (and had funding ready!) for a company-wide Lync rollout. Which stopped dead in its tracks and the money got spent elsewhere.
Two things: license costs - the license changes between OCS and Lync were huge (for us anyway) and the fact that 90% of the Lync functionality was available via a (much cheaper) addon to our new VOIP system.
MS' arcane, confusing and (increasingly) expensive licensing structures are starting to be a major source of concern to us - whereas 2 years ago those licensing costs would have been just about acceptable, now they are starting to be a major component of the cost of projects. And given that MS has changed the rules on us three times in the last 12 months, license cost fatigue is starting to set in.
Flies buzzing around two turds perhaps?
MS bought Skype just as it was losing its momentum. Skype had some brand loyalty and seemed to be going places.... until MS bought it and squashed all life out of it.
Lync? Never used it, never will and don't know anyone that has. I expect that sums it up for most other people too. Now who is going to buy a Lync license when the market price has already been set by the competition: zero.
Both Skype and Lync were bought at vastly inflated prices, then just chucked on the heap to stagnate. Those two transactions alone should get SB fired, but in the grand scheme of things these are just insignificant in comparison to his other cockups.
When you've been saying that for the last 5 years it doesn't sound quite as prophetic ;)
Good job I haven't then.
The reality is that Ballmer has been asked to go by the same people who until recently were backing him unconditionally. Yet another example of poor corporate governance.
The problem is that groupthink can never be successful. When a company tries to please ALL of it's constituents it can never have a singular, coherent vision or direction.
Someone MUST BE GOD or there can be no angels (or devils), not everyone get's to run (or ruin) the company, there cannot be more than one vision or you get crosseyed. That's partly what happened to MicroSoft. The other part was (STUPIDLY) no one saw the impending sales doldrums that sealed their fate.
Listening to people (shareholders, focus groups, marketing studies, insultants) pratter on about Apple and their tablets; one might think touch was the only direction that a computer OS software manufacturer should ever take. MS had touch before apple did but it never took off (shoulda been a warning).
Why you ask? Because there are VERY few compelling cases to use touch and the majority of business software is not one of them. CAD, 3D Design, Graphic Arts, are the few applications outside of simple browsing.
All said and done, the PC is not a tablet and vice versa. You cannot be all things to all people (or applications) or you will not even do "some" things right.
IMHO the ideal way to integrate touch with Windows would have been to have the tablet or cell phone become a customizable USB input & storage device, a "super mouse". When the tablet is plugged in and in the right mode, then the PC has touch input, unplug it and it reverts to keyboard and mouse and the PC OS runs like Win7 including a start button. Woulda been simple to have the input device define the way the OS interacted and alot of the gripes could have been mooted immediately.
Microsoft could have made an x86 version of a tablet that did not have to be as expensive or complex as Surface and could have used the same OS for it's phones without screwing up or radically changing it's PC OS. The savings could have been used to make Windows 8 a better product with more compelling features.
Oh well, advice on this subject is endless. Too bad no one ever listens to the people/customers.
Honestly I thought there were going to be calls for him to leave among the board after the RT write off a few months back, the court case against him sealed it for me. He seems like one of those people where, as an advisor, with the right person to rein him in, he can be amazingly competant. But given free reign over everything and he's like a bull in a china shop.
We should probably dub that the Lucas affect. (As in george lucas. Lots of help with the first 3 films, amazing. Free reign over the new trilogy and it's a failure of epic proportions)
Y'know, the guy who has a great idea, but pushes it too far, too fast with too little input. Do it my way or you're in the dog house, and thinks because he likes it, everybody should.
Windows 7 and Server 2008 were both in response to the market going "no, thanks" to Vista.
The bottom line is that even with the failures Microsoft was still making enough cash to keep everyone more or less happy. Then along comes Windows 8 in all its terrible flavours and suddenly everyone realises that there is no real plan for tomorrow. What happened to the business market with Vista "give us XP or we're leaving" happened with 8 only more so as the OEM realised that they were being asked to invest heavily in kit people don't want. 8.1 isn't going to fix that and the competition gets more viable everyday.
Windows 7 is indeed a rather excellent product - but only because it corrected all the major blunders of Vista, which Microsoft could have avoided if it had listened to its true customer base (i.e. us, the public, and not Fortune 1000 IT directors).
Windows 8 is the same mistake, pie-in-the-sky thinking followed by complete disregard of public input. The fact that Ballmer made the same mistake twice is likely what sealed his fate.
The problem is that while Server 2008 and Windows 7 are great products the market they exist within (the PC) is sinking like a stone. All the OEMs are struggling to shift boxes and windows 8 which was expected to be the saviour of the bottom line has proven to be anything but.
Microsoft have arrived too late to the mobile/tablet revolution and their attempts to change themselves in Windows 8 and RT have not paid off. Makes you wonder who will want the poison chalice now Ballmer has gone and if they can turn M$ away from their box shifting business model before the PC becomes obsolete.
"The problem is that while Server 2008 and Windows 7 are great products the market they exist within (the PC) is sinking like a stone."
Yes, but is that cause or is it effect??
"All the OEMs are struggling to shift boxes and windows 8 which was expected to be the saviour of the bottom line has proven to be anything but."
A "savior" because it would cause a demand for a new product, or a "savior" because it would fix the problem of "sinking like a stone"? They may sound like the same situations but in reality they are totally different: one failure (declining PC market) may be perceived as due to market saturation, while the other failure (poor PC sale performance) may be due to a lack of demand due to having unappealing products: Re: Windows 8.
One is cause, market saturation, but are we REALLY witnessing a lack of enthusiasm for the latest product, Win8, which is CAUSING the sales slump?
I personally believe latter, thanks. Many companies - like my own, for example - were just considering going to Win7 when Microsoft started pushing Win8 on us. "No, thanks" is my reply to Win8, so plans are being modified - new, if I can find it, or even (gasp!) refurb / used, just to get Win7? I'll look at Lenovo for my next PC, who supports Win7 OEM - oh, look! No wonder Lenovo's PC market share has jumped! I wonder why??!
I think Windows 8 is a completely different mistake.
Vista was a step in the direction towards Windows 7. It had some problems, but the ideas about the direction Vista should go in were fundamentally sound. Windows 7 fixed those problems and it is a very good operating system.
Windows 8 doesn't have a few implementation problems that can be fixed with a bit of tweaking and bug squashing. The whole fundamental idea of having the same UI for desktops and tablets is just completely wrong. Rip that out, and what you are basically left with is Windows 7.1, and that is what Microsoft needs to do.
MS needs to do what worked well for it in the past and then build on that. Radical changes to try and capture what could be considered an already saturated market makes no sense. Doing so at they expense of the market you already dominate is down right foolish. I am hoping that the next CEO is a bit more costumer oriented and less market.
It seems most analysts agree that Ballmer dodged too many bullets and it was about time he got axed. I do wonder why are there still shills defending him out there? The 8-9% rise on MSFT stocks upon the Ballmer retiring announcement are pretty much damning.
As much as I'd like to see Ballmer keep on running MS to the ground, it does cause untold horrors and unbearable pain to the masses while he does so, especially right now that there's no real alternative to Windows on the desktop. OSX is good but the Apple hardware is expensive; Linux is good but lacks COTS software used by most people. Sad times...
@ Daniel B.
".....especially right now that there's no real alternative to Windows on the desktop....."
It is quite astonishing that Microsoft plough on with Windows8 as its only operating system available for consumer laptops and desktops. It's clear that people have not upgraded to Win8 on existing computers and probably are not prepared to pay the extra for a new touchscreen model.
It is disastrous for the PC makers that because of Microsoft's bullying, all the consumer PCs available in high street stores have Windows 8 on them.
Fortunately for consumers, the obvious alternative is Apple -- dearer but much prettier and easier to use. Though I wouldn't want an Apple at that price, I equally wouldn't recommend anyone to buy a PC with Win8 on it.
Win 8.1 is a sticking plaster. Perhaps with 8allmer going someone there will have the courage to produce what consumers need -- a regular Windows with the promised performance boost of 8 but an interface for keyboard and mouse.
Expect that MacOS 10 STILL is not a good OS. They forced us to it at work because of a fanboi boss, and I have seen more crashes in the last month then in the last year of Win7.
Oh, and here's the kicker, we have no viable replacement for our most used apps on the Mac, they are either horribly slow, or lack required features. So EVERYONE runs everything in a vm, which is slow and unstable. We regularly encounter problems in this setup that cannot be reproduced in bare hardware running windows 7.
Interesting. I haven't seen the "no apps for the Mac" problem in quite some time; it has Office, it's got a cheaper Project alternative (Merlin) and a lot of the stuff I use has some kind of OSX port or is POSIX compliant.
And in Office's case, it is an improvement over the Windows version. It retains the menus, and the Ribbon is smaller and thus eats less screen space.
Indeed, most of my COTS needs are covered by basic stuff, while the rest are mostly UNIX based so I either gain the ability to do it on my main OS, or I pull out a Linux VM which I would need with Windows anyway.
And I have to really thank Ballmer for this switch. Windows 8's Fabulous Fred interface was the final nail in the coffin, I either had to buy a fugly Win8-hobbled laptop or a Mac last December for my new job ... so I went for the Mac. I haven't looked back since, even if OSX does crash every now and then.
'Expect that MacOS 10 STILL is not a good OS. They forced us to it at work because of a fanboi boss, and I have seen more crashes in the last month then in the last year of Win7.'.
Interestingly, we have the opposite issue.
In a room which started out life as having 4 Win7 boxes and two Macs expressly for CAD/CAE/Graphics, we now have 2 (barely) operational Win7 boxes left, there's been a whole catalogue of issues with the Win7 machines ranging from sheer bloody weird instability for no discernible cause (open notepad, crash the machine!) through to the old will-I-or-wont-I-boot-today?.
Meanwhile, the Macs just got on with the job, sans crashes, temper tantrums, etc. etc.
Yes, it may be the hardware we are running Win7 on is somehow crap, though I fail to see how, as it bloody well cost enough..admittedly, on a per-machine basis not as much as the Macs..but still, on paper, in terms of memory,graphics,CPU speed and number of cores and hard disk speed the PCs should outperform the Macs even for basic things like web browsing, but they don't.
..Oh, and here's the kicker, we have no viable replacement for our most used apps on the Mac, they are either horribly slow, or lack required features. So EVERYONE runs everything in a vm, which is slow and unstable...
Yes, there is a distinct lack of Mac software for some/all of the stuff we do, but we run our XP software in an Openbox VM on the Macs with no stability issues, in fact, we run our XP software in an Openbox VM on the Win7 boxes as they won't work properly natively under Win7 no matter what tweaks we apply.
As to the speed aspect of running stuff in a VM, for us it isn't too much of an issue (1 minute in a VM on the Mac as opposed to 37 seconds native on real hardware for the same task we can live with). As to the stability of the XP VMs under OSX, some of them run for weeks at a time.
(Lest you think I'm a Mac Fanboi, at this point let me assure you otherwise, in an ideal world I'd rather be running everything I could under Debian or Slackware, but alas my bosses are sphenisciphobes to a man..but if forced, I'd rather have an OS X based machine any day as my main desktop system than a Win7 box.)
'..We regularly encounter problems in this setup that cannot be reproduced in bare hardware running windows 7.'
Again, we have exactly the opposite problem, we can reproduce the same faults running the software under Win7 on several different hardware manufacturers systems, so it is some weird software-OS incompatibility we're having. In an ideal world, we'd get updated software, but that isn't going to happen for a number of reasons, one being that the software company plan no updates of one of the packages, the other being cost of updating licenses for the other.
I'd rather run the software we use 'natively' under XP on the hardware we have, but the edict came from above, no more native XP boxes..Win7 is was to be for support reasons, and our software will not work under Win7 running on bare hardware, but works fine running in a XP VM running under Win7 on the same hardware, so we currently comply with the edict from above.
Ain't IT politics fun?
Win8 does not need touch, Works fine with keyboard and mouse.
The reason many people do not upgrade is simple: They have a running Win7 box that suits their needs (privat sector) or have only recently (less than 3 years) transited to Win7 (commercial). A core-i system, even the 1st gen, is good for another 3-5 years performance wise so expect few new boxes. And most people get a new OS with a new box.
Upgrades come from people who use tablet pc hardware. Win8 is a benefit there and once you use it replacing Win7 on your desktop is "the right choice" with "one UI for all". That's why I bought additional licences for the desktop (and got company IT to buy a W8 for the convertible). Next set will come between November and March when quite a few of the remaining XP boxes finally get taken out and shot. I.e dads ole dimension (P4, original model) will be one of them and he will get a shiny new Win8 system (unless I dislike the Baytrail and go T90x - than it's a used ivy bridge HP Pavillion with W8)
Family support for WinXP and 7 ends November 1st 2013. After that - Win8 only!
QUOTE: "replacing Win7 on your desktop is "the right choice" with "one UI for all"."
Sorry, I prefer "the right UI for the job" rather than the "1 UI for all" when that UI is inadequate for all tasks.
How stupid do you have to be that you can't adapt to 2 or 3 different, regularly used, UIs?
That 8%-9% rise in the stock is just a knee-jerk reaction by people looking to make a speculative bet on sudden breaking news. The stock closed at $32.39 the day before the announcement, and it's currently at $33.40. Does the 7%-8% drop since the announcement mean that the market thinks that this was a bad move after all, or that it doesn't really make that much difference.
Looking to sudden upticks in the share price for insight is like looking to the comments section of ElReg. Confirmation bias will take over and you'll see whatever you want to see, and ignore anything that indicates that you're actually an idiot.
" That 8%-9% rise in the stock is just a knee-jerk reaction by people looking to make a speculative bet on sudden breaking news. "
True that. but what's telling is that it went up instead of down on the news.
If they thought Balmer's exit was bad for MS, it'd've been "Sell! Sell! Sell!" instead of "Buy! Buy! Buy!"
I think it's part of the MS culture to miss the boat. Remember the whole "embrace and extend" philosophy? Basically let others innovate then MS will take over and make it theirs. Remember the mid-90's with Gates dismissing the Internet?
MS was able to leverage their OS with exclusionary business practices. They were able to leverage their office apps with their OS. Beyond that they've played second fiddle to the true innovators for the last 20 years.
I remember listening to a presentation on Microsoft back in '95. Microsoft had clearly missed the first Internet wave but was already regaining ground. The analyst's comment was along the lines of "Microsoft doesn't gain ground because they make good decisions, they gain ground because their rivals make worse decisions. If this was a boxing match I'd swear that Microsoft's opponents had been paid to take a dive."
If Microsoft/Ballmer was found guilty of misleading investors over sales of Surface, there’s a good chance he’d be disbarred; every single MS director would have been asked if they’d take the stand for him and risk disbarment. A poker man would not go all-in on the cards he held, so he folded.
If you head on over to the FT, there are a load of Surface fans making the case for it as a business tablet, with its Office support and serious keyboard.
Unfortunately, Microsoft tried to pitch it as a direct competitor to the Android and Apple recreational machines, with happy clappy college students rather than middled aged people in suits who wanted a new way to flick through a spreadsheet on the sofa.
Right product, wrong target. Yes, there were other problems (e.g. the ARM/x86 issue), but I wonder whether in a parallel universe they couldn't have hacked it out a niche as the go-to corpo-slab.
Surface as business tablet is too little for too much. Businesses want a business laptop - that is, they want a device that is perceived to be "all business". Solid, reliable, conservative, compatible, flexible, trustworthy. A device that says "These are the values we bring to you, our client" when worker/representative whips it out in front of (you).
A thin, only somewhat reliable (keyboard problems, for one) touchy-feely tablet in bright colors with a touch interface and restricted hardware isn't seen as such even if it just might work out there in the field, out in reality. The Surface says too much of "Playful" and not enough of "We're all about nose to the grindstone", and that is why corporate buyers didn't give it a chance. It may not sound nice, but it's honest.
Surface or Surface/Pro? The latter is a nice unit for quite a few business jobs. 4+h or endurance is good enough for presentations, meetings etc. and the unit can do WIDI and run all the "usual suspects". No guessing wether that Powerpoint runs, that video shows, that special "windows only" software works - it will since it IS a Windows box. And from a lengthy experience - tablet pc like the S/P and it's siblings work great as meeting tools replacing whiteboards (WIDI to the beamer), notepads and all. And in a company environment you simply sync the data over Sharepoint if you prefer a "bigger box" for the regular work.
Granted, a Fujitsu T-series / Lenox X2x0 is more powerful and capabel (replacing the desktop easily) but it also costs about trice what an S/P costs and is at about double in weight
If you are a total MSFT shop and you are just a manager who lives in Outlook then the surface is quite nice as basically an Outlook dashboard.
If you need to do any work - a surface pro with a second monitor running word/excel/VS is great.
But the chances of your big corporate customers rolling out 100,000 seats of a $2000 touch screen laptop just to use your pretty new OS = 0%
Who needs a touch screen on a desktop or conventional notebook? Touch (or rather pen, touch can join Jobs in Hell) is for tablets, convertibles and 2in1 that can make use of it. Like the 900€ S/P. And since all boxes run Windows you can buy based on needs.
The sales guy gets a simple Win8 tablet with Wacom/Ntrig, maybe even a BayTrail. Maybe with a dock for working at his place (There we add a big ego enlargement device or two, say 24'')
The consultant who does some more typing "away from home" a nice convertible like the Duo13 or a Helix (I would wait for the Haswell-equiped "B") with some 8-15h endurance depending on use
Office workers get classic desktops.
Programmers get classic desktops (if only working in-office) or a big full-powered convertible with dock (if working at the customer site)
Win8 on all - it simply works and gives you choice!
" wanted a new way to flick through a spreadsheet on the sofa."
Except the small problem that it sucks for that. With the floppy keyboard, top heavy screen, and the little stand it only works on a table, not a lap.
It's not any better then a iPad or Android with a bluetooth keyboard.
The only real advantage is it can run office (or comes with crippled office in the RT version).
"For Gates & Co, the reorganisation would also have seemed the right juncture to remove Ballmer in order to avert a second lost decade and protect their company from a supremo seemingly unable to change his ways
Of course Blamer never changed his way, we was never wrong. It was the rest of the world that failed to see his absolute brilliance and kept on making serious mistakes.
Ballmer has always come across as an overgrown petulant child on too much sugar, bouncing around the stage saying 'I'm excited, I'm excited" - Gee, he's an excitable little fellow.
Windows 8 is so poorly thought through. Had it been tested properly it would never have made it through the door. It's fine for phone and tablets and for the computer illiterate, but wholly cumbersome for the pro desktop user, and it looks like 8.1 won't address half the issues. After Millennium and Vista you'd have thought they wouldn't repeat the same mistake again. Win 8 could be great, but they need to listen and think, somethin Ballmer was not known for
The trouble starts when you start believing your own marketing hype and fail to take a dispassionate look at what the opposition is doing. While I am far from being an Apple fan, it is hard to deny that they have done a lot of things right, and their user interfaces have been exemplary.
An overwhelming market share can be huge handicap when it comes to innovation. There have been too many examples of Microsoft doing things and telling its customers that "this is new and therfore better", a line much pushed by Microsoft fanatics. People do not like having their interfaces changed unless they are really convinced that they offer an improvement. This is particulary true of business customers, where the benefits have to outweigh the costs of retraining.
"The trouble starts when you start believing your own marketing hype and fail to take a dispassionate look at what the opposition is doing."
While at the same time ignoring what your customers are trying to tell you.
When people were using a registry setting in the pre-release version of Win8 to turn off not-metro their response was to rip out the registry setting so people could not turn it off.
People who do buy 8 install a 3rd party add-on to make not-metro go away, tell MS it's crap, their response is to add a button on the screen that replaces the invisible spot to call up the hated start screen and pretend everything is fixed.
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cue Joe Strummer: Get Down Moses - talk about being lost in the wilderness!
“The Tablet takes cutting-edge PC technology and makes it available wherever you want it, which is why I’m already using a Tablet as my everyday computer. It’s a PC that is virtually without limits — and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America.” — Bill Gates, Nov 2001.
The flatness of Microsoft, and its halving of its market capitalization.
The rise of Google, Facebook, and to some extent Apple where the market cap has increased by about the same as Microsoft;s has gone down.
It doesn't take long before one sees the handwriting on the wall.
So, Uncle Fester is going away soon. The question remains: Will Microsoft get its groove back.
Perhaps one thing should be observed. Bill Gates had some understanding of the business, being a programmer and all. I think that Mr. Balder's expertise is only in bean counting, which might explain the lack of "smooth sailing". He just lets the boat drift, and gets away with it.
After trying to prevent the transition to mobile for a decade, it is now happening without them. The next 24 months are utterly critical: one more mobile generation should make the transition permanant, leaving them no place in technology at all. To guarantee the transition it is essential the company be immobilized.
Nothing brings things to a halt faster than announcing a sweeping reorganization during a CEO transition. From high to low every member of the tribe not only doesn't know what to do, anything they do might be at cross purposes to the new leader's vision. It is brilliant, and could not come at a better time.
My only hope is that a year from now they announce the hunt for a replacement unsuccessful and start naming interim CEOs.
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win for me?
Have an older friend (70+) who returned a new win8 laptop less than a week after purchase (coming from XP), came back from the store with a laptop with win7 installed.
Now, a month later, having problems with and doesn't like the new MSOffice (ribbon interface). Helped go through an install of LibreOffice today. "This is better than the Office I paid for! I like it."
Now, maybe she'll take a look at Linux... as her win7 is also bogging down.
... which would make a lie of two more "strengths" of Ballmer's
the crud, in my entirely honest opinion is almost everything they've layered on since Windows 2000.
I know the Linux hardcore will laugh but Windows used to be a good solid OS that put you in the driving seat and quietly keep out of your way letting you get on with things.
From the point Windows 2000 was released Microsoft had two choices for future direction, either layer it up with novelty gimmicks, or start adding even more complex and powerful features for the more hardcore OS users to take advantage of while maintaining a solid platform for everybody else.
They went with the novelty option, killed off the 9x line, made XP a general consumer OS and started integrating all the crud that would have otherwise found it's way into the gimmicky consumer OS line into the serious NT based one. What they're doing by combining Windows with the modern phone interface is actually similar, another layer of gimmicky garbage from another thread of Windows being forced on people who just want the serious one.
As a direct result of all this Windows 8 is simply the point where that pile of crud has fallen over, people have started waking up and saying 'what the hell is this?'
Maybe from a business point of view it made sense, leave the hardcore minority to Linux, sell the OS with pretty features and gimmicks, drive up the profits by showing attractive screenshots and hyping up half-assed functionality that could already be handled better with 3rd party software. It did work at first, it kept the profits rolling in year on year but you can only keep that up while ignoring the serious side of the OS for so long.
I don't envy whoever the new CEO is, (s)he is going to have a huge mess to clear up. Years of neglect of the core operating system features, years of leaving a bad taste in the mouths of users through over-promising and under-delivering and forcing user-hostile changes like the ribbon (retrain everybody!), windows activation (refusing to trust your customers) and most recently the whole half-180 start button/menu (still won't give people what they've asked for), catastrophic Surface sales and an XBox 1 showing that had even the common rabble with their pitchforks out.
It's going to take years to undo that damage and unless Shareholders are actually willing to see profits slide while Microsoft tone down the 'what we want at all costs' approach and reinvent themselves as a good company with the customer at heart again then nothing will change with or without Ballmer. The share surge is optimistic.
Ballmer is rich and old enough to leave, high time, no problems there. Ballmer was always supported by Gates. Gates supported very much the "one approach" from phones to every possible device, a new again nice approach to have control of the user. the market, the interface. Too late or too soon, who knows, who cares. The problem with Microsoft is elsewhere. Microsoft become an organisation where infiltrating governments around the world and OEMs and "standards" become the number one task of that organisation. If you think Start buttons or ribbons was of any interest for Ballmer & Co then think again. Those silly details where left to the "niggers" at the bottom. Many decided to leave. And If you are at the bottom of the organisation then how would you gain any attention with out some gimmicks like those, stuff you can demonstrate within the five minutes you have. I may be wrong but hardly very wrong. And who cares, I do not.
Well not entirely, but I'm sooo glad I never had to deal with building surface apps. The horror stories from my mates who are still within the clutches of Redmond make me more than happy with my decision.
Nowdays I create mobile apps - for Apple and Android. A much happier place to be!
I'm sat here at my Windows XP workhorse (My other PC's on Win 7).. , reading the comments on why Windows 8 is a failure and how Ballmer has committed career suicide, and I'm betting that a "beeeellion" PC users are sat in exactly the same way as I am,... Arms on the desk, forearms comfortably supported and the only thing I need to move to scroll down the page is my index finger,... minimum of effort.
I'm NOT lazy,... but this feels natural.
If I was reading this on my tablet or had a touch screen, there would be a whole lot more energy expended,... just to read a page of amusing text.,... ?
If someone wants to invent "direct screen control from retina detection" or a "mind controller for the cursor", that would be great, but so far, my mouse is still the best option. And maybe that's where MSFT have missed the point,...
You can get away with introducing "disruptive technologies" when there are clear advantages, efficiency gains or financial benefits, but if all you're giving back is an increased workload and substantial re-training costs, maybe it's best to think twice.
No it doesn't. It keeps jumping back to Metro. Horribly jarring, and it still does it with classic installed.
Were that true then there would be no problem.
If windows 8 had the 2000 shell and no metro it would be an excellent system.
And why don't metro apps work on the desktop? It's not still the 1980s
This post is a public plea for someone within Microsoft to come forward with documentation on the rationale behind the recent apparent loss of all reason and common sense by the company.
Please, please come forward now!
The actions of this company make no sense to us. We are bewildered by the illogical behavior of Microsoft's direction.
Everyone knows that to ruin the useability of Windows by the utter donkey skit that is the Metro Interface makes no sense. There must be some greater reason behind these mysterious decisions that Microsoft has recently under taken.
So give us an internal memo or two! There must have been voices of intelligence within Microsoft who argued against the self-destructive path that it has recently undertaken.
Let us know why Microsoft is committing public suicide.
I worked on OS2 for IBM and met Gates once (hugely impressive). I also attended one or two Balmer meetings (hugely unimpressive). Maybe this is just hindsight but my impression was that Balmer was Gates' bully boy, so when Balmer took over it was a bit like the bouncer taking over the nightclub, which (with apologies to all bouncers everywhere) is not a recipe for success.
The difficulty for the board/shareholders/customers of large companies is that problems with a change of leadership take a long time to show through, and will take a long time to correct.
The Microsoft response to MP3 players when the market was obviously Apple vs Small brands ? Lets take on Apple, unleash the Zune!
The Microsoft response to tablets which again is Apple versus the small brands? Lets delay until Apple are firmly entrenched and then create a premium device to get the premium users (most of who are now Apple acolytes on there 2nd or 3rd iPad)
The Microsoft response to phones which was Apple vs Android? Create a separate OS, bolt it on to the phones of a dying company (Nokia) and wonder why people are not buying it. No consideration to the $$'s people have tied up in Apple/Android apps and again tarket the premium market (in which Samsung and Apple are fighting trench warfare)
On the desktop where they have no real competitor (although Macs have gained some ground it is minuscule in the world wide desktop population). They create an OS fit for a Tablet, call anyone that does not like it a luddite and instructs everyone to get a touch screen. HIlarity ensues as the world does a Vista 2.0 and hangs on to 7 (or even xp)!
The most destructive mistake in strategic planning was the decision to compete with Apple as a hardware producer. Acer has annnounced that it will focus on Chrome and Android. HP sells the Revolve primarily as Windows 7 device. Microsoft can not possibly compete with the variety of innovative designs of the many OEMs.
Even if Microsoft suceeded in hardware, it would raise issues of monopoly, likely leading to a break-up.
Microsoft should have set standards for Windows 8 touch "leap-frogged" competitive products, as Intel did with "Ultrabooks."
There are a variety of interesting products on the market using touch Windows 8 ( LeNovo Twist, Asus Transformer Book 13.3, Asus Taichi, Samsung Ativ ( second gen). Dell XPS 18, Dell XPS 27 .... but all fall short of desireable standards: backlit keyboards, 1 TB HD or 512 GB SSD, full HD or higher screens, 4G LTE, incorporated multiledia, stylus support.
MS could have set these features as a qualifying standard for Win * "Touch" designation.
Microsoft stores are mostly empty, especially compared with Apple stores. Now Samsung amd Microsoft ( separately ) will take space in Best Buy stores .... hopefull staffed with more competence than BB employees.
Unless Microsofts abandons the hardware market, I would suggest the OEMS set-up a software and operating system alliance and develop a Linux variant ( similar to Ubuntu ).
Windows 8 touch with both desktop and apps can be revitalized, but from I've read on Windows 8.1, Microsoft stll doesn't understand the desktop v app potential and users desire to control all aspects of the software experience ....
When Surface was announced, my immediate thought was "Windows in a tablet format? Able to run my desktop apps, and more specifically games? Even if it'd be quite a bit slower than my gaming PC, it'd be able to run Civ 5, Crusader Kings II, loads of Indie games. They could be onto something. I'd buy one".
And then of course it transpires that no, Surface wasn't really Windows on a tablet, but a cobbled together mess on a different hardware platform, that hardly any developer was supporting. Yep, the technical challenges would be tough (getting an x86 into that form factor with decent graphics and not suck the life out of any small battery in a couple of hours), but it would have been worth it. After all, being able to run PC apps on a decent sized tablet? Yes siree. But moving to ARM, removing that compatibility factor, meant that Surface was DOA.
Windows/x86 on a tablet pc is a very old hat, at least half a decade older than the iHype (WinXP/Tablet Edition, 2003)
And the matching hardware exists for the same time. Since around 2010/11 the Atom based units where added and SSD became the typical storage making the boxes more rugged.
Amazon has a nice choice from
Lenovo (Helix and TPT2, some X2x0)
Samsung (Ativ500 and 700t, some Slate7)
Sony (Vaio Duo 11 and 13)
Asus (TF810, Taichi and some EP/B121)
Fujitsu (T90x and T73x)
Dell (Latitude 10)
just to name the ones with Wacom or NTrig inductive digitisers that pop up on Amazon.de. And Amazon has offered them for the last few years (got my current private one there in early 2011). Before that - just visit the next HP/Lenovo/Fujitsu dealer and they sold you.
Microsofts most destructive mistake in strategic planning was the decision to compete with Apple as a hardware producer. Acer has announced that it will focus on Chrome and Android. HP sells the Revolve primarily as Windows 7 device. Microsoft cannot compete with the variety of innovative designs of the many OEMs.
Even if Microsoft succeeded in hardware, it would raise issues of monopoly, likely leading to a break-up.
Microsoft should have set standards for Windows 8 touch "leap-frogged" competitive products, as Intel did with "Ultrabooks."
There are a variety of interesting products on the market using touch Windows 8 ( LeNovo Twist, Asus Transformer Book 13.3, Asus Taichi, Samsung Ativ ( second gen). Dell XPS 18, Dell XPS 27 .... but all fall short of desirable standards: backlit keyboards, 1 TB HD or 512 GB SSD, full HD or higher screens, 4G LTE, incorporated multimedia, stylus support.
MS could have set these features as a qualifying standard for Win * "Touch" designation.
Microsoft stores are mostly empty, especially compared with Apple stores. Now Samsung and Microsoft ( separately ) will take space in Best Buy stores .... hopefully staffed with more competence than BB employees.
Unless Microsoft abandons the hardware market, I would suggest the OEMS set-up a software and operating system alliance and develop a Linux variant ( similar to Ubuntu ).
Windows 8 touch with both desktop and apps can be revitalized, but from I've read on Windows 8.1, Microsoft still doesn't understand the desktop v app potential and users desire to control all aspects of the software experience ....
I'm more of a Linux user than anything else - but I'm forced to use a Windows machine now and then. From my consumer perspective they look, feel and react pretty much identically (except XP doesn't have the search-for-an-app thing, which is useful). People who presumably know much more than me say that XP and 7 are good and Vista is pants. So from a consumer perspective how are these three windows o/s different? What am I missing?
(I discount Windows 8 because even from my consumer perspective I can see it is pants - and I hope I never have to re-train the entire extended family how to use it - my mother can barely operate Vista since it came out).
Xp was pretty stable when Vista was released. Vista needed much more ram and cpu horsepower then microsoft said. This lead to a load of low end pc's sold as vista ready when they were not. VIsta was buggy and a resource hog for a long time so most people skipped it and stuck at xp.
When 7 came out it took the good bits of vista and xp and ended up with a decent version of windows. MS seem to alternate:
Windows ME (kill with fire)
Windows xp (good)
Windows vista (crap)
Windows 7 (good)
Windows 8 (fuck you this is a PC not a tablet)
Windows ME (kill with fire)
Windows xp (great - the last OS that remembered where you opened a previous program window, so you don't have to move them where you want them EVERY...SINGLE...TIME)
Windows vista (crap)
Windows 7 (slightly less craptastic than Vista)
Windows 8 (f**k you this is a PC not a tablet) - [censored, think of the children]
Your timeline is missing Win98SE which was the only decent 9X version and regular XP still sucked and was only good if you got XP Pro and how could you think that Win 7 was "slightly less craptastic than Vista" when NOTHING could be close to as craptastic as Fista (except a barg full of NYC garbage in late summer).
IMHO Win 7 Pro is close to the pinnacle of what MS has ever done. The only bad thing is that UAC has never had the granularity to allow you to shut off the nagging without losing the functionality. The rest is quite good but again still lacking some functionality.