×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

It's Not a New Ballmer Microsoft Needs; It's a New Gates

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the round-table-needs-arthur dept.

Microsoft 211

theodp writes "Over at GeekWire, Todd Bishop posits that Microsoft doesn't need to replace Steve Ballmer as much as it needs to replace Bill Gates. 'The perennial push to oust Ballmer is back,' Bishop says. 'But as long as we're all going down this path again, there's actually a larger issue to address: Microsoft no longer has an overarching technology leader next to the CEO at the top of the company – someone with a strong engineering background and technical vision, surveying the field and calling the plays. There will never be another Bill Gates. But there should be someone in his former role as chief software architect, if not in title, then at least in effect.' Ray Ozzie was supposed to be The One, but for some reason that never really worked out (Dave Winer warns BigCo politics can crush even the most innovative). Any thoughts on who might 'fill the bill'?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

211 comments

It's obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632186)

Apple will fill the gap.

Re:It's obvious. (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632282)

I wouldn't say fill the gap, but if MS happens to fall down I can see Apple buying them out.

Re:It's obvious. (1, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632328)

Apple will fill the gap.

iClippy in a black turtleneck: I see you're trying to maximize a window. I'm sorry Dave, I can't allow that as it's not the "Apple Way"

Re:It's obvious. (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632480)

I bet Jobs would love to appear on a big screen to announce he's bailing MS out like Gates did at Macworld in '97. It'll never happen though, MS is still a powerhouse, a huge unglamorous and un-sexy powerhouse.

Re:It's obvious. (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#36633174)

Dunno... There was once a time when Apple was a powerhouse, but the Pepsi guy (forgot his name) became CEO and promptly began burning off all the cash on crap projects, crap advertising, etc. Novell once bragged that it had billions in the bank and would do just fine - they bragged on that in 2005, long after most folks stopped bothering with NetWare.

When you consider that the initial investment on XBox was $7-8 billion USD (not counting the lost money on the RROD thing), and it still hasn't hit ROI yet... then multiply that by at least 10 to cover all the various big projects Microsoft likely has churning at any given time? The money would disappear relatively quickly. As Microsoft gets more desperate to catch up in the tablet and mobile fields, expect the money to drain even faster.

Hell, Microsoft blew $8.5bn on *Skype* not too long ago, plus $1 billion (?) on Nokia just to have them become an exclusive MSFT vassal.

Certainly, Microsoft is raking in truckloads of money courtesy of Windows/Office and the like. OTOH, if that ever begins to falter, the R&D cost commitments certainly won't slack their demands any, and will likely ramp up as Microsoft tries to catch up.

Microsoft has a big bank account, but they also have big bills to pay. If Windows 8 turns out like another Vista and W7 like another XP, it'll likely begin killing them.

They certainly won't fall over in a day, but if the public decides to go elsewhere (or the OS becomes such a commodity that it no longer matters), then Microsoft will likely follow the same path Novell did.

Re:It's obvious. (1)

RL78 (1968236) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632914)

I wouldn't say fill the gap, but if MS happens to fall down I can see Apple buying them out.

They are both software companies, but that still would be like Apple buying oranges. ;) Their main customer bases are totally different. It's easy for Microsoft to adapt their business first minded OS's to consumers. It would be alot harder for Apple to service MS's business customers, nor do they want to. That's why Microsoft ain't going nowhere.

Re:It's obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632658)

Until the 2nd liver burns out.

Steve Jobs (2)

Weezul (52464) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632850)

Yeah, maybe they'll steal Steve Jobs from Apple. Or might that violate their anti-compeditive behavior restrictions?

Afaik, all the clever youngsters, like Larry Page, Sergey Brin, etc., are wholly focussed upon the software-as-service mentality that's so hostile to Microsoft's interests.

I'd imagine the best move for stockholders would be de-facto breaking up the company, allowing each business component to go it's own way free from the politics & meddling of other components. Fire the board & Ballmer. Hire someone with an appropriate technical vision for each component.

Re:It's obvious. (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36633204)

Well now you have mentioned Apple, is Tim Cook someone who can bolster innovation in the same way as Steve Jobs or will Apple need to find another visionary? Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs founded their respective companies and had a lot of passion running them. The people replacing them really need to have a feeling for technology and where it might go, as much as good business sense.

I have always seen the rivalry between Apple and Microsoft of that of two brothers. They want to beat each other, but they don't really want the other fail - that just wouldn't be fun. When you know the history of the two founders at the Stanford computer club, then you will appreciate a more human side.

It's time for MS to Split (4, Insightful)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632210)

Ironically, the best thing for Microsoft would be what could have been the result of its anti-trust problems, a company split. It's doing too much, in too many different directions, with too much rigidity. It needs to spin off its divisions and break away from the mother ship. The OS division and the mobile division should be one unit, the business productivity apps another unit, and the gaming division the third unit. Thinking that one CEO can do all that right for all those divisions is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. It's not too big to fail, its too big to succeed.

Re:It's time for MS to Split (2)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632270)

The gaming and OS (do we put .net here as well?) divisions depend heavily on each other: MS can say no DirectX11 for XP, and people flock to Windows 7. And the gaming division heavily benefits from the high level of compatibility between XBox360 and Windows OS-es (easier gameports, less money and time spent on training developers ).

Re:It's time for MS to Split (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632430)

People flock to Windows 7 because they can't get Windows XP, don't want Vista, OSX or Linux. Given that MS stopped selling XP and that 7 is the only choice most people are willing to consider they would have had to work really hard to screw it up.

Personally, I hate that MS is allowed to get it's OS bundled with computers. I shouldn't have to buy a Mac or over pay for a poor quality bit of hardware to avoid having to give them money.

Re:It's time for MS to Split (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632614)

There's this funny little thing called Newegg.

Re:It's time for MS to Split (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#36633044)

Newegg is awesome for us build-it-yourself geeks, but it isn't where most people get their PCs.

Dell has very few XP options, HP sells exactly zero at Best Buy. And once you have a computer with Win7 on it, it's a rare bird that upgrades to XP. Even my company doesn't wipe 7 off new PCs anymore.

Also remember that most PCs sold are laptops... laptops often suck when you load an older OS on them.

Re:It's time for MS to Split (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632736)

Personally, I hate that MS is allowed to get it's OS bundled with computers. I shouldn't have to buy a Mac or over pay for a poor quality bit of hardware to avoid having to give them money.

Why does this bother you so much? Consumers have options. If you buy a computer with Windows bundled from an OEM, the savings you get on the components, as opposed to building a PC yourself and either running GNU/Linux, or purchasing another OS would make up for the cost of the OS bundled with the system. The OEM most likely absorbs most of the cost of the OS anyway.
You can buy a pre-built system with no OS if you don't want Redmond to have your money, or you can build one yourself. The latter would end up costing you more than buying a pre-built system with OS bundled.

As far as MS being "allowed to have their OS's bundled, on what authority would anyone have the ability to prevent this? Who has the authority to tell Dell for instance, to not partner with MS? Why should anyone have this authority? Do you hate that you can only buy a Coke a McDonalds?

Re:It's time for MS to Split (1)

RL78 (1968236) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632746)

Personally, I hate that MS is allowed to get it's OS bundled with computers. I shouldn't have to buy a Mac or over pay for a poor quality bit of hardware to avoid having to give them money.

Why does this bother you so much? Consumers have options. If you buy a computer with Windows bundled from an OEM, the savings you get on the components, as opposed to building a PC yourself and either running GNU/Linux, or purchasing another OS would make up for the cost of the OS bundled with the system. The OEM most likely absorbs most of the cost of the OS anyway. You can buy a pre-built system with no OS if you don't want Redmond to have your money, or you can build one yourself. The latter would end up costing you more than buying a pre-built system with OS bundled. As far as MS being "allowed to have their OS's bundled, on what authority would anyone have the ability to prevent this? Who has the authority to tell Dell for instance, to not partner with MS? Why should anyone have this authority? Do you hate that you can only buy a Coke a McDonalds? Wanted to repost logged in. I am not a coward ;)

Innovator's Dilemma (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632686)

The problem when divisions depend on each other like you mention is that innovating [wikipedia.org] becomes very hard to do.

If Microsoft were split in several independent companies they would have to abandon their traditional "embrace and extend" strategy and learn to work together with others in following standards. That would be good for them.

"Embrace and extend" only works when you have an undisputed monopoly, which Microsoft now has only in desktop systems, and nobody knows for how long even that monopoly will last.

Re:Innovator's Dilemma (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632786)

I don't say the current setup is good, I'm saying that Microsoft won't split up unless it's forced to do so.

Re:It's time for MS to Split (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632278)

I don't think that is necessarily the solution but having a bigger disconnect from the CEO wouldn't be bad. Microsoft is trying to homogenize the experience across their platforms which completely splitting the company could make more difficult.

The biggest problem here is that the person with the vision to make all of that happen should be the CEO or at least equivalent in power. Ballmer is a business guy and it shows. He doesn't need to be replaced on the operations side but he does need to be replaced on the vision and direction side...

No, MS jsut needs a new industry leader to follow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632294)

What Microsoft needs most now is a new industry leader to follow. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s they had IBM and SGI to learn from. During the 1990s and 2000s, they were led by Sun. But with the demise of Sun over the past few years, there's nobody to show them the way.

Just look at .NET, for example. It is very heavily influence by the Java platform. Earlier versions of C# were extremely similar to the Java programming language. The last successful .NET technologies, namely ASP.NET and WinForms, were clearly very influenced by work done first by the Java community.

Companies like IBM, SGI, Sun and others employed some of the greatest minds our industry has ever seen, and produced some amazing technology. Unfortunately, with no such leader today, Microsoft seems to be following the example of far lesser communities, like those promoting Ruby, Ruby-on-Rails and NoSQL. Their offerings are becoming lousier and lousier, with releases coming so often that it's impossible to build anything but the smallest systems with some degree of certainty. Businesses, organizations and individuals building significant software systems can't afford to deal with the release shenanigans that we see from many Ruby-based projects (which is why Ruby is on its way out of the spotlight).

I don't think that Apple or Google are the companies to follow. Google is perhaps the spiritual successor to Sun in many ways, but they are still very different in what they offer. It may be many years before a new, true leader emerges.

Re:No, MS jsut needs a new industry leader to foll (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632372)

I don't think that Apple or Google are the companies to follow.

Apple has a bigger market cap than Microsoft and has just released two wildly successful products in the last 5 years: the iPhone and iPad.

They have also created a new, thriving developer ecosystem, substantially change how folks can get applications, music, movies and share those things with others.

Google, likewise, has a portfolio of innovation mostly related to web technologies but branching into computers and mobile devices.

Microsoft has created...the Kinect. Oh, and updated their Windows operating system. If they don't realize the future is in hardware and getting people connected, they better. And they could start by emulating Apple and Google.

Re:No, MS jsut needs a new industry leader to foll (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632508)

You're confusing "wildly successful" with "overhyped".

Market cap is based on share price. Share price is determined almost solely by hype and emotion, and thus so is market cap. Market cap is not an indicator of true success. It is just an indicator of how investors are reacting to hype.

The iPhone and the iPad are also overhyped technologies. There are far more users of Android than there are iPhone/iPad users. There are far more Symbian users than there are iPhone/iPad users. Depending on whose numbers you use, there are roughly the same number of people using RIM's devices.

Furthermore, the iPad hasn't lived up to its hype. While you do see everyday people using iPhones, it's extremely rare to see somebody using an iPad. It was a novelty at first, but that novelty has worn off.

The iOS application development "ecosystem", as you put it, pales in comparison to every other one. Yes, many apps are available. But they're all shitty or virtually useless. Hell, many of them are easily replaced by a web site that you can view on almost any platform these days. Many developers refuse to go near Apple's platforms after the whole debacle with Apple mandating which programming languages can be used to write software targeting their platform. Even Microsoft never stooped that low.

The same goes for Google's technologies. Yeah, their search engine is useful, and some have found their ad network to be helpful, as well. But other than those, there's not much substance to their other offerings. GMail's UI is rather terrible, and otherwise it's unremarkable. Heck, they recently killed off several failed products.

Sun, for instance, created many groundbreaking technologies. They had a real game-changer with Java. But we don't see that with Apple or Google. Nothing about what they're offering is truly innovative. That's why I don't see them as real leaders.

Re:It's time for MS to Split (1)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632308)

Ironically, the best thing for Microsoft would be what could have been the result of its anti-trust problems, a company split. It's doing too much

I agree they're going in too many different directions but what they need to do is not necessarily split, but have a unified vision.

Right now they have Zune, Windows Mobile 7, Symbian and SideKick mobile platforms all in their portfolio. You would think they would try to create a best of breed combined mobile platform. But no, they're not. They missed the boat big time on ARM development.

With Apple developing tetherless setup and updating of iPads, Microsoft's control over the low end computing market (which, like it or not, is their bread and butter) is now in serious jeopardy. And instead of trying to work with hardware manufacturers to build something new and exciting, they're instead focusing their efforts at penalizing hardware manufacturers who work with competing firms.

Whatever innovation edge Microsoft has had is evaporating faster than a snowball in the Sahara. It is nigh on amazing the Kinect actually got created and while it could be a vehicle to more innovative products, I have a feeling that too will be another Microsoft had it first but botched it.

It's a pity that an organization with the resources Microsoft has cannot get the strategy to implementation going but that's what bloated middle management getting hackled by accounting will do to you.

If they can't get OWA to look pretty, how do they think they're going to be meaningful to users in any real way?

Re:It's time for MS to Split (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632728)

I agree they're going in too many different directions but what they need to do is not necessarily split, but have a unified vision.

WHich is why a serious amount of cleaning house at the top is necessary. The way a lot of the execs seem to act at Microsoft, I wouldn't be surprised if the calendar sitting on their desk is one from 1998. The top microsoft execs where at the top during the glory days, back in the day where Microsoft really was it's own biggest competitor. The thing is, it's not 1998 anymore, Microsoft has some serious external competition, but the execs keep on bickering amongst themselves to try to get the biggest piece of the Microsoft pie, seemingly oblivious to the fact that said pie is getting smaller and smaller every day.

Re:It's time for MS to Split (2)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632358)

I agree. Much like AT&T, only in this case it will be the baby Bills (followed naturally by the regional Bills, the consolidated Bills, the reconstituted Bills, and finally the re-integrated Bills with nameless nobodies running ponderous oligopolies unresponsive to users' real needs. Oh, wait, nevermind, just leave it alone)

Re:It's time for MS to Split (2)

shadowsurfr1 (746027) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632396)

I don't think they really need to split. That'd duplicate resources to some extent, I think. They already fight internally and act like separate competing companies anyways instead of making a better software product everyone benefits from with a common vision. This recent post on Cult of Mac shows this quite well: http://www.cultofmac.com/apple-ms-google-etc-imagined-as-fun-org-charts/102917?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+cultofmac%2FbFow+(Cult+of+Mac) [cultofmac.com]

How about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632216)

SATAN!

Slashdot Should Also Update Its MS Icon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632228)

Seriously, Gates isn't coming back thru that door.

Anyhow, isn't it time Slashdot use the real MS icon here, instead of the Gates Borg icon? It's so painfully outdated, unfunny and irrelevant. There's just no reason for that thing to still exist in 2011 anymore.

This is an ontopic meta comment.

Re:Slashdot Should Also Update Its MS Icon (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632652)

This is an ontopic meta comment.

The preceeding part of your post was an on topic meta comment. The part I quoted was an off topic meta meta comment.

Starring Bill Gates as Himself (3, Interesting)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632230)

I wonder what would happen to Microsoft's share price if Gates himself stepped back into the role?

Re:Starring Bill Gates as Himself (1, Interesting)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632266)

Sure it'd have a jump up in price by a fair bit..
Then Gates himself doing the spiel for Windows 8, that'd get a bump too. The amount of press headlines would give a surge, but he'd have to be back and actually involved to maintain it I think. That'd take a few years so he can get back upto speed on what's there now and direct going forward for a couple of product releases.

Apart from that joke about bumping into Bill in the Airport, if it ever did happen, I'd love to have a good chat with him over a coffee (I'd even pay for it, but he's cover the cookies). Talk vision/tech/whatifs. Ballmer? I don't think I'd be on the right wavelength to have a conversation with him. He's obviously not got the techy gene in him.

Re:Starring Bill Gates as Himself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632656)

Sure it'd have a jump up in price by a fair bit..
Then Gates himself doing the spiel for Windows 8, that'd get a bump too.

What if he did the spiel with Jerry Seinfeld? Then the share price should soar!

Re:Starring Bill Gates as Himself (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632400)

The same thing what happened to Micheal Schumacher as he returned to F1 ? (aka. disaster)

Re:Starring Bill Gates as Himself (1)

rbrausse (1319883) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632462)

it worked for Apple, you can find existing examples for every possible outcome (rule 34 of business-leadership :))

Re:Starring Bill Gates as Himself (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632780)

Yes, but where does this rule fall in the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition?

Re:Starring Bill Gates as Himself (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 2 years ago | (#36633126)

Increase in share price would be a reflection on MS's ability to grow.

There's is no where for MS to grow anymore.

Imagine them being a power company, that has already extended everywhere. Short of banning birth control, you can't make more customers.

Re:Starring Bill Gates as Himself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36633190)

Same thing as what happened when Jobs came back from the hospital I'd imagine.

I honestly don't think Gates should come back, not that I don't think Microsoft might benefit from it, but because I prefer the nice guy philanthropist Gates over the cutthroat, ruthless CEO Gates. Also, I'd bet that Gates himself wouldn't want to get back into that mindset anymore.

You won't find another Gates... (1)

mangst (978895) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632242)

...because Gates was the only one who built the company from the ground up. That kind of experience surely shapes a person

What would a Gates do for them? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632244)

What, exactly, did Gates do for MS as a technology leader?

MS Bob
Ignore the internet
ActiveX
Illegal practices

They HAVE a Bill Gates there. Ballmer is doing what Gates managed to do to them in the past.

Why WON'T he come back? (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632258)

I mean, after all, isn't Microsoft pretty much the only company in existence that could afford to hire him at this point? They should just try to do that.

Re:Why WON'T he come back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632280)

It's easier to steal money from poor people in Africa, or patent research and thus make more people day because they can't afford it.

Re:Why WON'T he come back? (1)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632338)

I mean, after all, isn't Microsoft pretty much the only company in existence that could afford to hire him at this point? They should just try to do that.

. There are plenty of companies with more cash and/or a bigger market cap than MSFT who could, in theory, afford to hire him.

Can you imagine what would happen at and to, e.g. Apple, if they were to hire him?

Re:Why WON'T he come back? (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | more than 2 years ago | (#36633060)

Actually, now that I think of it, you're right. And I know what the logical conclusion here is.

What will the world look like when Wal-Mart hires Bill Gates? *shudder*

Mark Russinovich (1)

magamiako1 (1026318) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632284)

He might fit the technical bill at the company but I'm not sure he has the innovative skill. I mean, he wrote Sysinternals and knows Windows in and out--but how well he could translate that technical knowledge into some new and exciting product, who knows.

Slap in the face. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632292)

"...There will never be another Bill Gates

Er, a comment like that...uh, isn't that quite the slap in the face of all the aspiring and probably just as brilliant engineers at Microsoft? I would tend to think so. People probably thought the same thing years ago when the "other" Steve left Apple, and yet they certainly aren't suffering these days.

Re:Slap in the face. (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632442)

People probably thought the same thing years ago when the "other" Steve left Apple, and yet they certainly aren't suffering these days.

Uh, that's because Jobs returned to Apple.

Oh. You mean the OTHER other Steve. Too many Steve's working in the tech industry!

:)

Re:Slap in the face. (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632488)

Steve Wozniak running Microsoft would certainly be a sight to see. This is the new Windows tablet. It has USB and I soldered the connectors on myself"

Re:Slap in the face. (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 2 years ago | (#36633040)

No, the NBA was looking for its next Wilt Chamberlain or Dr. J and instead got Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The NBA didn't have to wait long before a type of Dr. J replacement came along in Michael Jordan. After Jordan, the league was trying to find its next Jordan. It is still looking, but in that time it got Shaq and a host of other wannabees.

In the NFL, they had Johnny Unitas and Roger Staubach, but even for them they didn't have to wait long to find their replacement of superstar QBs, but none of them were ever Johnny U or Staubach.

The next Bill Gates won't be Bill Gates. It might be the team of Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It might be Zuckerberg. It could have been Linus Torvalds. But none of these are Bill Gates. Even going behind Microsoft, Microsoft isn't IBM. IBM isn't Ford or any of the other massive corporations of the late 1800s or early 1900s. But all of these are powerhouses in their own right and time.

History's Greatest Monster! (2)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632304)

> Ray Ozzie was supposed to be The One, but for some reason that never really worked out

Some reason? The guy created the Lotus Notes. Compared to that Windows 3.1 should be hanging in The Louvre.

Re:History's Greatest Monster! (2)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632402)

I wish we'd gone back to Lotus Notes... Now we're stuck in some shithole between Exchange and Sharepoint!

Re:History's Greatest Monster! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632412)

Amen.

They don't need a Gates (1)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632310)

They needed a Gates when they were 15, 50, 100, 500 employees and needed someone who could pick one or two things to focus on out of 100s.

They have enough money and employees to do everything (for some definition of everything.) What they need is a visionary leader who can say "do this in Cloud, do that in the OS, do X, Y, and Z in Word, Excel, and Powerpoint."

AFAICT, Ballmer isn't that guy. (And Steve Jobs is doing his thing at Apple.)

Someone who understands the purpose of an OS (3, Interesting)

0111 1110 (518466) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632320)

What Microsoft needs is someone who understands what an Operating System is and what it is not. A genuine geek who understands that a 40 GB operating system is wasteful and unnecessary and a sign of incompetence and stupidity. Someone who understands that when your software grows to 10 times the size of your competitors (Linux and OSX) something is badly wrong and needs to be fixed. When you don't know the first thing about coding you have no business managing coders. It will all just turn into one giant predictable mess. As we have seen with post-Gates Microsoft.

Re:Someone who understands the purpose of an OS (3, Funny)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632528)

A genuine geek who understands that a 40 GB operating system is wasteful and unnecessary...

You're only supposed to install one copy of it you know...

Re:Someone who understands the purpose of an OS (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#36633036)

Rather, somebody who realizes the PC OS is "done" and it will never again be a big growth industry like it once was.

Re:Someone who understands the purpose of an OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36633160)

os x takes ~20GB, just like windows 7.

Steve Jobs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632330)

I nominate Steve Jobs for the position. All shall love him and despair.

The title reminded me of some quote.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632344)

Companions the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and
believers. Fellow creators the creator seeks--those who write
new values on new tablets. Companions the creator seeks, and
fellow harvesters; for everything about him is ripe for the
harvest.

Richard Stallman (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632346)

Now, that would be an interesting proposition.

There is no new Bill Gates (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632354)

As demonstrated by Apple, where the new Steve Jobs is... Steve Jobs. Gates isn't coming back.

At this point Ballmer has too much tenure and is too deeply entrenched; the only way to overrule him is to kick him out of the room. MS needs to rid themselves of Ballmer and replace him with someone that has technical vision. Ray Ozzie should have Ballmer's Job. But that will never happen, because Ray's employee number at MS was more than 200.

Fook monkeysoft! (0)

s-whs (959229) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632370)

Any thoughts on who might 'fill the bill'?"

Asking this on slashdot is moronic...

I don't know anyone as incompetent and unvisionary as Billy boy gates, not mention someone who is as big a sociopathic asshole as he is which is the type of people companies like to employ, so my answer to the question is: I don't know and I don't care. Hopefully Monkeyseoft will go bust with people demanding proper software, or indeed a compensation for all the millions of man hours, no man years of work wasted in the time of windows 95, 98, until at least XP. Those f-ing installs and failure searches taking time that with a proper OS with error messages at startup and in logs are immediately clear etc.

Re:Fook monkeysoft! (1)

djowatts (2269380) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632552)

Any thoughts on who might 'fill the bill'?"

Hopefully Monkeyseoft will go bust

How Original! At least you didn't write M$

I can't stand all of this Microsoft bashing. Yes, they have done evil things, as has every company I can think of. With all the patent rubbish going on now, some people will still say the evil is still there, but Apple, Google, Samsung... whoever you name is doing the same thing.

Its time to let go of the sins of the past and actually give Microsoft a chance. I agree that they are not helping themselves much at the moment, but Kinect is awesome and Windows 8 looks pretty smart, not to mention how slick office 2010 is. Their downfall will be WP7 and their attempt to fly into the tablet market.

If I was to decide what direction to take Microsoft in, i would suggest that they stick with what they are good at. Desktops & Laptops arent going anywhere soon, so keep pumping out software for these, and build a nice new STABLE innovateve OS and pump a lot into the XBox division, as that is one franchise that will last forever.... Well, atleast until it becomes unrealistiv to have millions of degrees as the number, I mean, can you imagine getting an Xbox 237240?

"Someone with a strong engineering background" (1)

joeflies (529536) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632390)

Surely you're not implying that Bill Gates formerly held such a distinction. I'd like to hear examples, whether by education or in practice, of this engineering background.

Why not Randy Ubillos? (1)

rimcrazy (146022) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632432)

Hey, he just finished completely fucking up FCP with the release of FCPX. Why not let him do for Microsoft like he's done for Apple?

Right - the product of 2 lawyers breeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632454)

Who used contracts and understanding of law:
1) To get BASIC from the educator he was doing the work for via child labor laws.
2) To get DOS from via contract with Seattle Microcomputers.
3) Used contracts to beat up DIGITAL and their email system.
4) Used contract law to get Sybase (it was sybase for the SQL right?) and the web browser engine.

The understanding of how to steal with a fountain pen is what Bill Gates did well. Being the spawn of 2 lawyers helped him gain that talent.

Tech leader yes, but still need to oust Ballmer (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632468)

A tech leader and visionary is needed. I agree. They also need to oust Ballmer...and not replace him. A person talented enough to be a tech leader wouldn't want to work for the kind of company a "Ballmer" makes Microsoft into....where enthusiasm for innovative IT is thwarted by a "windows tax" and a culture of protecting existing technology from yesterday.

Ballmer needs to be replaced. (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632470)

Ballmer is the core problem that needs to be solved. The fact that Ballmer has not yet put in a replacement for Gates shows that Ballmer is, indeed, the problem.

.
Any discussion about replacing Gates is premature so long as Ballmer is allowed to continue mismanaging the company.

Strong Engineering background? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632490)

You do realize that Gates went to Harvard not MIT? Gates has a strong Business background. His is not a technical superstar. He has/had a vision and the business savvy to make it happen. Same can be said of Steve Jobs. Strong leaders know what they want and how to get what they want to happen, but that does not mean they can personally do the work.

A split, and some leadership (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632492)

I think the dual Consumer / Entreprise personnality can't work: the reliability, compatibility, steadfastness that entreprise clients want is mostly incompatible with the glitter, constant change, and nimbleness to the lastest buzz that consumers want. MS clung to Windows' desktop UI way to long on their smartphones, certainly in the name of synergy... What synergy does a 1% marketshare bring ?

Also, MS seems to lack courage. The recent successes (kinect, xbox...) all were in brand new fields where no feathers were being ruffled, and no entrenched interests threatened. I feel that, for all his chair-throwing, Ballmer never manages to force any change. So while MS is doing mostly OK (OK products, strong lock-in thanks to Sharepoint, Office formats, user skills, and nice dev tools) there hasn't been any "Wow" software / hardware /service, except again for Kinect (which I think is not even their own tech), in a long while.

I'm not sure it's all that much about technical vision per se. Any kind of vision would be good, especially a more customer-centric one: design / ease of use a la Apple, standards compliance and interoperability even at the cost of less lock-in....

Re:A split, and some leadership (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632690)

Kinect only has wow factor for someone completely unfamiliar with Sonys Eye-Toy. Kinect just builds ontop of very old stuff like that and is in itself nothing at all to write home about. Its actually pretty crappy compared to the original Kinect from the developers (all outside Micrososft) since most of the interesting stuff was axed to bring the price down.

Re:A split, and some leadership (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632760)

To be fair, the MS Kinect has a completely different tracking engine than the Primesense technology they licensed. MS bought the hardware and then built their own software to process the data. They played to their strengths.

It is not Gates that did this (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632500)

Gates NEVER developed any tech that helped MS. NEVER. What he did was steal other ppl's work, and cheat illegally. Nothing difficult about doing that. The real problem is that MS can not cheat easily right now. What would have helped MS is had the allowed the break-up. In my posts during that time, I spoke against the break-up because it was obvious to me that it would bring back more companies that would cheat. Now, MS is slowly dying because they are TOO big.

And for those of you that think that is not true, look at our bail-out of GM and Chrysler. Chrysler was sold off to a foreign company that had gone through a collapse, and GM still stinks. Had we broken them up, they would be smaller, but at least several of the new companies would know how to get back to size. Politics is killing America. We were built on small, but push big.

Re:It is not Gates that did this (1)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632662)

Gates personally coded some of the BASIC interpretors on old-school 8 bit micros. Vic 20/ C64 and the like. I learnt to program on these machines, and in many ways I might not have become a developer earning loads, if it was not for cutting my teeth developing on these machines.

However, somewhere between then, and now, Microsoft lost their way. Innovation, gave way to trying to lock people into their platforms and rejecting anything non Microsoft. They have enough money to develop an operating system, that's built on Open standards,and is graphically as appealing as Apples... And, laugh all the way to the bank!

However, they'd rather charge through the nose for a mediocre system, that they know will sell as they've eliminated the competition by bullying PC suppliers to only ship windows, or else.

The reason Apple are doing well, is because they are not Microsoft, and people would rather pay a high premium for their computers, than have to put up with Microsofts offering. Its just very sad, that Microsoft have chosen to be that type of company.

Re:It is not Gates that did this (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632910)

I did not say that Gates did not code. Obviously he did. I said that he stole other ppl's tech. Gates never had a single original idea. Heck, he coded a version of BASIS, rather than develop a new better languages. He BOUGHT DOS. He bought Xenix, and then had to be made to focus on DOS from his employees (including a guy that I know who has some very interesting comments about the early days of MS; Basically, had gates gotten his way, MS would likely have failed). There was NOTHING from Gates that was innovative that actually helped MS.

OTH, it was gates that pushed MS to have ZERO ethics (which pervades through their company today; also why I will never hire any coder that has been there for more than a year unless I know them personally; I have more than a few friends that have worked for them). It was Gates that pushed to steal tech everywhere. Heck, we all know about Windows development.

Basically, if Gates was back in MS right now, they would be back under DOD inspection. Gates is not capable of a single new innovative idea. He really was worthless on that area.

OTH, what gates is good at, is that he is a MARKETER (hence his wife). Gates has a good eye for recognizing where tech is going. Not initially though. As I said earlier, had he won on many of those early choices, MS would be dead today. But over time, he did. But if Gates was there today, MS would be in worse shape.

Dear Steve Ballmer, (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632582)

Don't let the chair hit you in the ass on the way out!

Re:Dear Steve Ballmer, (1)

squirrl (1544899) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632638)

Steve Jobs, Steve Gates (Microsoft vs Apple) There has to be only two in command. You see? Bill Gates, Bill Joy (Microsoft vs Sun) anonymous, Jane Silber (Microsoft vs Ubuntu Linux)

Faulty Premise (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632604)

The push to get rid of Steve Ballmer isn't because they need a "new" Steve Ballmer. It was because Steve Ballmer isn't able to fill Bill Gates' shoes and provide the vision Microsoft needs.

It isn't about a "new" Ballmer as much as it is you'll need to remove Ballmer himself to successfully get a new visionary in there. Unless he is totally gone, he'll have too much say in the way things are run and he just doesn't have what it takes.

A new gates? (0)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632632)

Bill Gates as a tech leader? He never was. He was a business leader and excelled at pushing and sometimes breaking the boundaries of ethical behavior but he NEVER excelled or was even adequate as a technical leader.

The world has changed AND the world knows it has changed for the better and is NOT going to let the old times return, exceptions like Nokia proving the point. Gates only achieved one thing, through wheeling and dealing he managed to make Windows THE OS that everyone HAD to use. Not wanted to use like OSX or iOS, had to. It worked but instead of continueing to push their advantage Gates let MS go lacks and basically allowed everyone to overtake MS left right and center.

And now that MS is no longer dominant, NOBODY is going to allow them to dominate again. You can see this by the absolute refusal of phone makers or even computer makers to go the windows only route. Even Nokia is still releasing a LINUX phone in the form of the N9. That would never have happened when Gates was calling the shots in a by gone era.

Could you imagine in the early days of Dell them selling Linux? HP going back to pushing its OWN OS?

That is the problem for MS, it is stuck in the past. Some parts try, the acknowledgement that Silverlight would need to run on both OSX and Linux by MS itself showed how much the world has changed, but they did not follow through on it. This is a world in which MS buys google ad words to advertise its browser on a google search for chrome. You couldn't make this up. MS is funding the development of its chief rival browser in an attempt to get people back to using its own free browser the searcher either already has available OR can't run! Desperation is not even an adequate word to describe this.

Gates and Ballmer can't cope with this new world in which MS is just another software vendor with a not particularly valuable brandname. Proof? Windows Phone. It doesn't sell. Apple Phone? Can't ship them fast enough. One has value as a brand name, the other is a liability. Why do you think it is called the X-box and not the Windows Box or MS-X?

If Apple were to release a game device you would be sure their logo would feature heavily (see the back of the iPad). Where is the MS logo on the x-box? What is the MS logo?

MS still has a lot of power and its money supply is near infinite, so why can't it deliver anything of interest anymore? Why is Bling so crap, Windows Phone so un-intresting? Why is it not dealing at all with its largest installed game base, the windows PC?

The answer is simple, nobody MS has any experience in having to think competitive. They are not used to having them. Now they do. None of the old guard can deal with it. To bad. There won't be a competent replacement because that would mean the old guard admitting they are passed it.

Linus (1)

Eponymous Bastard (1143615) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632664)

someone with a strong engineering background and technical vision, surveying the field and calling the plays.

The should hire Linux Torvalds!

Wrong on every account. (2)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632666)

One thing Bill Gates never ever had is "strong engineering background and technical vision". He is an excellent strategist without even the smallest hint of a conscience.

From the moment he bought QDos from Seattle Technologies and onwards its been a technological disaster with all decisions taken with the aim of crushing competition. The tech has always been behind anything else in priority. Internet Explorer is an excellent example where the desire to kill Netscape lead to its integration into Windows, a decision people thought would only lead to problems at the time, something that still plagues Windows from a security standpoint.

I suggest reading up on third party accounts on what really happened since the Dos trials with Digital and onwards.

Well, I'm Not THAT Busy ... (1)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632676)

So if they call, I suppose I could consider an offer.

Perhaps.

Damn, I'll have to move though, won't I? That's never good. And it's awfully rainy up there in MicroTown.

Still, to get to replace that damned paperclip character (or the search dog) with something cute, something toad-ish perhaps ...

Toad-san

Bill Gates was the right person at the time. (1)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632706)

I'm not convinced that he'd be the right person at this time, though. He was visionary enough to see that a software company was a good idea; he saw the good idea of other people and either plagiarized or bought them; he was a ruthless businessman who resorted to unethical methods to claw his way up from the bottom, reach the top, and stay at the top. When you think about it, are those the qualities that Microsoft needs today? Post-investigation, Microsoft needs a softer, gentler hand. Ironically, Ballmer is that softer, gentler hand, that makes overtures to the industry, rather than dictating ultimatums to it.

Gates and Jobs are similar in many respects, while Ballmer and Sculley share an equal number of opposing qualities. Gates and Jobs are both dictatorial, with clear visions of what they want, how they want it implemented, and what they're going to do to keep the users locked in and dependent on them. Ballmer and Sculley, however, are less visionary and approach most issues from a traditional business perspective. Remember how Sculley opened up the Mac platform, allowing clones? Jobs would never have done that. Nor would Gates. Ballmer, on the other hand, I think might have. While it didn't work out too well for Apple, at the time, there was potential there for licensing and making the brand more popular. Maybe if Sculley had been more aggressive in his licensing of the Macintosh brand -- going to HP, Compaq, and IBM with enticing offers -- he'd have been on to something, rather than just diluting his own marketshare, by allowing his partners and allies to undercut him. Ballmer and Sculley aren't nearly as bad as people make them out to be, but their lack of vision does hurt them. What hurts them even more, however, is their lack of viciousness. Ballmer is unfairly characterized as a psychopath, whereas I think he's probably much more bipolar than anything else. He doesn't have the ruthless, take-no-prisoners attitude that being a high powered CEO demands, and when he's compared to Gates, people often uncharitably use this against him. I hate to defend the guy, because I don't really like him, but he's just not that bad. He's the second coming of Sculley, who was also vilified and detested by analysts, for not being a good enough judge of what to plagiarize and who to destroy. Given a choice, I'll take Sculley and Ballmer over Jobs and Gates. While Jobs and Gates brought their corporations to dizzying heights, Ballmer and Sculley are the better choice for consumers, competitors, and underlings. Jobs is nothing more than a more charismatic version of Gates -- which goes a long way to making him preferable to Gates, in my mind -- but Jobs is still a dictatorial asshole who can't stand competition. Ballmer, as excitable and unvisionary as he may be, is preferable to Gates, unless you're looking for a ruthless asshole with very little empathy. Analysts love that shit. I don't.

The only problem with Microsoft... (4, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632758)

Is that they have no taste. They have absolutely no taste, and... I don't mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way... (Steve Jobs, commenting on Microsoft in PBS's Triumph of the Nerds documentary).

Even John Dvorack thinks that MS is brain-dead. He correctly pointed out YEARS AGO (more than a decade) that if Microsoft *really* employs the best and the brightest, as their PR claims, why is their software so backwards? He took an example of using the "copy" function.

When you drag a bunch of icons to copy stuff from one drive to another, it blindly starts the copy, it doesn't check if there's enough space, it doesn't check if there's a file already at the destination with the same name, so, if this copy is going to take hours, you have to monitor it for any pop-up alerts. Because any of these issues will stop the copy dead. It's 2011 guys, why is "copy" still a function like it's 1950? Is this *really* what the best and brightest can achieve?

MS needs a top to bottom overhaul. They are too mired in management, and even brilliant engineers can't rise to the top in such an environment. MS's greatest innovations came from stealing other people's ideas.

These days, people are smart enough to NOT approach Microsoft to give a demo of new technology, so MS has less and less people to steal from, hence their perceived lack of innovation.

If MS wants to innovate, they are better off separating into two companies -- one that serves their corporate interests, making "Enterprise" software, reliable and dull, that gets updated every 7 years, while the other creates glitzy consumer stuff that can crash, but at least it's cutting-edge, and churns out new OS releases yearly.

And while I've got your attention; what's with the crap in the summary? Bill Gates doesn't have an engineering background, he's a college drop-out. He's not even visionary -- every idea he's ever had was stolen from someone else. Don't get me wrong, I admire his tenacity and drive to dominate the software industry, but that's been his ONLY vision - to be bigger than every other company. Well, he did that, until Google came along.

Re:The only problem with Microsoft... (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632920)

"When you drag a bunch of icons to copy stuff from one drive to another, it blindly starts the copy, it doesn't check if there's enough space, it doesn't check if there's a file already at the destination with the same name, so, if this copy is going to take hours, you have to monitor it for any pop-up alerts. Because any of these issues will stop the copy dead. It's 2011 guys, why is "copy" still a function like it's 1950? Is this *really* what the best and brightest can achieve?"

THANK YOU.

And I'm a pretty heavy Windows user. This is one of the most nonsensical aspects I've run into with MS. Why not handle it like ftp clients already do? Have a file queue and if there's an error, skip, and I'll see the report at the end of the process and can handle each problem individually.

How? (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632776)

When so many people at Microsoft all conform to a similar corporate vision and the ones who think outside the box, such as Ozzie, didn't last and are no longer with the company, who could take the reigns without either continuing down the path of Gates/Balmer or conflicting with the vast majority of employees? I'm willing to bet if Microsoft found a guy like Steve Jobs to take the CEO position it would cause so much internal strife that it would hurt the company. There would be too many disagreements and perhaps an employee exodus. How do you think the engineers will feel when nine times out of ten the CEO tells them that their work isn't good enough, that they have to fix X and Y and add Z in for good measure? And it has to be done within the week. That's not the lifestyle these guys are used to. They're used to telling the CEO what's good, not the other way around.

Or, to take an extreme example, if you were to put a guy like Bill Joy in charge he would run the company into the ground by being ethical. Most of Microsoft's money comes from leveraging their dominance with Windows and Office. If someone were to open source them, the company would have to find a new goose to lay golden eggs. They've been searching for that goose for decades, investing billions and hiring some of the brightest minds. Then think of all the lost money from no longer extorting other companies with "patent protection" (look what Oracle is doing with Sun . . .), think of all the government officials that would no longer be bribed, all the lock-in technologies that would be abandoned. It may be good for the market, good for the world in general, but it would be bad for Microsoft. They're so colossal that growth means monopoly. The only reason I no longer consider them a monopoly is because they've been so stagnant for the past decade while many of their rivals have had so much success.

I do think that, in either situation, it could work in the long run. But I also think in either situation it would be extremely damaging in the short term and the board may not put up with it long enough for the company to change for the good. There's a reason people like Ozzie don't last at Microsoft.

The answer is ME! (1)

deathguppie (768263) | more than 2 years ago | (#36632918)

I'm ready to start any time. I can work an extra hour here and there, and I'll only ask for a few million in "golden parachute" money if and when I drive the company in the ground. Thereby saving the board and the investors hundreds of millions of dollars.

And really could I be any worse than Balmer?
I think not. I could send out teams of legal minions to defeat any upstart enterprise just as easily as he does. Hell I might even innovate something just for fun. Wouldn't that be hoot!

Why do we care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36632922)

This should be left to capitalism in action surely? If some company or other struggles, others will come in and take its place, innovating and leading society forwards into great riches and so on.

It's not like Microsoft per se is an essential public service, or that we've somehow let our businesse and economies all get tied in to their closed ecosystem, from allowing years of dodgy practices and un-checked market dominance...... Oh, wait. Damn.

Bill never was... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36633000)

Microsoft is not thinking in this way because they know Bill Gates. He is not a great technologist. He is not a great programmer. He is an excellent salesman and executive.

This has always been why Microsoft succeeded despite having products in most ways inferior to their competition. Go read the story of Gates and the first BASIC rom.

Someone very different from Bill Gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36633030)

>>someone with a strong engineering background and technical vision, surveying the field and calling the plays

Bill Gates didn't have an engineering background. He miscalled networking protocols, the internet, memory usage, memory and processor scaling, as well as numerous other technical mistakes. He was great at being a backstabbing bastard, however, so perhaps that is really what Microsoft needs. Ballmer is an angry man, but not as good at the killing as Gates.

Rule number one in software management (4, Insightful)

Ironpoint (463916) | more than 2 years ago | (#36633042)

Microsoft is way past the stage where techies are in control or driving the vision. Yeah, it would benefit Microsoft to have a very smart person in a top position, but current management, who probably have never held technical roles, would never allow that to happen. Rule number one in management is, if you are dumb, make sure everyone around you is dumber.

Not a new Gates (3)

bberens (965711) | more than 2 years ago | (#36633074)

Saying we need another Gates is like saying America needs Bush back as President. The fact of the matter is the company, and country, were already sinking by the time the torch was handed off to the new guy. Whether or not the new guy is better/worse than the last guy is up to your individual preferences I guess.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...