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Why Eric Schmidt Is Wrong About Microsoft Not Mattering Anymore

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the I'm-feeling-better dept.

Android 398

First time accepted submitter Gumbercules!! writes "Eric Schmidt said he believes there is a 'Gang of Four' technology platform leaders — Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook — Microsoft isn't one of them. I wrote about why I believe he's wrong and what it might say about Google's weaknesses. From the article: 'It's no secret that Microsoft have utterly failed to make significant roads into the mobile market place. Windows Phone 7 has approximately no marketshare (ok they have live 5% or so) and this has actually gone down over the last year. It's also no secret that Microsoft have failed to gain any semblance of "cool" and that they're also managing to drag Nokia down with them. It's not even a secret that nearly everyone who looks at the new Windows 8 interface-formally-known-as-Metro doesn't like it. However this isn't the whole story.'"

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398 comments

Market tells (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624623)

Facebook is not one of them but Microsoft.
You can see it from their price history.

Notice one thing... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624645)

All four of the companies mentioned are walled-in gardens.

Re:Notice one thing... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624787)

I noticed three of them, whatever else they do, produce things that are useful, and one produces nothing but qiestionable marketing drivel and lack of privacy.

Re:Notice one thing... (4, Funny)

MHolmesIV (253236) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625025)

Damn, I can't work out which one you're referring to...

Re:Notice one thing... (4, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625183)

Facebook. Amazon has their marketplace and the Kindle. Google has a huge collection of services and the Nexus. Apple has the entire Mac/iStuff ecosystem. Facebook has...Farmville.

Re:Notice one thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625079)

One thing Eric Schmidt knows how to do is run his frigg'n mouth. He is always stepping on his little engineer pee-pee with each and every utterance. What is it about holding a doctorate that sucks all the common sense out of so many human beings? I cannot count the times I've heard nonsense spill from the docs and PI's that I work with.

Re:Notice one thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625319)

Have any of these guys ever tried to type code or 200 page report on a touch screen. Never mind I forgot they are completely out of touch.

A fish rots from the head, down... (4, Insightful)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624667)

Ballmer and out-of-control, boy-billionaire eccentricities including management implementations, R&D based on petty jealousies and magical thinking are to blame for MS' slow, steady decline. Stick a fork in MS, it's done insofar as stock value as far as staking its entire hopes for the future on legacy Windows and Office market bases.

Re:A fish rots from the head, down... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624813)

and yet 69% of the pc market is still using some form of microsoft os... huh. I don't think MS is going anywhere soon.

Re:A fish rots from the head, down... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625077)

hehe, you said 69.

Re:A fish rots from the head, down... (5, Insightful)

TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625113)

That's nice for the PC market. Says me listening to music using a smart phone while typing on a tablet. The PC market will never disappear, too many jobs require too much screen real estate to be conveniently carried about. But you cant use the PC market to leverage the NEXT BIG THING anymore.

Re:A fish rots from the head, down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625383)

The people who make soap are doing just fine with stable unexciting markets.

Re:A fish rots from the head, down... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625221)

That's true. Yet, two things jump out at me: "69%" and "still". The percentage used to be a LOT higher, and even the people who believe MS is not going anywhere soon, acknowledge that they're hold onto a diminishing empire.

Re:A fish rots from the head, down... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625333)

And yet the PC market itself is likely to shrink. How is being the dominant player in a shrinking market not a problem? While the PC is likely to be around for a very long time, particularly in the corporate/business market, even Microsoft acknowledges it needs to make a dent in the smart device market.

Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world now, and it is not because of Macs. That tells you everything you need to know about what the PC market represents, and what it will represent in 5 or 10 years.

Re:A fish rots from the head, down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624865)

Could you rephrase that in English?

Re:A fish rots from the head, down... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625107)

Uhhh, okay.... *ahem*........."You're an asshole"?

This guy is dumb (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624681)

Why would I buy a laptop or a PC for my staff ever again I could buy them a single tablet – or even pocket sized phone – that just connects to a dock or cable and viola - it’s now a fully fledged PC, running all my corporate software, legacy or otherwise on a full sized monitor with keyboard and mouse.

This paragraph proves that this guy has no idea what he's talking about.

Re:This guy is dumb (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624785)

This paragraph proves that this guy has no idea what he's talking about.

It's possible he's just an Apple shill, but more likely you're correct. That's an absurd statement.

Re:This guy is dumb (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624971)

Apple shill running an Android blog and writing an article that insults iOS?

Re:This guy is dumb (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625099)

he's not an apple shill, because apple doesn't do all that docking bs like the motorola atrix or whatever.

Re:This guy is dumb (1, Insightful)

shugah (881805) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625153)

He can't be an Apple shill, as anyone who has tried to use an iPad for anything useful would understand that this is absurd.

Re:This guy is dumb (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625289)

Mod up. My company issued me an ipad earlier this year. After a week, I gave it back. Because I didn't want to carry an ipad *and* a laptop. The ipad is a hipster toy.

Re:This guy is dumb (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624789)

moron, would categorize him better. an idiot would do, and in a bind, douche will suffice.

+1

Re:This guy is dumb (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624805)

He does not get it. No it will not run and work. Tablet software runs and works well because it basically does very little, or is very heavily optimized. PC software that runs on a notebook is not heavily optimized, and it runs in general. Thus battery life ounce for ounce will not match. For example Intel tablets still have a little fan. I mean COME ON PEOPLE! I am not critique Intel, I am saying that there are moments when I use a PC, and moments I use a tablet. What has changed is that you don't need Microsoft software at all anymore.

About a year ago I switch to Linux and OSX and have not looked back. Between Ubuntu, OSX, iOS, and Android my world is just peachy. Sorry, but Microsoft blew its chances. I have said it before and say it again, Ballmer needs to be fired! Maybe then Microsoft can be fixed.

Re:This guy is dumb (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624919)

He does not get it. No it will not run and work. Tablet software runs and works well because it basically does very little

Most office desktop also do very little these days. For the general office worker, the idea is not so terrible... a docked tablet or phone will provide email, calendaring, web, and light word processing. That covers 90% of what 90% of what corporate office monkeys need to do. Most web applications will work great on these slim browsers, and if there is a killer app needed it is the full fledged spreadsheet... the processor will handle it but it seems no one wants to write or sell it because it will compete with the desktop version, but there's no good reason it couldn't work. No, its not ideal for graphic design, CAD, or software development, but in a corporation of 10K users, the percentage doing this is tiny. You and all who replied are being short sighted. A phone could easily and effectively replace the general desktop, but not the specialized desktop.

Re:This guy is dumb (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624949)

"Most web applications will work great on these slim browsers" you just proved to have no real world grasp of browser based apps used in real corporate settings.

Re:This guy is dumb (4, Interesting)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625019)

There is a problem IMO in this strategy. You are assuming that people will want to swipe and touch a screen. The Surface is a small device with a crappy mouse pad. The Apple MousePad is the norm and once you have used it, you don't go back. Imagine sitting at your desk and having to lift your hands to do anything? Not going to happen. Additionally ever tried to sit in front of a small screen to do work? Not very nice. I use 3 23" monitors for my daily work and will never go back to anything smaller.

The assumption that you are making is that people will want to continue using the Microsoft software paradigm. As seen by the oodles of OSX, and now Linux users they can do just fine without Microsoft software. That is the irony in this entire situation. People don't hate Microsoft, they have become indifferent to Microsoft. That is worse than hating because people will look at your stuff and say Meh. When people hate, you will have those that will use just because others hate. When people say Meh people move on because they don't want to be boring.

Re:This guy is dumb (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625359)

. No, its not ideal for graphic design, CAD, or software development, but in a corporation of 10K users, the percentage doing this is tiny.

Yes, lets put accounting on an ipad; nevermind the spreadsheet he's larger than an ipads RAM; and he's got 5 of them open at the same time... and he'd rip your face off if he had to use them full screen swiping from one to other and back again. And then he'd put your face back on just to rip it off again when you told him he couldn't use Microsoft Excel.

  Legal? iPad's all round - I heard legal likes to put all their documents on iCloud anyway, right guys?

And I could go on indefinitely.

That covers 90% of what 90% of what corporate office monkeys need to do.

What is a corporate office monkey and what do they do?

Sure the legion of cubicle grunts doing data entry from handwritten submitted forms for an insurance company -- sure they can probably have their cheap desktop replaced with a docking tablet... but why? The PCs they are using are already cheaper than a tablet.

And really anyone further up the food chain than that? Well you said it yourself... "That covers 90%...." meaning 10% of what they do isn't covered. So what's your solution? They just don't do those things?

Someone in sales needs to post some product photos to the company twitter account... except he used an actual digital camera so they didn't look like shit... but he can't get his photos from his camera to his company issued tablet.

The girl managing the cellular assets gets an iphone back from the field that's locked up... no problem documenting the issue in the web-crm-pos system on her tablet... but really she needs to attach it to a computer with itunes to revive it.

The advertising manager who needs to sign off on the new website design can't see it on their tablet because the outsourced designer sent them a physical DVD. So wandering around the halls with a disk looking for the face-ripper from accounts receivable because he knows he got a proper PC...

Anyone who thinks tablets can replace general purpose pc's is only ever looking at 90% of the problem. That other 10% will kill you.

Re:This guy is dumb (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625015)

He does not get it. No it will not run and work. Tablet software runs and works well because it basically does very little, or is very heavily optimized.

We did real work on computers slower than current low end smartphones less than 20 years ago.

Re:This guy is dumb (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625361)

I used to run a Renegade BBS on my first machine, a 386SX-25MHz. Running a BBS counts as real work, right?

Re:This guy is dumb (0)

spec8472 (241410) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624931)

Ugh. Exactly...

Cross-posting my comment I made over there:

"Why would I buy a laptop or a PC for my staff ever again I could buy them a single tablet – or even pocket sized phone – that just connects to a dock or cable and viola - it’s now a fully fledged PC, running all my corporate software, legacy or otherwise on a full sized monitor with keyboard and mouse."

Because Windows RT (that is: the tablet version of Windows 8, which is most certainly not the same thing as Windows Mobile) - does NOT run "legacy" applications. It's ARM only, which means any Win32 or Win64 application just simply won't execute.

So, certainly feel free to buy Windows RT tablets, and Windows 8 phones - but good luck using them as desktop replacements unless all your applications are Metro applications from the Microsoft store.

Perhaps you need to do a little more research first.

Re:This guy is dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625125)

No. The Intel tablets will run "legacy" apps. You're thinking of the ARM version which are RT only. Perhaps you need to do more research before getting on your high horse....

Re:This guy is dumb (5, Interesting)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624991)

...As i sit here with my phone docked to a 22" monitor with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, RDP'd into a virtual desktop that runs all my corporate software, legacy and otherwise.

this post shows that you don't know what you're talking about and a bunch of moderators seem to agree.

Re:This guy is dumb (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625231)

"this post shows that you don't know what you're talking about and a bunch of moderators seem to agree."

His post is moderated as '+5 insightful', whereas yours is '+3 interesting'.

So, to me, it looks like moderators agree with him and think you're an ignorant cunt.

Re:This guy is dumb (3, Interesting)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624997)

This guy is an idiot, but it is pretty telling that so many people are jumping on the only actual insight he wrote. Not that Microsoft has such a thing coming out anytime soon, but if you don't believe that this is the end goal of Apple (and therefore, Microsoft), then well, you're a bigger idiot than he is.

Re:This guy is dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625069)

Or it proves you didn't read the article. He's talking about an Intel based tablet or phone. The phone probably wouldn't run all that well, but something like a HP TM2t would run most desktop applications and websites just fine, even on that pesky Windows 8!

Re:This guy is dumb (1)

TermV (49182) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625145)

He's actually correct, but we're not there yet. I see a day when our PC will consist of a dockable smart phone. Eventually things will be miniaturized to the point where the phone actually has the storage and horsepower, but I can also see it working in a master/slave configuration where the PC acts like a dumb terminal that provides I/O and a more powerful CPU. Manufacturers are already experimenting with the idea. That doesn't mean MS is done for, it more likely means a change in how software is licensed. They'll probably start licensing based on the number of authorized host docks rather than on copies installed on individual devices.

Re:This guy is dumb (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625321)

Read the whole article. He's spot on. He specifically said "wait 12 months, then this gets interesting". In 12 months the Haswell-based Microsoft tablets will be out. This is an architecture that has been designed, from the ground up, to absolutely sip power. Read the Anandtech.com article on Haswell: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6355/intels-haswell-architecture

If Intel manages to execute on what they're promising with Haswell, you will ABSOLUTELY be able to purchase a Wintel tablet that can replace today's "Laptop Workstation".

Paired with a halfway decent mobile dock that includes a keyboard, the laptop use cases are covered. Paired with a desktop-dock and the existing monitors and keyboard in your office, you won't miss your existing laptop.

How is it that so many on Slashdot don't see the potential in this? Everyone who is complaining "but-but Tablets! touch interfaces, gak no!" isn't actually READING the article... YOU GET A KEYBOARD WHEN YOU ADD THE DOCK. You have the best of ALL worlds, what's the downside? One device, no syncing other than to [INSERT_CLOUD_PROVIDER_HERE], from ONE DEVICE that's ALWAYS WITH YOU.

Instrument of stupidity (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625161)

Why would I buy a laptop or a PC for my staff ever again I could buy them a single tablet – or even pocket sized phone – that just connects to a dock or cable and viola - it’s now a fully fledged PC

What I don't get is the requirement for a viola to go with the cable...?

Re:This guy is dumb (5, Funny)

CyranoDeBergerac (127210) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625187)

that just connects to a dock or cable and viola

Excellent; now I just need a dock connector for my violin and cello and I won't have to carry around that pesky string quartet any more.

He's plugging exactly what I want. He's right. (3, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625307)

At home I have a couple macs. They do the job I need a computer to do. But to service the whole families needs, to provide a media center, and to provide something for on the go usage I need another work station plus a tablet. Eventually my other computers will get old and I'll need to replace them.

Now if I could just use a tablet hooked to a big screen I'd need ferwer devices and I'd be happier. The tablets would let me use apps that are touch freindly with ease and the attached screen for typing and mousing apps. It would allow on the go use. Media use (where you want to move it to the chair or the amplifer or tv). perfect.

so far all the tablets seem to only mirror their small screens if they have video out at all. Or they lack a desktop mode for mouse and KB usage.

Windows 8 is going to have both.

I had been wondering why win8 had both metro and desktop modes but suddenly I get it. this use case is a killer app.

it fits my profile exactly. it fits my moms profile. it fits my kids needs.

What sucks is that I don't like windows or the apps made for windows. I'd prefer to use the ones I have on my macs.

Re:He's plugging exactly what I want. He's right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625363)

This use case-- the mostly docked tablet-- also makes the use of intel processors make more sense. Everyone is going low power for tablets. Which is fine for batteries. But to be a true desktop replacement I prefer something more substantial. by itself an intel tablet is a sucky idea--a bettery burner-- but if I mostly use it docked and only as a portable device occasionally, it makes sense.

Who wants to run windows apps on a tablet? (4, Interesting)

presidenteloco (659168) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624717)

A tablet has a completely different user interface with swipe gestures and a crappy keyboard.

Why would I want to run legacy windows applications on it that already had in many cases godawful overcomplicated user interfaces with tiny menus and microscopic meaningless icons.

Legacy photoshop on a windows tablet?

Or standard Excel or Word with a monstrosity of control toolbars/ribbons with gazillions of tiny controls?

Not going to happen.

Re:Who wants to run windows apps on a tablet? (4, Insightful)

robvangelder (472838) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624877)

I think what the author means is that a Windows enabled tablet could replace the laptop space.
On your work desk, it's connected to an external mouse, keyboard and monitor - desktop mode
When you go to a meeting, or go on the road, you take the tablet with you - mobile mode

The advance here is that you're running the same apps (yes, Word, Excel, legacy apps), same logon, same computer... whereever you go. In the corporate world, this could be huge.

Re:Who wants to run windows apps on a tablet? (2)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625053)

I think what the author means is that a Windows enabled tablet could replace the laptop space.
On your work desk, it's connected to an external mouse, keyboard and monitor - desktop mode
When you go to a meeting, or go on the road, you take the tablet with you - mobile mode

Yes this. Don't get me wrong, I don't like it, I don't think it's going to be successful, and I don't want it, but I think this is what they're banking on. I didn't want to knock the-UI-formerly-known-as-Metro until I actually tried it, so I tried it and it and I don't like it. It basically seems like they're making you use a touchscreen UI with a mouse and keyboard. The only reason this makes sense is if they want you to be able to use the same device as both a tablet with a touchscreen and a computer with a mouse and keyboard. The concept of One Device to Rule Them All has its merits, but the I don't think it's going to be successful because the implementation sucks.

Re:Who wants to run windows apps on a tablet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625369)

Don't knock the "one device to rule them all" concept because MS is being stubborn about "Metro everywhere".

There is no reason why we won't (eventually) be able to have:
- Win7 desktop in Desktop / Laptop docked mode
- Metro desktop in Tablet / Mobile phone mode

The software supports it, even if MS is too stupid to realize this is what we really want.

Metro makes sense in the "touch only" modes (Tablet & Mobile Phone). It makes zero sense in the Desktop/Laptop modes. Give them time to realize this, and even if they fail to do so, several somebodies will give us work arounds.

Re:Who wants to run windows apps on a tablet? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625269)

You connect it to a large monitors and hook into a PC sitting on a rack somewhere. Easier maintenance, security and control of the IT infrastructure.

Re:Who wants to run windows apps on a tablet? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625335)

A tablet has a completely different user interface with swipe gestures and a crappy keyboard.

Why would I want to run legacy windows applications on it that already had in many cases godawful overcomplicated user interfaces with tiny menus and microscopic meaningless icons.

Legacy photoshop on a windows tablet?

Or standard Excel or Word with a monstrosity of control toolbars/ribbons with gazillions of tiny controls?

Not going to happen.

Agreed, absolutely nobody. Tablets need a completely different OS and application design paradigm, from the ground up, and Microsoft may never understand that. They certainly don't yet.

MS not in Gang of Four.. then neither is Facebook. (3, Interesting)

L3370 (1421413) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624725)

Microsoft is making money. Lots of it. Facebook has a really good idea on how to make money.

Make your predictions about MS failing...there's evidence to suggest they are going the way of the dinosaur. Facebook's Golden Goose on the other hand has yet to lay eggs.

Re:MS not in Gang of Four.. then neither is Facebo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624769)

as long as there is business, there is microsoft. as far as facebook, the golden goose just shit all over the dinning room table.

Re:MS not in Gang of Four.. then neither is Facebo (4, Interesting)

rabtech (223758) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625357)

Microsoft is making money

Horse and buggy makers were still making money (and lots of it!) when the first Model T rolled off the assembly line. Doesn't mean a big change wasn't coming.

The bulk of Microsoft's revenue comes from Windows and Office on the desktop. PC sales have slowed and begun shrinking - people just don't need to upgrade as often and the market is saturated.

The iPad alone is a significant slice of the PC market (25% in the US) but more importantly it continues on a tremendous hockey stick growth curve. That's a market that Microsoft cant sell Windows to and refuses to sell Office to. It doesn't take a genius to see the wall of pain coming Microsoft's way and Windows 8 is a desperate attempt to push what worked in the past into a new area. Windows has been so successful in the PC arena that Microsoft cant imagine life without it or any strategy to monetize iPad users that doesn't involve billions in risk on producing their own hardware (like, say, Office for iPad.... A no-risk proposal that might cost a few million in developer salaries).

That's always how entrenched players get beaten. It simply doesn't matter how dominant Microsoft is on the desktop because all the growth is happening in tablets and mobile... And being good early does you nothing there, you have to be good at the right time - the time when the market starts to look like a hockey stick so network and ecosystem effects can become self-reinforcing. Microsoft has already missed that point. That's why people think they are irrelevant.

Wha?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624729)

Amazon and Facebook are more at the mercies of companies like Apple, Microsoft and Google than anything else. What a crazy idea that they push technology. Having a good selling tablet makes you an leader in computing? Has the industry really become that volatile?

Re:Wha?? (5, Insightful)

afgam28 (48611) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624855)

Having a good selling tablet makes you an leader in computing?

No. Amazon is there because of AWS, not because of the Kindle Fire.

This is basically a list of companies that Eric Schmidt sees as direct competitors to Google. Each one established and now dominates a field that Google desperately wants to get into: the cloud (AWS vs GCE), mobile (iOS vs Android) and social media (Google+ vs Facebook).

The reason Microsoft is not mentioned is because it does not pose a serious threat to Google in any of these markets.

Re:Wha?? (3, Insightful)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625121)

This is basically a list of companies that Eric Schmidt sees as direct competitors to Google. Each one established and now dominates a field that Google desperately wants to get into: the cloud (AWS vs GCE), mobile (iOS vs Android) and social media (Google+ vs Facebook).

+1
They should change the /. summary that.

I've read this article about 3 times (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624745)

and I've yet to find the part where he actually explains why.

Re:I've read this article about 3 times (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624799)

you must have missed the part where he is begging you to buy back his facebook stock.

Full spectrum of technology users (3, Insightful)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624749)

Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, if you look at it from a business point of view. Apple is a bit cornered here with only the iphone / ipad products, but people seem to like them. MS is obvious: software, Cisco runs most of the networks, and HP is popular w desktops & printers. On second thought, maybe we should swap out apple for IBM here too. Business sales are far more established, less trendy, and without looking up statistics on it, are a lot more $ than consumer sales.

Re:Full spectrum of technology users (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624933)

On second thought, maybe we should swap out apple for IBM here too. Business sales are far more established, less trendy, and without looking up statistics on it, are a lot more $ than consumer sales.

Yes, because when we do look at statistic, as of now, Apple worth much more than IBM. This is why Apple purposely leave enterprise market, since milking pocket moneys over millions of fanboys is more profitable.

Re:Full spectrum of technology users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624961)

Uh huh....that's why Apple makes way more money than IBM and Microsoft combined.

Re:Full spectrum of technology users (4, Insightful)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625111)

Uh huh....that's why Apple makes way more money than IBM and Microsoft combined.

IBM was a money printing machine for a time.
So was Microsoft.
Today it's Apple that prints their own money.
Sometime in the future it will be someone else. It is the nature of things.

The question currently is how long Apple will be able to keep it up without King Jobs at the throne.

Ho hum (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624763)

Yet another "Please come read my blog post where I totally miss the point of what someone said, but read it anyway so I can get some ad revenue" story on Slashdot.

I read the article. It boils down to "Microsoft may make a comeback so they matter". Given the lack of anything other than speculation in the article - the author could've just as easily replaced "Microsoft" with "RIM". I mean, really - we should expect Windows tablets to make a strong showing simply because they can run Windows applications? Then why didn't all the old Windows tablets end up ruling the roost?

Microsoft isn't a game-changer anymore. Sure, it's possible they'll rebound - after all, Apple was in the same boat in the 1990s. But they haven't demonstrated any reason we should give them the benefit of the doubt.

Re:Ho hum (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624879)

Thanks to Microsoft my on-premise private cloud is about to get a whole lot cheaper as they force VMware to start giving away the features we pay a lot for now. Windows 2012 is a game changer for the enterprise as they force the other vendors to drop their pants and remove the cost and other barriers to and agile cloud based IT scape.
I think anyone who assume MS are over and out are going to get flanked. It is a very exciting time as MS have shown they aren't old dogs.

Re:Ho hum (1, Flamebait)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625065)

OMG stop the presses, you are right having an on-premise private cloud is just going to change EVERYTHING. Here is a question, does anybody have an idea what that means? Yes yes the words are obvious. But what it sounds to me is that Microsoft has just invented the idea of having a huge honking data center on your own premises? I mean that must be rocket science and not something we had before, right?

Oh wait, we are also going to have agile cloud based IT. Yupe never had that before, actually asking the question, WTF are you talking about?

Note, yes I am being very cynical and pointing out that Microsoft is completely out of touch on what people need.

Re:Ho hum (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625323)

People didn't need phones with Angry Birds on them, but when presented with those phones they went hog wild. It's the producers imperative to show the consumers what they "should" want.

If the Supreme Court strikes down software patents (2)

kawabago (551139) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624959)

Which could happen soon, Microsoft won't have a business model at all. Currently Microsoft is being floated by patent extortion. If that ends, they are in big trouble.

Re:Ho hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625001)

Apple was in the same boat in the 1990s.

Apple of 1990s is the MS of today? Really? And has MS ever gone to Apple selling part of their company in order to help them survive? Do you see what every major manufacturer of PCs is going to install on their computers by default?

Yes, MS hasn't made major inroads into the mobile workspace. Yes, metro takes some getting used to (though, on a dual monitor computer it is quite nice). But to say they need to make a "comeback" (where, from the top of their core marketshare?) is absurd. While I don't have a windows phone, I think I might get one next time I buy a phone just because it plays well with the whole ecosystem. MS has always made money on enterprise ecosystem (exchange+windows+office) and they are trying to duplicate the strategy. Will it work? I don't know. But it really is an interesting time for ALL players in the computing market.

Re:Ho hum (2)

steelfood (895457) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625071)

Microsoft isn't a game-changer anymore

But were they ever a game changer? I'm not sure Microsoft is who you imagine them to be. Microsoft has a tendency to wait for something new to become mainstream, copy it, and try to take over the market.

Is it a bad thing? In the sense of technological progress and innovation, sure, they tend to leach and don't really contribute. But in jumping in late, they also get to see what works and what doesn't, and expend resources only on the bits that work. They do make changes (Extend) and that can be considered innovation, but whether these are improvements to the initial concept or not is arguable, and their success rate reflects this accordingly. But I think it would be an insult to game-changers everywhere to consider Microsoft in the same breath.

The only game they've really traditionally changed is the business one. The entire game changes when Microsoft jumps into a market. Or at least it used to.

Re:Ho hum (2, Insightful)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625227)

Then why didn't all the old Windows tablets end up ruling the roost?

Because they didn't have anyone to steal a good idea from at the time. I'm not sure Microsoft ever innovated.

The biggest issue with Apple 'controlling' the market is Apple's control over its market, they love controlling and locking down consumer devices, that doesn't get in to the enterprise very far. Apple simply doesn't provide the platforms that run the back end of a business. Microsoft is well established there, I don't see a lot of places dropping MSSQL or AD any time soon. If Microsoft ever gets a tablet out that doesn't suck like a hoover and integrates with the security polices already established, they could see profitable market in businesses. Windows 8 is there attempt at this, too bad it's going to piss off all the desktop users and hang itself in doing so.

Link to actual comment (5, Informative)

rgbrenner (317308) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624817)

An article about how wrong he is.. but no link to his actual comments? Really?

http://allthingsd.com/20121010/live-from-new-york-walt-mossberg-kara-swisher-interview-eric-schmidt/ [allthingsd.com]

Schmidt: Something unusual has happened. All four companies are networks/platforms generating enormous scale effects. We’ve never had that before: Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google. All different, all competitors, all making enormous investments.

Swisher: You left out Microsoft:

Schmidt: Deliberate. ...

Mossberg: Why did you keep Microsoft out of the Gang of Four?

Schmidt: They’re a well-run company, but they haven’t been able to bring state-of-the-art products into the fields we’re talking about yet.

8:23 pm: Schmidt: The Android-Apple platform fight is the defining contest. Here’s why: Apple has thousands of developers building for it. Google’s platform, Android, is even larger. Four times more Android phones than Apple phones. 500 million phones already in use. Doing 1.3 million activations a day. We’ll be at 1 billion mobile devices in a year.

Schmidt: We’ve not seen network platform fights at this scale. The beneficiary is you all, the customer, globally. “This is wonderful.”

8:25 pm: Compare this to the PC industry. Phone user population is six billion, one billion smartphone users. Much bigger than the PC industry — maybe a billion, 1.5 billion installed.
Every month, quarter, year, the growth rate of mobile adoption exceeds everyone’s expectations. The phones become so useful that “it’s good enough for normal people” in lieu of a PC, for day-to-day events. Years ago, “people like myself, we missed that.”

1) It's Eric Schmidt. of course he's biased.

and

2) he didn't seem to be specifically talking about mobile. Facebook, Google+, etc.

So it's laughable that 100m apple phones, or 500m android phones is a significant platform.. but the OS used on 95% of a billion PCs somehow is not.

Re:Link to actual comment (3, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625089)

Wayne Gretzky when you play hockey, don't look where the puck is/has been, but look for where the puck will be.

This is what Schmidt is talking about.

Re:Link to actual comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625181)

The point where the mobile platform becomes the platform is so far in the future that you can't rule out Microsoft. The best you can say is that the other platforms have a lead.

Re:Link to actual comment (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625175)

This is the guy that said ALL televisions would be running Google TV this year. He's all hot air. No real ideas.

Re:Link to actual comment (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625235)

600 million is 60% of a billion. If you consider that the smartphone market is still thought of as new, but the PC market is considered mature, these are impressive numbers. Growth potential is still just that, potential, but I can't find any arguments that would convince me the smartphone market is near saturation despite being new.

However, I'm not sure Android vs. Apple with be the defining contest. Sure, the consumer money is in mobile, and that is where the contest lies primarily. But the corporate money for mobile has yet to even make an appearance, and I suspect, as was in the case of personal computers, the winner of that will ultimately win the market. The difference between corporate users and home users is that corporate users are content creators, while home users tend to be content consumers.

And that may be where Microsoft has an edge. Even RIM, if they play their cards right and get a few lucky breaks, is in a better position right now than Apple and Google in this respect. It isn't to say that Google and Apple won't be in a good spot five or ten years down the line. But what Apple and Google are really fighting over right now is brand recognition and trust in the mobile hardware space via usage, something Microsoft and RIM already have.

Meh (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624841)

Microsoft is relevant today the same way that railroads are relevant. It will continue to be part of the infrastructure for a long, long time, but only as a necessary evil and a relic of the past.

Re:Meh (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625073)

Heh, sounds like someone is from a country with shitty railways.

Microsoft isn't completely irrelevant -- yet (5, Interesting)

stargazer1sd (708392) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624849)

Eric Schmidt has spend a lot of time competing against Microsoft. I think he's mostly right. Microsoft has only been able to prosper through monopoly tactics and those won't work anymore. They come out with a lousy version 1.0 to keep competitors away, refine it some through versions 2 and 3, then version 4 becomes useful. They can't even think about that strategy now because someone else came out with version s 1, 2, and 3.

Microsoft is still dominant in the word processing and spreadsheet markets. Unfortunately, they'll probably lose that franchise, given the rise of PDF for interchange, and their unwillingness to port their products to either Android or iOS. Someone with deep pockets, probably Google, will come along and take those markets from them.

There's also a lot of back office software that uses their servers, databases, and development tools.But those markets will never grow as quickly as the consumer end.

They won't be going away any time soon, but if they're ever going to get back in to growing markets, they need to change radically. In the end, no company that size will turn on a dime, and its not clear whether there's still time for them to get back in the game.

Re:Microsoft isn't completely irrelevant -- yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625327)

While PDF may be the format that is passed around, most of those are composed in office. Also, you wouldn't use PDF for spreadsheet data.Also, some of their products have been released on iOS and Android.

Facebook? (3, Insightful)

Keen Anthony (762006) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624881)

In exactly what ways is Facebook a technology platform leader that can be placed adjacent to Apple, Google, or Amazon. I'll buy Amazon. They have Kindle, but even without Kindle there's Amazon's web and cloud services, plus their supply chain management with all the technology that supports it, but Facebook? Facebook is still nothing more than a virtual platform that depends completely on existing platforms. Apple, Google, and Amazon can coexist independently in their own spaces. Facebook is a download, whether it's via browser to your personal computer or to your mobile device, it's still a download. Facebook does have its tech too. Something has made Zynga games successful and a seamless experience on Facebook, but Facebook has nothing that its competitors or its contemporaries lack except clicks. MySpace's luck with clicks and Facebook's constant stock devaluation illustrates just how easy it can be for Facebook to slip away. Microsoft has numerous platforms that interact with each other and is showing signs of realizing that today's market wants enterprise connectivity with consumer style, something Google and Apple have known. I would say that this "gang of four technology platform leaders" would best be described as a "gang of four attention leaders".

Re:Facebook? (1)

BeerCat (685972) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625119)

I was almost going to agree with you totally - Facebook is more "at the table of the gang of three" than "one of the gang of four".
But then I thought about whether it is more than "just clicks", in the same way that the iPod dominated the MP3 market because it wasn't just a music player - it was the whole package of player+easy music management (and later an easy online store).

So, with Facebook having the app integration far better than MySpace did, (boosted by the near symbiotic relationship with Zynga in the early days of both Zynga and Facebook), and with things like Skype integration coming in, they are, for now, in the "whole package" piece.

Well they stay at the top table? I suspect that their choice of Microsoft (FB uses Bing search and maps, as well as the Skype integration) means that, if Microsoft can think of themselves as a service provider, rather than an OS provider, then they could acquire Facebook. The problem is that Microsoft has had a tendency to acquire things and made them "Windows only", even when they started out multi-platform, that it is probably a good thing that they haven't bought out Zuckerberg. Yet.

Will Microsoft be one of the "gang of four"? As others have said, probably not until Ballmer steps down.

Re:Facebook? (2)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625279)

http://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/Zynga-s-Downfall-Exposes-The-Biggest-Threat-To-3939452.php [sfgate.com]

Zynga's not doing so well either. Facebook is a joke in the context of TFA, just like you stated. Their bones will be buried with MySpace soon enough. I should coin GAAM (google, apple, amazon, microsoft), because it's likely they'll be dominating tech sales for some time to come.

Re:Facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625313)

Facebook competes directly against Google, competes vigorously for your information. In some ways Facebook gets more information than Google does.

For many people everything they do ends up on Facebook. Gone for food? Put it on Facebook. On vacation? Facebook it. Fight with SO? Facebook time. And so on. Even Google can't compete with that, they can get close, but definitely not with pictures, people tagging, etc. piled in there.

So, to Eric Schmidt, Facebook is on the big four list.

No, I'm pretty sure Eric Schmidt is right.. (1)

rs1n (1867908) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624883)

From the article:

All the apps that matter to most users (and virtually all businesses) can be run on Windows just fine, thanks (in fact most exclusively run on Windows). So why have an Android tablet and an Android phone, plus a Windows laptop and / or PC. Why not just have the one device to rule them all? At the very least, Windows 8 stands poised to decimate Android tablet sales overnight. As I mentioned in my Microsoft Office article, running genuine productivity software on a tablet is still something of a rarity (emphasis mine), while Microsoft’s Surface Tablet is the first tablet device that’s aiming at exactly this market, first and foremost.

Perhaps the most common business "app" would be Microsoft's office suite. No one is going to be creating powerpoints, word documents, excel sheets, etc. on a tablet or a mobile phone. The tablet is just not designed for that. You need a keyboard and mouse (or the other option is some massive investment into training people to deal with no keyboard/mouse). Windows 8 stands to be the laughing stock of OS's if they do not address usability issues on the desktop. Until then, I only see it being acceptable on a tablet -- or on desktops with fingertouch input displays

The author pretty much defeated his own argument with: running genuine productivity software on a tablet is still something of a rarity -- it will remain for pretty much any application needing quick input from a keyboard/mouse.

Microsoft will always matter... (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624909)

Microsoft already has a stranglehold in one market, and that is anything enterprise related. Anything E-mail related has to work flawlessly with Exchange.

Same with AD. Even Linux installations end up having to have some form of AD compatibility if they are to be allowed in the data center.

After the data center, Microsoft does still control the desktop. We don't consider desktops that much, since there are tons of other devices, but MS is slowly clenching its fist. First was product activation. Now, Windows logo machines have to have UEFI boot, and anything ARM based have to have UEFI boot, and no way to turn it off to boot any other OS. I wouldn't be surprised that in a future version of Windows, x86 joins the ARM platform at being Windows-only in order to sport a logo.

Of course, don't think Microsoft is out of the phone arena. I mentioned this a few weeks ago. MS can completely wrest control of most of the smartphone market in a few steps:

1: Create a protocol that supersedes ActiveSync. This protocol would be copyrighted, patented, trademarked, and IP protected many ways. It would also be used for protected content and documents as well. That justifies DMCA protection.

2: Justify to PHBs and Federal regulators why this new protocol is more secure, in effort to get people to move to this. On the other end, drop support for ActiveSync as much as possible, similar to how IP over IEEE1394 met its end in Windows Server 2008.

3: License the protocol out as need be. Apple likely would license it. Everyone else would be left out in the cold.

4: Actively go after anyone reverse engineering the protocol under the WIPO/DMCA guidelines (since it is used for DRM.) DMCA would be a hammer used against individuals, patent violations for larger organizations.

5: No "?????" needed. MS would own the enterprise smartphone market, lock/stock/barrel. The only thing MS might have to deal with is the EU (and they can always make a version of Exchange just for that geographic region), but in the US, this would completely shut down Android from the enterprise now and in the future.

Re:Microsoft will always matter... (1)

Acetylane_Rain (1894120) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625345)

5: No "?????" needed. MS would own the enterprise smartphone market, lock/stock/barrel. The only thing MS might have to deal with is the EU (and they can always make a version of Exchange just for that geographic region), but in the US, this would completely shut down Android from the enterprise now and in the future.

No company can succeed by focusing solely on the US. This is something Hollywood, IBM, Apple, etc have known for the longest time. So your Trojaned advice (are you a Google fan in disguise?) isn't gooing to work. Microsoft's best bet for the future is to place nice, act stupid like Romney for a while, then unleash thier killer device/service. I don't know what that is, but I suspects is buried somewhere in Microsoft Research, something 10x awesome than the Kinect that will put Google Glass to shame.

Google's not even a tech company (-1, Flamebait)

tkprit (8581) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624927)

It's an ad company that wants to be an identity service. Schmidt is on crack. Yes, there are lots of Android phones out there; I've got them. But how many people are going to stay enamored with Google as Google continually makes huge horrendous mistakes, like (most recently) putting large, blend-in ads ON the maps/navigation app, right after introducing tap to zoom (you tap, you have good chance of tapping ad, and the app switches to your dialer to call the ad). I uninstalled the shit out of Google Maps (including freezing when it wouldn't uninstall completely), and will never look back.

The good thing about Android is you can de-google-fy the phone, but I came close to upgrading to a Nokia to get Nokia's next maps app. (Maps is a HUGE sell-point for phones, and Nokia's are superior). Fortunately, a friendly AC pointed me to Bing maps and Waze for Android, both of which are more than adequate for my needs. Then I realized Bing's voice search is as good as (maybe better than) Google voice search. No ads; all free.

I hope they get someone smarter in at Google, and re-focus the company from being an "identity service" or ad company back into being a tech company. Until then, I'll stick with the Android phones, my own ROMs, and non-Google apps. (Haven't replaced YouTube quite yet, but I'm looking.)

Microsoft is no longer interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41624979)

I left Microsoft last year because of several reasons. One of those reasons was that I found them no longer interesting. They have missed the boat on mobile, Internet, and hardware. The Xbox is a loss leader. They give them away at Microsoft stores with the purchase of a new PC.

I worked for Microsoft because I wanted to see what it was like. I spent years before MS working with Windows, Unix, Linux, BSD, and OS X. I come home to a Linux laptop. It just works. No need for defrag, no need for AV, no need to reboot, no slowness after a few months. I move everything to Linux if given the chance. I tell everyone about Linux. It's been my default desktop since 1998. Legacy crap has killed MS. They are relevant for only so much longer. When software like office suites and others become de facto cloudware, MS is screwed. This is why they are rushing to reinvent themselves. US companies are viable, on average, about 40 years. There are exceptions. MS is hitting 40 pretty quickly. Notice IBM? They are now a services company. HP is heading that way. Apple is viable for some time -- until a real competitor hits the market with an iPhone killer. It will happen. The other four companies are useful for now. Sooner or later they all fall.

Microsoft getting it right? (2)

pod (1103) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624987)

If Microsoft do this right, it’s going to be game changing – and right now, Google doesn’t have an answer for it, that I can see.

Microsoft doesn't have to do anything right. In fact they don't have to do anything at all, just wait, until technology miniaturizes enough that you can run desktop business apps in a tablet or phone hardware format. The portable device space has been all about device and feature consolidation, and I don't expect that trend to suddenly reverse because Google excluded Microsoft from some list they made up.

Microsoft is not going away any time soon! (2)

DadLeopard (1290796) | about a year and a half ago | (#41624989)

Their past strategy insures that business will continue to use a Microsoft OS as long as they need access to their legacy documents exactly as they were created. With their purposely none standard formats Microsoft has effectively locked in anyone that doesn't want to spend massive amounts of time and money to insure that all documents converted to a different format are actually as they were created. They don't have to be Good, and they don't care if they are liked are not, because they have your balls in a vise!

Lol, Yeah Right (4, Insightful)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625127)

What horse shit. They may not matter in search or mobile due to their current market share, but I'd speculate Research in Motion is a great example of how one day you are on top, the next you are bottom of the heap. MSFT has been churning out desktop and server operating systems, enterprise applications and CRM/ERP solutions for as long as I can remember. With further penetration into the virtualization market I'd say MSFT has a bright future and an obviously consistent and impressive track record. Remember, MSFT was piling up hundreds long before google, facebook and amazon even existed.

Slashdot is dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625133)

Long live Slashdot!

The writer of the article has no credibility, IMO (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625243)

Anybody who can write that "iOS is static and hasn’t improved since 2007" has no idea what he's talking about. He's writing on an Android-oriented site, so I can certainly understand why he would come from the point of view that Android is the best. That's a reasonable opinion, even if I disagree. But to claim that iOS has remained the same as it was in 2007 isn't just a disagreement about opinions. It's factually mistaken, and it's sheer idiocy. It's hard to give credibility to someone who claims to believe that.

Re:The writer of the article has no credibility, I (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625385)

iOS is pretty much the same as it was 5 years ago. Rows of static icons hiding your data from you. If you went back in time and handed an iPhone 5 to an iPhone 2G user, they'd be pretty comfortable with it, I'd say. It hasn't changed much.

I am a big Android / Apple lover but (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41625253)

Microsoft's biggest revenue sources are still alive and well

MS SQL and Office

In my opinion, in the computing word,

The powerhouses are

Google, Apple, Adobe, Oracle, Microsoft

To be honest

Facebook is losing users everyday and while they have a lot of dominance they can't be a force in the world of computing. What they do or don't won't matter much to other parts of the IT world

Amazon's biggest competitor is eBay

Facebook is WAY overrated (1)

proca (2678743) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625291)

I can't believe Schmidt would group Facebook, a company who can't figure out how to make money, in with Google, Apple, and Amazon, who are revenue monsters. Just because Facebook has it's own movie doesn't mean they are guaranteed to avoid the fate of MySpace. Facebook doesn't sell anything, they make their living on the backs of their users who don't read the privacy agreements. Soon enough, there will be a different 'cool' community site and that will be the end of it.

Cool (3, Insightful)

Master Moose (1243274) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625295)

Microsoft have failed to gain any semblance of “cool”

I don't think that Microsoft ever had cool. Microsoft rose to prominence not by being cool but by ensuring that their OS and utility applications became the default Business and Home standards.

New, layman computer buyers have had little choice but to send some money to M$ with every new machine they bought for most of the past 20 years. These people weren't buying "Cool" gadgets though. On the whole they were buying computers. Computers for their homes, school, work, internet connections - computers that happened to come with Microsoft products running on them.

Their vast OEM agreements with all major computer manufacturers and Getting Word and Excel to be ubiquitous with Word processor and Spreadsheet is what gave M$ their market share - Nothing to do with how cool they are.

Facebook has its own technology? (1)

Goodyob (2445598) | about a year and a half ago | (#41625377)

technology platform leaders — Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook

Google - Android phones, Nexus Apple - Macs, iPods Amazon - Kindles Facebook - ???

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