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Pondering the Future of a Re-Org'd Microsoft

timothy posted about a year ago | from the sconces-division-is-going-to-be-awesome dept.

Microsoft 400

puddingebola writes "This story from Forbes touches on Steve Ballmer's announcement that Microsoft will reorganize. From the article, 'Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer appears to be planning a major reorganization. His apparent objective is to help the company move toward becoming a "devices and services company," as presented in the company's annual shareholder letter last October.' What follows is an analysis of the current state of Microsoft's current ventures: shrinking PC sales, Nokia management calling for a change of course, Office 360 lagging, a $1 Billion investment in Nook, the losses on Xbox. Once again, if Microsoft starts to lose the revenue of Windows and Office, how long does the boat float? And what of the suggestion, on the verge of another update in the Xbox console, that Microsoft should sell the Xbox division?"

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Never Heard of Office 360 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43925893)

What is "Office 360" is that Microsoft office for the X-Box? Sounds like input would be pretty slow.

Re:Never Heard of Office 360 (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#43926021)

That was Microsoft's Office suit for the French Republican Calendar. My personal favrote is Microsoft Office 365.25.

Re:Never Heard of Office 360 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926093)

I've said since the original xbox that there needed to be USB mouse/keyboard support and a variant of office that is feature and format compatible with the PC versions. The xbox has always been a PC first and a game machine second. Microsoft could have marketed xboxes as full featured walled garden PCs and directly competed with Apple in addition to Sony and Nintendo.

It's not to late Microsoft, DO THIS!

Re:Never Heard of Office 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926375)

But then how can the glorious PC master race keep the dirty console peasants in their proper place?

Re:Never Heard of Office 360 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926629)

I'd buy an Xbox today if it could replace my office pc. I need word, excel, and support for network printers. The ability to pop in a game for a 15 minute break would be a key selling point over playing spider solitaire on my current system.

Considering the Xbox 360 already has HDMI support it is shocking no one on their development team has made this happen yet. I mean, it's a no brainer. The present day 360 is on par with a budget PC, but is all inclusive in a small form factor. It is ideally suited to be used as a PC in an office environment, a dorm room, a living room, and a bedroom. Why MS is stuck on keeping it a living room only gaming machine is beyond me. Yes, Kinetic is neat, but betting the next gen console's entire success on it is insanity. The notion of the xbox being a gaming console died with the integration of web browsers, social media and Netflix. Xbox is now a crippled PC that can only be used to waste time but never do anything productive. Uncripple it, that's all we're asking. Make the xbox the only computer we need.

The xbox has the potential to be Microsoft's iMac, plus games. This would be freaking awesome.

Re:Never Heard of Office 360 (4, Interesting)

SWroclawski (95770) | about a year ago | (#43926739)

What you want, then, is a Coleco ADAM.

If you booted the ADAM up without a game cartridge, it loaded up its word processor, and you could print to the attached printer.

If you had a casette tape in the machine when it booted- it would run the casette.

And if you had a game cartridge in during boot time, you could play the game.

Re:Never Heard of Office 360 (4, Informative)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#43926871)

I'd buy an Xbox today if it could replace my office pc. I need word, excel, and support for network printers.

On my Linux ultrabook I have LibreOffice which opens anything produced on word, and I've been using a great HP printer server that gives me wireless and internet printer access for a long time. Seriously, whats the gain by using Microsoft?

Re:Never Heard of Office 360 (5, Funny)

telchine (719345) | about a year ago | (#43926127)

It's the new name for Office 365 after they realised they can only deliver 98.63% uptime.

Re:Never Heard of Office 360 (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43926483)

Actually, it's a simple manifestation of American cultural imperialism: They've calculated American vacation days into the name and forgot that elsewhere in the world, the numbers could be different.

The circle of life (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43925911)

First they'll drop the software, then they'll drop the devices, and then they'll be IBM 2.0. How ironic.

Re:The circle of lifen (5, Informative)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#43926527)

I don't think IBM should take your insults lying down. IBM knew when to shift. They may not be high-profile in the PC world anymore, but they've certainly spun off their product lines to companies that could handle them. Meanwhile, IBM themselves haven't exactly disappeared. A quick cut-and-paste from Wikipedia: "In 2012, Fortune ranked IBM the #2 largest U.S. firm in terms of number of employees (433,362),[7] the #4 largest in terms of market capitalization,[8] the #9 most profitable,[9] and the #19 largest firm in terms of revenue.[10] Globally, the company was ranked the #31 largest in terms of revenue by Forbes for 2011.[11][12] Other rankings for 2011/2012 include #1 company for leaders (Fortune), #1 green company worldwide (Newsweek), #2 best global brand (Interbrand), #2 most respected company (Barron's), #5 most admired company (Fortune), and #18 most innovative company (Fast Company).[13]"

Re:The circle of lifen (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year ago | (#43926815)

I don't think IBM should take your insults lying down. IBM knew when to shift. They may not be high-profile in the PC world anymore, but they've certainly spun off their product lines to companies that could handle them. Meanwhile, IBM themselves haven't exactly disappeared.

That is because IBM has always been about being in businesses that are higher margin and where they can use their breadth and depth of talent, IP, etc. to their advantage. Once the PC market became a commodity they moved on. Big iron is much harder to commoditize and they can sell services around it that use the computing power as business tools. Even as they spin off some businesses they buy others, such as Monday (PwC Consulting) that fit within their services model.

MS has always been, first and foremost, a software company. Services always seemed as an afterthought and focused on their software rather than providing business solutions.

Re:The circle of life (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year ago | (#43926609)

The thing is MS has never been that good at services. What services they have they had to buy 3rd party companies for the most part.

Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43925947)

You know what's going to happen: reorg == lots of people getting canned. You'll probably see a lot of the jobs moved overseas because Microsoft can't get qualified people here in the States and the H1-B limits are inhibiting growth.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926003)

The only thing inhibiting Microsoft's growth is incompetence at the top.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43926011)

Can't get qualified folks?
Are you high? H1-Bs are limited to prevent a total free fall of developers wages.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1, Troll)

Shados (741919) | about a year ago | (#43926111)

Sounds like you were never involved in hiring tech people in one of the big coastal cities... If your hiring requirement involves anything beyond "can do basic HTML" and you don't pay insane salaries, forget it.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43926191)

If by insane you mean the price the market dictates you would be correct.

Fun fact, the price the market dictates is the price the market dictates. If you want cheaper workers, go hire in fly over country.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (4, Interesting)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#43926493)

You somehow missed the start of last decade, when market started to become global.
From an employer's perspective, the difference between an US-based remote worker and an India-based remote worker is the salary (to a greater extent) and cultural differences (to a smaller extent, includes English proficiency). Speed of communication is just as good (instantaneous regardless of where you are) and cheap (VoIP).

Apart from some relatively small cultural differences (which can be ignored with little effort), everything else is advantageous for the India-based worker: smaller salary, less pretentious, able and willing to work overtime for insignificant compensation, etc. Even if Quality of Work might (arguably) be lower, you can get 5 IN workers for half the price of an US worker and (arguably) have quantity offset quality. But to date, my 10+ years global workforce experience tells me that IN-based work quality is about 60-70% of US-based quality (valid for coding and support, YMMV) for a much, much lower salary. Mexico, for that matter, is worse than that (mainly due to laziness; they're smart but hellishly lazy).

One more thing to mention: the horrible Indian accent and general incompetence you sometimes encounter when calling support has a very simple root cause: the employer got overly greedy and went for the cheapest outsourcing company they found. their mindset was: "why pay 1/4 of the salary and have good customer service when we can pay 1/7 of the salary and fuck our customers?" - Dilbert method FTW.

Note: My global workforce and outsourcing experience covers USA, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Chile, Mexico, India, Romania, China, Singapore, Japan and Egypt. I could literally write a short novel about each.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43926201)

Well yeah, if you aren't willing to pay market rate, you won't find many takers. You can't hire a surgeon for $80k/yr, either.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43926365)

The scary thing is that you actually can. I'd suggest not letting them do much to you, but medicine is getting the same pressures that tech has been hammered with. Plenty of people with medical degrees out there in the world, even half the typical US pay looks pretty good and, despite all the whining around here, the US is still a pretty desirable place to live.

Some of these docs are OK, some are really pretty good. A lot of them are pretty substandard - can do basic stuff but when push comes to shove, they simply don't have the training.

Sound familiar?

The Song Remains the Same....

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

niado (1650369) | about a year ago | (#43926207)

Sounds like you were never involved in hiring tech people in one of the big coastal cities... If your hiring requirement involves anything beyond "can do basic HTML" and you don't pay reasonable salaries, forget it.

FTFY

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

Shados (741919) | about a year ago | (#43926267)

As others mentioned, its supply and demand. But most countries don't seem to think paying 120k/year+ for someone that can barely get the job done is reasonable....yet if you live in Cali, MA or NY, its the norm.

Thats what I meant by "insane". Do note that I'm among those benefiting from this, so I'm not complaining. I just think its not very surprising that companies will hire in a different country.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#43926455)

Everything is more expensive in those places.

That's one of the problems in living in such places. If you are here to whine about it then you're an idiot. Move or suck it up.

You don't have to flee to Bhopal either. You can just go to Idaho.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year ago | (#43926643)

The living expenditures in those places are higher. How do you expect to get a worker to be on site if you don't pay them well enough to live near the place to begin with?

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#43926665)

The problem is that the cost of living in these cities is so high. I was watching House Hunters of some other similar show, and saw that even tiny houses with no yard were going for $1,000,000 in San Francisco. You'd better bet getting paid $120K per year if it's going to cost that much for a house. Same goes for New York. Good housing is expensive. You can blame the high house prices on high wages, or blame the high wages on the high house prices, but it's a self perpetuating problem.

I'm the parent poster. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926691)

Can't get qualified folks?
Are you high? H1-Bs are limited to prevent a total free fall of developers wages.

I left out some quotes and the "tongue in cheek" tag.

What usually happens with re-orgs of companies in MS' state is that they fire the (more than qualified) Americans and go overseas and hire folks there to do the same job for much less - hopefully at the same quality.

The CEO will then make the excuse for PR reasons that they had to do that because they couldn't get "qualified" people here in the States when in truth they had plenty of qualified people but they just wanted to lower costs and subsequently show some (short term) growth on the bottom line.

What MS really needs to do concentrate on its strengths - corporate IT infrastructure and CIS type of things. Leave the consumer stuff to Apple and the other guys.

But that's just me and I'm not in charge because I don't have the connections.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#43926771)

We teach CS and Software engineering where I am (London Ontario).

MS has picked up several of our graduates, some it has shipped to redmond others for the local MS offices. Typical starting salary for a new hire with only a 1 year co-op under their belt is 80k.

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#43926839)

You are failing to detect the rich, smoky scent of sarcasm.

Not for those wages. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926273)

Microsoft can't get qualified people here in the States and the H1-B limits are inhibiting growth.

Microsoft can't get qualified people willing to work for sub-par wages here in the States.

H1-B limits are explicitly in place to prevent the dilution of the skilled labor market. We have the people, but they want paid a fair wage. MS and the like want the labor but don't want to pay for it when they can get it from India for cheaper. BUT Indian quality is shit, so they want to bring them here, hire them, drive the "prevailing wage" down a percentage point at a time, and then when the prevailing wage is sufficiently low in a few years they'll be able to hire low cost high skilled American labor.

It's basically the same concept as negging a girl into dating you. [urbandictionary.com]

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (2)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | about a year ago | (#43926451)

As long as the first ones out the door are the ones that designed and built windows 8 - I'm ALL for that.

Win 8, the greatest thing to happen for Linux - EVER!

Re:Get your resumes ready guys! (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#43926819)

You mean Windows 8 is the greatest thing to happen for Apple.

Microsofts screw ups tend to benefit Apple more than Linux.

Sell the only post-pc success story MS has? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43925951)

If the future isn't PCs, and Microsoft are sucking at phones and tablets, the only non-PC platform they have with any success is the Xbox. I wouldn't get rid of that if I was them...

Re:Sell the only post-pc success story MS has? (2, Insightful)

BillCable (1464383) | about a year ago | (#43926079)

Except that the Xbox div loses tons of money. They might be smart to sell it off before the the publicity gets REALLY bad after the Xbox One presentation at E3. After then it'll be hard for MS to give the Xbox brand away.

Re:Sell the only post-pc success story MS has? (3, Informative)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#43926259)

Except that the Xbox div loses tons of money.

It always amazes me how many people actually think that the Xbox is a highly profitable endeavor for Microsoft. While it has turned profitable recently, the Entertainment & Devices Division (where XBox is accounted for) is only mildly profitable. Nowhere near the profit rate of Microsoft's enterprise and desktop cash-cows. It is a stretch to call the Xbox a fiscal "success", at best one could now say it is not "money-losing". It is highly unlikely that Microsoft could expand the revenues and margins of EDD into a company-sustaining business.

Selling Xbox division? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43925963)

The only one with profit and a brighter way?

Better Idea (5, Insightful)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43925973)

How about just stopping the crappy product releases? Windows 8 is a joke, the Xbox 360 is over engineered, your server product make me laugh because Linux can do everything for free and better. When will Microsoft wake up the fact they release crap, users are getting fed up with it. They're losing market share because finally the average user is noticing that better, cheaper and more reliable software and hardware exist. The key to Microsoft becoming successful is to just reboot itself and start turning out high quality products.

Re:Better Idea (5, Funny)

jeffclay (1077679) | about a year ago | (#43926109)

Imagine that; Microsoft needs to reboot itself to become functional again.

Re:Better Idea (4, Funny)

QRDeNameland (873957) | about a year ago | (#43926857)

I'm imagining that they must have hired strategic consultants from Reynholm Industries. "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

Re:Better Idea (5, Insightful)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#43926247)

"Linux can do everything for free and better"

Linux brings in a substantial portion of my income but statements like that hurt its adoption, not help it. In an "real" corporate environment, Linux isn't free. I've never met a CEO who wanted to base his/her business on unsupported software. By supported, I mean when something goes down, they want a throat to grab (and sue if things get really bad). The result is something like RedHat or OUL, which has support, not definitely isn't free.

Also, if you come into my office and the best pitch you have for Linux on your project is "it's free", you'll be asked to leave.

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926411)

By supported, I mean when something goes down, they want a throat to grab (and sue if things get really bad).

All software in the real world is full of disclaimers of liability.
"Grabbing the throat" of a company like Microsoft, Apple, or Oracle accomplishes nothing. Suing is even worse.

OS support actually does work (3, Funny)

Chirs (87576) | about a year ago | (#43926453)

We have a paid relationship with a Linux OS vendor. When we find problems we file bugs into their system, and they generally *do* get addressed. Not always as fast as we'd like or in the exact way that we'd like, but they do get attention.

Re:Better Idea (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926471)

Ever actually try to grab a throat at MS? Last time I tried I got "It's our bug, but we have no fix for you. Don't hold your breath for the next version either"

Re:Better Idea (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#43926525)

> I've never met a CEO who wanted to base his/her business on unsupported software

Then you've not been around much. Plenty of companies outside of a very small set of "glamourous" ones will happily trade a little risk for a really big discount.

Don't try to conflate the Fortune 100 with everyone because it's simply not the case.

Re:Better Idea (2)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#43926537)

Well said. I think people who pitch "linux is free" have at best some (indeed free) Linux machines at home or work but never worked in enterprise-grade server software business, nor do they know much about it.

Re:Better Idea (1)

korgitser (1809018) | about a year ago | (#43926617)

While I generally agree with your post, I wonder is there any throat to grab for theCEO if windows fuxors something up?

Re:Better Idea (2)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year ago | (#43926637)

I never have mod points when I really need then. Exact, "is freee!!!" is not a good answer to "why should I use it?". It's no good to be free if it is incapable of do the necessary work

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926833)

Indeed. Plus, there are a number of things that MS/AD do really well. Hell, I don't think I've seen the previous versions/self service snapshot restore implemented in *nix. That alone saves me a ton of time as a sysadmin.

Re:Better Idea (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43926351)

When will Microsoft wake up the fact they release crap, users are getting fed up with it.

People have been putting up with it for over 20 years; why would MS change their strategy now?

Re:Better Idea (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926475)

When will Microsoft wake up the fact they release crap, users are getting fed up with it.

People have been putting up with it for over 20 years; why would MS change their strategy now?

Isn't the point of TFA that Microsoft is changing course?

Changing course from scraping along the side of the iceberg to directly ramming into it, but still...

Re:Better Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926489)

I almost switched my file server at home from Linux to Windows to get more experience running a Windows server, but Windows doesn't easily support paths longer than 260 characters! Server OS fail, migration cancelled.

Re:Better Idea (3, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43926523)

Microsoft's strong-point used to be that you could get stuff done with their GUI's without having to read much of the manuals. Average Monday-blawzay hangover employees could click their way to getting stuff up and going via GUI trial and error. While that's not necessarily a lofty advantage, it fit a need and companies liked that.

But they got away from that by stuffing their UI's and tools with "enterprise-level" gobbledygook because they want to compete on IBM's and Oracle's turf. Now they are the worse of both: bloated and bureaucratic without the reliability and support structure of IBM (relatively speaking).

I would recommend they go back to their roots of get-it-done GUI tools or front-ends. They could even do so for Linux front-ends for server admins who don't want to learn Linux command-lines and scripting. Again, I'm not necessary condoning such practices or employees, only saying there is a market (profits) for such tools and they have existing experience there.

Free? Not remotely (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#43926699)

your server product make me laugh because Linux can do everything for free and better.

"For free"? Hah! Not hardly. The fact that some linux distros (but not all) are distributed free of charge hardly makes installing linux in a business free of charge. You seem to have neglected the cost of hardware, installation, training, support, application software, integration with existing systems, and data migration just to start. While there are plenty of cases where linux is the better option financially there are NO cases where it is genuinely free. (as in beer)

As for better, that depends entirely on your specific needs. Linux is the better choice in some cases but it isn't hard to come up with specific cases where Microsoft products are the more sensible choice. At our company linux would provide essentially no cost advantage over Windows for what we do. I'm an accountant and I assure you that there is very little in the way of linux based accounting software and what little there is is largely pretty poor. If you are running a website or some heavy database work then linux is frequently a great choice but it demonstrably cannot do "everything for free and better".

Re:Better Idea (1)

cjjjer (530715) | about a year ago | (#43926797)

Linux can do everything for free and better

So will it install itself / configure itself / update itself / teach end users how to use it all without any interaction from a human?

I guess I can fire my IT staff and contact this Linux thingamajig and get started right away all for free no cost to my company...

What in the world are they thinking? (5, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43925983)

Brilliant move! De-emphasize the divisions that bring in the big bucks *and* have a unique advantage over competitors for legacy reasons, while placing even more emphasis on the divisions that lose money and have mediocre market share.

Seriously, this move by Ballmer is about the direct opposite of what a business in transition should do. I wonder how much longer before the stockholders finally kick him out.

To a first approximation, Microsoft *is* Windows and Office. That's what keeps everyone locked in. That's what brings in the big volume licenses. Cede that, and the rest of the edifice collapses entirely. Ballmer might not like it, but Microsoft is a software company and lives or dies on desktop software. The truth is that they have to transition to a more mature company model, paying dividends and making a lot fewer splashes. They aren't ever going to be hip and cool and revolutionary. And their customers don't want them to be.

Re:What in the world are they thinking? (4, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43926051)

The problem is they have historically sacrificed everything for windows desktop. Office could be running on other platforms, but it won't for that reason.

The OSX version should not even be called office, since it lacks so many corporate features like Excel services.

Re:What in the world are they thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926387)

Sometimes you have to eat your baby before someone else does.

Re:What in the world are they thinking? (2)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43926449)

Windows and Office are dying. Microsoft needs to use the remaining revenue they can squeeze from them to start up new division and products without tying them to these dying software systems. So far, almost everything else they have done has failed because it had to be tied to Windows and Office.

Re:What in the world are they thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926557)

On that note.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKUvKE3bQlY#t=2m03s (George Costanza Does The Opposite)

Rehabilitation of a Junkie (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43926769)

MS got addicted to their cash cow near-monopolies. If they split up into multiple companies, then each part has to compete on its own and will have to find ways to survive without milk from the Cash Cow. They may flounder at first, but eventually will become competitive again. There's probably no shortcut.

Rehabilitation from addiction can be painful.

Ballmer's delivery services... (4, Funny)

telchine (719345) | about a year ago | (#43925993)

[Steve Ballmer's] objective is to help the company move toward becoming a "devices and services company,"

Maybe he can deliver me a chair?

Re:Ballmer's delivery services... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43926307)

Wait, so Ballmer wants to make MS a company that sells things MS has a terrible reputation for?

Re:Ballmer's delivery services... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#43926807)

Maybe he can deliver me a chair?

Wow, what quick service! I'm impressed already.

MS biggest reorganization (5, Funny)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#43926001)

Ballmer: "Guys, MS will live its biggest reorganization ever: I resign."

Re:MS biggest reorganization (3, Insightful)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#43926545)

Wishful thinking. If I had moderator points, I would be torn between Funny and Insightful.

wouldn't it make sense.. (0)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43926025)

to wait until the sw business is actually in the ditch before burying it?

besides - they're not going to be making the devices - they're going to be writing sw for them. it's not like they're going to be a soc company.
their "services" are pretty much all sw. what makes their devices theirs is just sw too.

the only reorg ms needs is to ditch ballmer(and couple of other guys like whoever is responsible for bringing zune legacy to FUCKING DESKTOP FJAySDJFiasOJF IaSD FPOVaO PFAAAAAAAAAARGGGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DIE WITH FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!.

ok, fun fact: metro shit both on and off the phones is all legacy from zune. obviously that has been such a huge success that's the way to go!

Yawn (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926047)

Wake me when this re-org involves a future without Balmer. That man needs to go.
Hell, even bring Gates back to the helm.

Why is Ballmer still CEO? (3, Interesting)

Galaga88 (148206) | about a year ago | (#43926053)

As a naive individual with little to no business knowledge or training, could somebody please explain how Steve Ballmer is still CEO of Microsoft?

What knowledge is the board of directors privy to that the entire rest of the world isn't that has kept him employed for so long?

I *must* be overlooking something to explain how somebody could so completely mismanage Microsoft to the point of irrelevancy and still work there.

Re:Why is Ballmer still CEO? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926107)

Because he was grandfathered in. The guy has no technical or business knowledge and the only reason he has anything to do with Microsoft is because he was lucky enough to have known Bill Gates and Paul Allen when they were forming the company.

Get Your Re-Org Boots On (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#43926263)

with Microsoft is because he was lucky enough to have known Bill Gates and Paul Allen

Right, and the board must feel that if they get rid of the 'original team' facet, the stock price will suffer. It's incredibly short sighted - in the long run the founders are dead, so they have to do it sometime unless they're planning to have Bill Gates's head in a jar run the company. But public companies rarely do 'long-term'.

In the meantime, get your re-org boots on [dilbert.com] , Microsofties.

Re:Why is Ballmer still CEO? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43926405)

As a naive individual with little to no business knowledge or training, could somebody please explain how Steve Ballmer is still CEO of Microsoft?

A literal interpretation of your sentence is that you are asking someone with little to no business knowledge or training to answer your questions.

(Which is probably what you'll get on Slashdot.)

What knowledge is the board of directors privy to that the entire rest of the world isn't that has kept him employed for so long?

Maybe it's something that *he* knows about the Board of Directors.

Re:Why is Ballmer still CEO? (4, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#43926535)

As a naive individual with little to no business knowledge or training, could somebody please explain how Steve Ballmer is still CEO of Microsoft?

I would surmise it is a combination of the following:

* Balmer is among the largest shareholders in the company and good buddies with his predecessor who is the largest shareholder and Chairman
*Microsoft has a relatively unimpressive and compliant board largely hand picked by Bill Gates and Balmer
*The fact that despite their problems the company remains hugely profitable which makes it harder for the board to complain even if they were inclined to do so.
*The company's large market cap and strong cash position make them a very unattractive target for a buyout and difficult for activist investors
*There are credible rumors that Balmer culls potential rivals [reuters.com] within the company

I'm sure there are other reasons but those are probably among the bigger reasons.

Re:Why is Ballmer still CEO? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926619)

Because, under Baller, Microsoft has made record profits most years. When you're running a company that is making insane amounts of money the share holders like you. Why is it that nerds find that so hard to understand? Baller is an uncharismatic tool who makes terrible technology choices, but he is making huge piles of money for the investors. That is what they want. That is why he is still CEO.

Re:Why is Ballmer still CEO? (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about a year ago | (#43926625)

Massive stock holdings. He's IIRC the second largest stock holder in Microsoft.

Re:Why is Ballmer still CEO? (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#43926631)

Microsoft needs to hire Ballmer a personal chauffeur to drive him around. Hans Reiser would be the perfect man for the job. He's tanned, rested and experienced.

They also should buy him a house . . . right next to John McAfee would be perfect. That seems to have worked before . . .

Re:Why is Ballmer still CEO? (2)

Cassini2 (956052) | about a year ago | (#43926659)

Microsoft is very cleverly following the Harkonnen plan from Dune. Under pressure from the government, Bill Gates needed to leave Microsoft. As such, Harkonnen's brought in "The Beast Rabban" (Steve Balmer).

Rabban's job was to so badly mismanage everything, that anything would be preferable to the continued domination of Steve Balmer. Then, at the appointed moment, Bill Gates can be brought back to rescue Microsoft and save Dune. The regulators will accept Bill Gates, because anything is better than Windows 8.

The problem with the Harkonnen plan is that the Harkonnens assume that only they control the Spice of Earnings - Microsoft Windows and Office. However, secretly, there is growing competition, in the form of the Fremen (free men). These free men believe in open software and exist in vast numbers.

So far, the Harkonnen's have discredited the Fremen leaders - Richard Stalman and Linus Torvalds - by accusing them of being bearded men. However, a legion of newly trained Fremen, familiar with the open source wierding way, have secretly slipped Linux onto billions of small square Android devices. These Android devices are scattered all over, like grains of sand in the dessert.

What is the plan for these Android devices? Will the people be free? Will the Harkonnen plan work? Will another power arise?

Stay tuned ...

Bearing in mind (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year ago | (#43926163)

Bearing in mind the IT Market is constantly shifting if they carry on the way they have then they are pinning their hopes on Intel/AMD bringing out the next range of processors at 30Ghz. Its not likely to happen. They never capitalised properly on the mobile space although they have a long history with Mobile Phone OS's. No doubt whatever they do they'll keep up their long history of pissing on the hand that feeds them :(

Mis-titled Article (4, Informative)

fortunatus (445210) | about a year ago | (#43926187)

This article did not discuss the reorganization plans. Instead it whined and complained about Microsoft's poor sales performance.

Re:Mis-titled Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926421)

They misspelled half the product names so a misleading title makes sense.

This is one of the worst articles I've ever read.

Re:Mis-titled Article (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#43926571)

Maybe... there are no plans to speak of?

in your dreams (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43926203)

Nobody would ever buy the Xbox division because nobody is going to buy the new Xbox. It's such an utter disaster, they might as well just sell their Xbox line to Sony for $0 because that's what they're effectively doing. They're handing them 100% of their profits and killing the product line. Who the hell is going to buy a device that spies on you with a camera and mic 24/7 even when it's turned off, records your apparent moods, doesn't play movies when too many people are in the room, doesn't play used games easily, and doesn't offer anything of value over the previous Xbox. I guarantee you it won't sell more than 1 million units ever.

What MS needs to do is cancel Windows 8.1, make 8.1 or 9 not suck, and release it. Then concentrate on a separate mobile OS or just say fuck it and develop office 2013 for Android and iOS. That'll make them some money.

Re:in your dreams (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43926327)

Wishful thinking. No one ever went broke from underestimating the taste of the American public. I do hope xbox one is a massive failure. I don't really believe it, though.

Re:in your dreams (1)

BillCable (1464383) | about a year ago | (#43926519)

There are ardent brand loyalists who will buy one no matter what, but based on everything I've read the reaction to Xbox One's feature set has been nearly catastrophic. I don't think it's outside the realm of possibilities for the console to be an abject failure. I think fewer than a million sold is unlikely, but it could do worse than GameCube numbers.

Re:in your dreams (2)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year ago | (#43926587)

Your post is so full of urban myths, disinformation and wrong assumptions, that the only true words I could find were "the", "or", "who", "a" and "and".

360/365 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926241)

Office 360... so they're building in 5 days of planned outages per year now?

"Devices and services company" (2)

kheldan (1460303) | about a year ago | (#43926335)

So long, Microsoft. Wonder who we'll be getting our OS from shortly after you go bankrupt?

Re:"Devices and services company" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926655)

So long, Microsoft. Wonder who we'll be getting our OS from shortly after you go bankrupt?

That's pretty obvious:
  - Apple will take the Mid-range Desktop.
  - Google and the various low-end PC makers will crank out Android and other Linux derivatives (Chromebooks, crap laptops, tablets) in the low-end. [Apple will still control most of the premium stuff in the low-end via the tablet market]
  - Geeks and specialists will use Linux and BSD derivatives for servers and high-end workstations.

Expect the desktop hardware market to shrink in favour of lots of "appliances" (devices with no maintenance, throw it and buy a new one [consumerism++]) for most people. It won't be the end of the world (FOSS will still exist, open platforms will still exist for anyone who wants one), but the grass won't be any greener than it is in the present either.

Reorgs are internal (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a year ago | (#43926381)

Reorgs are rarely the result of or for the benefit of external factors and market pressures. Reorgs exist for two key reasons: inertia and political infighting. Inertia is when senior management gives up on trying to fix unfixable problems and resorts to throwing all the moving pieces in the air and hoping something works. Political infighting is self evident - just turf wars and stepping all over each other for personal gain. First the senior managers try to push specific underlings out of their jobs - and we've seen that already. The leaderless orgs are war-booty for whomever's left. The great think about reorgs is that they're addictive. Companies can avoid them for years but the first time they do one it's like crack. They can't stop and every year or two there will be another and another as the company becomes increasingly paranoid, inward focused, inefficient and floundering.

To all the MS haters out there this is a good thing it signals the beginning of the end of MS. Wouldn't even shock me if Mao Tse Bill is dragged back in.

The first change.. (1)

vondiggity (1038522) | about a year ago | (#43926391)

Should be him retiring and leaving the company. He's mismanaged Microsoft badly ever since Bill Gates left.

Re:The first change.. (1)

harperska (1376103) | about a year ago | (#43926573)

I would argue that he has in fact mismanaged Microsoft quite well. I have never seen anybody do a better job at mismanaging a company.

Re:The first change.. (1)

vondiggity (1038522) | about a year ago | (#43926639)

I would argue that he has in fact mismanaged Microsoft quite well. I have never seen anybody do a better job at mismanaging a company.

Oops, some bad wording on my behalf. But you are correct, such bad management is indeed a rarity in such large companies.

He puts too much faith in that guy. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43926437)

> "Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmerappears to be planning a major reorganization"

I'm going to guess he's going to reorganize everyone except the guy who decided on "let others innovate then play me too-ism" as a business model.

Article Is Garbage (1)

organgtool (966989) | about a year ago | (#43926441)

A new xBox was launched on May 21. Unfortunately, like all digital markets, gaming is moving increasingly mobile, and consoles show all the signs of going the way of desktop computers

This guy clearly has no idea what he is talking about. First of all, the new XBox was announced on May 21, not launched. Secondly, yes mobile gaming is increasing due to the popularity of smartphones and tablets, but true gamers aren't going to be flocking to play a new Call of Duty on their smartphone. The next generation of consoles may not sell as well as the last generation of consoles, but that doesn't mean that the new XBox is doomed. If anything, it's possible that Microsoft may be able to gain ground in the console market since the Wii U is doing so poorly.

xBox might have had a future as an enterprise networking hub, but so far Kinnect has not even been marketed as a tool for business, and it has not yet incorporated the full network functionality (such as Skype) necessary to succeed at creating a new market against competitors like Cisco.

Microsoft has clearly stated that Skype will be heavily integrated into the new XBox and this will be their attempt to gain traction in that market. I imagine if it gains the traction they're hoping for, then expanding a PC version of Kinect with Skype functionality would certainly be possible, especially due to the network effect and Microsoft has already stated their intention on doing exactly that.

Thankfully, after more than a decade losing money, xBox reached break-even recently. However, its margins are only 15%, compared with historical Microsoft margins of 60% in “core” products.

There are very few companies that can claim margins of 60% on their core products. And 15% margins aren't terribly bad.

As consumers, suppliers and investors, we like the idea of a near-monopoly

Speak for yourself! The only group of people that might like a near-monopoly in software platforms are software developers since it would require porting their software to fewer platforms, but as a consumer I absolutely want choice and not a "near-monopoly".

Look, I'm not trying to say that the future looks completely positive for Microsoft. They are certainly facing their share of steep, uphill battles and they've done everything possible to put themselves in that position. But things are far from settled in the computing market and despite the fact that they face increasing competition, they're not completely out of the game yet. The upcoming Haswell processors from Intel will allow tablets running a full version of Windows to compete better against ARM-based tablets that run alternative OSes with apps of limited functionality. And an increase in tablet sales with Windows 8 could spur more interest in smartphones with Windows Phone 8 due to their similarities. Sure, that's a lot of "ifs" and I'm certainly no fan of Microsoft, but I don't think they're as screwed as this article is making them out to be.

Re:Article Is Garbage (1)

sangreal66 (740295) | about a year ago | (#43926507)

The article is based almost entirely on rumors and bad information, but that's what you get from these "Forbes Contributor" articles. They're not from the Forbes staff, they're basically a curated set of blogs hosted by Forbes.

MS Languages and platforms a dead end (5, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about a year ago | (#43926513)

VB6 migration path to VB.net: Fuck you. Recode.
Winforms to Web: Fuck you. Recode.
Silverlight to WPF: Fuck you. Recode.
WPF to anything:Take a guess.
Microsoft Office interface: Fuck you. Retrain.
Windows interface: Fuck you. Retrain.
Old Windows phone: Fuck you.
New Windows phone: Maybe we'll let your app on our store, and by the way. Fuck you.

Why anybody, at this point, would invest *any* time in any windows language or platform is beyone me. Think Android. Think iOS.

Re:MS Languages and platforms a dead end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926737)

+1
You left Visual FoxPro out. I have the same felling about Microsoft development tools/language since they VB6 to VB.net.

Balmer should retire. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926521)

If he really wants to help M$.

Re0org and QOTD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43926561)

I just had to post this one.

When I read this article the random quote at the bottom of the page was:

"The solution of this problem is trivial and is left as an exercise for the reader."

Almost perfect irony!

Jumping the shark? (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#43926777)

His apparent objective is to help the company move toward becoming a "devices and services company,"

Is this Microsoft's jumping the shark moment?

Whenever I hear of a large software company suddenly saying they're now a devices and services company, I have to wonder if they have a good grasp on what's happening.

They keep thinking they're going to move everything to the cloud and subscriptions, but I'm not sure if their customers actually want that from them.

One does have to wonder if they're not just trying to figure out what to do next to stay relevant in some segments -- but you have to be sure to not destroy the main revenue streams you already have.

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