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Microsoft Cellphones Handhelds Windows Technology

Bungled Mobile Bet Will Be Ballmer's Swan Song 300

Posted by Soulskill
from the tablets-tablets-tablets dept.
snydeq writes "'If Windows 8 and the Surface tablet flop, you'll see a shareholder revolt that will send Steve Ballmer packing by this time next year,' writes InfoWorld's Bill Snyder. 'First it was the netbook, then it was the Ultrabook. Microsoft, Intel, and the PC makers keep looking for a way to convince buyers they don't need an iPad or Android tablet. Neither initiative gained much traction, so Microsoft bet big on Windows 8 and the Surface. ... Maybe we're wrong, and buyers will decide that the new OS and the Microsoft's first serious venture into hardware are what they want. It would be a huge boost for the industry if it happens, but I'm not optimistic. ... There's been a string of bad quarters, and the stock has been frozen for nine years. At some point — I think we're getting really close — investors are going to demand a shakeup. When they do, it's going to be good-bye, Ballmer."
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Bungled Mobile Bet Will Be Ballmer's Swan Song

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  • I like my netbook. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pecosdave (536896) * on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:22PM (#41933353) Homepage Journal

    It came with Windows 7 Starter though I've never actually used it. I upgraded the 1GB factory RAM to 2 GB. It runs Kubuntu like a dream, I replaced the factory HDD with an SSD and I have it booting Chromium from power button to login prompt in 26 seconds.

    Why I really like it?

    It fits in a small backpack. It's no problem carrying it when I bike, unlike a larger laptop, it's got awesome battery life and I've had two major bike crashes where I got pretty descent injuries (chainline failures at bad times, both of them) with the thing in my backpack and it's still working perfectly today. Best initial $250 I ever spent on a computer and the upgrades I put in were totally worth it.

    I don't use it for much more than web browsing, it's not a work horse, but it does web browsing like a champ, and I have done some very minor Gimp edits and some other things on it too.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Patch86 (1465427)

      Agreed. I'm on my second since the form factor really took off, and I'll happily replace it with #3 when this one reaches the end of its life.

      And ditto with Linux (my current one is running vanilla Ubuntu- Unity is pretty decent for the form factor. Although considering its heritage as Ubuntu Netbook Remix, that's not a huge surprise).

      Tablets just aren't laptops, however hard you squint at them. And big "proper laptops" (desktop replacements, like the one I use for work) just aren't portable enough. For a g

    • by fl!ptop (902193)

      Best initial $250 I ever spent on a computer and the upgrades I put in were totally worth it.

      This. For the price, you can't beat 'em. I've had my EeePC for 3 years now and have been picking them up for friends and customers on ebay for up to $200 (new, unused, 1 year old, etc.). My favorites to bid on are the people who get them for free at a convention or whatever but never use it and it just sits in the closet until they realize, "Oh yeah, I can probably sell that."

      I can do everything on my EeePC that

    • I have 2. My personal is an ancient Acer ZG5 with 8GB slow SSD running Kubuntu, works like a charm. My work one is an ASUS T101MT (laptop/tablet hybrid) running Win7 Pro (too many contracting companies send windows-only tools) Also works like a charm - with system protection and indexing off, a large class 10 SD card for readyboost, mydefrag and ntregopt run after any updates, and NO bloatware installed .

      As far as I'm concerned, the netbook is a very nice form factor for mobile use, I use it for longer tas

    • I've been using my eeepc now for over 2 years and it is my full time work & play machine. It does everything I need - it runs apache and mysql for dev, plays vids with vlc, runs browsers with a silly number of tabs open (and loads of other apps), I plug in a big screen and spread my desktop across the two screens and I connect a small mouse.. it runs ubuntu netbook remix (10.04) and gets a reboot once every couple of months if it's lucky.

      I can't see myself needing any other computer these days as long a

    • ... I've had two major bike crashes where I got pretty descent injuries (chainline failures at bad times, both of them) with the thing in my backpack and it's still working perfectly today.

      What is a "chainline failure"? I own a bike. I've even been hit by a car (ruining my backpack because I couldn't get the blood washed out). I've used google (and I got your post as like the 5th result -- I did not know they'd gotten so "real time"). But I don't know what you mean. Am I overthinking this and your chain broke or came off, or is this something else that can kill me I didn't even know I had to worry about?

      BTW, my netbook didn't get crash tested like yours, but a bag of coffee beans I'd just pur

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:22PM (#41933363) Journal
    Well, I'm in an odd predicament here ... on the one hand I'd love to see Steve Ballmer leave Microsoft but on the other who would be left for me to write satirical posts about on Slashdot?

    The other thing is that I sort of sympathize with Ballmer. Sure, Windows 8 and Surface have flaws. Even when Microsoft does something right like the Kinect, we're upset that those open drivers aren't released on day one. And being a lowly software developer with zero stock in Microsoft (okay, I don't really track my 401k funds down to the stock), I sort of have to ask shareholders a big question: If you want to oust Ballmer over Windows 8 and Surface tablet, why didn't you simply sell all your shares and even short the stock when they debuted? I mean, hindsight is 20/20 and shareholders get to play this game where they read the SEC reports on these things, then they get to sit there watching and then if these products fail they basically go on a litigation witch hunt on whoever made these decisions. But if Windows 8 and the Surface tablet are huge hits? Well, you'll never hear a peep from those shareholders. They likely either quietly cash out or demand more growth (thus delaying pending litigation).

    I can understand shareholders suing over actual gross negligence or actual shady accounting and misreporting to the SEC. But it should be the SEC who decides which company to sue over that. Look, if you've got shares in Microsoft and it's painfully obvious that Windows 8 and the Surface Tablet are gonna flop then what in the hell are you doing holding onto those shares? Microsoft should decide internally if it's Ballmer's time to go, not some shareholder with their eye on the prize and little knowledge of technology. I don't like to defend Ballmer and he very well may have conceived these things himself and pushed them through development and production -- but wouldn't the people on the inside [microsoft.com] know that it's time for him to step down after that?

    I'm pretty sure what happened here was Ballmer said, "What's the best thing we got? Okay, we're going with that." If it was Steve Jobs style micromanaging that forced these products through and the board of directors has no clout against Ballmer then the shareholders might have a place here. I just don't see that right now.

    Also I feel like there's a lot of potential explanations for this guy's complaints:

    But the really telling number was in the Windows Division, with revenue of $3.24 billion, down a frightening 33 percent from the same period last year.

    So Microsoft releases the first stable version of Windows 7 on February 22 of 2011 and a year later you're calling a 1/3 drop in Windows sales "frightening"? Perhaps they were just coming down from everyone's move to Windows 7? I mean you (hopefully) only need to buy that once for your machine.

    This author claims to be "putting his neck on the line" with this prediction but all I see are a lot of questions that want you to believe what he's saying will happen without him ever actually saying that Microsoft's mobile will flop and Steve Ballmer will then be ousted. To back that up he goes on with further questions surrounding earnings reports. God I've wasted too much time on this post already considering how insipid the original article is.

    • by JMJimmy (2036122) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:39PM (#41933555)

      So Microsoft releases the first stable version of Windows 7 on February 22 of 2011 and a year later you're calling a 1/3 drop in Windows sales "frightening"? Perhaps they were just coming down from everyone's move to Windows 7? I mean you (hopefully) only need to buy that once for your machine.

      When revenue in just about all divisions drop to near 2006 levels, you've got a problem.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-microsoft-income-by-segment-2012-10 [businessinsider.com]

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:58PM (#41933753)

        So Microsoft releases the first stable version of Windows 7 on February 22 of 2011 and a year later you're calling a 1/3 drop in Windows sales "frightening"? Perhaps they were just coming down from everyone's move to Windows 7? I mean you (hopefully) only need to buy that once for your machine.

        When revenue in just about all divisions drop to near 2006 levels, you've got a problem.

        http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-microsoft-income-by-segment-2012-10 [businessinsider.com]

        Uh, we're also at the same levels were were in March of 2010 and March of 2011. Mind explaining why he wasn't ousted then? Or why you skipped those dates and went all the way back to 2006 before the recession? Yeah, everyone was riding high before the recession ... we know ...

        • by JMJimmy (2036122)

          March '10/'11 were both about half a billion higher than Sept '12. There is also a downturn every March due to the way MS does it's books so comparing Sept to March isn't useful. Comparing Sept '06 to '12 we see that revenues for the Windows division sit around 3.5 billion. In six years he managed to grow the revenue 0%. Office and Server tools have seen steady growth, but all of Balmer's babies (online services, mobile/windows revamps, etc) have all flat lined. Where he's largely kept his paws off is

    • Bad Performance? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:55PM (#41934387)

      Where's the bad performance? Anyone looked at the stock market? The tech sector OVERALL is at -22% since 2003 (9 years ago). MS is BEATING THE INDUSTRY, lol. Sure, APPLE is way up, but if you discount that one stock MS is actually pretty much the best performer around. I mean I'm sure you can find smaller plays that are of course MUCH MUCH better, or Apple, but I hardly think that the shareholders at MS have any big reason to complain currently. They MAY feel uneasy about the strategic direction of the company, but the notion that stock performance is going to get Balmer tossed is probably not even close to realistic. Truthfully stock holders don't generally think a lot about strategic considerations either, sadly. If they did a LOT of CEOs would be out of jobs...

      • "Most recently, Microsoft reported $4.47 billion in net income for its first fiscal quarter of 2013, a 22 percent decline from the same period a year earlier, while revenue was off 8 percent. But the really telling number was in the Windows Division, with revenue of $3.24 billion, down a frightening 33 percent from the same period last year."

        22% decline in profits compared to a year ago is not good. This is what investors look like. These are the numbers that will drag a stock price down. It doesn't m
      • by MaerD (954222) on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:37PM (#41935395)

        I think I found your secret message:

        OVERALL MS BEATING THE INDUSTRY APPLE MUCH MUCH MAY LOT CEO

        limp encyclopedic hero ate oval bagels thus tantrum, yum

        Was I right?

        Or was it simpler? APPLE BEATING MS OVERALL. MUCH INDUSTRY. CEO MAY LOT... no wait.. that isn't making much sense, I think I got it the first time.

        Seriously though. what's with the CAPITALIZING RANDOM words? it MAY BE.. no it is.. VERY ANNOYING.

  • Another gamble ups the anti.

  • by Andy Prough (2730467) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:27PM (#41933409)
    not the other way around.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by duplicitious (987818)
      True, but Apple is winning, so they get to rewrite history...
    • Er? Tablets existed long before netbooks. Since Bill Gates himself was saying that they were the future in 2001 or so. However, Microsoft had poor execution of the concept. For MS, a tablet was a foldable Windows laptop with a touchscreen thrown in as an afterthought. MS never really embraced touch in the OS. They just replaced a mouse for a stylus and called it done. So the MS tablet was more expensive and more cumbersome and did not do more than a laptop did. It was no wonder it was a flop.
      • by shmlco (594907) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:03PM (#41933805) Homepage

        " So the MS tablet was more expensive and more cumbersome and did not do more than a laptop did. It was no wonder it was a flop."

        The tablet failed under MS because they saw it as just another platform for "Windows Everywhere". Because it ran Windows and Windows applications it needed an expensive Intel processor, RAM, storage, fans, and so on. Add it all up, and MS's "vision" of a table was a big, heavy, clunky device with 3 hours of battery life.

        • by Dr. Evil (3501)

          Add it all up, and MS's "vision" of a table was a big, heavy, clunky device with 3 hours of battery life.

          Correction: hardware manufacturers' vision of a tablet was a big, heavy, clunky devices with 3 hours of battery life.

          Now Microsoft is creating their own tablet, and HW manufacturers are complaining that MS is competing with them.

          MS's fundamental strategies were wrong... but they're the same strategies which nearly killed Apple in the early 90s. Things change.

          • by tuppe666 (904118)

            correction: hardware manufacturers' vision of a tablet was a big, heavy, clunky devices with 3 hours of battery life.Now Microsoft is creating their own tablet, and HW manufacturers are complaining that MS is competing with them.

            Correction. OEM Hardware manufactures had...and still don't have any control over Microsoft software. So when you look at the parts you missed from original post "Windows and Windows applications it needed an expensive Intel processor, RAM, storage, fans, and so on", you corrected nothing. Lets face it windows wasn't designed for ARM with a large capacitive touch screen. That is Microsoft fault...nobody else.

            Now it is the fault of the hardware manufactures for being so under Microsoft's thumb. They couldn't

      • They were laptops with some touch-screen capability. Completely different beast.
        • They were called tablets. Everyone called them tablets. The OS was "Windows Tablet Edition". They were MS' vision of tablets which is different than the current vision of a tablet. For MS everything had to be a PC. That was their mistake; they couldn't see past the paradigm.
          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Tablet_PC [wikipedia.org]. "Microsoft Tablet PC is a term coined by Microsoft for tablet computers conforming to a set of specifications announced in 2001 by Microsoft, for a pen-enabled personal computer, conforming to hardware specifications devised by Microsoft and running a licensed copy of Windows XP Tablet PC Edition operating system or a derivative thereof.[1] Hundreds of such tablet personal computers have come onto the market since then.[2]"
      • Er? Tablets existed long before netbooks

        Did they? I still have a netbook I bought in 1999. 133 MHz Pentium, 96M RAM, 3.2G hard drive. Same physical size as an Asus EEE. Came with Windows 98. Can barely run Firefox 3.6.

    • Actually, not true. Apple started work on tablets long before there were Netbooks (and before the iPhone.) The MacBook Air is Apple's response to Netbooks.

      However, there is certainly a bit of serendipity (at least) about the timing of the iPad introduction with respect to the push by PC hardware makers for NetBooks. What both NetBooks and tablets revealed is substantial consumer discontent with conventional (mostly Windows) laptops for many uses.

      On another topic I cited the 'horns effect' - the opposite o

  • Good riddance (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    when he eventually goes, it will be the best thing ever to happen to the computer industry.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      I hate to see him leave. Having Ballmer drag Microsoft into the toilet is a good thing. If they got someone new who could revitalize MS then they go back to crushing innovation under their heel. Failure at Microsoft is good for the computer industry.

  • They could have sold a few million of those things, everyone was raving about it, and then they killed it stone dead. Even though it had a MS badge on it, I was willing to give it a go.

    I have a feeling that Steve Balmer is out of touch, or maybe I am, I don't know.

  • Netbooks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by romanval (556418) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:32PM (#41933477)
    Netbooks were started by ASUS and their peers as an 'appliance' laptop- They were Linux based and only cost a few hundred bucks. Microsoft didn't try to get into it until it was posing as a threat to Windows!
    • And several companies have since discontinued production of netbooks. So now what's recommended for people who want to run PC applications that aren't very demanding of CPU speed on a device that fits in a messenger bag? Or are there so few people in that situation that they're an edge case not worth serving?
      • Re:Discontinued (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jader3rd (2222716) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:13PM (#41933905)

        So now what's recommended for people who want to run PC applications that aren't very demanding of CPU speed on a device that fits in a messenger bag? Or are there so few people in that situation that they're an edge case not worth serving?

        Every time I saw a netbook it was when someone handed it to me, asking me to make it faster. I told them it was a netbook and that it wasn't built to be fast, and that there was little I could do. I then asked them why they got it and they said that they wanted a cheap laptop. So you have a generation of consumers who bought a netbook, realized that they didn't have patience for it, and now will make sure they will get a laptop that they don't need to be patient with.

      • by romanval (556418)
        Well, Google is rebooting the 'laptop appliance' concept with the ChromeBook (a $250 ARM cpu'd laptop). It'll work well for people who's entire computing world can fit within a web browser.
      • by gl4ss (559668)

        if you want to buy a sub 300 bucks netbook, buy one.
        major manufacturers still have them in stores(you can buy roughly the same thing from ~10+ different brands).

    • Wrong. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Qbertino (265505) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:40PM (#41934205)

      ASUS and their peers copied the idea about 10 years after the first netbook and started a new boom of cheap latop-like mobile computers.

      Netbooks were started by ASUS and their peers as an 'appliance' laptop- They were Linux based and only cost a few hundred bucks. Microsoft didn't try to get into it until it was posing as a threat to Windows!

      Let me fix that for you:

      Netbooks were started by PSION as an 'appliance' laptop- They were EPOC based and only cost a few hundred bucks AND had 40 hrs of battery uptime. Microsoft did get into it with the last Edition WindowsCE, because PSION thought it would be a great Idea to get in bed with MS. PSION standing in the mobile market folded shortly thereafter, just as Nokia is folding now.

      A shame actually, the original Netbook [wikipedia.org] was a very good machine with some features we can only dream about even today, 13 years later (like a really awesome keyboard despite the really small size)

      EPOC went on to become the awesome Symbian Mobile OS which Nokia dropped after getting in bed with MS. ... What a coincidence.

    • by s.petry (762400)

      The part of the story missing is how they got in to that game, and in fact many others. It was not (and traditionally this is true) that Microsoft tried to out-do people with technology, it was that they tried to sue the shit out of competition. This is "still" their primary business model. Advertise, FUD, and lawyers. This old Apple commercial [youtube.com] nailed a fundamental problem with Microsoft.

      Look, to be honest it worked for a long time. But eventually, consumers start turning on douche bag companies. It

  • 4 million Windows 8 "upgrades" in just the first weekend - doesn't count any of the OEM or retail sales, just the online upgrade portal.

    I don't think Windows 8 is the big flop anti-Microsoft folks are hoping it will be. It's different. But so was Windows 95 when the Start Menu was introduced. My Surface RT and I will be here if you need us.

    • by tuppe666 (904118) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:57PM (#41933747)

      4 million Windows 8 "upgrades" in just the first weekend - doesn't count any of the OEM or retail sales, just the online upgrade portal.

      Is that a lot!? ...seems like a tiny number to me considering the Desktop maketplace is 1.6Billion last time I looked. Android activates 1.3million users daily, and that's a phone OS. I don't see large queues of people like I do for say the iPhone...or like there used to be for say Windows95.

      Lets be honest 4million isn't all that many.

  • Too late... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:45PM (#41933617)
    Mr. Ballmer should have been sent packing after the Vista debacle. He should have been sent packing after the iPod/iPhone/iPad cleaned Microsoft's clock in the mobile world while Microsoft just sat on its collective monopoly-enhanced fat ass.

    .
    At this point, I doubt if Microsoft's Board of Directors (who are chartered with looking out for shareholder interests) are any less to blame than Mr. Ballmer.

    Maybe the shareholders should demand significant fresh blood in Microsoft's Board of Directors, since the BoD has allowed to continue, even fostered, the Ballmer problem far longer than they should have.

    • MS has been too slow to react. J. Allard reviewed MS' answer to the iPod in 2003 and he concluded it was a terrible product. 3 years later the Zune came out but it was so far behind and the market was shifting to smart phones and not MP3 players as the next hot thing.
  • Gamble? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bfandreas (603438) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:47PM (#41933641)
    The risk if they fail isn't actually that high. A lot of companies and institutions have just finished/started phasing out XP for 7. So I don't think MS planned to sell a lot of licenses to those. The real clever thing is the fusion of laptop and notebook that is yet to come(Windows RT will propably be a distant third; people are propably already locked in Google Play and iTunes) and that is a smart move.

    The next gen laptop will resemle the Transformer line of Asus. iPad 3 owners look up whenever I unpack my Prime. Imagining this with a 13" screen and an I7 actually makes me happy in the pants.

    I wonder how long those go on one charge. The Prime lasts for a day(if you include a humon sleep cycle and the keyboard/battery thing).

    Funfact: hoking up a tablet to an LCD projector and controlling the presentation with a PS3 DualShock controller does turn a couple of heads. Especially when "accidently" activating Sonic in the down-time. Everybody likes Sonic.

    I think an OS that is also controllable on a touch screen is a smart move. But I won't use that particular feature on my desktop. My arms aren't that long and watching Star Trek does require very little interaction. And there always are the perils of Cat Interference.
  • by v1 (525388) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:50PM (#41933655) Homepage Journal

    out with the Ballmer, in with the "interim CEO" bill gates? would be interesting to see what he does with the company now that he's become more of a philanthropist. Worked for Apple, and we know how MS loves to ... innovate.

    • Gates doesn't want any part of that I'd imagine. He seems to have embraced philanthropy pretty strongly, and he's be walking into a possibly unwinnable war.
  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:52PM (#41933683)

    I sure there are a whole host of reasons why Ballmer should go, but they are not covered in this irrelevant Apple vs Microsoft pissing contest. Here is the thing Google is winning mobile, yet is mentioned nowhere in the article. Apple are losing there grip on mobile as we speak...the numbers quoted in the article sound impressive, but there market share is shrinking 23.1% to 14.9% for smartphones...and the iPad only occupies 50.4% of the tablet market. Its in trouble, and in context of this article its share price is dropping because of its poor results, ironically the same results quoted in the article. Microsoft do need a compelling mobile offering, but nothing in the article says anything about what is happening in the current Mobile market place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:59PM (#41933759)

    What does Microsoft have to do with netbooks or ultrabooks? Netbooks were Intel's initiative to create a secondary computer for consumption only that would be too weak to run Windows (Vista at the time). The fact that almost all of them ended up running Windows was bonus for Microsoft, and Intel's loss. Tablets (iPad and Android) are intended for the same purpose. Ultrabooks are Intel's initiative to reduce their dependency on Apple for the high-end laptop market. Neither of these was started by Microsoft, although Microsoft has clearly benefitted from both. So I don't know where he's coming from with this.

    He's on better ground with the claim that if Windows 8 and Surface fail Balmer will be in trouble. At least these are both clearly Microsoft's doing. But how could Window 8 fail? It's pretty much guaranteed at least Vista levels of success, which is to say a marketing failure but a sales success. And considering that most enterprises are currently moving to Windows 7 and Windows 8 won't be in their normal upgrade cycle a lack of enterprise sales won't be considered failure by itself. It's pretty much impossible for Balmer to get serious pain from a single release of Windows. Surface is easier to measure failure on. Microsoft has clearly invested lots of money in designing and producing it, so if there are very few sales there will be a substantial loss. Still, the sales projections aren't huge, so it seems likely that they will be met. Surface has limited distribution, likely due to limited production. If sales are really bad then production will slow down and distribution will increase, which would help to minimize losses. And I'm ignoring the fact that reviews for both have been generally positive. Outside of places like Slashdot the reception has been mixed, but more positive than negative. Which makes complete failure seem unlikely. Unless people stop buying PCs and buy iPads instead Balmer seems pretty secure in his position for now.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      +1 informative.

      Netbooks originally ran Linux. Putting Windows on them came later when people saw that they were selling but people wanted Windows.

    • by Tridus (79566)

      Windows 8 can fail in the tablet and phone markets. Nobody really expects the PC version to do worse than Vista (or be as popular as 7).

      But if Surface fails and Nokia continues to fail? They'll have pissed off all these people with Metro on the desktop for nothing. I doubt Ballmer can survive that, as the market REALLY wants to see MS move into those areas.

  • The Windows 8 touchscreen laptops are cool - check one out hands-on if you haven't - but are way overpriced (like Ultrabooks), making it a no-brainer for most to turn to the cheaper tablets. Add touchscreens to those $229-$399 Win 8 laptops, and people will IMHO think twice about going with a less-functional tablet! Selling crippled hardware is what did in the Netbooks - hopefully MS won't repeat this mistake with Win8.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:02PM (#41933795)

    Steve Balmer is the Rahm Emanuel of High Tech: He has no respect for the people who put him and his company where they are.

    His customers have long since noticed. They are forced to use MS products because there are no other practical choices in the marketplace, and Balmer disrespects them even while he takes their money. This has now become a serious problem for Microsoft -- as a company it enjoys no good will from its customers. Without customer good will, MS products don't get the attention and consideration they might deserve, from customers, who have been forced to use MS Windows and MS Office and pay unrealistic prices for the dubious privilege.

    Balmer also has no respect for his employees. He plays projects, managers and products off against each other until his best employees leave. This creates stress, consumes time, costs money and consistently produces compromised, mediocre products that are often outdated on their FCS date. MS talent drain has always been unmanageable, even when employment conditions favored MS.

    Without happy customers, without happy employees, and without the sense to correct these two negative business issues, MS is pretty much doomed.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:18PM (#41933955)

    Windows 8 is very nice. The only problem is how underdeveloped and closed, the currently developed apps are, including microsofts own. Windows 8 Apps need to be full featured and well thought out. Right now, the app store isnt even good.

    There is work to do still, but the OS is incredibly good. All that is needed is for Microsoft to comit to good idea it has, and work on the apps and app store to show people how good it can be.

    Right now, its not even a competitor to Apple. The apps are bad mostly, the store is a joke compared to itunes very well organized store. The store itself lacks features.

    Microsoft has R&D'd great ideas over the years and never got behind them fully. I hope this isnt just another microsoft zune. This is a great idea, with a great OS behind it. IF MS lets this slip away into boring like the media player, zune, etc... well MS will find itself with a new leader, as it should.

    It's clear that MS has great programmers and tech... they just need the direction of say a Steve Jobs....

    • by kenorland (2691677) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:37PM (#41934175)

      Windows 8 is a pretty mixed bag. Parts of it are good, parts of it are mediocre, and parts of it are lousy. The problem with this is that it doesn't average out; it's the parts that users get stuck on again and again that determine the overall experience. Consistently mediocre would be better than this.

      Part of what makes it such a mixed bag is the way in which old software constantly rears its ugly (and I mean ugly!) head, when you least expect it. That's really confusing.

      Microsoft's bad karma, meticulously built over decades, also comes back to haunt them: developers just expect getting screwed again. Maybe Microsoft will copy their wildly successful product, Maybe Microsoft will just drop some important API or technology leaving their product stranded. Maybe Microsoft will just decide next year to give up on Surface altogether and clone Google Glass instead. No matter what, developers pretty much know they are going to get screwed.

      50% great tech just isn't enough.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:24PM (#41934027)
    [Points to empty chair and addresses Ballmer] "When somebody doesn't do the job, you've got to let them go... hey, hey what are you doing with my chair monkey boy?"
  • by PPH (736903)

    Don't count on it. There's a reason Microsoft chose NASDAQ and stayed off NYSE many years ago. Differing requirements for shareholder rights as a condition of listing was one of them. Insider control is very strong at MSFT.

  • Ballmer is near invincible, so long as the MSFT stock continues to not-decline.I don't think anyone has the guts to actually show him the door when the stock isn't plummeting. Sure, maybe the stock will plummet if Surface flops, but somehow I doubt it.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:06PM (#41935073) Homepage

    Windows 8 and Windows mobile/tablet efforts will fail horribly. There is nothing "business" about these things and therefore they can't effectively tie them in with their Windows+AD+Office network of offerings. That's the only strategy that works for Microsoft and they should keep doing it. They are, instead, changing direction, chasing after a market they don't fully understand with things people don't exactly want.

  • ballmer needs to go (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dan667 (564390) on Friday November 09, 2012 @04:48PM (#41935489)
    microsoft has never been an innovator, but his running them into the ground is a textbook example of why you don't let marketing run a technology company.

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