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Steve Ballmer Blew Up At the Microsoft Board Before Retiring

Unknown Lamer posted about 8 months ago | from the developers-developers-developers-rage-quit dept.

Microsoft 248

mrspoonsi writes with this excerpt from Business Insider on Steve Ballmer's final months as Microsoft CEO: "Ballmer decided to announce his retirement a few years before anyone expected him to. It all came to a head in one board meeting with Ballmer in June 2013. According to Businessweek, Ballmer got into a shouting match with Microsoft's board when directors said they didn't want to buy Nokia and start making smartphones. Ballmer told the board last June that if he didn't get what he wanted, he wouldn't be CEO any more. Businessweek said Ballmer's shouts could be heard in the hall outside the conference room. In the end, the board compromised with Ballmer. Ballmer wanted to buy both Nokia's handset business and its mapping platform called HERE. Instead, Microsoft ended up buying just the handset business for $7.2 billion and licensed HERE maps from Nokia." Ballmer seems to be regretting not getting into hardware sooner (although given that not making hardware propelled them to success in the 90s...)

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asshole (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46409649)

I'm sorry... is there a better word to describe this self-absorbed troll?

Re:asshole (5, Funny)

sidevans (66118) | about 8 months ago | (#46409667)

Anonymous Coward?

Re:asshole (-1, Redundant)

TWX (665546) | about 8 months ago | (#46409981)

How about Dance, Monkey Boy! [youtube.com]

Re:asshole (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410307)

At least link to the original [youtube.com] , not crippled resized recode.

And if you want monkey boy, beginning of this one [youtube.com] matches much better.

Re:asshole (2, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 8 months ago | (#46409843)

I'm sorry... is there a better word to describe this self-absorbed troll?

Consistent.

Fat.

Shall I go on? :-)

Re:asshole (5, Insightful)

cream wobbly (1102689) | about 8 months ago | (#46410231)

Bully.

Re:asshole (4, Insightful)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about 8 months ago | (#46410449)

I've always felt that "potty-mouthed, chair-throwing, murder-threatening, monkey dancer" was an adequate moniker.

Re:asshole (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410679)

As far as I can tell, at least the first of those would be considered a compliment around here. (Maybe not so much the others.)

I once got flamed here for substituting a "*" in middle of an "f" word that I had quoted someone's text. I guess they were pretty attached to the exact word. Go figure.

Re:asshole (2)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about 8 months ago | (#46410735)

Some people cuss a lot. Others swear. Some use foul language.

But some are just potty-mouthed. Their attempts to sound tough are just so infantile.

Re:asshole (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46411837)

Shut up, you poo poo head!

What a surprise. (1, Insightful)

azav (469988) | about 8 months ago | (#46409681)

Ballmer just comes across as a big fat baby with all the charisma of a loose turd.

Will someone tell me why he was there in the first place?

Re:What a surprise. (5, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 months ago | (#46409735)

His amazing salesmanship skills:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

At the end of that, I feel myself pulling my wallet out and going "NO, IT CAN'T BE JUST $99, let me pay more!"

Re:What a surprise. (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 8 months ago | (#46411015)

Did the $99 include DOS or was that another $99?

Re:What a surprise. (2, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#46409737)

Possibly because CEOs aren't hired for charisma, their ability to strut on a walkway, or twirling a baton? I think they SHOULD be, and I think many CEOs are still little more than celebrities to promote the company, but charisma isn't it.

Re:What a surprise. (4, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 8 months ago | (#46409997)

Absolute bullshit.

CEOs are a cult of personality in modern society. It isn't about smarts, savvy, or any other jazz. It's a type of show business.

Go look at the "promotional photos" available for people like Carly Fiorina. She's not smart enough to run a hot dog stand, but boy can she take a good photograph. And the corporate worshipers eat it all up.

Re:What a surprise. (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46410883)

CEOs are a cult of personality in modern society. It isn't about smarts, savvy, or any other jazz. It's a type of show business.

It's not even in modern society, though. It's in a subset of modern society: movers and shakers, and their dick-riders. Only a tiny percentage of people would recognize a significant percentage of vulture capitalists, CEOs, or other wearers of golden parachutes.

Re:What a surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46411045)

So She is a good photographer but bad CEO?

Re:What a surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46411721)

It's not that I disagree with you but it's hard for me to take Slashdotters seriously in these matters considering most can't hold down mid level IT jobs let alone actually run a Fortune-whatever business.

Re:What a surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46409863)

In what way does "charisma of a loose turd" not sound like a perfect fit for Microsoft?

Re:What a surprise. (3, Insightful)

randomErr (172078) | about 8 months ago | (#46409901)

He shared many of the same visions as Gates. He had a mostly positive history with Microsoft and a plan to get things done. Over time his own self image and the pressure from the changing markets twisted him (further?) into the image we see him as now.

Re:What a surprise. (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46410095)

I think his history in the company was what went horribly wrong, and if Gates were still around, the same mistakes would have been made. Microsoft operated under the old adage "don't change your horses in midstream", and that meant hanging on to Ballmer even as everyone saw the titanic shifts in the marketplace.

To my (admittedly untrained) eye, I'm not sure what Microsoft could have done differently. It had put forward mobile operating systems before; Windows Phone and Pen both had longstanding iterations. So while I think it's easy to blame Ballmer, it strikes me to some extent that Microsoft suffered a lot of bad luck. It's timing was wrong on some products, and after having won the PC wars it simply didn't know where to go.

In the meantime, RIM comes along and recreates the mobile computing industry, and then Apple, and a little later Google, take the initiative and basically create the computer marketplace we see today. Maybe Microsoft could have done something earlier, but the way I look at the chronology of smartphones, I don't see where Microsoft had a lot of room to take the initiative. I mean, who would have thought in the mid-00s that the smart device would become the pre-eminent consumer computing platform in less than a decade?

Where Ballmer screwed up, if you can call it that, was in the vain attempt to basically buy Microsoft a market; with the Surface tablet line and the Nokia purchase, and even worse, to try to force a homogeneous GUI on everyone from Windows Server customers to Surface RT users. Metro is the real Ballmer fuck up, the one that spread Microsoft's mobile weakness across its entire product line.

Re:What a surprise. (3, Informative)

cream wobbly (1102689) | about 8 months ago | (#46410379)

Windows CE was a solid OS, and instead of farming out the hardware production to PC makers who didn't have the foggiest (HP I'm looking at you), they should have bitten the bullet and made their own PDAs, then later phones.

I started using a PDA with the Psion Series 3a, then the 5, then the 5mx. That was the standard against which I judged my numerous HP iPaqs, and they were very good. HP didn't know what it had though, and let the product line slip, or I'd still be using a Windows pocket computer (with a telephone and camera and GPS unit in it).

Mac on the desktop though. Linux at work. I cannot get along with the shoddy UI problems of Windows on the desktop. It just isn't ready for that role.

Re:What a surprise. (1)

mikael (484) | about 8 months ago | (#46410509)

In the 1990's, Microsoft were all go, they were knocking down the UNIX workstation vendors, and making them replace their operating systems with Windows NT, the one true "multi-threaded" standard for workstations applications. And they improved on that with Windows XP, even if did take them a couple of service packs.

Then it's a natural conclusion for Microsoft to decide that if workstations with different monitor sizes have the same GUI, then everything else from mobile phones and tablets should do the same. It would have made more sense to have the mobile GUI run as an application over a desktop system, and just give users the choice.

Re:What a surprise. (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 8 months ago | (#46410585)

But it isn't a natural conclusion. The workflows on mobile devices is entirely different than a PC. Metro was based on a false premise, and Microsoft is reaping the punishments of that false premise. Even Microsoft seems to know that, and Metro on the desktop has taken the first step towards becoming a gimicky new gadgets bar with Windows 8.1, and I'll wager by Windows 9 it will have completed that voyage.

Re:What a surprise. (5, Insightful)

WheezyJoe (1168567) | about 8 months ago | (#46410819)

It would have made more sense to have the mobile GUI run as an application over a desktop system, and just give users the choice.

Agreed. But Microsoft got greedy. It wasn't just about getting into the mobile market, it was BEING a market. Metro is a vector for the Microsoft store, where they get to take a cut of every app sold. Bean-counters saw the revenue of Apple's App Store, and demanded that Microsoft get in on that racket by leveraging their market-share of the desktop.

They figure if Metro wasn't front-and-center on every desktop as a non-option, people would opt out and the Store might take too long to take off and generate the apps needed to persuade people to switch from iOS or Android. Trouble is, these things can't be forced.

Re:What a surprise. (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 8 months ago | (#46410851)

> It would have made more sense to have the mobile GUI run as an application over a desktop system, and just give users the choice.

Given that my mobile phone is more powerful (or at least responsive) than the desktop my company provides, largely due to the SSD, we may not be too far off from seeing a world where your mobile phone is your desktop and having the right UI up will depend on whether or not you're connected to a screen and keyboard or not. The underlying technology you're suggesting would make that seamless and could be autodetected and swapped on the fly. Microsoft could dominate that market.... if they could get their shit together.

I've got a Note3, and while it doesn't quite manage it yet, by the Note5 you could see it being technically possible to move seemlessly from voice input, to pen input, to touch input to keyboard input, outputting to any of the built in screen, a desktop display or a TV or projector (say for netflix) in a way that makes sense. I'm not sure android can rise to that challenge, but the hardware is almost there as is the software.

Re:What a surprise. (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46410843)

Windows Mobile was obsolete. Their successor platform was also completely incompatible with it. That was the problem.

Re:What a surprise. (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 8 months ago | (#46410859)

As for Microsofts disasters trying to do hardware to compete with Apple it all started a long time before Surface. Remember Zune?

Re:What a surprise. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46411057)

The problems were many. Let me enumerate a few:

1. thinking they were fighting a war not building an operating system and quitting when they decided they won.
2. also quitting on IE after they decided they won that war. It still to this day lacks features chrome and firefox have.
3. Windows CE was crap. Slightly better than a monochrome phone. A desktop design wasn't very good for mobile. It's the polar opposite to how they're forcing a mobile design (win 8) on desktops now.
4. Making people hate their services. If they didn't build their business model around lock-in, as opposed to usefulness and features, their software which then fell behind in feature parity forcing you to live in the past, wouldn't have left so many bitter customers that are afraid to touch their product again.
5. IIS and IE both tied to OS version to force OS upgrades to get software upgrades. Stupid. So so stupid.

Mostly it's around their business model and their failure to innovate AFTER their competition was nixed. They fell asleep at the wheel and someone smarter and more innovative ate their lunch. Only surprise is that it took so long.

Re:What a surprise. (3, Insightful)

rsborg (111459) | about 8 months ago | (#46411169)

To my (admittedly untrained) eye, I'm not sure what Microsoft could have done differently. It had put forward mobile operating systems before; Windows Phone and Pen both had longstanding iterations. So while I think it's easy to blame Ballmer, it strikes me to some extent that Microsoft suffered a lot of bad luck. It's timing was wrong on some products, and after having won the PC wars it simply didn't know where to go.

It's not *what*, it's *how* and *what for*. Microsoft had everything they ever wanted - complete dominion of the computer industry at the time. At the dawn of the millennium, no one made a move if they weren't sure Microsoft wouldn't or couldn't compete in that arena. A few years earlier, a stray remark from Ballmer brought the tech market stocks down 5% in a single day. They have everything to lose, and nothing to gain.

Apple, Google, and RIM were *hungry*. They each had a vision that didn't necessarily involve dominating the market and instead was more customer focused. They cared about the finer points of their customer's issues. They iterated rapidly.

Microsoft's attempt to grow the computer industry ran into their real desire to simply dominate what existed. If they couldn't dominate it they wouldn't grow it. And that attitude persisted for over a decade, so they became incapable of competing - they didn't have to for years. They still don't have to in their core markets. It's just that those markets don't comprise "all of computing" anymore.

Re:What a surprise. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46411181)

I mean, who would have thought in the mid-00s that the smart device would become the pre-eminent consumer computing platform in less than a decade?

Uhh...Alan Kay [wikipedia.org] ? Although I'm sure he hates the "app store" notion with a vengeance.

Really? I saw exactly where MS fucked up. (4, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | about 8 months ago | (#46411217)

When Jobs was on stage and first introduced the iPhone, he stated that he would be happy if they captured 3% of the smartphone market (which itself at the time represented only 1% of the overall mobile phone market).

Apple took a big gamble to create a product that at the time, was mostly a niche product, I don't think anyone was expecting the iPhone to be the staggering sensation it became. Yet, Apple spent millions to develop the hardware and the operating system, both of which were, at the time, quite revolutionary.

Apple didn't capture a segment of an existing market, they *created* their own market -- people that had never bought a smartphone before were buying this thing.

Now let's contrast to MS; They launched the Zune, hoping to capture some segment of the market that would have otherwise have purchased an iPod. When it failed to do that after 2 years, they dumped the entire thing. They launched a smartphone geared towards teens and canceled it after a week, if I recall.

For MS, the product has to be a huge hit or it's a disaster, and there's no in-between for them. That's their failure, which is they are looking for the kind of success Apple had, or they kill the product before it can even get a foothold.

Contrast to Google, who suffered through years of crappy Android releases before the OS became a serious contender to the iPhone. Google (fortunately) stuck with it, but MS don't play that game. They want instant success or the product is dead.

What they could have done differently is had an overall vision to tie their products together. What if the Zune's OS became a launchpad to a phone OS, and they had used their existing PDA experience from Windows CE to make a really good product and stuck with it, even if sales were initially slow, but they kept improving it?

But either due to incompetence or interoffice politics, no microsoft product works with any other microsoft product, and they never seem to learn from their past products what works and what doesn't -- and that's why their stuff fails.

Re:What a surprise. (2)

WuphonsReach (684551) | about 8 months ago | (#46411965)

To my (admittedly untrained) eye, I'm not sure what Microsoft could have done differently.

Divest itself of the operating system business. The handwriting was on the wall 10 years ago that there is a coming race to zero for the price of what an operating system is worth to the end-user.

I still maintain that the US Justice Department splitting Microsoft into multiple companies would have done wonderful things for Microsoft. The operating system people would be forced to compete and free to pursue their goals of making the best O/S without influence from the applications, enterprise software, and hardware sides of the company. The MSOffice team could have embraced the concept of running across multiple platforms earlier (iOS, Android, Linux...).

Re:What a surprise. (4, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 8 months ago | (#46409991)

Because he owned like 30% of the stock and was a cofounder of the company and a personal friend of bill gates who owns 40% of the company.

Re:What a surprise. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410043)

Because he was the recipient of the "luckiest dorm room assignment in history". See http://www.washingtonspectator.org/index.php/Steve-Ballmer.html

Re:What a surprise. (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 8 months ago | (#46410173)

Ballmer just comes across as a big fat baby with all the charisma of a loose turd.

Will someone tell me why he was there in the first place?

Ask Bill.

No chairs were involved (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46409685)

He wasn't really mad.

Re:No chairs were involved (1)

weav (158099) | about 8 months ago | (#46411451)

You mean he wasn't really angry, or he wasn't really crazy?

blowed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46409687)

If only he would just blow up

Re:blowed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46411025)

Misleading title (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46409693)

Damnit. :P

Change is good (4, Interesting)

jamesl (106902) | about 8 months ago | (#46409707)

... although given that not making hardware propelled them to success in the 90s...

And making typewriters and mainframes propelled IBM to success in the 60s.

Re:Change is good (2)

avandesande (143899) | about 8 months ago | (#46409805)

I don't think anyone is arguing money can't be made with hardware- just that pursuing both software and hardware systems is difficult and fraught with risks.

Look at Apple's wild swings.... I don't really have an opinion on Apple but I certainly think they could be very profitable or not 5 years from now.

Re:Change is good (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 8 months ago | (#46411021)

Especially when hardware has not been their strong suit. Apple has done both for a long time and even they have trouble with it at times. The transition won't be overnight. In the meantime, is the world going to pass MS by like it did with the Zune? By the time the Zune came out, it didn't offer many advantages over the iPod ecosystem. Also MS entered the market when it was about to plateau meaning they were already too late.

Re:Change is good (2)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about 8 months ago | (#46409915)

Eeeeehhhhhhh.... that doesn't really apply. IBM had to change, typewriters and Mainframes were going the way of the dinosaur.
I don't see Windows doing that, actually worse, things that Microsoft hope would go extinct aren't (ie. XP).
Now Microsoft already has some forays into hardware but they just aren't that terribly profitable.

While the Xbox One and Xbox 360 sold 3.9 million and 3.5 million units respectively, gross margins for the Devices & Consumer Hardware division were down 46% to $0.4 billion. Total Surface revenue doubled to $0.89 billion (probably selling around 1 million Surface tablets), but costs also spiked to $0.93 billion (probably due to marketing and slim margins on the Surface tablets).(http://www.extremetech.com/computing/175350-microsoft-delivers-record-revenue-profits-due-to-strong-xbox-windows-phone-and-commercial-sales)

Wow, $0.89 bil for the Surface that's amazing and .... oh... wait....

Commercial Licensing (Windows, SQL Server, Hyper-V) revenue grew 7% to $11 billion.

Yeah software is still the main cash cow and it's going to stay that way unless people, I dunno, everyone suddenly switches to Linux or something?

Re:Change is good (2)

pigiron (104729) | about 8 months ago | (#46411853)

Microsoft has not been a "success." It's been a cancer eating away at decent automation.

My professional take on the matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46409721)

What a dipshit.

ballmer was right (2)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46409723)

phones and tech in general is going the way vertical integration like the auto industry almost 100 years ago

at one point cars were "open" where you could mix and match and lots of manufacturers made the different parts
then came henry ford and the industry went vertical where one company was doing all the design and most of the manufacturing for most of the parts
alfred sloan took it one step further where he had a few basic designs with slightly different bodies to look different and sold them under different brands

Re:ballmer was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46409825)

I was ALAM that chopped everything down

Re:ballmer was right (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | about 8 months ago | (#46409951)

Interesting you say that, Henry Ford used Dodge brothers axles for years and I am sure he sourced many other parts for the cars from others in Detroit too.

Re:ballmer was right (1)

alen (225700) | about 8 months ago | (#46410061)

no one makes their car 100% internally, even today
but lots of car makers build their own engines and other major components or have them made to exact specs

Re: ballmer was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410643)

What on earth are you talking about? All major car makers except Hyandai and high-end luxury/sports makes are highly modular and use parts from dozens of manufacturers. They're not at all vertically-integrated.

Repeats aren't necessarily good... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46409745)

"Ballmer seems to be regretting not getting into hardware sooner (although given that not making hardware propelled them to success in the 90s...)"

That's because during the 90's there were dozens of people in hardware but only a few strong software people. By the time the 21st century got rolling, the tables had flipped, software as an industry was well developed and now it was all about miniaturization and portability, so the pendulum swung back to hardware being the profit driver. Just because something worked last decade doesn't mean it's going to work this decade.

Re:Repeats aren't necessarily good... (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 8 months ago | (#46410831)

Also getting into hardware isn't a simple as just buying a company. Even though Apple has a long history of hardware they needed to acquire key companies to help them like PA Semi and Intrinsity to help them with chip design. And it took years before these acquisitions bore fruit.

I'm confused... (2, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 8 months ago | (#46409749)

So Microsoft avoids buying a failed phone co and Balmmer rage quits. What's the downside? It's like killing two turds with one flush!

Re:I'm confused... (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 8 months ago | (#46409835)

They did get into bed with nokia, and it really hurt nokia.

Re:I'm confused... (5, Funny)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about 8 months ago | (#46409865)

It's like killing two turds with one flush!

I think Ballmer is going to take an extra flush.

Re:I'm confused... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 8 months ago | (#46410809)

Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee.

Forget RTFM (1)

AndyAndyAndyAndy (967043) | about 8 months ago | (#46409883)

Are we not reading the fucking summary anymore?

Microsoft ended up buying just the handset business for $7.2 billion and licensed HERE maps from Nokia.

Re:I'm confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46409917)

They would have to fire him, cutting him loose with an enormous severance package for
breaking contract.

Nokia blew it up ages ago .. (3, Insightful)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 8 months ago | (#46409779)

They dominated the smartphone market, had a decent OS and very good harware prowess. They could have just opened symbyan up . Set up a community and let it spawn . Instead they decided to open symbian after it was almost dead . I'm not a Steve Jobs fan but the man has proved that a company needs vision and balls . not Ballmers.

I agree with the board here (4, Interesting)

JMZero (449047) | about 8 months ago | (#46409781)

There's no reason MS couldn't have taken the route Google has with branding phones (eg. the Nexus 4, actually made by LG or Asus or I don't remember). I don't think buying Nokia is going to look like a good decision down the road.

Overall, MS's continuous doubling down on mobile has succeeded only in poisoning their other products.

Re:I agree with the board here (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 8 months ago | (#46409983)

The problem with Microsoft and Nokia, is that nobody really wants a Microsoft Phone, and Nokia was driven into the trash heap by going the Microsoft Route exclusively (among other notable awful choices).

Microsoft has been a "Windows Company" for so long, they don't know how to do anything else besides "Windows". And now, with the dawning of Google Apps and Libre/Open Office, and ChromeOS / Android / iOS as choices to compete, there is a huge problem for Microsoft Windows ... it isn't even a good choice any more, it is just another choice. Microsoft is stuck, being a Windows Company.

Anything they do now, is too little, too late. They needed to change 10 years ago (yes, 2004) when the tide started to change. I saw it then, and knew the end was near. Microsoft has no new products, no new vision. It is dead.

Re:I agree with the board here (2)

lgw (121541) | about 8 months ago | (#46410625)

The problem with Microsoft and Nokia, is that nobody really wants a Microsoft Phone

The WinCE-based phones were pretty bad - heck, MS itself called the OS "wince". The Win8 phones are fine, and while they had a rough launch, their market share continues to grow - they outsell iPhone in (poorer) European countries. Seems credible to me that they could take second place once Blackberry is fully gone, if they can crack the Asian market, where right now you're right.

Outside of phones, Office (PowerPoint and Excel, Word no longer matters) and MS SQL have pretty good lock-in in business use, and won't be going away any time soon.

Their only new products outside of phone are the cloud stuff IMO, and who knows how big of a deal that will be in 10 years.

Re:I agree with the board here (2)

John Nemesh (3244653) | about 8 months ago | (#46411589)

Closed loses to open EVERY SINGLE TIME! That's why Windows dominated (closed source, but open to develop for...until "Metro" happened anyway). Android is stomping all other mobile OSes right now because they are open. Closing off Windows is going to strangle the platform, and indeed, already has. No one likes "walled gardens", and even the Apple devotees are starting to chafe a bit at the restrictions of such an environment. MS is doomed if they continue their current course.

Re:I agree with the board here (2, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 8 months ago | (#46411759)

Tasteful and profitable wins over open or closed.

OSX might have awful market share but Apple sells more than most Windows OEMs do and they make money on each unit sold.

That's winning. Not massive market share. Profit and sustainability. Only fools go after popularity.

Re:I agree with the board here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46409993)

you do realize google bought motorola right...

Re:I agree with the board here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410039)

Shhhhhhhh... you'll spoil his whole post.

Re:I agree with the board here (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 8 months ago | (#46410069)

Cool, what does that have to do with the statement?

Re:I agree with the board here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46411997)

Google bought up and hired a lot of the mobile talent.

Difference between Google and Microsoft is Google hires people, or buys a companies, then gives them fortune 500 levels of resources with the hope/expectation that they make good on it. Microsoft brings in a bunch of big swinging dicks from Redmond who then set about peeing all over everything as the old managers and engineers race for the exits.

It's sad Microsoft has resources to throw at things, but they don't get two things, their in house managers have their heads way too far up their asses to be able to compete on a level playing field with other companies. And Microsoft as a brand sucks. You can take a good product, slap the Microsoft brand on it and watch sales fall to nothing in short order.

Re:I agree with the board here (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 8 months ago | (#46411669)

They made an attempt at MS branded PCs and all the OEMs balked and forced them to shelve the idea. They have similar issues with the Surface lineup. Google has been able to get away with their hardware branding strategy because they didn't have an existing customer base that would object to the competition.

Microsoft just doesn't get it. (4, Interesting)

ngc3242 (1039950) | about 8 months ago | (#46409849)

Microsoft was trying to push smartphone before it was popular, but no one wanted or wants what they were or are selling. They have never really had the kind of charismatic salesman that Apple had in Jobs, so they weren't able to create convince people to buy this new thing and create a market. Now that the market's set, and Microsoft essentially isn't part of it, they're done. Just copying Apple or Samsung are doing by having hardware isn't going to make people want Windows Mobile (or whatever they're calling it these days) anymore than they did previously. The Nokia purchase is a huge waste of money. Most people aren't going to buy Microsoft phones. Microsoft needs to spend its resources building something cool (that isn't a phone) and a separate brand for it. That's the kind of gamble that big companies don't take though. There's too much to risk, and it takes a long term vision and commitment that investors don't have.

Re:Microsoft just doesn't get it. (3, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | about 8 months ago | (#46410049)

They also didn't have the discipline which Jobs imposed to not market a product until the technological infrastructure was in-place to support it:

  - Apple waited on the iPod until there were enough machines w/ FireWire so that it could synch in a reasonable timeframe and they had sufficient content deals lined up to make it work --- Microsoft released the Zune before they could find a compelling reason for people to buy them.
  - Apple deferred on the iPad, instead first releasing the iPhone 'cause battery technology wasn't adequate to all-day usage, and processors made the machine larger than seemed reasonable --- Microsoft instead jumped on the bandwagon w/ Windows for Pen Computing (competing w/ Go Corporation's PenPoint)

Re:Microsoft just doesn't get it. (2)

NoZart (961808) | about 8 months ago | (#46410699)

"Microsoft needs to spend its resources building something cool (that isn't a phone) and a separate brand for it. "

IMHO they did exactly that with xbox.

But they still managed to mess it up in the long run.

If you don't let me throw away $$$ ... (4, Funny)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 8 months ago | (#46409857)

... I will quit and you will be forced to hire A MORE COMPETENT CEO!

That is right. I will QUIT because I failed to make revenue off WIndows 8 mobile due to things that were all my fault! DON'T Make ME make your job easier now by having me LEAVE?

Board of directors: (... a look of shock. Then grins with each other. ) Oh Balmer. NO!! You may not. Take your anger out.

Balmer: Throws a chair. I QUIT!!

Board of directors: (... in a lame semi sarcastic tone). Oh no Balmer. What a shame. Soo sorry it had to come to this.

Should have bought Here instead (1)

BLToday (1777712) | about 8 months ago | (#46409889)

Should have bought Here instead. I don't see what they gained with the Nokia handset business. It's basically a $7B buy for the Lumia line. Here/NavTEQ is really reliable data source. They've been in this mapping business for a long time and know what they're doing.

Microsoft should have... (4, Insightful)

The Real Dr John (716876) | about 8 months ago | (#46409909)

spent their money on improving Windows, one of their major income sources. If they had spent some of that money making an upgrade utility to let Windows XP users upgrade to Windows 7 or (ugh) 8.1, they would have done their existing customers a great service. Many people don't upgrade because they don't know how, or don't want to have to start from scratch. If MS had made Windows more reliable and easier to install and update drivers, that would have been a big help to their existing customers. Every time MS goes into hardware (with the possible exception of the Xbox) they fail. I think they would have had a lot of money left over from the 7.2 billion dollars if they had put their efforts into their main product, rather than trying to get into the smartphone business. It's not like Windows is perfect, and doesn't need any work, especially Windows 8.

Re:Microsoft should have... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 8 months ago | (#46411403)

XBox is still a failure ultimately.. the cost outweighed the profitability until very recently, and that doesn't consider the lost opportunity that investment money could have been put to. Its a bit debatable but no other company could have done the XBox as they don't have Microsoft's bottomless pit of cash and nothing else to spend it on.

Microsoft did do some excellent hardware though - their mice were the best, their keyboards are good, and their webcams are good too.

Microsoft still has a chance... (3, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 8 months ago | (#46409989)

Microsoft still has a chance...
They need to make Windows Free, maybe even open source (ok, that's a pipe dream)
Then they need to invent all kinds of stellar business apps that integrate with it flawlessly...
and license those apps to businesses. Businesses will pay for supported apps, because they like to be covered if something happens (thats how oracle makes money)

Basically everything Microsoft is currently doing is wrong. They are digging their own grave and anyone with any tech savvy at all knows it.

Re:Microsoft still has a chance... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410187)

Microsoft makes billions from selling Windows. The most popular consumer operating system ever made. You want them to forgo that revenue stream so they can become a more trendy 'open source' provider, in the hope that they might, potentially, maybe make more money in another way. Despite the fact that no company doing this makes money in this way.

Apple -> gives away software (kinda) -> makes money from hardware (and always has)
Google -> gives away software (kinda) -> makes money from ads (and always has)
Microsoft -> gives away software -> makes money from 'supported apps'

Do you really think you have any idea how to run one of the best companies in the world?

Astronomical arrogance.

Re:Microsoft still has a chance... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 8 months ago | (#46411291)

It would make sense - when your product reaches a certain point in its life, its peaked and starts to become a target for alternatives, and when those alternatives gain enough traction (which often happens "overnight") then your product becomes an also-ran that no-one wants anymore.

Now until recently we only really had Windows, but today we have Android and iOS as serious competitors. What happens on the desktop - generally no-one cares anymore. Microsoft continues to sell fewer and fewer copies and Windows becomes a niche product.

Or they open-source it or just sell it for free and let it take over. they make their money selling Office, Sharepoint and other business tools. I'm sure if Windows server was free, the Linux offerings used in web tooling would disappear overnight. People would start writing websites in ASP.NET instead of PHP, and developers would end up knowing only the Microsoft tools for server side as well as desktop. If they gave Windows mobile away for free too I'm sure they might start to make much more market share.

Remember the only reason Windows is so popular was because it was very cheap compared to the Unix workstations people used to use. Microsoft needs to keep their pricing competitive today too, and that means free.

Re:Microsoft still has a chance... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410219)

Then they need to invent all kinds of stellar business apps that integrate with it flawlessly...
and license those apps to businesses. Businesses will pay for supported apps, because they like to be covered if something happens (thats how oracle makes money)

They already have that. It's a little-known suite of programs called "Microsoft Office"

Re:Microsoft still has a chance... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410377)

Mod parent drunk?

Re:Microsoft still has a chance... (4, Insightful)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 8 months ago | (#46410947)

Microsoft still has a chance

Microsoft is a huge successful company, and is not going anywhere. If anything, they will have to scale back in a few sectors.

They need to make Windows Free, maybe even open source (ok, that's a pipe dream)

Absurd. The near monopoly of Windows gives them the muscle to keep better products off the market. They are also the only player in town when it comes to PC OSs (sorry Linux), and the Windows tax is not something that they would or should give away for free.

Then they need to invent all kinds of stellar business apps that integrate with it flawlessly...
and license those apps to businesses. Businesses will pay for supported apps, because they like to be covered if something happens (thats how oracle makes money)

That has never been their business model. Either buy the better app and rebrand it MS, or else crush the competition through their Windows monopoly, e.g. withholding parts of the API.

Basically everything Microsoft is currently doing is wrong. They are digging their own grave and anyone with any tech savvy at all knows it.

I really don't think that you speak for the "tech savvy."

Please think of... (2)

silviuc (676999) | about 8 months ago | (#46410071)

the chairs! Whatever you do, DO NOT give that man chairs. If he has to sit on one, make sure it's bolted down. It's for your own protection.

Re:Please think of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410263)

Anyone else see the LEGO movie and think of Ballmer as Bad Cop?

Ballmer is supposed to be a nice guy (3, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 8 months ago | (#46410131)

I have relatives who work for Microsoft who use the same gym Steve Ballmer uses. He does not have any sidekicks hanging around him, nor does he project any kind of superior airs there. Quietly shows up and works on some free machine, wipes the equipment with a towel like everyone else before leaving. I am not disputing "he throws chairs" or "shouts at the directors" etc. Both could be true.

I think Ballmer inherited a very large unwieldy and nearly ungovernable organization. All the real genii had either cashed out, burnt out or were pushed out. Near monopoly status meant every one is producing huge torrents of revenue and it was difficult to cull out the wheat from the chaff. Those who remained and got promoted were the third or fourth echelon of talent who excelled in office politics and political intrigue. Much of the credit the media heaped on him in the early were undeserved and so is most of the scorn heaped on him.

Re:Ballmer is supposed to be a nice guy (2)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 8 months ago | (#46411185)

I have relatives who work for Microsoft who use the same gym Steve Ballmer uses. He does not have any sidekicks hanging around him, nor does he project any kind of superior airs there. Quietly shows up and works on some free machine, wipes the equipment with a towel like everyone else before leaving. I am not disputing "he throws chairs" or "shouts at the directors" etc. Both could be true.

That makes him sound like a pretty ineffectual CEO. Seriously, shouldn't he be taking charge and reading the law to his reports? There is so much going on at MS, that I'd expect there to be a constant flurry of activity around the CEO. It sounds more like he was just "phoning in" the performance.

I met him once... (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 8 months ago | (#46411231)

in the early 90s, and I'd rate him as one of the nicer executives I've dealt with. I spent about half an hour with him setting up equipment for a meeting, he was quite friendly and unpretentious. I have a friend who's related to him by marriage, and likes him well enough, though he doesn't know him well.

I should add... (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 8 months ago | (#46411319)

I have no doubt that he can be quite harsh when the situation calls for it. Part of being a CEO is bringing down the hammer. A lot of them don't know when to turn that off, I give Ballmer some credit for not being one of them.

The Dick Cheney of tech executives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410247)

Ballmer is basically the Dick Cheney of tech executives. It's amazing even at this time with the benefit of hindsight his point of view about Microsoft is so far from reality. And that he incapable of seeing what has happened, allowing events to alter his worldview and acknowledge his mistakes

Thanks (1, Funny)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46410281)

I'm glad that the angry idiot is leaving the house.

Missed Opportunity (3, Insightful)

organgtool (966989) | about 8 months ago | (#46410343)

Ballmer told the board last June that if he didn't get what he wanted, he wouldn't be CEO any more

So Microsoft could have declined to buy Nokia's handset business, retained the $7b they would have spent on it, and have gotten rid of Ballmer sooner? That just has win all over it. And in classic fashion, they stumbled once again and made the completely wrong move. At this point, watching Microsoft implode is starting to transition from hilarious to slightly sad. After what they've done to the software industry, they deserve to suffer, but at some point they're going to need to start making smart moves if they want to continue providing serious competition.

throws chair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46410353)

Maybe some day he will be the "Chair"man. Will feel sorry for the chairs and the maintenance dept.

Ballmer was a millstone around MSFT's neck (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#46410657)

Sometimes those heavy stones complain when you toss them down a ravine where they belong.

Microsoft Babies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46411301)

Awwww... Did Pumpkin Wumpkins not get what Pumpkin Wumpkins wants?

Typical microsoft attitude. When will his corporate monstrosity fade away?

MS should be tried as criminals (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46411389)

MS has been a company that sells broken products that cost people time and money. Remember billions of people are forced to use their crap everyday. It should be considered a form of worker torture. They purposely have not fixed problems in compatibility between Mac and Windows apps. Word on a Mac is a piece of unusable crap, that can't even format a page correctly. They currently hold everyone hostage with Exchange Server, that most companies are still running version 2007 since they can't afford all the licensing fees to upgrade. They use to pay companies like Adobe to move their products over to Windows and then update them first, and to not fix issues with Flash.

Re:MS should be tried as criminals (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 8 months ago | (#46411617)

And what about the IT managers who buy the licences en masse and force the workforce to use a third grade OS.?
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