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The Empire In Decline?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the blame-the-colonials dept.

Microsoft 488

An anonymous reader writes "Pundits continue to weigh in on Steve Sinofsky's sudden exit from Microsoft (as executive head of Windows Division, he oversaw the development and release of Windows 7 and 8). SemiAccurate's Charlie Demerjian sees Microsoft headed for a steep decline, with their habit of creating walled gardens deliberately incompatible with competitors' platforms finally catching up to them. Few PC users are upgrading to Windows 8 with its unwanted Touch UI, sales of the Surface tablet are disappointing, and few are buying Windows Phones. On the Sinofsky front, Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley is willing to take the Redmond insiders' word that the departure was more about Sinofsky's communication style and deficiencies as a team player than on unfavorable market prospects for Windows 8 and Surface. Meanwhile, anonymous blogger Mini-Microsoft had suspiciously little to say."

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Still going (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41985973)

I wouldn't count them out just yet. Ironically, they are just know starting to produce technically good products. If only they would embrace interoperability they would be golden.

Re:Still going (5, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 years ago | (#41986291)

I wouldn't count them out due to one word: Inertia.

Enterprises still use the stuff, and will use it for quite a good amount of time. This gives Microsoft something that few others have: time to correct its screwups.

The debacle of Vista would have killed most other tech companies, but thanks to inertia and near-total monopoly, Microsoft had room to breathe while it fixed its messes. I think the same story will hold true here. This is similar to Intel having a chance to clean up all that NetBurst/RAMBUS bullcrap when the Pentium 4 first came out, as an example.

Now how long and how much breathing room? Hard to say, especially now that the competition has stepped up its game by quite a bit more than they had in 2006, and with mobile consumer devices forming a huge wildcard.

Re:Still going (4, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41986379)

Hey!

Microsoft will sell to "Enterprise".

GM will ALWAYS fleet cars.

They just won't make a sedan you'd buy, yourself. Mazda and VW will trounce the value/dollar every day of the week.

Re:Still going (4, Insightful)

Burning1 (204959) | about 2 years ago | (#41986595)

This isn't really true at all. A GM car is fine in a fleet car - it has a dealer network, a steering wheel, instrumentation, pedals, and a shift lever... Just like every other car.

If Microsoft loses the consumer market, it will lose the corporate market as well. Microsoft owns the corporate desktop market, because users are familiar with it's products. Although it might be cheaper from a licensing and maintenance perspective to put everyone on Ubuntu, the cost of re-training all your employees to use LibreOffice and Unity greatly exceeds the cost of licensing the products.

If however, users become more familiar with another platform, it would start to make much more sense to simply employ that platform in your corporate space. Consider ChromeOS; it's cheap, easy, and readily available. If users become comfortable with that platform, there's absolutely no reason why most of the corporate desktop work couldn't be done on that platform. Microsoft would be in trouble.

Re:Still going (3, Interesting)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#41986689)

I don't know about everyone else, but the users where I'm at are way more comfortable with using something different than they've ever been. Sales staff push for services like salesforce. All kinds of users gripe that they'd prefer to work on a mac, both on the desktop and with laptops.

The remaining mental lock-in nowadays, where I come from, is really just Exchange+Outlook. Of course you can get Outlook to work with other combinations of services, and you can use different clients with Exchange, but what the users are used to is the utility afforded by using the two together.

Obviously this is just what I see at work... your situations likely differ.

Re:Still going (5, Insightful)

snadrus (930168) | about 2 years ago | (#41986723)

As a former admin, I can say I've never heard of such training. For advanced 3d drafting software we sent people away for a week, but for office software people just figured it out. I also sat through the IBM shift to OpenOffice and Firefox, both occurred without training to 100,000+ people.
Nobody is trained to use consumer websites, but they still get considerable use. The web is like touch interfaces: Developers are wary of off-screen features (right-click, long, tap, etc). As these better rules roll out, the next major UI platform is going to be the web (on any architecture), because all people need is their software.

They'll never go away (2)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | about 2 years ago | (#41986667)

There's too much of a customer base for Windows, SQL Server, and Office.

But I do think there's a good chance they'll be acquired sometime in the next ten years.

Re:Still going (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986909)

I wouldn't count them out due to one word: Inertia.

Microsoft has a monopoly on two things: Desktop OS and Desktop Productivity. Every other market (Server OS, Database, Consoles, etc) has healthy competition.

Microsoft's problem is that the concept of the "Desktop" is in question. We are still going to use monitors & keyboards for a long time, but we're also going to be using tablets and phones/pdas. We want all of our data and work and entertainment to transfer seamlessly from one device to another. On top of that, we're going to want our session state to transfer, so we can resume things right where we left off. We want total hardware agnosticism.

Accomplishing this will require a UI revolution on the order of what windowing did to the command line, and nobody has invented it yet. The answer may not even come from one of the established players (although MS, Apple, and Google have the biggest head start). Whoever gets it right will win big.

Inertia only helps if your market is stable. Microsoft is, and probably always be, the King of the Desktop, in the same way that IBM was King of the Mainframe. Their problem is that their empire might be built on quicksand.

Re:Still going (4, Insightful)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | about 2 years ago | (#41986777)

The article is a huge sham, and makes all kinds of claims that it simply can't back up.

For example, the claim that Windows phones aren't selling. They've only been on the market for a couple of days, and 3 phones are on the market, and only one vendor has them. There is absolutely NO way to know whether or not Windows phones are going to be popular or not.

Based on initial reaction, however, and long lines outside ATT stores, it looks like they're off to a good start.

Likewise, the Surface tablets are only available online and in a few dozen stores so far. So there's no possible way to judge how well they will do overall once they're available everywhere. Plus, the more powerful Surface Pro's aren't even on the market yet, and many of the third party devices (like Sony's new models) have yet to ship.

Finally, we can see tell-tale signs of bias in the writing. "Unwanted touch interface"? Really? Who doesn't want a touch interface in a tablet? or Phone? And lots of people seem very keen on having a touch interface in their desktops.

There is an interesting class of internet troll that loves to find any outlet they can to claim that Touch in windows is unwanted, and this seems to be the case here.

So, this is just the semiaccurate.com one? (1, Offtopic)

dch24 (904899) | about 2 years ago | (#41985987)

After I read the summary and all the links, they could have just put up http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/14/microsoft-has-failed/ [semiaccurate.com] and a period!

Re:So, this is just the semiaccurate.com one? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41986401)

Sinofsky is J. Allard's next-of-KIN.

While on slashdot... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41985993)

Who the fuck cares about any of this shit anyway? News for nerds it's not.

Sinofsky's Out? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 2 years ago | (#41986437)

Maybe he slept with his biographer.

"Walled gardens" are in (1, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41985997)

with their habit of creating walled gardens deliberately incompatible with competitors' platforms finally catching up to them.

Everybody from Apple to Comcast has a "walled garden" now. Even Canonical has an "app store". The New York times is thriving behind its paywall.

Re:"Walled gardens" are in (4, Informative)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#41986105)

Canonical offers an app store which just a package manager prettied up. if you think that's a walled garden then all Linux distros are a walled garden.

Re:"Walled gardens" are in (1)

inputdev (1252080) | about 2 years ago | (#41986323)

Ok, I'll bite. All app stores are "just a package manager prettied up". If that is what makes something not a walled garden, then they don't exist.

Re:"Walled gardens" are in (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 2 years ago | (#41986647)

What makes something a "walled" garden is the concept of walls. I.e. ability to add software from sources other then app store.

Re:"Walled gardens" are in (5, Insightful)

cupantae (1304123) | about 2 years ago | (#41986655)

A walled garden is a system where the user is somehow prevented from using anything outside of the intended system. Let's see now, on Ubuntu (or any other modern Linux distribution) you can:
- Add/remove repositories for the package manager
- Install local packages using only the installation tools
- Unpack archives manually or otherwise manually add software to the system
- Compile your own software

It's not the presence of a package manager that makes something a walled garden; it's the absence of other methods of installing software.

Re:"Walled gardens" are in (1)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#41986761)

A walled garden is a garden with walls. Ubuntu's app store has no walls - you can install your software from anywhere you want. Same in Android, actually, if you click on one little checkbox in settings.

Re:"Walled gardens" are in (2)

chowdahhead (1618447) | about 2 years ago | (#41986633)

Desktop Linux is a garden without a wall. The easiest and safest way to install a program is the official repo, but i can add third party repos easily, or compile packages for source myself. You see, it's the wall that makes the walled garden a problem.

"Walled garden" (1)

miltonw (892065) | about 2 years ago | (#41986423)

That phrase you keep using, "walled garden", I don't think it means what you think it means.

Re:"Walled gardens" are in (0, Troll)

Ossifer (703813) | about 2 years ago | (#41986815)

When it comes to Microsoft's walled garden, I'd think a better analogy would be a caged junkyard...

Re:"Walled gardens" are in (2)

Sloppy (14984) | about 2 years ago | (#41986903)

Canonical's "garden" has no "walls." The use of "technical measures to limit access" (if I may borrow some DMCA-speak) against the user is the main distinguishing features of walled gardens. If you let the user do whatever they want, it doesn't make any sense to call it a walled garden. It's just a garden.

Charlie D? Pfft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986017)

Yeah, I'd not put too much stock in what Charles has to say, this guy's an experienced yellow journalist of The Inquirer fame. Next pundit, thank you.

It was his people's skills, not products. (3, Informative)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 2 years ago | (#41986021)

From what I can find around the web, he was asked to leave due to his way of working with people, not the products he created, which frankly are good. Windows 7 is good. Windows 8 is better (not perfect but better).

Now that may mean he gets the job done but they didnt like his methods, or they didnt like the job he did, and the methods. but whatever. NEXT

Re:It was his people's skills, not products. (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 2 years ago | (#41986205)

or, it was something to do with the successes he had.... which reminds me, why did Bob Muglia leave... was it:

a) because he was useless, only taking Server and Tools from a cost to a billion-dollar sales engine?
b) Because of his communication style?
c) because of his inability to plan for the future?
d) because he was a shoe-in as Ballmer's replacement when the shareholders kick him out.

Re:It was his people's skills, not products. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986375)

He was asked to leave due to politics. Metro was the brain-child of the bitch succeeding him. He wanted to ditch it after the feedback came in and the suits told him "No" in no uncertain terms. He tried to spell it out for them what a disaster it would be and was asked to leave because they have already pulled the trigger on the project, and put too many dollars into it.

At a company like M$ once a decision is made to go with something you back it until it's well and truly failed.

I think uptake of windows 8 is going to be so fucking horrid that they're going to issue a patch to remove metro, add the windows store as a regular program, and quietly fire their new Melinda. Unfortuantely for the new bitch her lover(Ballmer presumably) isn't as rich as the last Melindas and could lose nearly everything if he pisses the board off too much.

Re:It was his people's skills, not products. (1, Interesting)

neonmonk (467567) | about 2 years ago | (#41986589)

Windows 8 shill is back. Keep preaching about how it really is the cats meow JCF. I'm sure someone who is technically literate will listen to you someday.

Re:It was his people's skills, not products. (4, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41986625)

I like to call it Zune 8.

Shame there still aren't alternatives. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986043)

I'm a bit of a hardware power user. I hang an awful lot of hardware off my computer for a variety of purposes. As soon as there's a Linux distribution which supports my 3 slightly different nVidia video cards driving 6 monitors in a way that lets me merge them all into a single desktop that doesn't involve tearing my hear out with configuration files, I'd happily switch over and figure out the learning curve on everything else on my own.

On Windows, it's as simple as plug the cards in, make sure cables are connected, and open the control panel. I have yet to get multiple monitors working on any variant of Linux going back to 2008.

If anyone has suggestions, tutorials, or something along those lines I'd love to give it a shot - I hear nothing but good things, but my blocking criteria for a migration is "can use all the hardware installed in my computer right now".

Re:Shame there still aren't alternatives. (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about 2 years ago | (#41986109)

valve is starting to push towards linux development... both with hardware and with software... we will see how it works out after the first steam client is released

Re:Shame there still aren't alternatives. (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about 2 years ago | (#41986143)

as far as your comment goes about hardware not working right... i run double monitor on my linux... you really just need to get proper drivers for your gpu. i suggest kmod-nvidia.

Re:Shame there still aren't alternatives. (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 2 years ago | (#41986279)

try using Arandr, it does the hard work for multimonitors for you.

Re:Shame there still aren't alternatives. (0)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41986559)

I'm a bit of a hardware power user.

I'm still in awe of anyone calling themselves that. I'm not even surprised for a minute that someone who calls themselves claims with a straight face that they cannot install Linux. Personally I buy hardware to work with the OS not the other way around.

Re:Shame there still aren't alternatives. (1)

neonmonk (467567) | about 2 years ago | (#41986839)

Thing is, once the drivers are working fine you'll have to deal with the horrible multiple monitor support on most applications with fullscreen support. Remmina being a perfect example of something I've struggled with recently.

It's the little things that you notice when running a linux desktop. Multiple monitor fullscreen support, PPTP vpn client constantly disconnecting (when it doesn't on the OSX client sitting right next to it and the Android phone in the pocket)

Then compound those little difficulties you have with the fact you're going to have to make the decision between a sparse DE (lxde, xfce, the many boxes), a wannabe touch DE (Unity, Gnome-shell) or the cluttered mess that is KDE. I still have love and hope for Cinnamon, and hope with the newer version it will be less buggy.

Linux on the desktop frustrates me. Linux on the laptop infuriates me. As Apple cease to be an option for me on the laptop with the latest reductions in features, and Windows 8 being the most frustrating iteration of Windows I've ever dealt with, I'm starting to wonder what my ideal replacement is going to be? I really don't want to run Mint in a VM on top of Windows, but that just might be what I'm going to have to do.

The state of computers is terrible right now.

The biggest walled garden is an Apple orchard. (5, Insightful)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 2 years ago | (#41986053)

Apple still does well with walled gardens all over the fucking place. Not that I approve of that, but lets not rip MS apart when the competition is fucking worse.

Re:The biggest walled garden is an Apple orchard. (2, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about 2 years ago | (#41986153)

Microsoft was trying to lock in people long before Apple and it's caused more problems for everyone. Hell even MS wants to get people off IE6 as an example.

IOS is Apple's only walled garden and quite frankly, it makes more sense and as a result their app store is a far better experience than the Google store. If you don't like it then jail break it. No one will stop you. But Macs aren't in a walled garden. You're free to do what you want with them including putting another OS on it and, unlike iOS their Mac app store accepts GPL code. It's nothing more than a prettier package manager and if you really think that's a bad thing then what option is there? Even Linux has an "app store".

Re:The biggest walled garden is an Apple orchard. (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41986509)

Apple still does well with walled gardens all over the fucking place.

No Apple is in pretty much the same status quo it was on the Desktop since forever...and its influence in mobile has dropped to under 15%. Android is doing pretty well...Apple not so much.

Re:The biggest walled garden is an Apple orchard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986547)

And Apple will fall soon. Apple is a one trick pony. It succeeded dispite the walled garden due to there was a genius inside the garden. Now that person is gone, Apple will soon return to its former state circa the 90s.

Two thoughts: 1. Pies 2. Innovation (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 2 years ago | (#41986071)

I have two thoughts on this issue.

The first is:

Pies.

Microsoft has stock in a lot of corporations. Lots of pies they have their fingers in. Don't count them out.

The second is:

Innovation.

That's dead there.

Re:Two thoughts: 1. Pies 2. Innovation (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986177)

Nope, they're seriously in decline now. Trust us this time! Just like how Slashdot's been saying for the past fifteen years, Microsoft is going to be doomed aaaaaaany year now! One of these prophecies HAS to be true eventually, and that'll validate everyone's bitching and moaning!

And then Apple can step in and take over, meaning another generation will fully get the same first-hand experience the last generation got when Microsoft took the Evil Empire crown from IBM! We'll all learn a valuable lesson that we should've been paying attention to last time this happened, namely IT WILL ONLY GET WORSE AND IT IS OUR OWN GODDAMN FAULT FOR BLINDLY SUPPORTING THE NEXT EVIL EMPIRE.

Re:Two thoughts: 1. Pies 2. Innovation (1)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | about 2 years ago | (#41986211)

I don't think innovation is dead at Microsoft. I simply think they have trouble bringing marketable innovations to market. I personally would love to see everything in Microsoft's R&D department.

Re:Two thoughts: 1. Pies 2. Innovation (5, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41986239)

I have two thoughts on this issue. The first is: Pies.

That's my first thought on any issue.

Re:Two thoughts: 1. Pies 2. Innovation (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41986335)

No, it's not dead there, you, and many other can't see innovation unless someone says 'look this is innovation, cause I said innovation!"

Citation Needed (5, Interesting)

Lord Grey (463613) | about 2 years ago | (#41986103)

... sales of the Surface tablet are disappointing ...

I'm not fan of Microsoft. It's a huge bureaucracy that stifles the innovation of a lot of very bright people who work there. I would not be surprised at all to learn that their late-to-the-party tablet isn't selling well.

However, I've not seen any concrete evidence that Surface tablet sales are "disappointing." There were some vaguely-worded comments by Ballmer in a French magazine or something, and something about a few people returning the table after discovering that they couldn't run their existing apps, but that's about it. From what I've read, Surface seems to be selling. Does anyone have any concrete numbers?

Re:Citation Needed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986249)

No, I don't have any concrete numbers.

Those probably won't be out until first quarter 2013.

No, I don't have any concrete numbers.

Those probably won't be out until first quarter 2013.

Re:Citation Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986255)

And to pre-empt the next series of arguments, when we do get numbers, can we specify whether or not they're sold or shipped? I think we've had enough units shipped fantasies for a while.

Re:Citation Needed (1, Interesting)

dark12222000 (1076451) | about 2 years ago | (#41986257)

http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20121112PD219.html [digitimes.com]

Well, that only took a quick google.

Re:Citation Needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986287)

Microsoft's Surface RT tablet may see sales of only 60% of the company's forecast by the end of 2012 and the device is also expected to have difficulty achieving a good performance during the year-end holidays, according to sources from upstream component suppliers.

Alarmist rumor. Move along, nothing to see here.

Re:Citation Needed (1)

Lord Grey (463613) | about 2 years ago | (#41986359)

http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20121112PD219.html [digitimes.com]

Well, that only took a quick google.

Ah, I should have searched the intertubes again before my post. That one is relatively new. Thanks.

Re:Citation Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986307)

...Not to mention the Surface Pro hasn't even been released yet and that is the one that most people will want (if they are getting a surface). I will be getting one.

Re:Citation Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986371)

'Cause people will be lining up to pay $1500 for a tablet that's about as powerful as a $500 laptop.

Re:Citation Needed (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 2 years ago | (#41986343)

Its completely unfair to judge MS Surface right now because its only available in the RT model, which has NO programs, no use, nothing. The app store is virtually just learning to breathe at this stage.

After windows 8 pro x64 has been available on the surface pro tablets for a good peroid.. then we can start to determine how much of a success it was or wasnt.

No one in their right mind would buy a windows RT product right now. Releasing Windows RT on surface first, was a giant mistake.

Re:Citation Needed (2, Informative)

david.emery (127135) | about 2 years ago | (#41986369)

Here's one: http://blogs.computerworld.com/tablets/21317/microsoft-ceo-ballmer-says-surface-windows-rt-tablet-sales-are-modest-hopes-boost-intel-windows-8-version [computerworld.com]

The specific quote is "modest", and I agree with the characterization of " 'modest' is to Ballmer as 'poor' is to a neutral observer" (particularly when compared to Apple or Android alternatives.)

Re:Citation Needed (2)

mov_eax_eax (906912) | about 2 years ago | (#41986605)

well, your link is wrong, Ballmer Never said that SALES were modest, the quote is a " widely distributed mistranslation [bloomberg.com] ".

Re:Citation Needed (1)

david.emery (127135) | about 2 years ago | (#41986799)

Fair enough! We'll have to wait for actual numbers, then.

Microsoft in Trouble? (0)

boudie2 (1134233) | about 2 years ago | (#41986119)

I have to admit to a certain schadenfreude every time a story comes out about Microsoft's latest failure. They have been too big for too long and I look forward to the day when someone won't TELL ME that I have to use the latest version of MS Word to write a resume or anything else. And for all those people who bought a computer with Windows 8 recently ... there's still Ubuntu! Ha, ha.

Re:Microsoft in Trouble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986403)

And yet you've never noticed that after all these stories, they're still around.

Huh.

Re:Microsoft in Trouble? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986721)

I believe the future is mobility. Why doesn't Microsoft own the mobile phone and tablet market? Hell, why don't they even have a decent share of these markets?

If the future is, indeed, mobility, do people with Android/iOS really have to use Microsoft products like Windows? Microsoft Office? Exchange?

I was a strong Windows fanboy back when Microsoft made decent things (in my opinion; mid-90s to mid-2000s). Windows Mobile was/is an absolute horrible experience, and then Vista came out. I had had enough and switched to Mac.

I know that those who make buying decisions (consumers, bosses) don't give a shit that Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook suck balls, but EVERYONE cares about their mobile experience.

I can say this (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986165)

Disclaimer: I am a nobody. A simple techie. I left Microsft last year because I felt they were in turmoil internally. Managment where I worked was heinous and ineffective.

MS has long seemed like it's playing catch up with the IT world. They don't seem to grok what people want. People WANT to move to the "cloud" -- as amorphous as that term is. When I met with customers I was expected to use Bing to look things up in the MS universe and say that I was "binging" this or that. I was asked to also bring up Office 365 at every opportunity.

What keeps MS alive is the corporate sector. What with Google and Apple eating MS's lunch at every turn in the consumer space, it doesn't matter why Sinofsky left. MS is an also ran in the Internet/device/OS world. They are becoming like RIM... irrelevant. Nobody cares anymore.

People want devices and software that are "now" and hip, that are scalable and easy to use. Win 8 is a point and click nightmare. I "lived" with the RP for a few months and was constantly going back to Linux to get real work done. No thanks, MS. I'm done with you. I've embraced better solutions for me and mine.

Re:I can say this (1)

dch24 (904899) | about 2 years ago | (#41986199)

What Linux distro do you prefer?

Not trying to flame here, just would love another data point.

Re:I can say this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986223)

I am partial to Debian by far.

Re:I can say this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986795)

You say people want hip and turn around and say Linux in the same paragraph. This is the work of a total fanboi.
 
If anything, Apple is eating Linux's lunch and MS is staying the course for what they're known for.
 
I seriously doubt you worked for them either.

Innovative companies fail a lot, MSFT included (3, Insightful)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about 2 years ago | (#41986183)

Come on now, what kind of crappy article is this. MSFT releases a ton of new stuff and has successful products and products that fail, for example:

Zune
Bing
Surface
Windows Phones
Windows 98, ME, Vista, 8
Tons of Server products that suck

But for each that sucks there are a ton that are great :
Windows 95, NT, XP, 7, Server 2003, 2008, 2012
Exchange Server, SQL Server, Sharepoint, ISA Server
XBox, Xbox 360

It's important to test new business models and related fields they may be able to compete in (search, mobile, etc.) but they won't win them all, they can't, else they will be balls deep in Anti-Trust suits again. Declaring the decline of the "empire" is horse shit.

Re:Innovative companies fail a lot, MSFT included (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#41986325)

XBox's success comes from Microsoft plowing billions into it. It's like bragging about your car being worth $50,000 when you've spent $1,000,000 to get it there.

Re:Innovative companies fail a lot, MSFT included (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986397)

XBox's success comes from Microsoft plowing billions into it.

I still have a hard time seeing a multi-billion dollar loss as a 'success'. If Microsoft had bought Apple shares instead of throwing money at the Xbox, they'd be rolling in money right now instead of struggling to pay back what they spent.

Re:Innovative companies fail a lot, MSFT included (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | about 2 years ago | (#41986331)

Windows 98 was way better than 95. It wasn't XP but nothing was lost from 95, only improved. Also throw Visual Studio on the "great" side. At least 2005 and 2010.

Re:Innovative companies fail a lot, MSFT included (2)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 2 years ago | (#41986361)

Surface hasnt failed, and I dont think it will fail.

The problem is Windows RT. No one wants windows RT because theres no application support. However, I'll gladly take a Surface pro tablet with Windows 8 Pro that can run all of my regular desktop apps.

Re:Innovative companies fail a lot, MSFT included (1)

tftp (111690) | about 2 years ago | (#41986841)

You can't use regular Windows applications without a mouse and a keyboard. OK, Surface has one as a cover. But why not to splurge on a hinge then and buy a laptop for the same, if not lower, price? A laptop is more functional, has more connectors, there are many models to choose from... why the x86 Surface, all of a sudden? It's not a lightweight tablet like a Nexus 7, it's a big and heavy thing, more in the "portable" class than "pocket."

Re:Innovative companies fail a lot, MSFT included (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986735)

I was with you until you mentioned Exchange, SQL Server and Sharepoint. Now I know you are talking crap.

Is it even worth it to watch them anymore. (1)

strangeattraction (1058568) | about 2 years ago | (#41986193)

Time for professional MS watchers to find another company to watch. I am tired of hearing about their decline. It has already happend and will eventually show in their balance sheet. Until then watchers will still watcher and haters gotta hate:)

Microsoft is an excellent company (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986197)

When you think about the innovation at Microsoft I can't see a decline. Rather Microsoft is drawn into the economic turmoil and will experience slower growth rates. I am a PC! Microsoft should reinvent itself and beat Apple with an open source strategy. That would win the hearts and mind of the ubergeeks.

Re:Microsoft is an excellent company (1)

david.emery (127135) | about 2 years ago | (#41986393)

When you think about the innovation at Microsoft I can't see a decline. Rather Microsoft is drawn into the economic turmoil and will experience slower growth rates. I am a PC! Microsoft should reinvent itself and beat Apple with an open source strategy. That would win the hearts and mind of the ubergeeks.

On what class of platforms? PCs? I don't think so... That's the big change that's happening; the PC is not dead, but its growth is severely limited.

And it's not "ubergeeks" who buy most machines and make profits for hw/sw vendors, but consumers and corporate CIOs.

Not a team player; or was he a threat (2, Interesting)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 years ago | (#41986267)

I have read that this guy was fired for leaving the stupidest sounding conference I have ever heard of. Two solid days of watching each others' powerpoints. That is pure MBA masturbation. From the sound of it he basically got up, said, "All you need to know is on my blog" and then left the conference. Then he was labeled abrasive and not a team player. Well it sounds like he didn't follow their petty rules (the guy who successfully runs windows development). I suspect that he also sent some shock waves with other free thinkers saying, "Hey I am wasting my time here too."

By saying that all they needed to know was on his blog it seems he was basically saying, Microsoft join the 21st century and get out of the 19th century.

I have seen teams that would appear to be dysfunctional people yelling and stomping out. But these teams produced wonders. I have seen other teams that were quiet and respectful of each other and were nothing but deadweight. I am willing to bet that there is an inverse ratio to the time showing people powerpoints and the genuine productivity of that team. The worst is when someone puts up a powerpoint and then starts reading it to you. Icing on the powerpoint cake is when you have a central item with other items surrounding it with arrows pointing to the central item. A perfect example would be a powerpoint slide saying "Team Player" in the center with items around it that are things that make a good team player.

So assuming this guy wasn't throwing feces at people I suspect that MBA types who had everything to lose spent the rest of this conference making sure that this guy was gone. My suggestion to him is to sell his MS stock sooner than later.

On a whole other page it could be that Windows 8 is a giant turd and this is one of the first heads to role. Either way I just don't see a bright future for MS. Unless they have a world beater about to come out of their R&D people nothing they have catches my fancy. In every category of product I prefer something else. MySQL to SQL, Linux to MS Server, Bean to Word, MacOSX to Windows, Sublime or XCode to Visual Studio, PHP to ASPX, C++ or Python or java to .net anything, iPhone or Android to MS phones. iPad or a Macbook Air to Surface. Anything to Zune. VLC to MS Media. OpenGL to DirectX. I do like the XBox and my MS Mouse.

If MS simply stopped selling products I would not be greatly inconvenienced. This is a massive sea change from say 1998. If they had vanished in 1998 I would have cried myself to sleep.

Re:Not a team player; or was he a threat (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | about 2 years ago | (#41986377)

From the second-to-last paragraph, it sounds like they really had a chance to pull you into their ecosystem with Windows 8. I bet you gave a really serious shake too.

Re:Not a team player; or was he a threat (1)

Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) | about 2 years ago | (#41986381)

I'm liking the giant turd so far.

It's pretty obvious (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41986309)

Ballmer needed to blame someone and started throwing him under the bus. Being a smart guy, he left before the bus arrived.

The board should have fired Ballmer and given Steve a huge bonus to return and run the place.

The summary disagrees with itself? (1)

PickyH3D (680158) | about 2 years ago | (#41986357)

Pundits continue to weigh in on Steve Sinofsky's sudden exit from Microsoft (as executive head of Windows Division, he oversaw the development and release of Windows 7 and 8).

followed by

Few PC users are upgrading to Windows 8 with its unwanted Touch UI, sales of the Surface tablet are disappointing, and few are buying Windows Phones.

If the second statement is to be believed, then why should anyone be worried that the person behind it leaving the company?

Alternatively, if you choose not to believe the second statement (though WP sales being high is certainly hard to claim no matter how you look at it), then the first statement is scary for Microsoft.

I was personally a bit stunned by Steve's sudden departure, but considering that the people that supposedly came up with the most hated pieces of Windows 8 took over for him, I doubt much will change (love it or hate it).

Re:The summary disagrees with itself? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#41986531)

I think Steve was agaisn't METRO the whole time.

THe Windows team was all gung ho on replacing fully working desktop apps with crappy applets designed for phones. Ericka Long the new Windows head was a HUGE fan and was a proponent of the ribbon. The WIndows product manager under her was in promotional videos all smiling and proud of metro saying they are all beautiful and modern it is. Sinsofsky's departure came very very short after the Surface and WIndows 8 which makes me believe the decision to fire him came months ago!

Bill Gates himself approved of letting him go according to Windows Fan Boi site www.neowin.net. If they fired him right before the launch the shareholders would freak out and it would send consumers and OEMs a message that Windows 8 is crap!

So the only logical conclusion is he said NO! We stick with Windows 7 UI and add Metro for tablets or an addon. Gates and Balmer chose the tablet UI in 2010 after the other tablet product failed. So both of them over ruled Sinsofsky and went under him with these people to get Metro everywhere and fire him after the release.

Not Tall poppy syndrome, fall guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986391)

It's not tall poppy syndrome I think (google it).

My list of what happened based on nothing but a guess:

1. Surface isn't selling
2. It has a lot of compromises like a trackpad and keyboard and 'Windows' mode
3. It has those because stuff like Office doesn't have a touch interface
4. So Sinofsky has a bunch of limitations imposed on him that make the product suck, and he kicks something out the door.
5. Compromised, but at least a foot in the door.
6. Surface fails to wow the world, and Sinofsky takes an exit for 'not being a good enough smoozer' to get Ballmer to do his job and order the rest of Microsoft to support touch interfaces.
7. Sinofsky gets a big payoff to take the blame.
8. Ballmer pays a big payoff to keep his job by passing his own failure onto the leaving Sinofsky.

I think it's just Ballmer being incompetent. Surface can't work until Microsoft other divisions get competent enough to deliver touch interfaces. You can't get developers while Microsoft can't even focus on a single development platform. Xbox division, and its $40k to certify a patch really put people off writing software for Microsofts walled garden too. Who wants to write for a walled garden like that when in 1 or 2 years time Microsoft can take all your profits in patch fees? Nobody! All of these choices/incompetences made Surface what it is today, a sucky platform.

So Sinofsky is more the fall guy, than the tall poppy they're portraying.

"MSFT is dead!" .... again (1)

boethius (14423) | about 2 years ago | (#41986395)

This has to be the second or third pundit I've read thus far that has proclaimed Win8, Surface, and WinRT a "complete and utter failure."

Dude - These products quite literally JUST CAME OUT. And yet, somehow, they have so much insight that they can proclaim that within 2-4 weeks of their introduction, MSFT has totally screwed the pooch this time and it is "dying."

Slow down for a second. No one expected MSFT to do Apple-like business on their tablets. Not like they're going to have people camping out overnight for a Surface. No one, including Microsoft.

It may sound like it but I'm not a slavish MS fan boy. They clearly do a LOT of crap, bu they actually are releasing numerous great products and even if they're disappointing in certain respects in the consumer marketplace - and if you can't hit it into the stratosphere like Apple you apparently can no longer compete, which is absurd - they're still quite successful and deeply entrenched in the corporate and government marketplaces. The Windows Phone is actually quite good but they are playing catch-up after years of Android and iPhones and are a distant, distant third. It doesn't mean the products are bad or that MS is "failing" per se - it just means it's going to take years and years for the Win Phone/WinRT/Win8 application ecosystem to catch up. The Windows Phone could go the way of the Zune (which also was actually quite a good product) but I don't see that happening until Microsoft has put years and years of time and effort into it.

It's unsurprising their steady movement to being an OEM has been a difficult and unpleasant one for their long-entrenched Windows OEMs. Given the very, very long relationship they've had the PC OEM hardware world it's not terribly unusual that they would react unfavorably to what Microsoft is doing.

Yes, tablets and smartphones are taking over the world - from a certain perspective - but the fact is that almost all real work gets done on either a Windows- or OSX-based laptop or desktop- STILL. Things are fundamentally shifting away from laptops and desktops for casual browsing, Facebooking, emailing, IMming, etc. etc. happening on mobile or tablet devices now - but, having said that, it's clear they're not just going to disappear overnight and it's clear more powerful PC-type devices aren't going to be disappearing just because some mouthy pundit thinks so.

Re:"MSFT is dead!" .... again (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41986551)

No one expected MSFT to do Apple-like business on their tablets. Not like they're going to have people camping out overnight for a Surface. No one, including Microsoft.

Really? You have a source for that?

Because from the pre-release hype, I would say it was expect to be at least the Second Coming Of Android. I didn't see any articles before the release saying 'look, we've got this new tablet, but it we don't really expect to sell many'.

When even Ballmer is calling sales 'modest', it's clearly a failure. He wouldn't say that if the sales had met expectations.

Re:"MSFT is dead!" .... again (1)

mov_eax_eax (906912) | about 2 years ago | (#41986769)

as i stated before, ballmer never said that sales were modest, he said that surface had a modest distribution, i.e. only launching in a few markets.

So instead of WIndows, what's the choice? (3, Insightful)

billrp (1530055) | about 2 years ago | (#41986429)

There's really no alternative to Windows for most desktop and laptop usage, and there are "apps" to hide or disable the silly touch UI in Win so that the reasonable Win 7 UI can be used. Trying to use Linux on a laptop or desktop in a real work environment is a deadend, and Macs are a niche - so what's left?

Re:So instead of WIndows, what's the choice? (0)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#41986493)

Trying to use Linux on a laptop or desktop in a real work environment is a deadend, and Macs are a niche - so what's left?

Weird. I use Linux for real work and I use Linux at home. I only use Windows for games and video editing, since my Linux laptop is much slower than my Windows gaming PC.

And, as the articles pointed out, if you switch to 'cloud' apps then you don't need Windows at all.

Re:So instead of WIndows, what's the choice? (1)

Absolutely.Geek (2765293) | about 2 years ago | (#41986693)

Ubuntu + VirtualBox, 3 years solid.

About 70% of my work still requires WinXP, but every now and then another bit of SW is available for linux. Wine is great for a bunch of stuff also...there are options if you want to contemplate them. Also VM's make upgrading very easy.

Re:So instead of WIndows, what's the choice? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 years ago | (#41986783)

> There's really no alternative to Windows for most desktop and laptop usage,

Eh?

You have 2 choices: OSX and/or Linux, pick your poison.

Now depending on your apps you may be stuck in Windows land (such as SolidWorks, etc.), but both OSX and Linux are gaining traction at increasing rate which is fantastic to see.

I've been gaming on PCs for 30 years. I pleases me greatly to see OSX finally getting prioritized. And with nVidia working with Valve to increase driver performance ( http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/linux/faster-zombies/ [valvesoftware.com] ), Linux *may* still be a viable option for us game devs to target Linux and make a profit at some point in the future.

What apps & file formats are you stuck with that you can't migrate to another OS ?
 

How is this not an Apple Article. (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41986451)

Apple shares are now priced at 535 from 700 just a couple of months ago. Its market share in tablets has dropped to 50.4%, and its smartphones down from 23.1 to 14.9% in a couple of quarters. Its saving grace [as a company, not so good for its consumers] are its massive mark-ups on it products, but even those proving difficult to maintain, as its cost of producing devices has increased, driving its gross profits down. Its now announced that Apple themselves in a new step is letting 3rd Party retailers take a large profit in its "me too" device the ipad mini, in the hope it will gain traction in the saturated with great devices "small tablet" [or as Jobs says "Tweener"] market. Apple did awfully well under Jobs bringing in all the early adopter money, but now these markets are mature, and its arguably behind the opposition [Android] in both hardware and software; Apple are undeniably in decline.

In context of this article Microsoft is a "never was" in mobile, and still has a monopoly in Desktop, the fact that they are taking a safe [and lets be honest profitable] gamble on making Windows 8 a hybrid!? OS that fails in all areas. Following Apple into an established market with the same bullshit and bullying tactics [lol and Office] it always has, using New Apples [Old Apple would have tried to reinvent...or find a new market] playbook, taking everything people don't like about Apple [whatever the fanatics say] and pretend those are the things that made Apple successful, rather that being more Open; Standard orientated...and hell being innovative, and Cheaper...like say Android...Oh!

Don't believe the FUD (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | about 2 years ago | (#41986565)

/. this is Charlie Demerjian, one of the biggest tech trolls out there. He has a personal vendetta against Nvidia, Microsoft, and Intel. Ignore the troll. They're called SEMIAccurate for a reason.

Have you tried Windows 8? (1, Informative)

micron (164661) | about 2 years ago | (#41986585)

I see a lot of criticism of Windows 8, but I don't see a lot of folks that have actually tried to use it with a touch screen device.
I have played with the all in ones and touch screen tablets at the Microsoft store. As much as a cringe when a co-worker touches my monitor, I think there is something to this adaption of the tablet interface. I actually like the live data features of the icons, I get information without going into the apps. I get that this is a new take on the old widget concept.

I would not count Microsoft out.

Re:Have you tried Windows 8? (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41986725)

I see a lot of criticism of Windows 8, but I don't see a lot of folks that have actually tried to use it with a touch screen device.

Loads of people have tried it, what are you talking about. People also have installed copies on their machine. Its been released. Reviewers have been given free hardware, and their are displays everywhere. Its Awful.

Unsucessful in Mobile; Still the same Monopoly (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 2 years ago | (#41986631)

Year of Microsoft Mobile 2013

Year of Microsoft Internet 2013

Seriously its not even funny any more; Microsoft continuing failure in these markets. Microsoft is not so much in decline, its the same horrible abusive monopoly it always was. Its just that even with its monopoly its failed to breaking to Electonics [Google, Apple] and the internet [Facebook; Amazon; Google].

Windows 8 is just its next attempt at using its monopoly on the Desktop to break into these markets. [whatever you think of that]

Hi Soulskill (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986669)

based on your article, i just popped in to call you a trolling wanker.

Keep up the posting of the biased, unsubstantiated, AC submitted articles.

Have a great day fucktard!

Change was forced on MS - but they reacted well (1)

eco_oce (2774159) | about 2 years ago | (#41986679)

I don't really understand why there is so much hatred of the Windows 8 interface. Why not just continue using Windows 7? Consumers have shown they are willing to learn new ways of doing things from their adoption rate of iPads and Android devices - the learning curve from a Windows PC to an iPad is steep, but made much easier because the usability of the iPad is very strong. There is little reason to think consumers won't also be willing to learn the Windows 8 metro way of doing things if they have a reason to.

Microsoft was forced to innovate by Google and Apple. Google and Apple have been going head to head for years. The competitive pressure has reached a point where both services offer fully integrated service offerings. You can use Google services for your whole digital life - office, media, maps and communications. These services are available on any Google branded device - phones, tablets and PCs. Google makes their money on you as a product for their advertisers. You can use Apple services for your whole digital life - office, media, maps and communications. These services are consumable on any Apple branded device - iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Apple makes their money from the devices you use (not on you as an advertising product).

Up until this you couldn't use Microsoft for your whole digital life. Microsoft's enterprise lock-in practices made it very hard to use office on a phone or a tablet, and Microsoft's media services were limited to the console market. Microsoft milked this for as long as they could and then realized they had to offer a full suite of services or risk loosing everything to Google or Apple. In doing this they also probably realized they were leaving a lot of profit on the table. Now you can also use Microsoft for your whole digital life and consume the services on a Windows 8 phone, tablet or PC. This puts Microsoft back in the game in a big way. They are now back as a realistic competitor to Google and Apple whereas 12 months ago you could have more or less ignored them.

They have also used their late entry to try to leapfrog over the Google and Apple offerings. They've done this in a compelling way and we will know in the next 6 months if they have succeeded. They have huge momentum with the purchase and integration of Skype and the 400 million Windows 8 PCs which will be sold in the next 12 month. Even with this they had no option but to build the Surface because they needed a tablet to compete with Google and Apple. Without a tablet there is no incentive for consumers to switch their digital service stack away from the other big two.

To bad that mac os is hardware locked with out hac (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986703)

To bad that mac os is hardware locked with out hacks that need to be redone at each os update.

also does not help that apple does not have a real desktop at even at high end pricing no they do have a workstation level system with a old mid range video card 6gb ram and 1tb HDD for $2500 where you can get a good gaming system for about $1000-$1500 less.

The imacs are nice a little pricey but they have been cut down to go thin at the cost of stuff like 7200 RPM HDD's easy to get ram slots in the 21" system (apples ram prices are a big ripoff).

the laptops have weak on board video with systems that cost $1000-$2000.

Everything is in decline... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#41986789)

Eventually anything that gets big/successful will cause speculation that it's in decline.

I've been hearing it about America since I was a kid. IBM was in decline until they reinvented themselves a while back. I think they're supposedly in decline again. I don't remember when Microsoft started it's supposed downfall. Probably around the time of the dot.com bust. Apple was a walking corpse and then came back. I've heard they are in decline from several people in the last couple of years. Everything collapses eventually. I guess it's just human nature to try to be the first to predict the fall of successful endeavors.

Enh.... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#41986813)

> Few PC users are upgrading to Windows 8 with its unwanted Touch UI, sales of the Surface tablet are disappointing, and few are buying Windows Phones.

Enh.... not sure if I believe all that. As much as I'd like to see Microsoft become a much smaller company, I observe that Windows 8 hasn't been out long enough to tell yet what the penetration will be, same for Surface, and Windows Phone... well, he might have a point there. But I'm not sure I buy the "steep decline". I strongly suspect that Microsoft's decline, if it comes to that, will be slow and noisy. And hopefully somewhere along the line the board finally ejects Ballmer and gives Microsoft a chance in hell of producing products that people might want to buy.

Too bad... (1)

flyerbri (1519371) | about 2 years ago | (#41986913)

What he doesnt realize is Microsoft and Google have both worked together to start a revolution.

Then again, he seems to be one of those 'backward thinkers' who might kick himself later, but also start up an awesome company because of his exposure and network!

In any case. it will work out for the best. for both him and his employer.tick. former employer.

I fully expected this post to be about the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41986917)

In fact I skimmed past it several times before finally reading the first line and realizing they were talking about Microsoft, not the USA. According to the stock prices and the number of machines running some form of Windows I would say they are not in decline. More of a slow, steady growth.

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