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Ballmer on Innovation

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the big-stick-talks dept.

Microsoft 745

prostoalex writes "Robert Scoble interviewed Steve Ballmer on the topics of blogging, innovation at Microsoft, Microsoft's work with developers and other things. Video is available in WMV format." From the interview: "Did IBM out innovate us? I don't think so. I don't think they've done much interesting at all. What about Oracle? I don't think they've done much innovative at all. What about the open source guys? Ah, the business model is interesting but we haven't seen much in the way of technical innovation. People cite Google. Google has done some interesting stuff."

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745 comments

Look at Microsoft's misdeeds (-1, Troll)

eepity (898401) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019918)

http://malfeasance.50megs.com/ [50megs.com]

And be sure to check that WMV for viruses, if it comes from Microsoft!

Re:Look at Microsoft's misdeeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019975)

Looking at your posting history, it appears that your account is for the sole purpose of promoting your thinly-disguised litigation advertising site.

Moderators: Mod this down.

Re:Look at Microsoft's misdeeds (0, Troll)

eepity (898401) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020007)

Dear Anonymous Coward, feel free to suggest another litigation site if you think I'm pushing just the one. Not that you will, of course because you're only thinly disguising the fact that you oppose criticism of unethical corporations. Moderators, mod down the AC's post since it is a dishonest troll.

http://malfeasance.50megs.com/ [50megs.com]

Re:Look at Microsoft's misdeeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020040)

Dear Spammer/Troll,

You have linked to that same site on 3 out of the 4 articles you have posted on. You have even linked to it on that post. And you have recently started blatently karma-whoring so that more people will read your spam.

Your site (and we all know it's yours), repeatedly links to https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/ [lawyersand...ements.com] for example:

"There is a forming class action lawsuit against AT&T Wireless alleging securities fraud. Affected? Go here."

Which surprise, surprise, has a referrer on the link. Take your spam elsewhere.

The monkey man screeches (5, Insightful)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019920)

"Did IBM out innovate us? I don't think so. I don't think they've done much interesting at all. What about Oracle? I don't think they've done much innovative at all. What about the open source guys? Ah, the business model is interesting but we haven't seen much in the way of technical innovation."

That may be all well and even true. But why does Mr. Ballmer remind me so much of glass houses, stones, pots, kettles and the color black?

Re:The monkey man screeches (0, Flamebait)

eepity (898401) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019993)

The short part of the video that I could stomach looked very scripted. Like it was Take 3 or 4. [En]Balmer didn't seem at all sincere and I think that his performance might actually scare some of the younger audience away. It doesn't help that the guy looks just like Uncle Feaster.

Fact is, quite frankly, corporate greed and its hatred of a free market cannot be disguised with a fake smile and fake enthusiasm by a guy who looks like a ghoul.

Re:The monkey man screeches (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019998)

>What about the open source guys? Ah, the
> business model is interesting but we haven't
> seen much in the way of technical innovation."

You have to understand this about Microsoft:
1) They are __not__ a technology company trying
to sell their products. They are a __marketing__
driven company whose products __happen__ to be
technological products.

2) Microsoft doesn't lead. Because they are a
marketing company, they __watch__ marketing __trends__ to see which way the wind blows.
When they think they know which way the market is going, then they will
either:
a) Buy the start up if they can.
b) Make their own (inferior) version if they can't buy the competition.

You have to wrap your head around those 2 points
until you grok the implications.

What are some of the implications?
1) They don't understand the motivation behind
open source and more specifically, free (GPL) software. As a marketing firm trying to sell product where's the money to be made here?

Answer: None. If there is no money to be made
from selling product, then why would you
waste time on it? (You have __got__ to see this
in market droid mode. This question doesn't make sense to ask from a technology point
of view, but Microsoft doesn't live in technology mode, they just visit and harvest from the technology world.)

2. You can't buy out open source software. You
can buy out a start up company or an individual
(like the creator of Gentoo), but that doesn't
stop the competition from using and improving
the software nevertheless.

You can't rip off the software either, in particular, you can't rip off GPL software
and be a leech about it.

So, from a __marketing__ point of view,
there is no "interesting" or "innovative"
software in the open source world, since
like MC Hammer sang it, they "can't touch this!".

I would have said in the past that Ballmer
is just an outright liar, but if you read
the above and grok it, you can see that
to use another a cliche, Baller "just doesn't get it."

--Johnny

Re:The monkey man screeches (1)

Winkhorst (743546) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020061)

Excellent analysis. I never quite thought of it that way, but M$ *is* just a marketing company. They don't give a hoot about the quality/usability of the product. Now I understand why none of their stuff ever seems to be anything other than just barely marginal drek. They literally don't care.

Re:The monkey man screeches (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020056)

Because you're attempting to mix cautionary quips on a site that is dedicated to an audience of screaming monkeys, squatting on a rockpile, banging pots and kettles together and yelling "Pay attention to me! ME!".

I'd say something about black truck drivers hauling glass manufactured housing down an adjacent highway, but it would stretch the point too far, and the racial-hatred-flavor-of-the-day is still Arabs and Persians (yes, dear readers, there is a difference).

Re:The monkey man screeches (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020065)

"Did IBM out innovate us? I don't think so."

It's kind of ludicrous for Microsoft to claim that IBM hasn't been an innovator. Just about everything in modern computing was developed and commercialized by IBM, including but not limited to:

1. Virtual memory
2. Virtual machines
3. Relational Databases, SQL (ya, I know, but it is an IBM thing)
4. Protected memory
5. Multiuser Operating Systems
6. Multitasking Operating systems
7. Markup (SGML, the parent of HTML and XML)
8. Source code management
9. Spinning disk storage
10. Network terminals, graphics terminals
11. RISC architectures

and so many other basic ideas that most people (including myself & Steve B.) have no concept.

Microsoft brought a half-baked MacOS clone to Intel. That's all. I wouldn't call that innovation.

Re:The monkey man screeches (5, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020100)

Did IBM out innovate us? I don't think so. I don't think they've done much interesting at all
Things like high temperature superconductivity are boring - visual basic and clippy, those are innovations that are really ... wait, does this guy really believe what he is saying? Microsoft didn't even do any R&D a few years back, and what have they done since they did start R&D that actually is innovative and not just porting stuff done elsewhere to a different platform? I'm sure there must be something (and no folks, optical mice don't count because you could buy optical mice from other vendors before Microsoft had heard of them and put in an order).

free Puff Piece for Microsoft? Here? (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019922)

This interview doesn't shed much light on an already dark and rainy corporation. How could this be anything but intellectual masturbation on Microsoft's part when you have a Microsoft employee slow pitching to the biggest windbag at Microsoft? Especially when the two appear to be patting themselves on the back about the fact that Microsoft really does innovate. Aside from the fact Ballmer is amazingly general in his list of innovations, the interviewer asks questions about other companies and if those companies out-innovated Microsoft. Of course, the response is they didn't.

But the interviewer might have asked some more thoughtful questions in that line like:

  • Did MicroPro out-innovate us? (first word processor WordPro)
  • Did Bricklin and Frankston out-innovate us? (fist spreadsheet... VisiCalc)
  • Did Netscape out-innovate us? (guess!)
  • Did Google...
  • Did DARPA? (internet, TCP/IP, etc.)

Not sure why, but even on slashdot Microsoft manages to get some Puff Pieces.

(open the Troll and Flamebait mod floodgates)

Show me one example (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019956)

of an interview with an open source developer or "leader" that is not exactly the same intellectual masturbation.


Also, you are certainly wrong in one example you gave. Microsoft did out-innovate Netscape. They mat not have been the first on the scene with a browser, but they were certainly the first to produce one that was a pleasure to use (by the standards at the time) and innovation doesn't always mean precedence, it can mean implementation of existing technology in innovative ways.


Much the same applies to the VisiCalc example. Microsoft took that poorly implemented idea - and I used the original VisiCalc, it was extremely painful to use day to day - and made it into something that most businesses can't do without now.

Re:Show me one example (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019968)

That's called "refinement" outside microsoftland, jerk. Microsoft just uses "innovation" as a meaningless propaganda buzzword.

Re:Show me one example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019991)

That's called "refinement" outside microsoftland, jerk.


Are you one of those "jerks" that think the only true innvation ever done in computing was at Xerox PARC? No, you are just a kid who doesn't know about that.

Re:Show me one example (2, Informative)

mallardtheduck (760315) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020004)

Much the same applies to the VisiCalc example. Microsoft took that poorly implemented idea - and I used the original VisiCalc, it was extremely painful to use day to day - and made it into something that most businesses can't do without now.

If we're talking about spreadsheets, I think you'll find that Lotus 123 was once the killer app for business computing. (Lotus 123 was the name given to VisiCalc when IBM bought it.) Excel only achived dominance when Windows became popular. 123 for Windows was late in arrival.

Re:Show me one example (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020019)

Ah but making things usable does not count around here, the GIMP attitude of stupid users too dumb to use our fantastically cool tool, which even though it is a cheap attempt to immitate others, is better than all the more feature complete commercial tools purely because it is OS. It also follows that it is innovative because we all know OS does not follow, it always leads.

Innovation round here counts as Firefox 'borrowing' ideas and features which are years old from other browsers and announcing to the world in 2005 that you have a new innovative product. As we are all well aware, before Firefox there were no tabbed browsers, no mouse gestures, no pop up or add blockers. I just cant wait for them to innovate an update mechanism that does not involve a complete reinstall.

Oh come on! (2, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020058)

[Show me one example] of an interview with an open source developer or "leader" that is not exactly the same intellectual masturbation.

Hey, it's the microsoft groupies who've been saying for years that anything MS do is the de-facto standard. You can't complain if we occasionally try to be standards-compliant in our adulation.

Even so, MS remain the clear leaders in marketing innovation, and for good reason. Consider this [civiblog.org] interview with Eben Moglen. If you read that, you'll find a debate where the interviewer holds a different opinion to the interviewee on a number of counts. If the FSF were serious about competing with Microsoft, they'd have created an arse-licking department and had them ask the questions. Then Moglen too could have been asked "Think of a really hard question for yourself, and then answer it. If that's all right. Sir."

The open source community just doesn't have the infrastructure for that sort of thing. Thus, the world has to wait for MS to show us the way once again. And the rosy pink cleanliness of Balmer's behind stands as eloquent testimony to the one field where microsoft's dominance remains unchallenged.

Re:free Puff Piece for Microsoft? Here? (1)

eepity (898401) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019964)

In our modern times, every corporation wants to pretend they're virtuous. If you were a wolf, wouldn't you want sheep's clothing? All the better to kill the innocents... But that Slashdot would help Microsoft gets its puff piece out, this should not be a surprise.

Why? Because Slashdot is owned by a major media corporation, so it's no sheep either.

What would that matter? Well, when you consider that virtually all major US corporations are linked up into a large cartel via what's called "interlocking directorships" (see http://theyrule.net/ [theyrule.net] in a real sense Slashdot is just a friendly face put on the corporate monolith that is the US power structure.

But that power structure and its vassals are wolves, not sheep.

Re:free Puff Piece for Microsoft? Here? (0, Troll)

pluggo (98988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020002)

A few more:
  • AOL (instant messenger, crappy overpriced internet access For Dummies)
  • WebTV (now owned by the new Big Blue)
  • XEROX (GUI)
  • Adobe (PDF, PageMaker)


Also, Ballmer seems to need a refresher in basic math... last I checked, 1 + 1 != 3 :-P

WordPro the first word processor? (1)

jockm (233372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020081)

WordPro didn't show up on the scene until 1997 IIRC. It was Xoom's rereleased version of the WordStar suite. I think you are referring to WordStar. However I believe Electric Pencil predated WordStar

Re:free Puff Piece for Microsoft? Here? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020093)

Did MicroPro out-innovate us? (first word processor WordPro)

Yes, when Microsoft Word for Windows came out, it kicked the hiney of every DOS based word processor out there. Unless you wanted to draft a very complex document, it was a godsend. WordStar, WordPerfect, and all those other extinct dinosaurs of a word processor disappeared for a reason back then.

Did Bricklin and Frankston out-innovate us? (fist spreadsheet... VisiCalc)

Ditto the above with different names. The Lotus software was particularly horrid and swiftly abandoned by nearly everyone that wasn't glued to their memorized 1-2-3 key combos.

Did Netscape out-innovate us? (guess!)

Apparently not, because Netscape is no longer around. They may have originated the browser (actually, they didn't - Mosaic was the first, thank you), but they were a one-trick pony.

Did Google...

Because Google was the first search engine? Oh wait, no, they just improved on the idea and used their evil power to force everyone to use their and only their product...

Google is frankly the most similar to Microsoft from a performance and technical innovation standard. Google may be populated with nicer executives and employees, but we'll see how long that lasts.

Did DARPA? (internet, TCP/IP, etc.)

DARPA can't innovate its way out of a hatbox. DARPA is a military VC. Nobody, including you from all your other points, is arguing that the money men in Silicon Valley are the "innovators". DARPA must be held to the same standard.

Innovation in an information age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019925)

I'm glad people are still holding onto their machines, programs and technology for so called 'innovative' ideas. We live in an information age your industrial age model is gone and dead. Ideas are the stuff of innovation not machinery and technology.

Asking *MS* about innovation? (3, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019927)

You've got to be kidding. They really don't have any idea what technical innovation is. Microsoft is really a marketing company who do software as a sideline. They've certainly had some innovative marketing strategies but nothing on the technical side.

Re:Asking *MS* about innovation? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019946)

They really don't have any idea what technical innovation is.

and linux does? all linux /oss guys do is copy MS....

Re:Asking *MS* about innovation? (1)

mallardtheduck (760315) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020010)

Not really true. I find that OSS tends to "copy and extend", similar to MS's "embrace and extend/exterminate". In other words, they see good ideas in other systems and improve on them.

Re:Asking *MS* about innovation? (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020035)

In which way does EMACS copy Microsoft? Which Microsoft operating system runs on 512P system like this [sgi.com] ?

Re:Asking *MS* about innovation? (5, Funny)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020050)

and linux does? all linux /oss guys do is copy MS....

You're full of crap. Linux absolutely does not copy Microsoft. They copy BSD.

Re:Asking *MS* about innovation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020111)

and linux [innovates]? all linux /oss guys do is copy MS....

So why the fuck am I using Linux???

I may as well switch back to Windows seeing as how it is apparently a top notch UNIX like operating system. And if Enlightenment is just a copy of Explorer then I would imagine Explorer must have all the options that E has and more!

And, of course, we all already knew that bash is just a copy of cmd.exe

Now where is that recovery disc....

Great I've got Windows again!!!

Hey, how do I open a link in a new tab? Middle clicking doesn't seem to work. Since that feature was copied from IE I figured it would.

And where's the built in google search???

And hey, why doesn't my scroll wheel shade then window when the mouse pointer is over the title bar???

And where are the desklets that adesklets copied???

And while we're at it, how do I turn transparency on in this command prompt window?

Better ask Jeffrey Dahmer about child rearing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019988)

You'd get a better answer - and he's dead.

Bullshit (-1, Troll)

NineNine (235196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020042)

Innovation? How about Visual Studio? How about the whole COM platform? *That's* what Ballmer is talking about when he talks about "developers". That's innovation. I can whip up a usable, very functional Windows app in seconds. Try doing that on any other platform.

I don't see much innovation coming from the OSS side... it's all just copying what successful proprietary companies have already done.

Re:Bullshit (4, Insightful)

The Infamous Grimace (525297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020091)


How about Visual Studio?... I can whip up a usable, very functional Windows app in seconds. Try doing that on any other platform.

And I can whip up a usable, very functional app in seconds that compiles to 3 platforms using REALbasic. [realbasic.com] If I want a Cocoa OS X app, I can use Xcode [apple.com] and Interface Builder, [apple.com] both of which are free.
Other platforms have similiar, and some would argue better, IDE solutions.

(tig)

Re:Bullshit (2, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020140)

Oh, please. What're you, twelve years old?

Go look up "HyperCard" and CORBA. Specifically the timelines. Microsoft haven't innovated anything, ever. All they ever do is look to see what other people are doing, make a barely functional, pale imitation and eventually kludge it into something which is only just usable with huge amounts of pain.

Yes and no (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020075)

Maybe not from a end-user standpoint, but from a developer standpoint, I can tell you making ASP.Net 2.0 (still beta2 - due for November 7th) is VERY innovative (or doing anything in VS.Net 2005 for that matter).

Or perhaps you're purposedly ignoring some tools 9or maybe you don't know about them), like Visual Web Developper 2005 - which is much like Visual Studio (with some of the advanced features stripped off), that will sell for like 50$. While it's not like having the real/full VS.Net 2005, it's far better than being stuck with say, Dreamweaver and most other editors. Very innovative. An cheap, powerful IDE for the masses/hobbyists/those that code for fun/as a hobby.

Live Communications Server 2005 has quite a few nice and useful features too.

Indeed, they don't completely redefine the way we use computers everyday, but it's not like most people here like to claim (i.e. no innovation/new features whatsoever - they're just cloning apple, etc).

But hey, this is /., and it's cool to hate M$, and one gets modded up for it - and this post won't. How surprising?

take advantage and exploit that (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019928)

from the interview:
Q: I'm on the evangelism team here, why do we have an evangelism team?

A: Well, really helping developers understand what we got available for them to use, not just frankly in Windows, but in Office and our Server products, what they can take advantage of, exploit that. ...

Yes, and with poor software design, a lot of exploits can be written.

Re:take advantage and exploit that (1)

barath_s (609997) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019984)

from the interview:
Q: I'm on the evangelism team here, why do we have an evangelism team?
A: Well, really helping developers understand what we got available for them to use, not just frankly in Windows, but in Office and our Server products, what they can take advantage of, exploit that. ...

Yes, and with poor software design, a lot of exploits can be written.

Yes, and the only thing we can do about is pray,
Pray and appeal to a higher power
Pray, appeal to a higher power and conduct exorcisms
I'll go out and come in again....

same old same old.... everybody is leader but.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019935)

... everbody else at the same time is just doing nothing, and bullshit...

i just live the business ethics and brainwash corporate people are doing over and over again...

just think about it, how each and every company always claims absolute leadership and innovation, market-leadership and to be the utmost and best of there is out there...

everybody else is just poor, copying our ideas, not innovating, trying to sue us-but we will sue them instead first!, we have more patents as the whole bunch of the rest and so forth...

this world is so totally fucked up, dishonest and lying... look at all those hippocrites in their shiny suits.....

Re:same old same old.... everybody is leader but.. (2, Insightful)

CHESTER COPPERPOT (864371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019952)

That's what happens when you have an economic system that magnifies mans already flawed greedy nature. Case in point was the guy [mediamatters.org] who said "I mean, my first thought when I heard (about the London bombings) -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, "Hmmm, time to buy."

Re:same old same old.... everybody is leader but.. (5, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019992)

just think about it, how each and every company always claims absolute leadership and innovation, market-leadership and to be the utmost and best of there is out there...

The reason they do that is best explained by the man who formalized that concept. Nazi Germany's minister of propaganda, Josef Goebbels once said: "if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth".

Corporations (and, gee, governments too) these days use exactly that same technique, whether it's in PR statements, interviews, punditry or advertising. They found it's easier to buy time with VC money and try to let the lies sink in in the general public to get people to buy their products, than putting out actually good products. There are exceptions of course, but that's the rule these days. And don't forget the added benefit of workers buying the lies too and working harder as a result...

Re:same old same old.... everybody is leader but.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020067)

Nazi Germany's minister of propaganda, Josef Goebbels once said: "if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth".

The beautiful irony of the situation is that there's no evidence he ever actually said that. It is itself likely just a lie that gets repeated over and over.

innovation. (5, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019940)

you know, i really don't think he knows what that word means:

innovate: 1. To begin or introduce (something new) for or as if for the first time. 2. To begin or introduce something new.

what has microsoft introduced lately that is so new? i honestly don't know: i haven't used microsoft products seriously in 10 years. they're not even on my radar any more.

WHY REPLY?` (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019970)

i honestly don't know: i haven't used microsoft products seriously in 10 years. they're not even on my radar any more.

Then why bother posting on the topic of MS inervation?

Re:WHY REPLY?` (1)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020023)

because i honestly want to know what people think microsoft have innovated?

Re:innovation. (1)

xTown (94562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019985)

Tablet PCs? I guess you could argue that the tablet is a commingling of the PC and the PDA and as such it's not really an innovation so much as an extension...but that might be locking the definition of "innovative" into too narrow a space.

I'm no Microsoft apologist, but the Tablet PC is really neat.

Re:innovation. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020030)

umm .. they -killed- the Tablet PC (Dauphin DTR-1 anyone?) until such a time as they had control over how people were going to 'do' Tablet PC's ..

Re:innovation. (1)

mallardtheduck (760315) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020039)

I happen to own two "Tablet PC's".
One GRiDPAD 1910 from about 1990, runs MS-DOS with an on-screen keyboard implemented in hardware.
One Fujitsu Stylistic 1200 from about 1997, runs Windows 98SE with "Pen Extensions for Windows 95" (Microsoft's second attempt at pen computing, after "Windows (3.1) for Pen Computing").
So what I see is that Microsoft did not invent the "Tablet PC" idea and furthermore, it seems that they have tried repeatedly to introduce the concept and failed each time. Even the current "Windows XP Tablet PC Edition" does not seem to have achived much market penetration.

Re:innovation. (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020062)

Here [howstuffworks.com] is a Tablet PC with a monocrome screen. It comes with infinite battery life and one *free* paint application.

Re:innovation. (3, Funny)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020020)

innovate: 1. To begin or introduce (something new) for or as if for the first time. 2. To begin or introduce something new.

There you go... that's how Microsoft can, with a straight face, call whatever they do "innovation"...

Re:innovation. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020034)

okay, thats a subtle difference. as long as microsoft look like they're introducing something new, they're innovating.

right. puts this entire 'story' in light, doesn't it .. its looking like microsoft is innovating, by looking like its innovating ..

Innovation! (2, Interesting)

utopicillusion (843168) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019944)

Microsoft has a very good research team in place,but that does not ensure innovation. I think they are having problems with translating research into products. Previously, their research was market oriented...say UI design for the common man etc. which did well for their prodcuts initially.That has now saturated.

The kind of innovation we see from MS nowadays is generally of a kind not needed, like what they did with RSS. (it's a standard for a bloody reason!).

Also, MS has spread themselves too thin by stepping into too many areas...OS'es, Search Engines, Spyware, etc. Well, maybe it's time to let go and focus on what they are...an OS company.

BTW, does anyone know how many MS innovations were by acquiring companies. Does that count?

Re:Innovation! (1)

R.D.Olivaw (826349) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019986)

like what they did with RSS. (it's a standard for a bloody reason!).

embrace and extend is there for a bloody reason too!

Re:Innovation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020005)

i would guess 99.99% of all there "inovations" have been thru accuring, buying, or black out stealing

Microsoft Is Innovative (5, Funny)

Evil W1zard (832703) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019965)

Or at least they will be soon when they are the first company to buy a Spyware company and then incorporate that Spyware directly into the OS. Plus the Spyware will be proprietary so you will need to pay them 10k to view some code to make an API for your spyware to talk to its spyware and ....

At least one innovation... (2, Funny)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019977)

Hey, come on. If these guys weren't so innovative I'd never have been able to program my Altair in BASIC. That's gotta count for somethin.

Re:At least one innovation... (2, Informative)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020089)

Are you suggesting that MS invented BASIC?

I think you will find that all economically viable computers had BASIC long before MS existed. (Most compputers that were not economically viable also had BASIC, too). A lot of Mainframes offered a choise of two or three different compilers or BASIC interpreters.

You might want to Google Dartmouth College, or even BASIC. In those days, every man and dog programmer team had written a BASIC interpreter, if not two.

Freudian slip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13019994)

Not exactly the Open Source business model, but the business model revolving around GPL'ed programs in particular is very interesting. Most other licenses' business models largely rely on donations and secondary sales. But one particular reason why companies are so keen on buying support for GPL'ed programs from other companies might be in part because of the viral nature of the GPL and the possible legalities surrounding any tools developed in-house to be used with the GPL'ed program.

Does IBM innovate more than Microsoft? (5, Informative)

nurhussein (864532) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019995)

Did IBM out innovate us? I don't think so.

IBM invented SQL. IBM invented the hard drive. IBM invented the scanning tunnelling microscope. IBM employees have won the Nobel Prize.

IBM may be evil, but it has always been cool evil.

Microsoft on the other hand introduced...uhm...the animated paperclip? The monkey dance? The BSOD?

Really, Ballmer. You just down like IBM because they gave support to Linux. Which makes them even cooler.

Re:Does IBM innovate more than Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020029)

IBM also manipulated Xenon atoms in 1996, to write the acronym "IBM." If that isn't cool, I don't know what is!

Re:Does IBM innovate more than Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020143)

that would be the scanning tunnelling microscope

Developers Developers .. gasp .. developers! (2, Insightful)

cerebis (560975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13019996)

I have a hard time taking any interest in what Mr Ballmer says, especially after that ridiculous "developers" chant he performed recently. Not to say much more about the crowd that, rather than laughing him off the stage, clapped and cheered.

What a weird world that must be.

Microsoft may do cool stuff (2, Interesting)

ShatteredDream (636520) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020001)

But they aren't genuinely "innovative" most of the time. Anyone who wants to see real innovation should look at Sun, Apple and Be before Be went belly up. Look at how small Be's development team was, yet somehow they managed to create a 64bit file system with many of WinFS' features back in what? 1998-1999?

The one legitimate criticism of open source development though, is that you'd not have thinks like Apache Jakarta were it not for Sun creating Java. Open source and commercial closed source development should have the same relationship that name brand and generic drugs have. Software patents, IMO, would work if 2 things happened:

1) We had a patent office with people who knew what they were doing and could safely reject bad patents.

2) Software patents lasted for 2-3 years so that way the businesses could get a reward for doing stuff like creating .NET, Java, Windows Media, etc.

The problem is that just as Microsoft takes Apples ideas, so do some projects like Mono and OpenOffice take Microsoft's ideas.

Re:Microsoft may do cool stuff (1)

kabbor (856635) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020053)

Another thing that should be there in patents: A software patent should include the source code.
A Real-ware patent has technical drawings illustrating the invention patented. These diagrams are usually sufficient for anyone to create the item in questions. A software patent should be no different: and that means CODE.

That would see a nice lessening of the number of software patents. Oh, and a lessening in the profitability of the USPTO. Drat.

Re:Microsoft may do cool stuff (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020133)

Look at how small Be's development team was, yet somehow they managed to create a 64bit file system with many of WinFS' features back in what? 1998-1999?

Not to mention that the entire timeframe, from conception to deployment was 9 months with only two developers (who were working on it for most of their time, but occasionally on other bits of BeOS). BFS supported indexed metadata and filesystem journalling back in the days when other desktop platforms hadn't even heard of the concepts.

Anyone interested should check out `Practical Filesystem Design' by one of the authors of BFS - it's now available as a PDF download.

He's Not 100% Wrong... (3, Insightful)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020008)

I am a big fan of the concept of open source, and free software.

I don't believe it can work in every situation, but the idea is good.

The most damning thing about Linux (for example) is that it has zero innovation. I want to see something new for the desktop, not rehashed ideas that Apple or Microsoft or Unix implemented years earlier.

I don't believe Linux is innovative, and I see that pervading the entire open source movement.

Look at Open Office. Great idea, lousy implementation. Apart from the cost, what benefit does it have over Microsoft Office? There's nothing new in it, nothing innovative.

I'd even go so far as to say that the amount of sameness cripples it. Apple did more with Pages than the Open Office has with its word 'wannabe', and it shows. They're trying something new, something innovative.

Ballmer is right when he says open source software is not innovative. I disagree with the man on almost everything he says and is, but he's right in that.

And goddamn it, I wish he weren't

Re:He's Not 100% Wrong... (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020055)

The most damning thing about Linux (for example) is that it has zero innovation. I want to see something new for the desktop, not rehashed ideas that Apple or Microsoft or Unix implemented years earlier. I don't believe Linux is innovative, and I see that pervading the entire open source movement.

You say this because you expect innovation from Linux. However, the truth is, Linux started out as a brilliant student's pet project, and is now a commodity Unix kernel clone. Linux won't bring much innovation, as its architecture is deeply conventional.

The main innovation with Linux can be found in the social networking of F/OSS that Stallman started, and that Linus Torvalds and friends popularized. It demonstrated that decentralized, free software development was viable.

There are no truly groundbreaking innovation in the OS field. Yes I know about Hurd and BeOS and whatnot, but they are just variations of the same themes. What I'm waiting for is a true massively parallel OS, OSes with totally virtualized memories (disk and RAM and rom etc), OS/hardware combos that are designed to be switched on and off at will with next to no "reboot" time, etc...

Re:He's Not 100% Wrong... (2, Interesting)

deaddrunk (443038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020060)

Open Office offers something MS don't. A full MS Office-compatible (YMMV for sure) suite at a fraction of the cost. Innovation cannot come in a market so dominated by one player since no-one will buy a productivity suite that doesn't open MS Office documents no matter how superb it is.

Re:He's Not 100% Wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020063)

Stop thinking so small. Just because OpenOffice - a project designed to provide as simple a transition from Microsoft Office and Windows to Linux - is not innovative doesn't mean Open Source is all the same.

XOrg is very innovative, as is the Englightenment project. What about BSD being very innovative with things such as TCP/IP etc...

Just because you don't see the functionality doesn't mean that it is not innovative.

Apple used to be innovative, they are now using ideas that have been available in the FLOSS community for years.

Re:He's Not 100% Wrong... (2, Interesting)

freddie (2935) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020064)

I"m sick and tired of hearing how gnu-linux/opensource/bsd is not innovative

What you are forgetting is that the whole internet thing became possible thorugh open source. What kind of software has made DNS and email possible?

The first web browsers like Mosaic were all open source. Apache the webserver that nearly everybody uses is open source as well.

I'm using OSX right now. What has apple copied from linux/open source? Well its copied a lot. From its scripting languages (python, perl, ruby), to its web server (apache), file system sharing (samba, nfs). Its all copied from linux/bsd.

Re:He's Not 100% Wrong... (1)

DebianDog (472284) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020121)

yea but... has Linux integrated Pictures, Audio, Music, Video and seamlessly tied that to a DVD burner like Apple has? [apple.com]

Hell in Linux there is not even a "half-way decent" video editor... forget dragging an MP3 to the editor and have the audio automatically import and add itself to the timeline.

THAT'S INNOVATION! What has Linux REALLY done lately? A new nifty scripting language? Cool, not innovative. Oh sure, I have a good cheap firewall but sheesh..

Re:He's Not 100% Wrong... (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020078)

The most damning thing about Linux (for example) is that it has zero innovation.

I assume from your comment that you have either:

  • Never used Linux, only heard what other people (that also probably haven't used Linux) say about it... or...
  • You use a commerical distribution like Linspire (Lindows) which are designed to mimic Windows, in order to make the switch easier.


Try using a less commercial distribution and see where the real innovation comes from. Of course it takes some time between a new idea being created and it becoming stable and accepted by the major distros, but just because it takes a few years for an idea to be accepted by the mainstream doesn't mean that it isn't innovation.

And not to be too hard on Linspire, they also try to be innovative, but not to the point that they scare away Windows users that are not expecting innovation and don't like things that are too different from what they are used to.

Just out of curiosity... (1)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020104)

MarkByers said:
Try using a less commercial distribution and see where the real innovation comes from.
Just out of curiosity, could you cite some examples?

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with either yourself or the Grandparent post, just honestly curious.

I'm trying to think of some, but I'm not very well versed in all of the stuff that is out there. I guess BitTorrent comes to mind... does that count?

Re:He's Not 100% Wrong... (1)

Henk Poley (308046) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020085)

Look at Open Office. Great idea, lousy implementation. Apart from the cost, what benefit does it have over Microsoft Office? There's nothing new in it, nothing innovative.

The innovations are in the tiny corners. Formatting options in the context menu. I really like that. Now they only should display the hotkeys next to the items so you can learn them 'by accident'.

Another smallish thing: Double click on the 'paste special' button (OOo2.x) and it will paste the formatting every time you select something untill you disable it again with a click on the same button. Put a background colour in it and select everything you want to be marked. Very nice if you are a student, or are reviewing a document.

Re:He's Not 100% Wrong... (1)

paulbd (118132) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020086)

Frankly, I think you've totally missed the reason why applications like OpenOffice got written. A couple of years ago, everyone who wanted to use open source systems or wanted others to use open systems was saying that they need a replacement for MS Office. Not "an improvement", not "a more innovative program that does similar things" but a more or less exact replacement so that user retraining time was minimized.

So, OpenOffice somes along (c/o StarOffice), and everyone says "its not innovative", "they didn't do anything new". They were not trying to do anything new. The application is there to provide a recognizable, usable alternative for MS Office users on Windows and a recognizable, usable alternative for users on other operating systems. Nothing more.

My own area of open source development - pro audio tools like ardour [ardour.org] - is full of people who don't want "better" or "more innovative" tools than ProTools, Nuendo, Cubase SX etc: they want tools that work just like them, in fact preferably as close as possible to all of them, depending on who you talk to.

The lack of innovation in most open source apps doesn't reflect on the creativity of the open source development community, but the inertia of millions of computer users who have grown used to existing applications. How many users does Apple's Pages have versus OpenOffice? Why is that?

There are some very innovative open source applications, but they are not direct drop in replacements for existing Windows (or OS X) apps, and as a result most people neither use them nor are aware of them.

Re:He's Not 100% Wrong... (3, Informative)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020134)


You talk about lack of inovation and give openoffice as only example- an ex-commercial sad-and-sorry MS Office rippoff.

I'll give you some innovation in OSS:

Enlightenment
Konqueror (and it's extensions)
ogg
flac
Rox
zshell
Zope (you can hardly get any more innovative than that)
Python
Ruby
blender (ok, so it wasn't OSS from the start, but it was free (beer) and the people who drove blender back then are the same that do it now, that's why I dare name it - and before you ask: It's Blenders Workspace Management that is to date unmatched by any application in existance. It's actually the successor to desktop-metaphor workspace.)
verse, loqairou et al ( OK, so these are the rare things that are more innovative than Zope, they are the future of interface design and computer interaction and usage. I'd say ten years ahead. Go check if you don't believe me: www.quelsolaar.com/, http://www.uni-verse.org/Blender_Foundation.8.0.ht ml [uni-verse.org] )

Bottom line:
What you said is wrong in so many ways. The truth is, a lot or real high-end avantgarde innovation takes place in the OSS world. You just need to open your eyes and look around.
But if your looking for innovation in openoffice your going to have a hard time, I'll promise you that.

Re:He's Not 100% Wrong... (1)

clambake (37702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020139)

Look at Open Office. Great idea, lousy implementation. Apart from the cost, what benefit does it have over Microsoft Office? There's nothing new in it, nothing innovative.

Holy crap! It's assholes like you who make OO suck so much. FORGET innovation. Just focus on making it do everything a word processor ever evr EVER needs to do, i.e. make it as close to a gui-verson WordPerfect 5.1 as you can, and REMOVE THE BUGS.

There are absolutly no new features beyond, say, automated spell checking as you type that provide me any value over what I had back in , what, 1980-something!?! I mean seriously, people, a word processor it a word processor. There is only so much "innovation" you can do before it starts checking your email for you. And I am willing to bet there are another 98% of the office-using population who think just like me.

bad maths (2, Funny)

recurrence (898497) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020016)

are you gonna create opportunities where my program somehow works with another guy's programs and one plus one equal three. Windows has been that.
This is what worries me.

Children! (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020021)

It looks more like they are just lining their sights. They see Google as actually innovating but this probably has more to do with the fact that Google is king in an area of technology that M$ has failed at. So they will ignore others for the moment and fire on Google. Slamming IBM, OSS, and the like is really to insult the intelligence of the audience; esp. with OSS. Let's see, Linux is able to offer mail, web, file sysetems, and application services with considerably less overhead but no innovation? M$ has conceded the moderate growth of Linux for now. They are likely counting on an adoption surge for Longhorn. We shall see.

Innovation = creating something new..... (1)

dangermen (248354) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020024)

Innovation = creating something new..... that's straight from the dictionary. Technicially I innovate every morning when I go to the bathroom. Of course other companies innovate. What a joke, next thing you know other companies innovations will be in their last throws.

Re:Innovation = creating something new..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020083)

s/throws/throes

The shame (0, Offtopic)

Gdjrptryjg (885282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020033)

Steve mentions his son in the video. Kids are usually shame of thair parents, now image if Steve Balmer was your father... (pointles reply to a pointles thread)

No room for anyone but us (5, Insightful)

Just Jeff (5760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020037)

When I read the Ballmer quotes, the first thing I thought was, he is saying that there is no room in the industry for anyone but Microsoft.

All these other companies make products that other people use to be innovative. There relly isn't a lot of innovative room in relational databases for Oracle. They make databases, and very good databases and very popular databases, and they make a lot of money doing just that. THEIR CUSTOMERS are the ones who put those databases to good use.

IBM make a lot of stuff. Most of it is pretty good stuff, and they make a lot of money selling that stuff. It is IBM's CUSTOMERS who make good use of it.

"The open source guys..." Well, they make a lot of stuff too. IT IS THE PEOPLE WHO USE OPEN SOURCE software who put it to good use and who are innovative. Open source allows people a little more room to be innovative. They can aquire it at a lower cost. They can alter it to better meet their specific requirements...

Steve Ballmer believes that computers are a platform for software companies to restrict and dictate what happens there. In that model, customers do not decide what computers do, but software vendors. That's why Microsoft feels the need to compete in every single little corner of the software industry. For Microsoft to (almost literally) control the world, they have to be the sole supplier of software to everyone.

"The open source guys" have a different view.

Microsoft, innovating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020045)

Embracing, I can see. CP/M, WordPerfect, Bittorrent, Google, et al can attest to that. Extending, of course, just take a look at Explorer. Extinguishing, without a doubt, with dozens of companies that tried fight Microsoft's deep pockets.

The closest they even come to "innovating" is in their marketing and FUD departments, with the occasional scientific paper thrown in or smaller company they gobble up.

It's a bit like... (5, Insightful)

M3rk1n_Muffl3y (833866) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020046)

...asking the Osama Bin Laden about the virtues of Catholicism. Okay, maybe not quite, but I don't think MS are a company who do innovation. Rightly or wrongly their approach has been consistently based on developing other peoples innovations into mass-market products. Such as QDOS, VisiCalc, Navigator, GUI OS (from Apple or Xerox, take your pick). So I sincerely doubt the value of Ballmer's comments on this topic.

Did anybody ... (1)

mobilemic (842967) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020048)

... really expect Monkey Boy Ballmer to actually admit that other companies might be more innovative than MS? Didn't think so.

What about Apple? (5, Funny)

otisg (92803) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020059)

Funny, he didn't mention Apple?

Re:What about Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13020105)

what has apple innovated lately? Usage of the x86 platform? Sorry, many many years too late.

Ballmer's right (2, Insightful)

JChung2006 (894379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020073)

IBM and ORACLE are not innovative. They are big unninnovative businesses just like Microsoft. They thrive on the continuation of their existence, not the creation of something new. As for open source not being innovative, it hasn't been lately, but it used to be. I suspect that open source's obsession with standards and standardization has something to do with its lack of innovation these days, because, folks, innovation by its very nature is not standards-based.

Technical innovation from opensource (3, Informative)

Peaker (72084) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020077)

Lets see, Software installation management:
  • A central repository of packages, and a GUI with more than 10000 packages, all installable with 2 clicks.
  • Automatic upgrading of all these packages.
  • Uniform interface to install, remove or upgrade all of these packages.
  • Automatic installation of packages according to file access attempts (auto-apt).

GUIs:
  • Desktop/network integration (i.e: ftp exploration works just like local file exploration) (and no, this does not work, not even in Windows XP, try copying files from one ftp to another, for example).
  • Panel applets bringing usefulness to the panel, as well as quick browsers/bookmark lists in the panel (Microsoft copied some of this)
  • Tabbed command-line consoles
  • Password-keeping wallets for all applications, allowing the user to remember just one password
  • Customization of desktop behavior, shortcut keys to basic operations such as minimizing/maximizing, and any other feature in the desktop.
  • Division of responsibility, window management keeps working even when applications hang.
  • Search feature in Configuration Manager.
  • Countless other innovations

Development tools:
  • The diff/patch tools.
  • gcc: A single compiler handling the compilation of a huge collection of languages, in a large set of platforms.
  • xemacs: An environment platform that allows extensions via a dynamic language with seamless on-the-fly compilation of the extension code you write. Also, the most featureful platform out there for this purpose, with powerful macro recorders/editors, customizable key binding, etc.
  • Languages: Python, Perl, Ruby. Microsoft is still behind in this area, despite its .NET technology, which is less innovation, and more an extension of the Java platform (I would even say, Java done right). Many more languages are Open Source, but I simply don't recall the exact history of other language to tell for sure.
  • Vast libraries in each of these languages, many of which are filled with technical innovation (i.e: Twisted Matrix, SDL, pygame)
  • Transparent RPC's for: Python, Ruby [rubycentral.com] , Smalltalk [gatech.edu] . Microsoft, to the best of my knowledge, does not implement a single transparent RPC. (Transparent means that the server needs not be aware of what objects the client will use, nor does it require any code to explicitly export the object's features to the client, as Microsoft's COM/.NET technologies require).

Emulation:
  • CoLinux [colinux.org] : Modifying the Linux Kernel to run in kernel-mode side-by-side a host operating system.
  • bochs: Unprivileged, 100% user-space emulation of an entire PC.
  • qemu: Like bochs, but with dynamic code translation.

All in all, I may have misattributed a few innovations, but most of these are from Open Source. Also, there are many others I can't remember or simply don't know. Microsoft has done less innovation than Open Source, that much is obvious.

I would appriciate information fillers on innovations from other projects I'm less familiar with, such as Apache, the Kernel.

I am pretty sure Ballmer really believes what he says, because most people, surely Microsoft employees, are quite ignorant of Opensource offerrings and their innovations.

Also Zero Install (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020126)

I would like to add to your software installation management section:

Zero install [sourceforge.net] which allows you to run programs without having to go the install procedure, and with no need to specify the root password.

It might not be everyone's ideal way to manage software, but it's still a huge innovation from the Open Source community.

There are tons more I can add, but this is one I found out about quite recently and I think it will become more popular in the future.

Is it real Microsoft face, after all? (3, Informative)

sogod (882835) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020124)

Speaking about innovation, MS probably meant her .NET technology, for example. Then should we forget who actually did it? The Borland guy! We can continue the list of innovations. The new filesystem? But look at Apple, she already implemented this database-like I/O concept and it really works today. We could continue further, etc. Honestly, do Balmer remind you a car salesman a bit? As for me, this face isn't even much in real Microsoft spirit and corporate culter. Some descrepancies... There are a lot of very thoughtful ppl over there, and they are not exposed. For example, the already mentioned big ex-Borland guy, big ex-Linux Guy, etc etc. Probably, money is all that counts at the end :-(

There's a Word for That (3, Funny)

stephensamuel (115774) | more than 8 years ago | (#13020131)

Innovation at Microsoft is an oxymoron.

I think they've also patented the idea of innovation....

and trademarked the word.
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