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Microsoft Cellphones Handhelds Windows Technology

Bungled Mobile Bet Will Be Ballmer's Swan Song 300

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.

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <> 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 [] 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 Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:28PM (#41933417)

    Ditto. Netbooks are great if you delete Windows and install a real OS. I'm wondering what I'm going to replace mine with when it dies, if the rush to tablets continues.

  • by duplicitious ( 987818 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:37PM (#41933527)
    True, but Apple is winning, so they get to rewrite history...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:38PM (#41933537)

    Being a Linux/BSD guy, I gave Windows a try. Recently installed Windows 2012 Server.

    It can't even show the nice folder view with picture previews. Just look at kde, this works out of the box.
    No meaningful shell.
    No easy out of the box way to compile software. Need to install DevStudio monstrosity or cygwin, linux environment.
    Friends keep complaining that Windows keeps freezing while copying large files over the network.

    Ubuntu IMO is way more usable as it is today. But of course Windows is well entrenched with generations seeing nothing but Windows, ever.

    Given all these issues with Windows and how Android/iPhone are dominant on mobile market, I would say "No way, Jose!". Possible, but completely improbable.

  • 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.

  • Surface = Zune XL (Score:1, Interesting)

    by KrazyDave ( 2559307 ) <> on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:50PM (#41933667) Homepage
    Interesting product, but like the Zune it will not connect with enough consumers, corporate or otherwise. That, plus W8 is awful. MS should have spent resources making 7 viable instead of scrapping everything for the "tiles." Ugh.
  • So Many Mis-Steps (Score:1, Interesting)

    by NormAtHome ( 99305 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @01:56PM (#41933731)

    The fact is Ballmer is a sales guy, plain and simple and there have so many things that Microsoft has done wrong it's hard to list them all and I have to wonder if he's just the wrong person to be running things.

    For example, starting with Office 2007 came the dreaded "tool ribbon" which to this day 9 out of 10 end users hate with a passion. For example one of my neighbors is a well regarded author with at least six books that have gotten some kind of award and she is fairly active in the community of authors; she's still using office 2003 and will not switch to a newer version because she just can't tolerate the tool ribbon and she says most authors whom she knows feel the same way. Remember back in the day, when Quattro Pro had selectable user interface and all those Lotus 1-2-3 users could switch without any effort? How about something like that (for Office and Windows) rather than MS jamming their idea of what the UI should be down the end users throats!

    Another glaring example, starting with Window's Vista we the technician's lost the ability to do a repair of the operating system. In many cases where something went seriously wrong with XP (virus damage etc) you could almost count on a repair install to get the system working again but not with Vista or Windows 7 where the only choice you have is to backup your data and do a complete re-installation; what a waste of time.

    And I've heard (maybe this is just a rumor) that the next version of Windows server is not going to have a GUI interface and will be completely command line driven; what sysadmin wants to sit there typing command after command into a Dos prompt.

    These are just the things that came to mind, if I actually sat here for a while I'm sure I could think of a bunch more.

    - Norm

  • by Patch86 ( 1465427 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:01PM (#41933787)

    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 good, portable, proper laptop, the form factor is exactly what I want.

  • 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 gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:15PM (#41933919)

    understand that you're coming from a position of ignorance and frankly, it shows!

    Windows may not be as good as the alternatives in many respects, but its not totally useless. It has a very capable shell - Powershell, you can install all manner of IDEs without the monstrosity that is visual studio (yeah, it has bloated a lot), but there's code:blocks, eclipse, qt's suite, intel's compiler even. It can display folders with preview pictures - in many different styles, like Large icons, medium or small icons, or tiles etc.

    So... if you're going to give it a go, you have to give it a proper chance. Your post is like a Windows user installing Linux and complaining there's no way to map network drive letters.

  • by Andy Prough ( 2730467 ) on Friday November 09, 2012 @02:39PM (#41934187)
    However, when I read TFA, Snyder is trying to argue that Netbooks and Ultra Books are MS's and Intel's response to iPads and Android tablets. His premise is clearly absurd, as netbooks were selling by the millions before the first iPad was ever manufactured, and Ultra Books are a response to Macbook Air - not to tablets. MS might end up screwing up big-time with Surface, but it won't have anything to do with Snyder's curious re-working of the history of the netbook.
  • 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.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.