back to article Bill Gates to pull a Steve Jobs and SAVE MICROSOFT – report

Microsoft founder Bill Gates may be planning a return to a more hands-on role at the company, according to the latest rumors from the software giant's ongoing search for a new chief executive. Last week, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and others reported that veteran Microsoft exec Satya Nadella had emerged as the …

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  1. Gray
    Trollface

    Imagine a ship of industry

    ... with Satya Nadella as the Captain on the bridge with Admiral Bill Gates breathing down his neck, ordering ship's engines to stand down while preparing to drop the anchor, to assess the floating wreckage all around; and Steve Ballmer in the engine room berating the black gang to double up on shoveling in more coal as he lashes down the boiler safety valves, anticipating an order for flank speed ahead. "Reefs? What reefs! I ain't seen no steenking reefs!" he screams.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Imagine a ship of industry

      I tried to imagine that, but the scenario of Ballmer being courtmartialled posthumously for insubordination looks a little unlikely.

  2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Linux

    I don't understand

    "But the idea that Gates would use his newfound free time to meddle with Microsoft's products might not sit well with those who argue that the software giant has remained mired in the past since Gates resigned as CEO in 2000."

    If the company has been "mired in the past" since Gates left, and no amount of change since then has improved things (according to "those who argue"), then surely bringing back the person who built the company can only be a better change and a likely source of improvement.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      It worked for Hindenburg, so it will work for Gates, right?

      surely bringing back the person who built the company can only be a better change and a likely source of improvement

      I don't know how many logical fallacies are covered under a heavy sauce of delusion and wishful thinking in that kind of statement. It is the same logic that brings retired politicians, financial gurus, generals on retirement in the Harz mountains or popstar has-beens back into action because they have been "in it once" and "we don't have anyone else".

      You just need to remember Bill Gate's "The Road Ahead" (retconned to reality in the 2nd edition) to know that he ain't some kind of super-luminary who knows what the future is bringing or even how to get there. Basically his contribution to the industry was his butthurt Open Letter to Hobbyists.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Windows

      @John

      "surely bringing back the person who built the company can only be a better change and a likely source of improvement."

      I'm not too sure I agree. Because Mr. Gates was also one of the people who made Microsoft what it is today. So isn't it fair to say that the current state of affairs is - to some extend - basically the fruit of his labours? With that I include the nomination of Ballmer by the way.

      Thing is; I think the problem runs much deeper and is most likely actually a cultural problem. The way the company works which is quite unhealthy at times. First there's the common display of "knowing what's best for the customers" even though Microsoft is no longer in a position where they can dictate the market. Yet this is still what they seem to believe, you can see the examples of that everywhere. And it's hurting them. The most obvious example is Windows 8, especially if you keep the disaster which was Vista in mind. Worse yet: they got plenty of warnings up front but chose to ignore them.

      And another example, in my opinion much more dangerous, is Visual Studio. Actually taking things so far that you're alienating programmers who actually work, extend and (to some extend) advocate your products. Not only that; also making it seem as if you care less about their opinion.

      For those unfamiliar with this I'm referring to Visual Studio 2012 which was designed with the look and feel of Windows 8 in mind. So a "ribbon-like" menu structure (pull down menus with EASY TO READ NAMES), no colour in the icons (small black shapes) and even the environment itself used to have but two colour schemes and both actually managed to give me a headache.They even made sure to remove the macro editor so that you cannot automate certain tasks in the editor. Thousands of developers cried out in pain.

      In all fairness Microsoft did fix some of those problems, to an extend where (in my opinion of course) working with VS2012 became bearable and to some extend enjoyable. Even so; most still prefer the previous version 2010. So where do we stand now? Simple: if you got a VS2012 license and don't like it then Microsoft has provided a new "solution": the option to buy yourself Visual Studio 2013. And of course; being a licensed Visual Studio user / owner doesn't grant you any favours like discounts or such. No, you'll just have to cough up the full price again.

      Another thing to note: where VS2010 "lasted" approx. 2 years the lice cycle has decreased with Visual Studio 2012 as well.

      So why did this nonsense happen in the first place? In my opinion it's the company culture. Departments which don't necessarily co-exist or try to extend or improve on each other but instead actually compete within the company hierarchy. Right up to a point where one department would have no problems at all with screwing the other over. Even though, in the end, it would most likely hurt the company as a whole.

      A mindset which, as far as I know, can absolutely be traced back to Gates himself.

      Microsoft needs to start thinking about their users and fanbase alike, because alienating them as they do now is not very healthy. Because if you turn out to be an unreliable partner or supplier then sooner or later people will start to abandon you. And once they do it'll be a whole lot harder to win them back; it's easier to make sure they stay onboard the bandwagon.

      The main difference should be obvious: back in the days people had little alternatives but to get Windows. But that has changed dramatically.

      No sneer what so ever: but there are plenty of Apple and Linux users out there who started using those environments for the sole reason of : "It's not Microsoft Windows". Worse yet: I'm convinced that many Window users, even the ones who actually like the environment, could sympathize with those people. Not necessarily agree, but you knew very well where it came from..

      THAT is not good for business, not at all.

      I think Microsoft should not fall back to relics from the past but instead focus on the future. They need a drastic change in their company culture as well as the way they deal with their customers. Otherwise I don't think this is going to end well.

      1. Dr Who

        Re: @John

        A tip if you want your blog comments to be read. Keep it brief, essays belong elsewhere. I skipped your comment.

        1. Beau
          Thumb Up

          Re: @John

          An up-vote for you Sir, after about 6 lines, I skipped the rest.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @John

          A tip if you want to say 'A tip if you want your blog comments to be read. Keep it brief, essays belong elsewhere. I skipped your comment.'. Say 'tl;dr'.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @John

          > A tip if you

          Ermm... brevity is in the eye of the beholder? The comment you refer to did not seem particularly long to me, nor did it seem to be *unnecessarily* long.

          The time it took you to write up your complain you could have probably read it anyway. You can't be that busy if you're reading The Register's comments section.

      2. Sander van der Wal
        Trollface

        Re: @John

        "So why did this nonsense happen in the first place? In my opinion it's the company culture. Departments which don't necessarily co-exist or try to extend or improve on each other but instead actually compete within the company hierarchy. Right up to a point where one department would have no problems at all with screwing the other over. Even though, in the end, it would most likely hurt the company as a whole.

        A mindset which, as far as I know, can absolutely be traced back to Gates himself."

        Nokians will feel right at home then

      3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad
        Pint

        @ShelLuser

        Excellent post, and it definitely was worth reading in full. Cheers!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @John

        I gave you an upvote because your post was interesting. Maybe next time though, you could include some pictures for people who don't have the attention span needed to take in someone's thoughts.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ShelLuser

        Extent. ExtenT. EXfuckingTENT. With a T!!!!

        Good god.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ShelLuser

          > Extent. ExtenT. EXfuckingTENT. With a T!!!!

          He was using the past tense. :)

          1. Tom 13

            Re: @ShelLuser

            That was not the passed tents.

    3. John Sanders
      Pirate

      Re: I don't understand

      Let me explain.

      Gates never left, he got less involved (but not that much)

      What Gates may do now is stop delegating certain tasks and getting his hands dirty again.

      MS is what it is thanks to Ballmer & Gates, once those two are really gone (When they die) MS will wither away (proper, not as it is nowadays with the phone debacle).

      Gates's brilliance was to understand when the PC was a nascent industry "what he was selling", "to whom he was selling it".

      He understood sooner than anybody that hardware doesn't matter (as long as it works) what matters is software, even nowadays most people in the IT industry do not get it.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: I don't understand

        Gates's brilliance was to understand when the PC was a nascent industry "what he was selling", "to whom he was selling it".

        Not at all. He just sold what he had at that time like a good hustler. There was no industry and it wasn't seen as "nascent" by anyone. Microsoft then got pulled along in the slipstream of the PC industry, made possible because IBM forgot to license the whole crud properly. They then decided to plunder rivals' ideas and maybe work on OS/2 with IBM... the rest is a long history.

    4. Adam Nealis

      Re: I don't understand

      I saw the same thing. THis is how I put it:

      "But the idea that Gates would use his newfound free time to meddle with Microsoft's products might not sit well with those who argue that the software giant has remained mired in the past since Gates resigned as CEO in 2000."

      Doesn't make sense. If MS was worse since he left, then wouldn't they think it would be better if he did meddle?

  3. Nanners

    Ain't gonna work

    The guy is too attached to his perceived company, which ain't his company any more. He doesn't have any clue of the inner workings and office politics currently going on. How would you like the former owner of a company you work for breathing down your neck and carrying on about how it used to be done?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Think positive, sort of.

      Hmm, politics are less of an issue if you're on top of the org chart instead of in the middle, but I love the whole "visionary" adulation by the financial press which was IMHO one of the key causes of a total removal of any morality from people who wanted to make money, for decades.

      Gates demonstrated that it was OK to do anything questionable under the sun provided you kept enough money on hand to buy your way out of the lawsuits - apart from Stacker he managed that well. Even the SCO stuff delivered well above expectation as it kept Linux in legal question marks for many more years than even originally dreamt of.

      My question is how accurate Gates will do a "Jobs", because the end bit involves 6 planks.

  4. HCV
    Facepalm

    Seriously

    I cannot think of one single quote from Bill Gates since -- I don't know, when did The Road Ahead come out? -- that has indicated he has any kind of pool of visionary thinking he's going to be tapping into here.

    The Steve Jobs biography is littered with Gates comments that could pretty much be gathered together and published as "Advice Well Worth Ignoring."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seriously

      'The Steve Jobs biography is littered with Gates comments that could pretty much be gathered together and published as "Advice Well Worth Ignoring."'

      Remind me, how many times was SJ the richest man in the world?

      And BG?

      And who did most good with their wealth?

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Seriously

        This is relevant how?

        1. cyborg
          Trollface

          Re: Seriously

          All you have to do is be richer than Anonymous and you'll be right.

          That's how these things work apparently.

      2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Seriously

        Uh-huh. If SJ was not wealthy enough, then maybe Larry will do?

        /from the article/

        "Bill Gates wants people to think he's Edison, when he's really Rockefeller," Jobs' longtime pal, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, once told Newsweek. "Though I wouldn't mind being Rockefeller either. But referring to Gates as the smartest man in America isn't right. I'm not the fourth smartest man in America. Wealth isn't the same thing as intelligence."

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously

        You mean, like how the guy who knew what was best for Europe was the guy who controlled the largest part of it at once during the 20th century?

        (NB: this actually works for the 19th century as well.)

      5. Seanie Ryan

        Re: Seriously

        "Remind me, how many times was SJ the richest man in the world?

        And BG?

        And who did most good with their wealth?"

        oh, so thats the definition of a visionary… aha. Thanks cleared it right up.

        Muppet

      6. Tom 13

        Re: Seriously

        Gates may not have been visionary, but he understood business. Jobs was visionary, but I'm still not sure he understood business. I'm not sure how MS lost that thread in Windows 8, but that was their major failure on that front. To a great extent, I think they got too envious of Jobs and tried to become him. Jobs always dictated how his users would work. For them, that seems to work. PCs were always about the user dictating how things will work. Trying to reverse that was, is, and always will be a recipe for disaster. If Gates remembers that, he will do well. Otherwise we'll stumble along, perhaps into oblivion.

        1. Adam Nealis

          "Gates is known as one of the pioneers of the PC era."

          Yep.

          I can't shake off the idea that Gates is overrated. He seems to get max respect from other suits, not tech. types.

    2. JohnG

      Re: Seriously

      Apple would have continued into bankruptcy if Microsoft had not chosen to bail them out. I bet Jobs was happy to have some advice from Gates then, along with cash from his company.

      1. magnetik

        Re: Seriously

        Apple would have continued into bankruptcy if Microsoft had not chosen to bail them out. I bet Jobs was happy to have some advice from Gates then, along with cash from his company.

        I guess you're talking about the $150M investment in a company that already had $1.2B in reserves for a cross licensing deal ?

        The "Microsoft saved Apple" myth just refuses to die.

  5. silent_count

    I wonder if Mr Gates would get hired by Microsoft if he submitted his resume under a different name.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      @silent_count

      Nah, then they'd ridicule his basic programming all over again ;)

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: @silent_count

        Depends if they notice that it was someone else's programming hastily bought in and the names changed.

        (QDOS >> MSDOS)

  6. Charles Manning

    The huge difference...

    When Jobs came back to Apple, he was not afraid to put in the knife.

    Jobs was pushed out of Apple and kept viewing Apple with a lean and hungry eye while he was away. He thought the management that ran Apple while he was away were roaring ass-hats and was not afraid to say so with long expletive riddled sentences. When he came back he was keen to slash and burn.

    In the time Ballmer was running MS, it was largely under the patronage of BillG. Ballmer was, and most likely still is, BFFs with BillG. BillG says that Ballmer did a good job. If BillG does come back it will be with much appeasement etc.

    BillG lacks both the energy and vitriol needed to make the huge changes that MS needs. If he did return he would definitely be incapable of pulling a Jobsian reformation.

    1. Schultz

      Re: The huge difference...

      Bill Gates might make a difference simply because he is a Very Important Person at MS and if he proclaims that something is shit people will listen (even if he won't use expletives, etc.). This may be important to overcome inertia and committee indecision.

      If he works far enough below the visionary management types (those who think that Metro and ribbons are good things if you only torture the consumer long enough), then maybe MS products might become more usable / valuable again.

      Lets face it, most of us just want something that works effortlessly and doesn't break the bank. MS used to offer such products.

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: The huge difference...

        @Shultz

        I think that BG may use the odd expletive. He was famous for berating staff with "That's the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard!"

        Although that might not go too well with the new kinder image of Bill Gates that his philanthropy seems to have bought.

      2. Charles Manning

        Re: The huge difference...

        Although BillG might not actually be in the driver's seat, he is close enough at hand that he knows of, and gives tasset aproval for, what is going on.

        He's currently the chairman of the board. From there he has all the position he needs to steer the boat any way he wants. So to give him back CEOship is not going to change anything.

        On top of that, TIFKAM no doubt gets his approval. Tablet has always been his darling form factor. The first 3 or so Microsoft forays into tablets sank under his CEOship.

        He would not savage anybody about ribbons, or TIFKAM, because to do so would mean savaging himself.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The huge difference...

        Lets face it, most of us just want something that works effortlessly

        .. which is why a lot of people eventially took the plunge and switched to Mac (me included). Once you have experienced a truly userfriendly interface you realise just how deep you have been driven into the weeds by MS. The ribbon and Vista were good indications that "effortlessly" was really last on the list of requirements (assuming it was on there at all instead of "ignore, they'll buy it anyway").

        and doesn't break the bank. MS used to offer such products.

        Really? This is where a Mac actually comes out better - MUCH lower cost of software, so a fully kitted out system is substantially more cost effective (also with upgrades) than a system running Microsoft products. Smaller banks are already switching because their core systems are on Citrix anyway, so they can pretty much immediately swap out their desktops, and exactly the software and patching costs of Macs give them a better TCO. The last time I was at the Internet exhibition in Dublin there were maybe 20 PCs in use on 1000 exhibitors - the rest were all running Macbooks.

        Not to mention the dog that is Windows 8 where Metro causes endless confusion because the interface doesn't seem to run with the same rights as the desktop. The support overhead that &%ç* interface has created is stupidly high, because it's hard to explain to a user that Internet Exploder started from Metro is not working the same as the one started from the desktop. The Win 8 UI is almost as big a mess as Vista was.

        1. Moosh
          Paris Hilton

          Re: The huge difference...

          This comment is a joke, right?

          A huge joke, surely?

          Macs being must more cost efficient? I don't understand at all. Are you on drugs? Find a mac computer, find the individual parts on some sort of tech site, then see how much more the Mac costs. That is the true software cost, and it is usually hundreds and hundreds (occasionally 10s of hundreds) more expensive than a windows 8 disc.

          I don't understand the whole "user friendly interface" angle either, seeing as the Mac desktop environment just looks like a dodgily skinned ubuntu, which is essentially identical in form and function to Windows desktop. A lot of things on the mac are actually counter intuitive and have to be learnt. That is not user friendly.

          Maybe there were more Macs than PCs at the internet exhibition, but what on earth does that mean? That they're appealing to the lowest common denominator by betting on the currently chic company? If I told you that the animation company my ex girlfriend works at uses Windows machines exclusively, would that change your views of the mac? No? Then why would machines at an internet convention change our views on windows?

          I have no idea about your "small bank" (is there such a thing?) statement, but it seems like a complete ass pull.

          I completely agree with the Metro confusion thing, however. It needs to be nuked.

          1. ToddR

            Re: The huge difference...

            If you had bought a MAC, she might still be your girlfriend :)

        2. Eradicate all BB entrants

          Re: The huge difference...

          @AC

          What sort of system would you expect to see at an internet exhibition? Internet fiddlers like using macs, I don't think that has been ever in any doubt. At a CAD exhibition I would expect to see crap loads of workstation spec'd laptops, because that is what they would use. At Comicon I would expect to see comics related stuff.

          My apologies for the language but why the fuck, if it uses Citrix, would a bank replace all of their £100-150 terminals with fucking macs? Actually I need to add to that. Why the fuck would a bank switch from terminals running a secured locked down version of Linux to an OS that at Pwn2Own is usually cracked on day one before the Windows and Linux machines have booted?

      4. Tom 13

        @Schultz

        It would be nice to think that. Trouble is, Gates signed off on all the initiatives we bitch about constantly.

        Yes, he can recover the company. But in order to do that, he actually has to forget he is a Very Important Person at MS and think like a small fish in a big pond with really big fish all around him, but who none the less intends to be the biggest fish in the pond when things are done. Because that was where he started and where he was good.

        Bottom line: While he can recover the company, right now the odds are long for him doing it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The huge difference...

      Absolutely. Bill Gates and Steve Job's returns can't be compared.

      Bill was never really gone. As you said, BFF with his pal Steve Balmer, still involved in an overseeing role.

      Steve Jobs on the other hand left Apple in a big row, and when he returned Apple had almost vanished from the market. THAT is the situation you need to find if you want to make a difference. Plus, you HAVE to make a difference, or else the company will be dead.

      So Bill's return isn't a return at all. And M$ is not dead. They are certainly doing a lot of weird things lately, pissing of customers and channel partners, not performing to their full potential. But not dead. There's no pressure for a radical change. That is the problem. M$ doesn't listen to hints or wakeup calls. What they'd need to make a difference is alarm bells ringing all over the place. They seem oblivious to that at the moment, but maybe all the would-be CEOs who have declined the position were not -- they didn't see how the current company structure and their ways could be changed without bloodshed.

  7. Paul S. Gazo

    What to do?

    Thing is as a company that primarily makes and OS and an office app, there's limited room for innovation anymore.

    In the beginning, the desktop OS was functionally limited by artificial hardware legacy. Now with x64 that's gone.

    In the beginning, the desktop OS was hard to configure and hardware didn't work well with it. Now with plug & play and Internet access for automatic driver pulls, that's gone.

    In the beginning, the desktop OS was an island, designed for unconnected environments. Now with the NT kernel it's got networking, domains, security and such by default, so that's gone.

    Bottom line is that WinXP frankly did ENOUGH to make anything after it a difficult sell. There's nothing killer in Vista/7/8 that folks must have. There's no feature that evolves the whole concept of a desktop OS to a new level of baseline. It's just... incremental updates basically.

    But when the art of the OS is essentially "almost everything you could ask for", what is the maker to do? THAT's the struggle.

    Maybe where there's still room is reliability.

    Imagine an OS that's malware-proof because it recognizes obnoxious behaviour and self-heals. Every boot it says "hey, did some jackass window you don't want pop up, blocking everything else and breaking your browser? 'Cuz I think one did. And I can just roll back that stupid thing." How about an OS that properly tracks the origin of changes to its config and lets you fix things at a granular level? System started hanging occasionally? Hey, turns out that installing XYZ application changed some random DLL that's also in use by the print driver and that's why... here, let's fix it.

    Just a thought. But beyond that, I don't know what the hell else MS could introduce that folks actually WANT.

    1. Tank boy
      Pint

      Re: What to do?

      "Imagine an OS that's malware-proof because it recognizes obnoxious behaviour and self-heals."

      Dare to dream. M$ would be printing their own money just on the initial rollout, and keeping the lights on with upgrades for years if they could crack that particular nut.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: What to do?

        > Windows

        > Uninstalls itself

        YES!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Paul

      "Just a thought. But beyond that, I don't know what the hell else MS could introduce that folks actually WANT."

      I think people want both innovation as well as a choice whether or not to use that innovation. For example; I think Metro could have gained some followers if Microsoft wouldn't have tried to force it down our throats.

      And when it comes to the OS itself I think there's plenty of room left for innovation. For example; just look at KDE and what they did with the start menu. They created segments or categories which give you the option to manage even more software than before.

      Just a small example, but I think there's plenty of room left for improvements and new developments. And as long as you make sure it's something people might want and allow them to make their own choice I'm pretty sure there's plenty of material to get us to Windows 16.

    3. Hans 1
      Linux

      Re: What to do?

      > "hey, did some jackass window you don't want pop up, blocking everything else and breaking your browser? 'Cuz I think one did. And I can just roll back that stupid thing."

      > System started hanging occasionally? Hey, turns out that installing XYZ application changed some random DLL that's also in use by the print driver and that's why... here, let's fix it.

      WTF are you talking about, here ? Never seen any of this happen ⬈

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What to do?

      Oh, MS has stacked up quite a few future "innovations" which have mainly to do with restoring the productivity they took away.

      Removing the ribbon, decent suspend/resume behaviour, easier keyboard access of essential functions in Office, proper support for ODF, removing TIFKAM - all of this can be heralded by their marketing department as "innovation" where it is mainly undoing frankly ghastly abusive things they have done to their users.

      Some of the UI decisions really look like their UI designers are running a bet amongst themselves who can get away with the worst UI, you know, the sort of thing you would come up with after a the consumption of alcohol to the value of the GDP of a small nation. A *rational* explanation for this isn't possible IMHO

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What to do?

      Imagine an OS that's malware-proof because it recognizes obnoxious behaviour and self-heals

      Love the idea. I'd sell that to double glazing salesmen and cold call centres like the "PP Leadgeneration" mob that keep robocalling me for some bank settlement (if you see called ID 0843 832 0135, avoid).

    6. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: What to do?

      > Thing is as a company that primarily makes and OS and an office app, there's limited room for innovation anymore.

      Oh, I don't know. Maybe MS could try making a phone or a tablet, and see how that goes?

      1. Captain Queeg

        Re: What to do?

        How would a phone or tablet innovate?

        Jobs did well at Apple because he took existing under developed segments and turbocharged them, moved them on in some way. As has been noted many times MS could never get tablets to sell, jobs worked out why not and the rest is history.

        Just copying with with any old "me too" phone or tablet will only work if MS or Windows have a big pull as brands. Which I don't think they do.

        Win phone and surface only really look to be capable of being minority players in their markets.

  8. Aybee

    "I cannot think of one single quote from Bill Gates since... Blah, blah, blah"

    Remind me not to ask you next time U need one, then.

    Regarding, "The Steve Jobs biography is littered with..."

    Multiple biographies / articles are littered with accounts of how SJ was an egocentric, selfish, pompous bar steward.

    But, hey, what are biographies worth?

    1. HCV

      Ya know what? I wasn't saying Steve Jobs was anything other than an egocentric, selfish bar steward. However, what I was saying was that Gates' response to what took place were shortsighted and clueless, albeit not in those words.

  9. Oh Homer
    Facepalm

    Here comes Bob 2.0

    "So like I was saying, Steve, you click on Bob's hand and he opens the filing cabinet..."

  10. king of foo

    innovation

    The RED screen of death!

  11. gary27
    Angel

    Billion Cash every 2 weeks

    So many silly comments about Microsoft from mainstream and web media - who have not the remotest clue as to how difficult it is to build a successful business.

    Business success is easy to measure, easy to talk bollocks about, but not so easy to actually do.

    The only metric that counts is cashflow - Microsoft generates a phenomenal amount $1 BILLION EVERY 2 WEEKs - therefore by definition Ballmer / Gates have been (still are) hugely successful indisputable implication - they are very good at running a massive incredible profitable organisation.

    Contrast the British equivalent - Branson - media darling - but useless in comparison - not much innovation mainly hot air and puny profits (for one of uks top supposed business geniuses).

    Back to Windows - I would like to see better automatic handling of pixel scaling and multiple monitors- win8.1 supposedly better but Im sceptical considering how bad win 7 is at rendering to high res monitors. Also about time - Office team offered a decent word processor - word is an abomination of a program in contrast to excel - which is their only truly outstanding product - outlook good, onenote ok, sharepoint another abomination, not much else is good apart from sql server - but free postgres is better !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Billion Cash every 2 weeks

      Look at where the profit comes from, it's Windows and Office still largely.

      Even the UK government has now said to stop using Microsoft file formats.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Billion Cash every 2 weeks

        "Even the UK government has now said to stop using Microsoft file formats."

        No, they said they'd look at it, my guess is that they'll see how many custom macros there are and kick it into the long grass for someone else to deal with at some point. Not before they've used it as a stick to beat some volume discount of of MS with, mind.

    2. magnetik

      Re: Billion Cash every 2 weeks

      The only metric that counts is cash-flow

      That's exactly the kind of attitude that does so much harm in this world. You're probably best off doing business in China where wealth trumps petty things like the health of employees and long term survival of the planet's ecosystems.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gates lacks vision. When he was shown an e-book reader or possible tablet device in the 1990s (yes, that long ago) he didn't like it because the device was using a custom interface and he wanted the Windows GUI on it.

    It's probably the same reason Windows Mobile had a Start button. Completely the wrong interface metaphor for a mobile device.

    Gates is firmly grounded in the present or yesterday, it seems the only visionary in a large technology company was Jobs.

    1. 's water music

      > Gates lacks vision....he didn't like... a custom interface and he wanted the Windows GUI on it.

      It's probably the same reason Windows Mobile had a Start button. Completely the wrong interface metaphor for a mobile device.

      yahh. He should totally drop that start button. Windows users be always hating on that shit.

      :-)

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Hans 1

    It would be greatly appreciated if those who think the Gates & Melinda foundation, that was supposed to receive $48bn 5 years ago and never did, has done very little in this world, would STFU. I intentionally omitted the word "good" in the last sentence as I have yet to read about anything even remotely "positive" the foundation has done.

    I know it was heart-warming, having the richest man on the planet say he will give his foundation 98% of his wealth to heal/help/save/do good - this, however, was a PR stunt as reality has shown us. TBH, I am as sad as you are about this, because although I saw through it (PR stunt), I thought there was maybe some hope in Melinda's influence. This influence never materialized.

    So again, would you please STFU, thanks!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Hans 1

      "So again, would you please STFU, thanks!"

      I will as long as you do. Based on past precedent, I'm betting I can hold out longer :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err... Just one off the top of my head: The foundation has given more to the fight against malaria than all governments put together.

      It would greatly cheer me up if all the people who really want to hate Bill and Microsoft so much that they are prepared to wilfully ignore anything he does or spin it as evil in some way, would fuck off and leave the adults to have the discussion.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rockefeller Larry...

    @Larry Ellison

    "Bill Gates wants people to think he's Edison, when he's really Rockefeller. Though I wouldn't mind being Rockefeller either. But referring to Gates as the smartest man in America isn't right. I'm not the fourth smartest man in America. Wealth isn't the same thing as intelligence."

    Sometimes he does speak sense!

  16. Some Call Me Tim
    Pint

    A return to the old days

    Oh Dear :-(

    On the one hand if Bill returns to product development I'm rather glad I haven't got shares in MS, but on the other it means I'll have many more years being on the gravy train of being paid loads trying to get unnecessarily complicated fundamentally flawed dodgy MS products to work :-)

    Hooray for Bill! and the many extra hours of overtime for all us techies he's given us over the years :-)

  17. Paul Webb
    Unhappy

    Now that Microsoft has acquired Nokia

    Perhaps they should abandon software and hardware altogether and invest in pulp mills and wellies. Might have to have square toes though.

    Still, plenty of takers down here in Somerset.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now that Microsoft has acquired Nokia

      Judging by the number of British made wellies now on sale at our local farmers' co-op, the Nokia rescue welly ship has long sailed.

  18. Simon Rockman

    I don't want Gates to save Microsoft

    I want him to run for president and save the world.

    Watch some his TED talks, his views on education, traveling wave reactors, poverty, famine and disease. He gets technology, development and philanthopy. He'd be a much better president than anyone who wants to be a politician.

    Simon

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  21. John Sanders

    Save microsoft? From what exactly?

    Yeah,

    Somebody answer me that question.

    Save Microsoft from what exactly?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bad!?

    There's seems to be a meme here of either Bill Gates was great and Steve Jobs sucked or Steve Jobs was great and Bill Gates sucked. Maybe they were both different faces of the same monster; Business leaders who would use any and every means available regardless of who got shafted along the way.

    They both gave us lots of great toys to play with, they both copied other people's ideas. They both did good things, they both did bad things.

    Everybody can come up with stories of how Steve Jobs showed what a git he was and everybody can come up with stories of what a lovely and cuddly person he was. The same with Bill Gates. The only advantage Bill Gates currently has is that he's still alive so he can do more good/damage (delete as appropriate).

    For my part, I think that Bill Gates will take Microsoft backwards in terms of technology and innovation. He could well wreck the joint. I think he's a slime-ball.

  23. windowssucks

    I'm sorry Bill. You might not like this but i have already moved from your Windows ecosystem to decent, stable and secure Linux/open source software. And i have helped tens of my friends and relatives to make that same move. They too haven't miss you and your company since that move.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile M$ have named Nadella (Nads for short?) as their new CEO.

    Service and cloud guy as the new boss? sounds like more of the same then.

    They need someone who can do hardware and software well. Someone from the Xbox team.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh yes that "visionary" Gates again...

    ...the same guy that killed Alliard's tablet idea because "it didn't run Office." Imagine that, Microsoft could have beat Apple to the punch two years before the ipad, but the Chief Visionary Godhead of All Things Computer snorted because the Courier wasn't designed for Office.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Bill Gates to pull a Steve Jobs"

    You mean he's going to snuff it?

    I admire his dedication, but frankly that seems a bit excessive to me.

  27. marekt77

    MS needs a lot of change.

    Not sure BillG is the right person the help with those changes. Let us start with Ballmer’s quote about the iPhone when it was first released: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item.”

    That type of arrogance and lack of vision has really hurt MS. To be fair, the iPhone caught a lot of the old phone guard by surprise, but every smart phone on the market today owes its existence to the original iPhone. Remember the first time Google showed off Android prototypes? Sure they had touch screens, many of them looked like cloned Blackberries, and the way the OS worked was nothing like what it is today. Say what you want about Apple, and Jobs, but they did lead the way with the iPhone. That Ballmer didn’t immediately recognize its technological potential and make moves to counter is the reason why WP is in the state it is in today. Again, the same could have been said of Blackberry, Nokia, etc… The only company that got it was Google. Those Blackberry clones were dropped, and Android was released with similar functionality and operation as the iPhone. Google continued to tweak/innovate, and it is now the dominate player in smartphones. For Ballmer and Co. to dismiss the iPhone like that shows their arrogance, and utter lack of recognizing a transformative technology.

    Second: The “Courier” project. We will never know how far along this device was, or if it really did work as well as those demos that were on YouTube, but I do remember one thing. The “Courier” did something for Microsoft that has not happened in many, many, many years… It created a whole lot of buzz, interest, and dare I say excitement about a MS product. Geeks were generally excited about this thing on the internet. I cannot remember the last time outside of the Xbox that people were so excited about a product from MS. Why was it killed? Well the rumor was its lack of an email client. But I suspect it was because it had nothing to do with Windows. It wasn’t called “Win” something, it didn’t look like Windows, and I don’t think it even needed Windows PC to sync to. It was something totally new, and if those videos were true, something that could have been a killer notebook/e-reader/organizer/tablet/etc… Again this was right around the time the iPad was released, and back then iPads were considered to be overgrown iPhones, great for content consumption, but not really content creation. “Courier” could have beat Apple at their own game, a tool for the creative, the student, and the office. Instead the old guard killed it, and we now have Windows RT. Oh and J. Allard left the company, and the “skunk works” team he created at MS was disbanded. IMHO bring Allard back.

    Third: I think this is the hardest, and I do not know how to fully articulate it, but MS needs to get back into the conversation when it comes to technology. Example: how many startups would even consider developing their website/application in ASP.Net? I’m sure that number is very close to Zero. Is asp.Net the greatest web tech? No, but it is a very good framework and should be at least considered. Except, well, it only runs on Windows, and Windows Servers are expensive. So if I were MS, I would seriously consider releasing a free version of Windows Server. Something that will run the .Net stack, and IIS, make it command line only. Do not cripple the .Net/IIS part of it. They might lose some licensing costs, but maybe they can get into consideration for having the next Twitter or something built on that platform. It doesn’t give them licenses, but it at least puts them back in the conversation.

    Another example, if they claim IE is so great, make an OSX and dare I say Linux version of it. Release it on Android. It might not get much traction, but it makes a statement that yeah we can product a browser that can run with the best of them on all platforms. Don’t just rely on the fact that IE runs on Windows which still runs on the vast majority of desktops in the world. Throw in your software with the others on their own turf.

    I guess my last point is best summed by stopping MS from just relying on their dominate position in desktops to promote their other technology. Linux, OSX, Android are not going away, and neither is Windows for that matter, but they cannot just rely on their monopoly to sell themselves to the world. They have to be able to break free, and not be afraid to cannibalize their own products. This is one thing that Jobs understood and was not afraid to do. Better you cannibalize your own, then a competitor to do it for you.

  28. SMOKEING

    know what you are doing

    Pulling a Steve Jobs comes with a catch, presently being overlooked in the article: a quick death, in a physical sense, rather soonish after the trick.

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