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Ray Ozzie's Departing Memo a Warning To Microsoft

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-bsods dept.

Microsoft 345

itwbennett writes "In a parting memo to Microsoft, Ray Ozzie urges Microsoft to 'really, truly, seriously start thinking beyond the PC,' writes blogger Chris Nurney. Nurney suspects that 'Ozzie has been making these points internally for some time,' and that the memo 'could be his way of putting it in the public record.' Some of the memo's juicy bits: 'It's important that all of us do precisely what our competitors and customers will ultimately do: close our eyes and form a realistic picture of what a post-PC world might actually look like, if it were to ever truly occur. ... Today's PCs, phones & pads are just the very beginning; we'll see decades to come of incredible innovation from which will emerge all sorts of "connected companions" that we'll wear, we'll carry, we'll use on our desks & walls and the environment all around us.'"

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MS is doing that (2, Insightful)

weachiod (1928554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017098)

I think someone has missed Windows Phone 7 and the tablets Microsoft will be releasing shortly. Hell, Microsoft Courier looked like the only tablet I wanted. Screw iPad, Courier was cool.

But the truth also is that Microsoft has a huge dominance on computer market and that isn't going anywhere. They are truly dominating it. I don't think it's a warning as such to Microsoft, just a suggestion for if they want to grow. And interestingly, that is what Microsoft is and has been doing for many years already. Xbox360 is a truly fantastic product too.

Just bring me something that Courier was supposed to be. I want it, I need it! Combine that with environment like Windows where everyone can freely develop their software and include things like XNA and Xbox Live and you have a wonderful product on your hands!

Re:MS is doing that (5, Interesting)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017146)

Do you remember.. Windows Mobile 6? Pocket PC? Yeah, I developed for those platforms, and I can tell you that Microsoft seriously didn't give a shit. I doubt they have changed much since then. When your core product is for PCs, it's hard changing your company's thinking.

Re:MS is doing that (3, Interesting)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017224)

The phrase "survival of the fittest" actually came from a mistake that was made when Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" was translated into German. The correct phrase, and concept, is "Survival of the most adaptable".

It's just as true in the business world as it is in nature.

Re:MS is doing that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017432)

Fittest: don't think about a Fitness Club where you can do exercises, think about the best fit as in plumbing.

Re:MS is doing that (5, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017444)

The phrase "survival of the fittest" actually came from a mistake that was made when Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" was translated into German. The correct phrase, and concept, is "Survival of the most adaptable".

Since the phrase was first used by Herbert Spencer in 1864, writing in English, I don't think so. Darwin himself used the phrase "natural selection" and not "survival of the fittest," but in 1869 he did quote the "survival of the fittest" phrase (correctly attributing the quote to Spencer); and did it in English (not translating it into German).

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/340400.html [phrases.org.uk]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest [wikipedia.org]

Re:MS is doing that (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017466)

So what Darwin was saying is... the transformers will outlive humans?

Re:MS is doing that (1, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018252)

Dude, you are so full of shit man.

Think about this way. High School. The jocks, which you could arguably say are the fittest physically, are getting all the pussy. Are they adapting? No. They never change their game and remain the same all throughout high school. They walk around, and if by some sort of unknown gravitational effect, pussy just flies around corners to them.

Now take all the nerds, geeks, loners, etc. Do they adapt? Hell yes. It's a constant churn of adaptation, trial and error, failures, notes, frustrated exchanges. I don't think the NSA has worked as hard to decipher encrypted communications between terrorists. Negative comments (allegedly reduces a girls self-esteem to the point where penetration might actually be theoretically possible), pirate eye patches, fake tattoos, not-really-gay-but-playing-one-in-the-hopes-of-a-shower-with-you schemes, are all a fervent series of adaptations.

Yet who gets all the pussy still? The jocks.

Survival of the most adaptable sounds logically, but come on, we both know it is survival of the fittest in practice.

Re:MS is doing that (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017942)

perhaps you havent seen the shift microsoft has made since WinMo6. since then Microsoft has come a LONG way in its development strategies and its relationships with its 3rd party developers. Microsoft is not the company it was in 1995, or even 2007. they are a big, slow moving beast, but not a stupid one. they are moving the right direction, and in fact Microsoft has pretty good SDK tools and training available here: create.msdn.com

Re:MS is doing that (4, Insightful)

Squidnut (1905196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017150)

Smartphones and tablets are a step in the right direction, but they're nowhere near the ideal of ubiquitous computing that Ozzie is suggesting. Much like Microsoft, you're not looking far enough ahead.

Re:MS is doing that (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017184)

They do retain a (very slowly loosening) iron grip on the enterprise market though...a big money maker (and future) to be sure.

Granted, that has nothing to do with the kind of stuff TFA is talking about, but having a hand in the infrastructure that will make all that cool stuff actually useful is nothing to sneeze at.

Re:MS is doing that (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017268)

Frankly I am starting to wonder if Microsoft is going to be the next Curtis Wright.
In 1954 just about every airliner on the planet used their engines. The president of the company said that they could keep making that one engine until the end of time and people would still be buying them.
By 1960 they where no longer a major producer of aircraft engines.
Today they make valves for hydraulic systems.

Re:MS is doing that (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017330)

To say that Curtiss Wright "[makes] valves for hydraulic systems" is a gross over simplification of their current product line. While I agree that they could be much more than they are, I also knew you were going to downplay them unfairly when I had seen you couldn't even be bothered to spell their name correctly.

Re:MS is doing that (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017518)

Suck my big gigantic COCK.

Re:MS is doing that (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018028)

Okay the make control systems. But that company was a merger of The Curtiss company as in Glen Curtiss and the Wright Engine company an in the Wright Brothers.
The company that made the P-40 fighter plane and the Engines that powered a good percentage of US aircraft in WWII including but not limited too the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-25, and the B-29!. After the war they produced the engine for long range aircraft.
Until the Jet came along.
They failed to make the leap and are now a relatively small company compared to their main rival.
They did survive but I would say that they went from being a major player to being a supplier.

Re:MS is doing that (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017546)

What's most interesting about this to me is the technology changes themselves. From a few minutes' worth of research I see that Curtiss Wright failed to make the best jet engines. Even their own aircraft wound up getting refit with Westinghouse models. That's not good.

Microsoft could be thus, but there needs to be a jet engine to come along and displace their prop. I'm not seeing what that might be.

Bear in mind, also, that this isn't in any way uncommon. Look at the 1906 caliber change from high power/huge slugs to ultra-high power/tiny slugs. Made all the difference in the world concerning modern firepower, and even today the tiny slugs are the most commonly used type, a century later.

But that was a chemistry change more than anything, and took almost no one by surprise in that industry.

Again, I'm not seeing any great possibilities in the IT world. Not of this magnitude, anyway.

Re:MS is doing that (1, Offtopic)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018090)

Actually they failed to produce a any good aircraft after the P-40. Even the P-40 was looked down on as an also ran. I feel rather unfairly. I was mainly speaking of the Engine division which built several of the best piston aircraft engines in history.
But they failed to invest in jets until it was too late. They believed that piston engines would always be more fuel efficient and would always be the better choice for long range aircraft.
They where wrong and lost the market. Pratt and Whitney on the other had invested early and built Rolls Royce jet engines after the war and put a lot of effort into them.

Ballmer in 10 years.. (2, Funny)

skywatcher2501 (1608209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017654)

Steve the plumber!

Re:MS is doing that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017914)

I think they'll be the next Curtis Lowe. An old man that people thought was useless who died without friends.

Re:MS is doing that (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017152)

Windows Phone 7 : Too Late to the party ...

Re:MS is doing that (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017374)

Or not? I was out the other night and overhead a conversation between a couple of hipsters. The one guy mentioned how he is not tech savvy and is everything but an early adopter of new tech. He looked like a stereotypical iThing consumer but went on about how disappointed he was with the iPhone he bought a couple years ago. His number one complaint was the whole Flash thing. In his opinion, it killed his desire to get the new iPhone, or anything i related at all. He said the iPad was "too heavy" and that he was pretty interested in the Galaxy. Sure we've heard these things on /. but it was interesting to hear it come from someone who has probably never heard of /.

So the point is, right now, I don't think anyone is too late to the party, as it's just getting started.

Re:MS is doing that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34018060)

"a couple of hipsters". "stereotypical iThing consumer". Your bias is showing...

Re:MS is doing that (2, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018288)

Over 14 million iPhones and 4 million iPads sold last quarter. It will take a *lot* of hipster-anecdotes for Samsung Galaxy or WP7 to reach numbers like those.

So the point is, right now, I don't think anyone is too late to the party, as it's just getting started.

You're right, but iOS has a huge head start, and Android is catching up to iOS. That doesn't leave a lot of room for WP7.

You Gotta Fight! For Your Right! To Parr-tay! (4, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018036)

Windows Phone 7 : Too Late to the party ...

Or perhaps it saw that the party was being held on a Sunday night, knew it had work to go to the next day and decided not to go.

Meanwhile, Apple (which had a great time and was the life of the party) turned up at work late, badly hungover and looking like death. After failing the drugs test, it was finally let go by the Company, around the (same time that Microsoft was given that promotion) and went into a sad decline, never able to move on from its college partying days and accept that its popularity with the cool college kids didn't mean long term success.

Err... to be honest, that sounds like there should be a metaphor in there, but on reflection I doubt it. It was just my extrapolation of one colloquial expression to the point of drivel. Sorry folks :-/

Re:MS is doing that (2, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017202)

Was was thinking the same thing.

Windows Mobile has seriously SUCKED the life out of me, like my life sucks because of it. (I could have won concert tickets but my phone couldn't even preform a simple speed dial in under 10 seconds).

I don't know anyone who actually owns a zune, but lets just say my only run-in with it has been the zune apps on the Xbox - which is actually worse at managing my media than the original Xbox way of just navigating a filestructure. Thanks!

I could name a handful of other Non-PC products that Microsoft has, but really, whats the point? None of them can actually compare to their competitors on the market, at least from a users perspective. I think I would much prefer it if they focused SOLELY on the PC and made Windows 8 actually something worth buying - get rid of those issues with backwards compatibility.

Re:MS is doing that (3, Interesting)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017548)

I own a Zune (I bought the Zune80 when it came out).

The Zune software was fantastic (on the PC). The Zune UI ran rings around the iPod (on the Device). The sound quality was better.

Zune deserved better. It was superior to the iPod Classic line in every way. I've seen (but do not own) the Zune HD, and it's good as well, though it pales in comparison to the iPod Touch because of the ecosystem and apps available.

I'm actively looking forward to being able to ditch my iPhone for a Windows Phone in a year or two. I hope Microsoft doesn't manage to screw it all up.

Re:MS is doing that (2, Insightful)

TedTschopp (244839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017864)

The problem with the Zune was that Microsoft was fighting yesterday's battle with it. This is the same problem with the Windows Phone. The Smart Phone market is almost run its course and Microsoft has taken too long to respond. Microsoft needs to be fighting today's battles, not fighting yesterdays wars.

Re:MS is doing that (0, Flamebait)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018098)

I'm sure Windows phone 7 will at the very least do as well as the kin.

Re:MS is doing that (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017704)

> like my life sucks because of it. (I could have won concert tickets but my phone couldn't even preform a simple speed dial in under 10 seconds).

Seriously. Your life sucks because a toy telephone prevented you from winning concert tickets?

> Was was thinking the same thing.

How on god's green earth is this comment marked "insightful"? I see slashdot is still the festering circlejerk it always was. Makes me long for the days of goatse and beowulf clusters and first post. At least that was entertaining.

Re:MS is doing that (4, Interesting)

mikestew (1483105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018058)

Granted, one's quality of life shouldn't depend on winning concert tickets. But the point stands: Windows Mobile phones (and I've got a pile of them on my shelf) sucked as phones. Even on the speedy-for-its-time HTC Advantage, the phone keyboard lagged. Punch a key, wait, key is highlighted and tone is heard. Repeat. IIRC, every WinMo phone I had did this to some extent.

I don't care if MSFT promises a pony with every Windows Phone 7, crap like that made me swear off WinMo for good.

Re:MS is doing that (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017208)

I think someone has missed Windows Phone 7 and the tablets Microsoft will be releasing shortly.

If WP7 doesn't run Lotus Notes, it might be dead to Ray Ozzie. . .

Re:MS is doing that (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017288)

When Ray says "Beyond the PC" what he's really saying is "beyond Windows OS".

This has been Microsoft's greatest nemesis, is their own myopia. They view everything with the tinged glasses of Windows. You can see this with Windows Mobile 7, even if it isn't "Windows" is trying to leverage "Windows 7" branding.

Specifically addressing what you're saying, the problem with Courier was that it was Kindle wannabe. They kept the book format when quite frankly it shouldn't have. Try turning the page with one hand. The KindleApp for iPad is even better than Kindle. And it is more useful than any standalone ebook reader.

Which brings me to tablets: If Microsoft makes a tablet that isn't some bastardized copy of Windows, I'll take a look. Until then, no thank you. Buying an overpriced one use computing device to me seem silly, and trying to shoehorn Windows into a tablet type device is just as pointless.

Apple gets all of this. Apple is no longer just a "computer company" and is branching out and fixing all the other related edges of technology that has been hamstrung by companies like Microsoft and their limited thinking. Apple is not just Macs any more, and that is a big reason they are the new Microsoft, and #2 in Market Cap, possibly getting to #1 next year sometime.

Re:MS is doing that (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017428)

Which brings me to tablets: If Microsoft makes a tablet that isn't some bastardized copy of Windows, I'll take a look. Until then, no thank you. Buying an overpriced one use computing device to me seem silly, and trying to shoehorn Windows into a tablet type device is just as pointless.

But isn't Android just a bastardized Linux?

Re:MS is doing that (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017514)

You aren't really listening. iOS is designed fro the ground up to be a touch-based OS. It sits on top of a specialized OSX platform. Android is similar, but is made by Google and sits on top of Linux. The reason why Blackberry touch smartphones have sucked is that the retro-fitted their old apps, and aren't all optimized for touch. Windows mobile seems to suffer from similar problems. You need to think of it from the user paradigm rather than making it "A pc on a phone, or a PC on a tablet." Apple and Google have done a much better job at that.

Re:MS is doing that (1, Informative)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017584)

iOS is designed fro the ground up to be a touch-based OS. It sits on top of a specialized OSX platform. Android is similar, but is made by Google and sits on top of Linux. The reason why Blackberry touch smartphones have sucked is that the retro-fitted their old apps, and aren't all optimized for touch. Windows mobile seems to suffer from similar problems. You need to think of it from the user paradigm rather than making it "A pc on a phone, or a PC on a tablet." Apple and Google have done a much better job at that

Windows Phone is nothing like that, though. Windows Phone's whole design philosophy is stated, repeatedly that "a phone is not a PC", and is pretty much a ground up device sitting on a windows core (just like iOS is sitting on an OS X core, and Android is sitting on an Linux core). So MS is getting there, even if it's a bit late to the party. And they're doing so with a log of interesting innovation.

Re:MS is doing that (1, Flamebait)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017694)

Name any of that "Interesting Innovation".

Would not happen to be no multitasking or no copy-paste would it?

Re:MS is doing that (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34018074)

copy-paste is coming, and is present in developer handsets so even citing that is a pathetic strawman argument. multi-tasking is an issue for all non-android phones, the iPhone fakes it, but even then its not really multitasking non-native apps.

as for interesting innovation, the way WP7 manages contacts and integrates social media is several steps ahead of existing platforms. there has also been a lot of development put into "context" as in web searches are prioritized toward what you'd be looking for from a phone. Also the UI is far mor user friendly than any existing smartphone i've used.

Re:MS is doing that (2, Funny)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017842)

And they're doing so with a log of interesting innovation.

At least we can agree it's a "log".

Re:MS is doing that (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018010)

The iPhone is not called a "Mac Phone". And for good reason.

Re:MS is doing that (3, Informative)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017610)

Linux is a kernel, not a complete OS. The bits on top of the Kernel are Android OS. Lots of devices run the kernel, but have limited OS capabilities because it is easy to do and highly modularized. Android is more like Gnome or KDE (not exact though)

Windows is much much more monolithic.

Re:MS is doing that (2, Insightful)

InsertWittyNameHere (1438813) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017552)

The other problem with the Courier is that it never existed... It was nothing more than a photoshop mockup or rendered 3D model. Their next tablet will be "no thicker than a sheet of glass" [slashdot.org]

Re:MS is doing that (4, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017590)

Apple gets all of this. Apple is no longer just a "computer company" and is branching out and fixing all the other related edges of technology that has been hamstrung by companies like Microsoft and their limited thinking. Apple is not just Macs any more, and that is a big reason they are the new Microsoft, and #2 in Market Cap, possibly getting to #1 next year sometime.

Close, but no. In all seriousness, Apple does not 'get all of this' in the manner that you suggest. They're not looking for 'superior' so much as they are looking to lock users into their App stores. So to claim that Apple doesn't possess limited thinking is, in my view, patently false. They are just as single minded, but towards a different end. They don't care about the technology in the least (iphone that doesn't work well as a phone, anyone?), but they ARE indeed all about the platform and the vehicle to future sales that it represents.

Re:MS is doing that (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017758)

Apple is not Mac, the same way Microsoft is Windows.

What you said may be true, or may simply be a way of monetizing the marketplace in a way you don't like, but that is not my point. Apple is not a "computer company" the way Microsoft is a "Windows" company.

There is nothing at Microsoft that isn't either "Windows" or "Me too" device (XBOX, ZUNE).

And even if you think iPod, iPad, and iPhone are in the "me too" category, they revolutionized industries that weren't "computer" related. And frankly, the iPod, iPhone and iPad make anything before them look ... "PC". Those devices transcend computing.

I don't have iPad or Mac or iPhone. I have an iPod full of music, and haven't bought a single thing from ITMS. I prefer buying tunes on CD and ripping them, because they can go on ANY device I want. I'm not locked into anything Apple.

Re:MS is doing that (2, Interesting)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017938)

Okay, you missed it. One more try, then.

Apple is not a "computer company" the way Microsoft is a "Windows" company.

In that light, Apple is an "iTunes company". Period, the end.

Re:MS is doing that (-1, Troll)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017926)

My thoughts exactly.
Buying an Apple toy is just the first step in a much larget business plan. Next you find out you need to buy apps to make it do anything useful. Then you discover that, due to the draconian marketplace rules, you're still stuck with the way the toy worked the day you bought it and your only way out is to upgrade to the next version, which still isn't quite what you wanted.

I've just spent a few hours playing with an iPad; the thing is just locked down by Apple at every single corner. At a $500, it's about $400 too much given it's limited features. Yes, I know you can get apps for it, but those are not included in the $500 price.

Not quite (2, Informative)

acomj (20611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018200)

> they're not looking for 'superior' so much as they are looking to lock users into their
> App stores.
Actually not quite right.

This would make sense if....
the app store was launched with the iphone. But it was in fact an afterthought.

Originally Apple wanted everyone to get "Apps" which were web based (javascript/ html) things online. Developers wanted to write more persistant application that would run without an internet connection, thus one year later the App Store and the SDK.

Sometimes you make a device and the market shows up.

Re:Not quite (0, Troll)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018338)

This would make sense if....
the app store was launched with the iphone. But it was in fact an afterthought.

An afterthought that completely recreated their entire product line and very organization, including the Mac.

Didn't say they were always thus, but they certainly are now.

Re:MS is doing that (3, Informative)

s4m7 (519684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017748)

Apple is not just Macs any more, and that is a big reason they are the new Microsoft, and #2 in Market Cap, possibly getting to #1 next year sometime.

Apple surpassed Microsoft's market cap in May, and remains second highest mcap in the S&P 500 to exxonmobil. MS is third. There is a pretty big gap between exxonmobil and apple, still. Unlikely to close in the next year. But I'm guessing you weren't taking petro companies into consideration in your rankings.

Re:MS is doing that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017974)

Market cap has very little to do with anything. Google has a market cap that's almost as large as MS'. But MS has nearly triple the revenue, well over double the net income and pays a dividend.

Apple benefits the same way that Google does from an inflated valuation due to the fantasies that surround the business rather than an honest appraisal of the actual business plan. Sure Both Google and Apple have managed to spread their businesses in recent times, but MS has a much stronger business model overall.

It's just a matter of whether or not they recognize that they need to expand into other markets for the sake of future earnings or not.

State (4, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017962)

As wireless internet access becomes even more robust, the first company that can deliver a solution to keep a user's "state" consistent across all of their devices is going to be the winner. It's a problem that the industry has been working on since the dark days of syncing your contacts up through a USB1 connection to a palm pilot. I imagine it's why Apple is building their enormous data center - they are about to make manual data management a thing of the past. A slick interface could yield some badass results for stepping your data to a network volume if it's unusually large, and then streaming backups during off-peak hours to iBackup or whatever you want to call it. Otherwise, every time you start to edit a doc, the filesystem is intelligently streaming the backup directly to their data center. If your laptop gets nicked, then you log in to your me.com account, destroy the encrypted volume if they connect it to the internet, and grab another laptop and a few hours later you are back up and running.

Computers are going to disappear - your information will be always available from any device with an internet connection. You'll just have a variety of interfaces to it, from your phone, to your media viewer (iPad) to your netbook (I mean MacBook Air, Steve!) and your desktop. They will all sync intelligently, and store larger, non-streamable information locally on SSD drives. Only video creators will be forced to continue managing physical volumes until 4g goes nationwide and uncapped.

It's a good idea, and a fucking bummer that Apple is the only company doing it.

Management, culture or people? (5, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017992)

Or all of the above?

I sometimes wonder if MS senior management isn't full of guys making good money, looking at how much time they have until retirement is a real option and thinking "If we can just string this Windows/PC model along for a couple more years, I'll be set. Retire in my late 50s. Second home (or boat or ....) paid for. Enough savings to live off until 401k money kicks in."

I can see where it could almost become a cultural mindset, coupled with a financial analysis that says the "real money" comes from Windows, Office, Exchange & SQL. Everything else (phone, tables, hardware, software, etc) is a half-assed feint to keep Wall St. quiet, keep key industry experts locked into long employment contracts and out of the hands of competitors, and occasionally hit the lottery when something sticks to the wall.

Or is it the actual management model? Keep the Windows/Office core profit engine running, fuck around on the margin and assume you can manipulate the market enough to keep your dominance forever?

Re:MS is doing that (1)

Starcom8826 (888459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018300)

When Ray says "Beyond the PC" what he's really saying is "beyond Windows OS".

This has been Microsoft's greatest nemesis, is their own myopia. They view everything with the tinged glasses of Windows. You can see this with Windows Mobile 7, even if it isn't "Windows" is trying to leverage "Windows 7" branding.

I don't think that's necessarily something unique to Microsoft. I remember when the iPhone was first released, Steve Jobs talked about how it had "the power of Mac OS" on a phone. It was only with iOS 4 where it was rebranded to be separate from Mac OS.

Re:MS is doing that (3, Insightful)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017314)

The Xbox 360 is a fantastic product? So you've never owned one have you?

RROD pops to mind and the overall 16.1% failure rate over 6 to 10 months use.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360_technical_problems [wikipedia.org]
http://www.tgdaily.com/games-and-entertainment-features/36070-report-xbox-360-failure-rate-above-15 [tgdaily.com]

Plus the fact that it didn't support an HD format for games, no Blu-ray support now, no Bluetooth support, it's not that fantastic of a device.

Prosumer (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017578)

Among video game consoles sold in North America, Xbox 360 is the only one that officially allows game development by prosumers [wikipedia.org] . It's not perfect [pineight.com] , but it's better than what Sony and Nintendo offer.

Re:Prosumer (0, Troll)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017892)

And that's not saying much as Nintendo and Sony are just DRM douchebags looking to lock in the consumer and thwart any thinking outside of their respective, limited, lesser console devices. I've already purchased my last Apple, Nintendo and Sony products for my lifetime. I suggest you all do the same, or suffer the mediocre consequences.

crApple wanted to charge me $10 for a cut&paste upgrade, fuck that. Nontendo makes it impossible to move my paid for apps from one device to any other device of the same type, fuck them. pSony, like Nontendo and crApple, thwart the home brew scene, and that's the last I'll buy from them. Companies that play those games wont get paid by me. So, go run out and get Diablow 3 when it comes out and love your phone-home, DRMey goodness. You deserve it, paid for it (sort of) and can live with the restrictions without really owning anything. Blizzard owns you and your game experiences.

Majority != geeks (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018006)

I've already purchased my last Apple, Nintendo and Sony products for my lifetime.

You'll find a lot of geeks who agree with you, but the majority does not. The majority "can live with the restrictions without really owning anything". And the majority spends more money on products than the geek subculture: less per person but far more people. That's why video games targeted at the majority come out on consoles, not PCs. How should we as geeks try to convince the public that consoles' restrictions aren't worth the loss of an end user's right to do what he wants with what he owns?

Re:MS is doing that (2)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017688)

The failure rate is much much better now. No one will deny there were problems on release and for some time afterwords.

The HD format thing kind of sucks. But you know what? If you want to game, the 360 is great. In fact, I would say that it's fantastic. If you enjoy the game selection, then you'll enjoy a 360. Cause it works. It's a goddamn console. It plays games before anything else.

Re:MS is doing that (1)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017762)

Yes it is. I bought a Xbox 360 and PS3, while I love both I spend more time and money playing games bought for the Xbox than the ps3. I'm not saying PS3 sucks, on the contrary, the hardware feels better and it has a snazzy blueray player.. some of the truely epic games have been on the ps3.

I would rank the 360 and ps3 to be equals.. just diferent, and mine certainly hasn't died yet but if it did that's fine. Damn thing has been used 5x more than my ps3 in 3 years.

Re:MS is doing that (2, Interesting)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017316)

I think someone has missed Windows Phone 7 and the tablets Microsoft will be releasing shortly.

Windows Phone is already out in Europe. We'll see how well it fares. Personally, I'm not impressed by the many restrictions (more than in iPhone!), but then I'm a geek. If I were buying a phone as a present for my mom, I'd look into it alongside iPhone.

HP Slate 500 (running Windows 7) is also out. It's rather telling that they've put it into business laptops and PCs [hp.com] section of their website, though. The reviews so far have not been all that positive, from what I've seen - it certainly does some things great (like e.g. running Outlook or other Windows software, or pen digitizer mode for handwritten notes), but as a "consumption gadget" a la iPad, it falls short - the main issue seems to be that it's not as "silky smooth" [eweek.com] (i.e. responsive) as Apple devices. No surprise there considering the OS. Overall I'd buy one as opposed to iPad, if I weren't waiting for Notion Ink Adam already...

Just bring me something that Courier was supposed to be. I want it, I need it! Combine that with environment like Windows where everyone can freely develop their software and include things like XNA and Xbox Live and you have a wonderful product on your hands!

Somehow I suspect that, were tablets with specialized OS to come out, they'd be more aligned with Windows Phone - with respect to software restrictions as well. And did you see the list of "can't" on WP?

The great fallacy (3, Interesting)

js3 (319268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017680)

The great fallacy nowadays is that everything should be designed for the Apple consumer.

Re:MS is doing that (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017448)

Are you for real?

Xbox360 great?
Freely develop software?

These are the folks that turned vendor lockin into an art, they are the folks that bought their way into the console market.

MS is not dominating outside the PC space. The PC is dieing.

Re:MS is doing that (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017630)

Xbox360 great?
Freely develop software?

I have a feeling that weachiod is referring to XNA Creators Club. Nintendo and Sony offer nothing comparable.

they are the folks that bought their way into the console market.

How did Sony get in during the PS1 era, and how was that not "buying"?

MS is not dominating outside the PC space.

I agree that Xbox 360 isn't entirely dominating the high-definition console market. But it's still noticeably ahead of PS3, especially in North America.

Re:MS is doing that (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018016)

XNA Creators Club is not suitable for making anything beyond little toy games is my understanding. At that point you might as well make an Android or iPhone app and get yourself a much larger customer base.

How did Sony get in during the PS1 era, and how was that not "buying"?
They sold the PS1 and it made money. Even the 360 will not pay off the losses on the xbox, last I heard. In this way sony made a new console family and Microsoft bought their way into a market.

I agree that Xbox 360 isn't entirely dominating the high-definition console market. But it's still noticeably ahead of PS3, especially in North America.

From the numbers I see it looks pretty darn close, when you look at reputable sites. World wide is another matter.

Little toy games (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018224)

XNA Creators Club is not suitable for making anything beyond little toy games is my understanding.

Define "little toy games". I certainly haven't drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid about XNA, but can you think of any significant limitations other than what I already list on my page [pineight.com] ?

At that point you might as well make an Android or iPhone app and get yourself a much larger customer base.

Android and iPhone are counterparts to the DS/PSP/DSi/3DS, not a set-top multiplayer gaming device like 360/PS3/Wii that just needs extra gamepads. On a smartphone, four players mean four $70/mo voice and data plans. The last time I checked, a "family plan" at a U.S. cell phone carrier covered one smartphone and one to three "feature phones". Android has no counterpart to iPod touch: a model with the same app store but no cellular radio. And with the apparent discontinuation of Windows Mobile Classic [wikipedia.org] and the commercial failure of both Zune and Kin, it doesn't appear that Microsoft will have anything to show in this arena either.

Re:MS is doing that (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017554)

Courier never existed in the form you seek.
It was always only a panicky response by Microsoft to try and steal some of Apple's thunder when rumors of the iPad surfaced.
There never was a real Courier as a product; just a tablet concept. A mock-up. A display model.
When IBM did a similar thing back in the '70s they were dragged into court.

Re:MS is doing that (1, Insightful)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017644)

Xbox360 is a truly fantastic product too.

What are you smoking Xbox 360 is a terrible product. 50% of them fail after 1 year. The online service cost too much and is covered with ads. The xbox is coasting on its games (which are the most popular) combined with the fact that I can't play with any of my friends unless I subscribe their crappy service. The 360 exploits the market the same way windows does. I own a 360. Fuck the 360.

Re:MS is doing that (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017652)

This just happens to be your only comment?
It reads like MS PR copy.

ASTROTURF!

Re:MS is doing that (4, Interesting)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017784)

It's not the same, though. The point that Ray Ozzie is trying to make is that, at some point, Microsoft needs to stop following the industry and become the one the industry follows again.

Windows Phone 7 is great, but Apple was the one who popularized smart phones as we currently know them. Tablets are coming to the market with Microsoft software on them, but Apple was the one who popularized tablets. For years, before the iPod changed Apple, Apple made ends meet because they had a fervent fan base and catered to them. It didn't hurt Apple that they were always playing catch up because they had total control over their environment. They made money on software and hardware. Microsoft is in the unique position of being a primarily software based company. If sales of Windows plummet, they don't have that kind of closed system like Apple has to keep them chugging along. Additionally, Microsoft is such a huge company at this point, they have to be an industry innovator again or face crumbling apart.

I agree that Microsoft is making waves to change their image. They're the "cool" company (in the US) when it comes to videogame consoles and no one EVER saw that coming. Zune has its diehards (and rightfully so, the Zune HD is terrific hardware). Windows Phone 7 might get its following, that's yet to be seen. And Windows 7 is just a pleasure to use, IMO. But the PC market is shrinking at a rapid pace and the only other market that MS is #1 in right now is videogame consoles...and that's not the cash cow that Windows and Office are.

Microsoft is literally sleeping on the chance to expand the xbox brand and make it the only box you need in your house for entertainment. Xbox SHOULD be the industry leader in iptv right now, but they're not. And that's a crying shame...because our other two players are Google (who's going to eventually throw something free on the table and leave it to a hundred vendors to shape it into a usable product) or Sony (who's going to try to tie everything into purchases and season passes, not true iptv) and I think that Microsoft, as a company that's not tied to advertisement (Google) or owns huge assets of media (Sony) could shape this market in a way that's good for consumers and runs off of hardware that's already existing. It would also secure Microsoft's spot as console leader for generations to come.

Microsoft is sleeping on all sorts of opportunities now. Ray Ozzie, stating this as an insider, is really a doom and gloom statement from an investors standpoint.

Re:MS is doing that (2, Insightful)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018324)

Apple was the one who popularized smart phones as we currently know them. Tablets are coming to the market with Microsoft software on them, but Apple was the one who popularized tablets.

The problem that Microsoft runs up against again and again is that they're a software vendor, not a hardware vendor. Sure they sell xboxes, mice and the odd webcam and zune, but for real hardware they depend on the hardware manufacturers, and it's very very hard to get the likes of HP or Dell to innovate on Microsoft's behalf. Things are further complicated by the fact that Microsoft, as a software vendor, has to be reasonably hardware-supplier-neutral. They last thing they want to do is get in bed with Sony and then piss off Toshiba.

Apple does well because they sell hardware, not software. Sure they have some great software on their hardware platforms but they start with the hardware. The fact that installing OS X on a piece of non-Apple hardware is a breach of the license shows how firmly they're in the hardware camp.

When you own the hardware and the software, you can truly innovate when it comes to gadgets - When you only own the software, you can't.

Courier was cool (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017860)

It was cool. So was Knowledge Navigator [google.com] . But vapor is vapor, and products people can actually buy are the only tangible indicator of what's important at a company. The fate of Courier shows that advocates of a radical, post-Windows approach lost a big internal fight. Microsoft continues to clearly demonstrate that Windows is their anchor.

Anchors keep you from getting blown away when a storm comes. They also keep you from moving forward.

Re:MS is doing that (4, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018102)

You, along with many others, liked Courier because it was a fantasy. It was never a real product, just a fake rendering of a very interesting idea. Its main purpose was to distract interest away from Apple's tablet, and it appears to have done its job for some (although not nearly well enough to keep the iPad from becoming a huge success).

But the truth also is that Microsoft has a huge dominance on computer market and that isn't going anywhere.

That's true, but not the point. The point is post-PC. MS is extremely weak on that front, and just like Sony losing their lead from the Walkman to the iPod, MS's huge lead in the PC world won't amount to much in the non-PC world.

Just bring me something that Courier was supposed to be. I want it, I need it!

It's not going to happen. I'd suggest you give up on it, at least for the time being. Otherwise you'll be in perpetual frustration. It's like wishing expectantly for wizard powers. By focussing too much on the non-real, you pass up on the real. MS teased you with the Courier, but what they gave you, later than promised, was a shitty Windows 7 slate from HP.

Say what you will about Apple, but at least they promote real products that they actually deliver. You say screw iPad, you want Courier. Well, sure, but iPad has the supremely important feature of actually existing.

Re:MS is doing that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34018236)

Steve Ballmer called. He wanted to thank you for finishing him to completion, but asked that next time you should warm your hands before you cup his balls. Oh, and to mention Zune and squirting, because that really gets him going.

The last line is the best part (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017104)

"Sent from my iPad"

It's Too Late, Ray: ( +1, Timely ) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017142)

Microsoft ( thankfully ) is dead [paulgraham.com] .

Yours In Novosibirsk,
K. Trout

Re:It's Too Late, Ray: ( +1, Timely ) (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017200)

Your fiction stinks and your biggest fan is dead. Luckily, he's in a better place now.

*

A tip. (2, Insightful)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017170)

The future of the PC is not immediately viewable from the window. One must step out and look around.

Close your eyes and face reality (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017190)

close our eyes and form a realistic picture

That sounds great!

Your plastic pal who's fun to be with! (2, Funny)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017260)

For the love of all that is good, I sincerely hope Ray Ozzie's choice of the term "Connected Companions" was solely so that this message could be interpreted by the buzzword-based PHBs at Microsoft, and not a hint that he wants to turn the next company he goes to into the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

Re:Your plastic pal who's fun to be with! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017406)

In cases like this, I'm really glad there's so few elevators where I live.

Re:Your plastic pal who's fun to be with! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34018330)

The Microsoft version of Sirius Cybernetics Corporation:

Your plastic paperclip pal who's fun to be with!

Summary anyone? (1)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017274)

TFL;DR

Summary, please?

Re:Summary anyone? (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017400)

Amen!

Speaking of complexity, Ray, when memos get too complex (read: "long-winded"), people tune out and move on. Life's too short.

Re:Summary anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017638)

Speaking of complexity, Ray, when memos get too complex (read: "long-winded"), people tune out and move on. Life's too short.

Speaking of complexity, Ray, when programs get too complex (read: "bloated"), people tune out and move on. Life's too short.

Of course, I'm talking about his love-child: Lotus Notes.

Summary here (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017734)

A paragraph right in the middle sums it up:

Instead, to cope with the inherent complexity of a world of devices, a world of websites, and a world of apps & personal data that is spread across myriad devices & websites, a simple conceptual model is taking shape that brings it all together. We’re moving toward a world of 1) cloud-based continuous services that connect us all and do our bidding, and 2) appliance-like connected devices enabling us to interact with those cloud-based services.

In other words, the use of application service providers (ASPs) and storage service providers on the other side of the Internet will increase, and users will more often access the applications and storage through appliances, or Internet-connected devices designed for accessing ASPs. Applications and storage won't be "on" a device; they'll be on rented space on a server. And more devices, such as elevator controllers and refrigerators, will become Internet-connected appliances with sensors for remote troubleshooting.

Re:Summary here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34018084)

> inherent complexity of a world of devices

I want one device that fits in my pocket and another that fits on my desk (Smartphone & Laptop). How many people have more than 10 different devices (expect maybe apple fanboys) which they use daily ?

Connected companions (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017370)

we'll see decades to come of incredible innovation from which will emerge all sorts of "connected companions" that we'll wear, we'll carry, we'll use on our desks & walls and the environment all around us.'"

As soon as they can mix that companion thing with life-size holographic projections and make them look like anime characters, sales will go through the roof.

Viewing of "Don't Date a Robot!" required before buying.

Re:Connected companions (1)

Sl4shd0t0rg (810273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017462)

As soon as they can mix that companion thing with life-size holographic projections and make them look like anime characters, sales will go through the roof.

Viewing of "Don't Date a Robot!" required before buying.

I fear their companions will have big yellow smiley faces with horned rimmed glasses and a dog that does searches in the cloud.

Where would we be without Microsoft? (5, Insightful)

kawabago (551139) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017484)

A lot further ahead! Better computer security, fewer viral plagues, faster software, more open standards, better interoperability, cheaper software and support. Microsoft is just a drain on the economy that we can't afford in this economic climate, just ask the London Stock Exchange.

Whoa, it's like 2000 all over again (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017488)

This would have been great advice 10 years ago, when MSFT might have had a chance to carve out a foothold in device computing, but not now.

It's like the Zune. An okay product but late to market and no evolution.

MSFT is what you get when your grandpa runs a tech company.

That's a memo? (4, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017622)

That "memo" runs more than 3500 words. If that counts as a typical memo over at Microsoft, I think they've got another problem beyond the one Ozzie's term paper discusses.

Re:That's a memo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017720)

It's Microsoft Memo. You type in a few points you went to get across, and it fills in the rest for you.

New area to dominate (0, Flamebait)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017634)

In flight chair ballistics

Microsoft Needs to NOT Do That (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017818)

The PC is here to stay. It'll be with us in one form or another for as long as humans can read and write. Phones and tablets and wristwatches and bellbottoms will come and go, but when you are doing 8 hours of white-collar work, you are sitting at a desk, not sitting in a plane or driving a Ferrari or riding a Segway or skateboarding or whatever. What Microsoft needs to focus on is what has always been their primary source of revenue and what they have always claimed to be focusing on (even though they weren't) which is to produce the best, that is, the highest quality, most reliable, most robust PC operating system available. Make Windows work well and make it so that our parent's computers aren't constantly being turned into botnet zombies. Dominate the PC market with programming and actual work, not with business trickery and monopolistic practices and marketing gambits that punish and alienate your existing userbase.

Or just entertain us by continuing to lose focus and keep chasing whatever fad a competitor is having some success in at the moment until you sink so far into irrelevance that it doesn't matter anymore.

Re:Microsoft Needs to NOT Do That (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018176)

You might as well be arguing that typewriters are eternal, or ledger books. Just because something is integral to business for generations does not mean that it will occupy that role into infinity. PCs have been the best way to get things done for the last few decades, and they'll still be for another few, but I wager they will cease to be important to most businesses in the developed world by the end of the century at the latest. Honestly I think it will be before 2050.

He can send email backward in time? Amazing... (2, Funny)

Heretic2 (117767) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017832)

To: Executive Staff and direct reports
Date: October 28, 2010
From: Ray Ozzie

Not so groundbreaking, even within MS (1)

johanatan (1159309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017874)

Umm, isn't this the same thing Bill Gates has been saying for the last decade or more?

Re:Not so groundbreaking, even within MS (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34017928)

Umm, isn't this the same thing Bill Gates has been saying for the last decade or more?

If so, it would appear that no-one is listening. Microsoft's money still comes from Windows and Office and pretty much everything else they've done has been a financial failure (and often a technical failure too).

Wow!!! He had yesterday's dream! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34017912)

To bad he missed all the sheep.

The Real Question . . . (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018240)

What are those wires coming out of the back of his head?

Say It Enough And It Will Come True... (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 3 years ago | (#34018270)

Gadgets are gadgets. Gadgets may resemble tools but tools are specifically designed for their purpose(s).
Nothing will replace a workstation's keyboard, local storage and large displays for professionals, they may be plugged into a smaller case/form-factor but it will still need a functional environment, applications for tasks and data back-ups. MS is driving hard to sign-up the masses for streaming services in the "cloud" so they can sell dumb(er) products and meter all the utility however they deem fit(fit=profitable). Reality is vapor and finger-pointing [zdnet.com] is what you get when services and connections are disrupted or storage crashes with no recovery [informationweek.com] . I'd prefer to put my head in a lion's mouth than to put my data in MS's, or anyone else's, "cloud".

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