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The Microsoft High-Profile Exodus Continues

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the leviticus-is-next-week dept.

Microsoft 331

snydeq writes "Bing principal Scott Prevost is the latest of several high-profile exits from Microsoft in the wake of Bob Muglia's departure, causing some to question the long-term outlook for Redmond, InfoWorld reports. While the departures have spanned the company's business divisions, the concern centers square on the Microsoft core: 'Microsoft's numbers are looking good in the short term, but the future of core products remains unclear, and so far, Redmond's cloud and mobile strategies don't seem to be paying off.'"

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first bitches (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073790)

buy appl stock

Re:first bitches (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074070)

Gawd, pennystock spammers in /. now, how low did we go!

Re:first bitches (1)

anti-human 1 (911677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074172)

Go ahead, we'll all continue to buy AAPL stock (Apple Computer)

Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (5, Insightful)

hduff (570443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073794)

Given how Microsoft has faltered in the marketplace, has failed to innovate and continues to misunderstand its customers, perhaps the old guys need to go.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (2)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073844)

Yeah, either the younger Google execs are going to take over, or they're going to need to find some exec talent among the younger MS staff... BillG is just a figurehead spending his wealth rather than earning more. Looks like the end of an era.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073996)

BillG? What does Gates have to do with this? Microsoft has been Ballmer's show for a while now.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (5, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074612)

Microsoft has been Ballmer's show for a while now.

This only goes to show that you can't fix some problems just by throwing more chairs at it.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (2)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074232)

Maybe it's time for big (err...meager) Bill to make a comeback. Let's face it, Ballmer isn't and never will be an innovator nor a visionary. He's like what would happen to Jobs if Jobs lost his ability to understand the simpleton market and create products that can only stand up to media attention and not nerd potential. You know, Jobs is a salesman. Ballmer however is good at churning profit from stuff that already exist, and might be the reason Microsoft is always playing catch up. What is the most innovative product Microsoft has created since Gates left? The Office ribbon? Windows 7 "snap" features? Bing's pretty pictures on the search page? The last two innovative products Microsoft had to offer was the xbox 360 and the Surface. One product is so old people are buying them because they're sick of playing their Wiis and the other is an overpriced coffee table with consumer potential but targeted at businesses that would rather use a more portable, cheaper, non-windows touch tablet.

If their is anything Microsoft is holding back that's truly innovative, then Ballmer needs to step aside and let someone with an actual vision of the future execute it, because the last product launches where he's been at the helm have just been utter failures.

The person who needs to leave (4, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074112)

is Balmer.

Re:The person who needs to leave (5, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074268)

> The person who needs to leave ...
> is Balmer.

Why? Does Microsoft bring some inherent value to the software development field?

IMHO, they have done more to hamper the entire field than everybody else, primarily by using illegal methods to kill a number of really innovative operating systems back in the 80's and 90's.

And they still try to freeze new markets by spreading FUD while copying existing products instead of actually making something new.

Re:The person who needs to leave (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074418)

Microsoft brought computing to the masses. They had some shoddy products over the years, but they also had an equal number of great products. Overall, I like Microsoft. What ever "harm" they have supposedly done hasn't affected me or most people at all.

Re:The person who needs to leave (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074462)

The masses were already using computers, Commodore were big, as were Atari. They basically played a bait and switch with people who wanted the openness offered by the x86 clone market.

Re:The person who needs to leave (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074516)

And you'd still be using a Commodore or an Atari if it weren't for the Wintel oligopoly. Do you honestly think said Commodore or Atari would be running at 3 GHz and cost less than a clothes dryer?

Re:The person who needs to leave (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074590)

You are delusional.

Are you honestly trying to say that there were as many Commodore and Atari computer owners as there are Windows PC owners?

What bait and switch? Even when I got my first PC (a Kaypro 8086) I knew that I didn't have to use MS-DOS. In fact I used PC-DOS for some time, switched to MS-DOS, switched to DR-DOS, never bought Windows 3.x, switched to OS/2, switched to Windows 95 and FreeBSD, switched to BeOS, switched back to Windows 2K and decided to stick with MS ever since because every time I give some Linux distro a go, I end up not liking it. How was that in any way preventing me from having a choice or baiting and switching?

Re:The person who needs to leave (5, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074524)

Everything old is new again. Some big companies get founded (or expanded way beyond their original size/scope) by famous entrepreneurs (Gates, the Watsons, Westinghouse, Ford(s), etc, etc.) and then are followed by nameless/faceless people who could never live up to the savvy or inspiration of the founders. Your post applies word-for-word to IBM in the late 70s; they'd lost all the big names and the big new innovations, the magic had just worn off, leaving only a whole lot of ugly underneath showing through. Microsoft will weather this. They'll go on to become just another large software company with uninspiring products, like any other - think Computer Associates. You don't criticize General Motors for not making Ferraris, why criticize Microsoft for not making OS X? Also, it's really kind of funny that Slashdot still uses the Bill Gates Borg icon for Microsoft, it hasn't been remotely true for years.

Apple (almost) went through this (voluntarily) once already with John Scully, it's about to happen again when Steve Jobs dies "suddenly". I expect a lot of "Apple loses their mojo" stories following that.

And before anyone says I'm some kind of Microsoft asrtoturfer, let me say that I'm a Gentoo-using Microsoft hater of long, long standing. I'm just saying that none of this should be surprising.

Re:The person who needs to leave (2, Insightful)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074692)

Microsoft has made software development loose something like 20 years of progress. Their main innovations are virus and anti-competitive strategies. Too much of the developers' brain power of these last years has been used to adapt software to new versions of bug-ridden software from Redmond. Maybe is it good that this madness comes to an end and that we can innovate a bit in software insteand of doing reverse-engineering of poorly documented technologies.

Or instead the... (1)

sokoban (142301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074478)

... Developers, developers, developers, developers.

Re:Or instead the... (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074676)

... Developers, developers, developers, developers.

That's what Linux/open source needs.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074176)

I wouldn't say they've failed to innovate. Their cloud play is pretty good and has more features than dropbox, such as computer-to-computer sync over the internet, they offer AV and security for free, they allow over-the-internet streaming from home. They didn't just start doing these things, either - they've been at it for a few years now. These plays do need some polish, but people are starting to take advantage. I think something is changing at MS, and part of it is that the old guys are leaving, and new ones who 'get it' will come in. Perhaps MS won't be as evil under new rule.... perhaps.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074254)

Copying is not innovation. Releasing an AV to correct problems in your own OS is not innovation. They allow streaming? As opposed to what, denying it?

It is your computer slick.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074502)

Copying can be innovation if your copy is better. See any Apple product in the past ten years.

Releasing the best AV on the market for free is innovation, even if it is to protect your own system. If it's not innovative, then why can't Kaspersky or Eset or Norton keep up?

Allowing streaming isn't innovative, but it is good. Do you really think Apple would allow open-source competitors to AppleTV to run on their platforms?

Microsoft isn't really the evil monopoly they used to be. They are oftentimes inept (Zune, Surface, Kin, Vista, Office '07....) but they do have their hits as well (Xbox, Windows 7, MSSE). To deny that really just shows prejudice against them.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074654)

See any Apple product in the past ten years.

I have to say this is a bad example, since Apple seems to have a cult following that are going to buy Apple products no matter what. Kind of like Amiga had back in the day, you know the type that would just go ON AND ON about how wonderful their Amiga was. Thing is, I think the Amiga was much more to the PC market than what Apple is today. Ahh, but there's a skinny guy in the same old jeans and turtleneck, and you get white apple stickers when you buy the product, and all their products are instantly recognizable. Since they are top of the line (prices), they really know how to go after the show-off/jealousy factor. No, Apple is never about the product. It's the branding.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074698)

It's the branding.

Keep telling yourself that, and some day your wish may come true.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (5, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074288)

What's the most innovative product of 2010? The Kinect. It's not even a contest.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (1)

high_rolla (1068540) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074386)

I would argue that the iPad UX is the most innovative. Obviously tablets existed before now so the tablet part of the iPad is not innovative, the UX however is (despite it largely being the iPhone UI) and I think relevant proof of that is the fact that virtually every other major player in the industry is scrambling to copy them.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074486)

I am not so sure that I would say the iPhone XL is the leading innovator. I would have to agree that the Kinect is. The simple fact of it is that the hardware itself is amazing.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074564)

So.. the most innovative product of the year, according to geek central (/.) is tied between the Kinect (a piece of proprietary game interface hardware), or the UX (UL?)(UI?) of the IPad? You know what? I surrender. If this is the best the tech world can do, I'll find a new hobby. Maybe model trains, I heard they like to innovate.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (1)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074602)

Moving the iPhone UI from one device to another device that has identical function, only larger, is not innovative.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074710)

Moving the iPhone UI from one device to another device that has identical function, only larger, is not innovative.

Considering how difficult it has been to make Android "tablet-ready," I'd say you're underestimating it.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (0)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074576)

How PC-centric (actually PC-myopic, just like Microsoft) of you to think so. There's a whole world of phones and tablets and netbooks passing both of you by.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074752)

Kinect is for the Xbox 360 game console, not PC. Maybe later, but not yet.

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (1, Insightful)

Kenshin (43036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074632)

Kinect is the most innovative product?

By Kinect, you mean the more advanced version of the EyeToy [wikipedia.org] , right?

Re:Mayeb Not a Bad Thing? (0)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074634)

You can play games with just a camera? Good thing their competition hadn't already invented that way back in 2003.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EyeToy [wikipedia.org]

You can argue that what is selling the Kinect is a massive marketing campaign, and software like Dance Central. And again, Dance Central is a rip-off of Groove, which also came out in 2003.

So ripping off an 7 year old product but doing more to market it is the most innovative product of the year?

YES! (0)

trendzetter (777091) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073812)

The demise of Microsoft, isn't that where we all have been waiting for? I hope the go bust soon, just like the USA also.

Long Term Strategy to Take Down Apple (5, Funny)

HeraldMage (50053) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073820)

Actually, the future of Redmond is secure. They're strategically letting all these folks go, so that they can all go work for, and eventually destroy, Apple from the inside out. It's like the Cylon infiltration of the human race on Caprica in BSG...

Or Google, or both.

Bing (3, Interesting)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073834)

Bing principal Scott Prevost...

Considering Slashdot's other Bing story today, I can't say I'm sad to see him go.

Vote of no-confidence? (5, Interesting)

kenrblan (1388237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073852)

This could be a simple case that the departing employees simply have no faith in the direction Ballmer is leading Microsoft. When the ship is headed toward an iceberg and the captain is being stubborn or unaware, the best course of action is often evacuation.

Re:Vote of no-confidence? (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074044)

Or it could be a case of the old guard being very wealthy and tired of the rat race. Past a certain point of wealth you should be concentrating on fulfilling some exotic desire and not being a product manager filling out paperwork.

Re:Vote of no-confidence? (3, Interesting)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074314)

This is a good point. Also, it's possible that too-rich, too-old, undermotivated managers are at the heart of Microsoft's apparent stagnation. It won't hurt them to bring in some younger, hungrier talent.

Re:Vote of no-confidence? (4, Funny)

sunwukong (412560) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074456)

When the ship is headed toward an iceberg and the captain is being stubborn or unaware, the best course of action is often evacuation.

Otherwise, it's just like throwing chairs on the Titanic?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Re:Vote of no-confidence? (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074520)

Either that or one of them left for normal business reasons (somebody tried/succeeded in screwing him over) and the oerson working under him pulled a "if he is walking, so am I". It happens all the time in a business. It happens to M$ and everybody flips out.

That Microsoft Icon (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35073890)

Why did the slashdot re-design not also update that stupid Microsoft icon here? It is so dated and lame, I wonder if anybody over 20 even understand the references to it.

Even fucking facebook has the real logo on this site, and you guys can't use the real Microsoft logo by now?

Re:That Microsoft Icon (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073954)

Why did the slashdot re-design not also update that stupid Microsoft icon here? It is so dated and lame, I wonder if anybody over 20 even understand the references to it.

Now it looks like Woody Allen. Not sure that it helps the under 20 set, though. What would you suggest? Ballmer's armpits?

Re:That Microsoft Icon (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074088)

DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS...

Nah, also dated. Nobody under 25 would get that one. Or connect it to MS. "Developers and MS? If anything, developing for Windows is a pita, why would that..."

How about... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074208)

They do that thing they did with other corporations and their products?
Like Google, Apple, Intel, Android, iOS, Facebook (both the square AND the rectangular version), SONY...

Re:That Microsoft Icon (1)

Verdatum (1257828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074628)

I'd suggest Clippy; regardless of who gets it.

Re:That Microsoft Icon (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074678)

No. Bad idea.

Could cause seizures and other health problems.

Re:That Microsoft Icon (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074694)

I believe I have the perfect MSFT logo: A picture of Ballmer with his tongue out wearing a beanie that says "I heart Apple" since his rein has been a whole bunch of "me too" plays such as Zune and it would be certainly more topical than the Gates borg.

I mean you can just picture the guy at meetings going "And with this next product we will make MSFT just as cool and hip as Apple with consumers! Yes we will! We will! STOP LAUGHING AT ME!!!"

Re:That Microsoft Icon (0)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074468)

Agreed. A more appropriate slur would be a Pakled [memory-alpha.org] allusion.

Re:That Microsoft Icon (1, Funny)

sltd (1182933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074528)

"I wonder if anybody over 20 even understand the references to it." I'm 21 and I understand it just fine. Now get off my lawn!

Re:That Microsoft Icon (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074554)

Seriously.... Gates doesn't even work there any more, and Apple is more borg-ish than MS, what with the tight control over hardware.

I know /. is strictly anti-MS, but they could at least update the picture to a flying chair, if only to stay relevant.

Re:That Microsoft Icon (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074724)

Why did the slashdot re-design not also update that stupid Microsoft icon here? It is so dated and lame, I wonder if anybody over 20 even understand the references to it.

Even fucking facebook has the real logo on this site, and you guys can't use the real Microsoft logo by now?

Yeah perhaps Mr. Smith is the more updated version of the Borg, fitting to represent Microsoft.

Simple explanation (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073896)

If you are fully vested in your lucrative stock options and the share price can't go anyplace but down in the future, you'd be crazy not to cash out.

Re:Simple explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074450)

If you are fully vested in your lucrative stock options and the share price can't go anyplace but down in the future, you'd be crazy not to cash out.

Uhh, maybe you haven't heard but you don't need to quit to exercise stock options. Just sayen.

How lucrative can they be? (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074490)

Microsoft's stock price is down 20% over 10 years. Their chart really stinks. Most options have long expired. That alone will drive away the best people.

Re:Simple explanation (1)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074534)

Microsoft now gives RSUs since as you point out the stock gain is not great anymore. They made the change in 2003. RSUs are basically outright grants of stock that are available for you to sell after some vesting period.

Ex-Microsoftie (5, Interesting)

halo_2_rocks (805685) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073934)

I worked for Bob for a few years and had alot of admiration for the guy. I left about 2 years ago during the mass layoff and it was the best career move I ever made. Microsoft has become (and was becoming when I left) a horrible place to work. Please, if you are considering a professional career in software development, DO NOT work there. Almost anywhere else is better. I currently work for a small software company as a CTO with about $100million in sales last year and the work environment difference is night and day. The reason Microsoft is faltering is because it has moved from a fun, innovative place to work to a serious personal and professional nightmare. You have to go through a political circus to justify you job there (your two reviews per year) where you have little input in the final determination about your job (the politics of Microsoft). I shudder to think about the years I wasted jumping through those hoops instead of working on product and helping customers. Again, avoid working at Microsoft at all costs.

Re:Ex-Microsoftie (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074086)

a small software company as a CTO with about $100million in sales last year

sorry but 100m a year isn't considered "a small ... company" by anyone. smaller than MS yes.. but not small.

Depends on the number of people (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074228)

I've worked in a large range of companies.

I'd say anything under 100 people is "small", or small enough that you gain most of the same benefits in terms of increased responsibility and some lack of excessive management that you get from a "large" company.

A company that size, could be doing 100m in sales (didn't say if that was gross or net after all).

Even if it's mid-size though you can often be better off than with a truly large and ossified company. Certainly I think that would be true early on in your career where increased variety of duties means you learn a lot more.

Re:Ex-Microsoftie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074504)

stock market considers that small

Re:Ex-Microsoftie (3, Interesting)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074620)

I went from one of the biggest players in the telemarketting/call center field as a programmer (they easily had a few hundred programmers) to a company that has less than 10 employees total. You want to talk night and day, my friend. This tiny company is amazing to work at. I have only worked here for 6 months, but it is still hard to adjust. I am still paranoid of that "evil eye" looking over everything I do, but it is not there. We are free to code how we want as long as the end product is up to spec. It is a great place and gives me the ability to branch out and learn new things instead of being confined to specific standards that need to be done for the 100+ employees. I actually make my own personal standards now. I think they are pretty good (then again, I wrote them so programmer's ego means I always think they are good). My personal suggestion for anybody out there, if you are in it for money, stop the comp sci degree, get a business degree, and work in IT for a big company. If you truly love this type of work, the smaller the company is, the better (well, as long as they have a decent track record behind them, of course).

Re:Ex-Microsoftie (1)

PinchDuck (199974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074580)

You know the economy is healing when conversations turn from "Grab any job available" to "Never work at THAT place".

Re:Ex-Microsoftie (1)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074644)

Interesting. A friend of mine works with some ex-M$ employees and they all rave about it. Of course none of them worked there past 2005. I wonder what M$ can do to fix the problem...

Re:Ex-Microsoftie (3, Insightful)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074666)

Maybe I'm stuck in the 80s, but it seems like you just described IBM.
Quick, what's the Microsoft Company Song?

Re:Ex-Microsoftie (2)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074736)

Your experience echos every developer I know at Microsoft who isn't working on one of their dev products. People talk about EA burning out their game devs, but Microsoft seems to do the same thing.

Lack of communication between and within teams despite an abundance of useless meetings, customer-focused red tape, developer infighting, and poor management all make progress slow to a halt.

Re:Ex-Microsoftie (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074766)

That is the trouble with most big companies, if you are into politics these places are a great way to spend your days, for all other people it's a nightmare.
Most awful things are the hypocritical political correctness and the backstabbing that takes place by these so called political correct hypocrites.
It's an environment where psychopaths thrive.

Microsoft can't be all things to all people (5, Insightful)

hilldog (656513) | more than 3 years ago | (#35073986)

I still don't get why Microsoft feels they need to be a player in every category? Why Bling, smart phones, mp3 players, games, cloud computing, tablets and all the rest? Why not be a focused company with the leading office suite? Or an innovate O/S? Yeah yeah I know the investors must be kept at bay like howling wolves at the corporate door but how many missteps can a company make before they and we realize they are just followers and no longer leaders?

Re:Microsoft can't be all things to all people (2)

dave562 (969951) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074106)

I agree completely. It seems like Microsoft has some sort of complex where they feel like they need to be involved in everything that has anything to do with personal computers or consumer electronics. It would be great to see them jettison all of the dead weight, clean up the company with some serious re-structuring, and then focus their enterprise on providing a solid OS and application stack to developers and businesses.

Re:Microsoft can't be all things to all people (5, Insightful)

oracleguy01 (1381327) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074132)

I think part of Microsoft's problem is that in the Office and OS markets in particular, their biggest competitor is themselves. They've made their products good enough where people don't bother upgrading when the new version comes out.

They could intentionally break backwards compatibility with former products to try and get people to upgrade but that doesn't really work for them. Case and point: they ended up releasing the backwards compatibility add-on so Office 2003 could read and write the 2007/2010 file formats.

I doubt they will really give up trying to break into new markets, they have their huge install base of core products to fall back on. It isn't like they are hurting for cash.

Re:Microsoft can't be all things to all people (3, Interesting)

dakohli (1442929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074278)

It's because if a Company isn't growing, then it's not healthy. (according to the big time stock analysts)

The more fields your business dominates, the safer it is. So, something can't come along and kill your business completely. The only thing missing here seems to be a viable long term plan. MS does its best when it can leverage one product with another. Right now the jury is out on Windows Phone 7, however the desktop is safe, as well as Office, and while they seem to have missed the ball on slate type computers, they seem to have solidified their hold on laptops and netbooks.

Their fear might be, if they were to focus on one thing (desktop) then something innovative could come along and wipe them out quickly. Now, they are spread out among several markets and one innovation cannot come along and give them serious trouble.

My two cents: It will happen eventually, but they are delaying it magnificently.

Re:Microsoft can't be all things to all people (1)

bunhed (208100) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074432)

When you can't hit anything with the pistol, you haul out the shotgun.

Re:Microsoft can't be all things to all people (1)

chowdahhead (1618447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074452)

You just said it yourself, because shareholders don't care about how strong earnings are, they want to see growth. Compounding this is Microsoft continuing to think that they can leverage their monopoly position in the desktop and business to gain traction in other markets. Microsoft has always been an aggressive company. It's their nature.

Re:Microsoft can't be all things to all people (2)

high_rolla (1068540) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074508)

It's largely due to their model I'd say. Their core business is Desktop/ Server OS and Office. Their strategy is to keep you locked into their core products rather than make you want to stay with their core products. It seems their approach to this is to try and make sure everything else you do leads back to a logical decision to do it on Windows.

ie. If you use IE as your browser you are essentially locked into Windows. If you use WinMo 7 on your phone then it is easier to manage on Windows. If you have an XBox then it plays better with other things if you have a Windows Desktop etc.

I see it as a self sustaining model as long as it works. Their dominance on the Desktop helps them extend into other areas and once they are strong in other areas it feeds their dominance on the desktop. The only problem with this model is that losing either causes it to crumble (if people are there because they have to be rather than want to be) and I think we are witnessing the beginning of that crumble in many areas (smartphone, tablet and search being good examples).

With respect to smartphone and tablet segments, I realise MS is good at coming to the game late and muscling in but Apple and Google are the dominant players here and two companies MS has not been good at competing with recently.

Re:Microsoft can't be all things to all people (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074540)

Because they have to diversify, sooner or later the OS and office suite markets will become commoditised.

They are trying to enter new markets now while they have a significant source of income and can afford to take serious losses for a few years before they establish themselves (see xbox). If they have no replacement revenue stream when their core ones dry up, they would be pretty screwed.

Re:Microsoft can't be all things to all people (4, Insightful)

ejtttje (673126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074556)

It's an outgrowth of their core strategy of embrace, extend, extinguish. If there is a category using non-Microsoft products, it is a potential breeding ground for competitive technologies to take hold and spread into other markets where it could displace Microsoft. I interpret their faltering steps whenever they try to do something new as a result of being focused on simply blocking competitors as opposed to actually having any innovative insights of their own. (i.e. they decide to move into a market based on strategic value, not because they have any idea what they're going to contribute to that market.)

Resting on past laurels (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074026)

Other than maybe Xbox which isn't a major cash cow when have they released a hit product? The vast majority of their revenues still come from Office and Windows and related products. Take away those core products and there's virtually no company. It's not just innovation they seem to have trouble coming up with new products that a majority of people like. If they did have to start from scratch even with all their cash reserves they'd end up a minor player.

High Profile? Um.... (1)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074042)

Sorry, never heard of him. Can someone name 10 'high profile' Googlers, Facebookers, Tweeters (maybe not that one), IBMers, Applers? Maybe five... two?

No, because maybe it doesn't matter. Was he some epic tech innovator, or just a business management type dude? My money's on the latter, and that means nowt.

Re:High Profile? Um.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074152)

I used to work in Bing. Heard of Powerset but not this guy. Principal dev managers are a dime a dozen anyway. There were higher profile people who departed but did not made news.

Re:High Profile? Um.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074362)

Slashdotters need to do what they can to cling on to the hope that Microsoft is a sinking ship and that Linux will rise before the concept of OSs is completely lost in the next wave of computing. Not really any different than american football fans thinking their team just might sneak one by when their team is down 21-0 at the 2 minute warning.

Re:High Profile? Um.... (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074684)

Product Manager, i.e. herder of developers. Came from Powerset, who Microsoft bought to pump up MSN Search into BinG!!

Microsoft have a challenge (1)

gabrielr (1269766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074136)

but with the right people can grow existing markets and create new ones, where I apply?

Mobile strategy (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074150)

The mobile strategy is pretty lame, after all - setting themselves up as a low-rent copy of Apple.

Combine this with no tablet presence at all, and you have MSFT positioning itself as trying to hold onto the shrinking desktop market.

Re:Mobile strategy (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074378)

The mobile strategy is pretty lame, after all - setting themselves up as a low-rent copy of Apple.

Well, it worked for Windows, didn't it?

Give it a rest already (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074196)

WinMo 7 has been out for 3 months. In that time it has not gained complete dominance (or close) of the mobile market. Paint me surprised?

How long was it until Android started gaining any real traction? A lot lot longer if I remember correctly.

Et fin.

Re:Give it a rest already (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074282)

Hell it has not sold many phones at all. WInMo 7 is stillborn. They will lose money on this and keep it up until WinMo9 when they finally manage to force a product onto the market.

Re:Give it a rest already (1)

chowdahhead (1618447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074700)

This is what I think also. Like the XBox, Microsoft will lose billions in subsidized hardware, advertising, and development to pull marketshare, and they will continue dubious patent threats against Android handset manufacturers to increase production of Microsoft devices. I have to believe that even Microsoft can see the value and future direction of the mobile space, and that they're in this for the long haul.

It is about choice Neo (4, Interesting)

deadline (14171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074202)

Many people first used Windows not by choice, but by mandate -- there was no other option and the Microsoft monopoly made sure it stayed that way. (unless you bought a Mac) My guess is many people have found the MS experience frustrating and a general PITA, but there was never any other choice. They had to live with the shoddy time wasting experience Microsoft called computing.

Now given the option of having their "desktop experience" on their "phone" or "pad" I am sure many people are interested in real alternatives. My prediction is no matter how hard Microsoft tries to play the "we are the future of computing because we invented everything" song and dance, most users will chose iOS and Android for exactly that reason. Hi-tech karma at its best.

Last one out... (1)

haus (129916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074222)

... be sure to power down the NT box running hotmail.

Re:Last one out... (2)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074264)

It's actually a BSD box, but don't tell anyone.

Steve Ballmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074284)

Perhaps it is time for Steve Ballmer to go?

maybe Balmer needs to go (1)

bunhed (208100) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074302)

I don't know what goes on in Redmond but I have never been able to figure out why Balmer speaks out loud. I have no doubt he is a smart man but the guy scares me and as a face for a company that I am supposed to trust with my business, I think that a simple logo would be far more reassuring. I think if I worked for him, I would have the old resume spic and span too.

But who will fill the power vacuum? (1)

zanderz (813270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074326)

Many industry observers fear that Muslim extremism will prevail in the struggle over the future of this proud corporation. Obama is urging Balmer not to run again for CEO, as many citizens call for his ouster via Twitter, SMS and phone messages. The army is showing forbearance as employees demonstrate freely and peaceably in the streets. The whole world watches as the outcome is bound to send ripples through the entire industry.

And yet... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074344)

...Roz Ho, destroyer of worlds, still works for Microsoft. I guess Windows Mobile 8 for the win then, eh Roz? Maybe this time you'll get it right.

Mini Microsoft finally checked in (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074428)

with a new post [blogspot.com] , his first in about four months. He was so quiet after Muglia's departure that I was beginning to suspect he was Muglia! As usual, check out the entertaining and informative bitching^H^H^H^H^H^H^H posts from readers, who seem to be mostly Softies, ex-Softies, along with some trolls pretending to be same. It's the public online version of Redmond's water color.

To sum up, he thinks that Windows President Steve Sinofsky is waiting in the wings for Ballmer's eventual departure.

Why is this news? He's not super-duper-senior (3, Informative)

Foredecker (161844) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074460)

I have no idea why this made the news. The artcile says he is "a" principle development manger, not "the" principle development manger.

"Principle" is a job title:

  • Software Devleopers (lowest rank)
  • Software Devloper -II
  • Senior Software Developers
  • Principle Software Developers
  • Partner Software Developers
  • Distinguished Engineer
  • Fellow

Mangers go like this

  • "Lead" - manger of individual contributes
  • "Manger" manger of mangers
  • "Director" manger of manager of managers
  • VP

For several years, I was "a" princpiple development manger in Windows. Im now a principle lead becuase there was a specific team I wanted to be a part of. If I leaft, it would be news.

-foredecker

Borg Gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35074566)

That's a different picture of Borg Gates then I'm used to is all I can say.

I've always found it disturbing (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074652)

Steve Ballmer should have been fired immediately after his infamous DEVELOPERS DEVELOPERS monkey dance. Seriously. This is the guy you want running the biggest software company in the world? However, all the articles I've read always say two disturbing things:

(1) Microsoft's Board of Directors thinks Steve Balmer is just wonderful because during the 10 years he has been CEO Microsoft's revenue has tripled and profits have doubled.

(B) Even if they wanted to get rid of Balmer, there's nobody who can replace him. Really? What happens if he dies suddenly tomorrow

Seen it comin'... (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074672)

What i been sayin' fo' years now.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Ballmer be my bitch! Tha's it.... 'pologize.

Healthy (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 3 years ago | (#35074754)

I would say these changes are healthy for Microsoft. Come to think about it, if someone really believes M$ is in a bad position then it's time the "culprits" got going. Or maybe the Redmond folks are just looking foward to replenishing their higher ranks with younger people who don't carry the scars of the times past. Either way, predicting the demise of Microsoft (again!) has really become boring. Trial and error is the name of the game and they can afford it.
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