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Why Ballmer Should Leave Microsoft

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the insert-cheap-chair-throwing-joke-here dept.

341

An anonymous reader writes "In the wake of the announcement of Bill Gates' departure from the top spot at Microsoft, CNN Money is carrying an article arguing that Steve Ballmer should step down as well." From the article: "Since Gates stepped down as CEO in 2000 in favor of Ballmer, the company has floundered technically and strategically. As the company's chairman, chief software architect and supposed visionary, Gates deserves blame for missing the wave of Web-based software that has propelled Google and Yahoo. But Ballmer has made gaffes of his own in his longtime role as head of the company's business side. They include an undistinguished push into business applications to compete with Oracle, financial maneuvers that have failed to stir the stock - which has slumped 16 percent so far this year - and continuing antitrust problems in the United States and Europe."

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341 comments

Ballmer shouldn't step down. (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547895)

He should become the chairman.

Afterall, he is qualified.

Thank you, I'll be here all night.

Re:Ballmer shouldn't step down. (5, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547966)

Ballmer should step down in favour of Mr T, because he pity the fool who don't got high-end video cards and 4GB RAM for Vista Aero!!!

Seriously... if Mr T was in charge of Microsoft, it would be profitable. This should not be modded funny because it's actually insightful.

Re:Ballmer shouldn't step down. (1, Funny)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547992)

Sorry man, I ran out of Mod Points yesterday. Although your joke is cheesey and obvious, it is better than what I came up with.

"HEADLINE: Ballmers follows Gates' lead, chairs everywhere breath sigh of relief"

Re:Ballmer shouldn't step down. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548111)

Listen up, if I hear just one more Ballmer joke, I'm going to f**king kill every single one of you! Thanks, Steve B.

The heir apparent. (5, Interesting)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548021)

From the article:

Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, a recent hire from Wal-Mart Stores where he ran the Sam's Club division and previously served as the retailer's chief information officer, is the most likely replacement for Ballmer.

He has one big strike against him: his short tenure at Microsoft, which translates into a lack of familiarity with the company's culture. He's believed to be behind a recent cost-cutting move to force the company's substantial contractor workforce to take an unpaid week off. Since contractors at Microsoft contribute to important projects and are often hired on as full-time employees, the move hurt morale.

But as Wal-Mart's CIO, he bought a lot of software from Microsoft, giving him a valuable perspective as a customer that most executives who rose through the ranks at Microsoft lack.

Microsoft run by a WalMart Exec. The mind boggles ....

heck, the parodies practically write themselves

Re:The heir apparent. (4, Funny)

RsG (809189) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548032)

heck, the parodies practically write themselves


Only in Soviet Russia.

Re:The heir apparent. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548132)

Actually, this makes perfest sense. Both Wal-Mart and Microsoft based their businesses on selling cheap low-quality products to the masses who do not know better, and then use unfair (and often illegal) tactics to force the competition out of business, thus denying higher quality producted to those who do know better.

In both cases, the company has created an business echosystem with itself at the center where the partners (manufactures for Wal-Mart, and ISV for MS) are addicted to the cash flow, but to compete for the crumbs that WM or MS allows them to receive under the constant threat of getting crushed like a bug.

Re:The heir apparent. (1)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548160)

The difference is that Microsoft products aren't cheap. Especially when compared with the (zero) cost of some of the competing products.

Re:The heir apparent. (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548208)

I know what will happen!!!

1 - MS products are outsourced to India

2 - MS stores will be build across the USA (a cross between a WalMart and Apple store)

Re:Ballmer shouldn't step down. (0, Redundant)

sinclair44 (728189) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548119)

Man, between this story and the one about Gates last night, I'm tired of all these chair jokes. I'm going to fucking kill the next person that makes one!

Maybe they are not mistakes (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548202)

Whose to say Gates made a mistake letting google and yahoo create web based software? It's MS modus operandi to let others pioneer a field then they take it over. We all know the PC story and how IBM and apple and others pioneered it. Same with Wordprocessing and office software. And what about Programming IDEs?.

Now look at what is happening in the field of PDAs and telephones. And of course there's the Xbox which came lat to the party as well. And one might even speculate MS will make a bigger move on the Server side of computing soon.

MS is always late the to party. Pioneers get the arrows. Settlers get the land.

One can hardly say that google's web apps are either the wave of the future or that in the End it won't be MS that controls them. There was nothing defective about Gates strategy, it has worked in the past quite well.

Re:Ballmer shouldn't step down. (1)

pato101 (851725) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548363)

He should become the chairman. Afterall, he is qualified.
At least he is qualified on throwing the chair.

Frist Post (-1, Redundant)

kilgortrout (674919) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547899)

Que flying chair jokes here.

Re:Frist Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548068)

I'm sorry but,
Que \Que\, n. [Cf. 3d Cue.]
      A half farthing. [Obs.]
      [1913 Webster]

I think you mean "cue." 'c' is no where near 'q' on a QWERTY keyboard, are you on Dvorak or something or did you just not know how to spell cue?

Re:Frist Post (1)

Rytis (907427) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548189)

I think he had made a mix of English and French. In French a phrase started with que means something like let in English as in "Let the game begin". In French it would be "Que le jeu commence".

more info on the EU anti-trust case (3, Informative)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547902)

Indeed, the MS anti-trust case is going well for us [fsfeurope.org] .

Re:more info on the EU anti-trust case (0, Troll)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548093)

For *YOU* specifically, you mean? Maybe. For the Europeans who love free market and loathe governmental regulation, not at all.
So tell me, as you like the gov't regulating stuff so much, how do you feel about it regulating the usage of digital music & video, through DRM for example? Suddenly you don't like big government any more? Hypocrytes.

Re:more info on the EU anti-trust case (2, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548222)

There's a huge difference between regular government regulation and punishing abusers of a market. Even the smallest government will go after those who break the law.

Re:more info on the EU anti-trust case (1)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548330)

Anti-trust is not about big government.

When you have a monopoly, you are obliged not to abuse the monopoly to increase your market share in related sectors.

No regulation is anarchy, which leads to feudalism. Anti-trust is there to maintain competition, and it is used very infrequently, so it is not "big government" at all.

Leave Ballmer in place (4, Funny)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547918)

The entire linux community (and probably Mac as well) is strongly in favor of him remaining!

Re:Leave Ballmer in place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548146)

And leave his chair right where it is, stuck to the ceiling.

Word (5, Funny)

mazzarin (895581) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547921)

Right, why don't they bring a bunch of new MBA students in to replace them. The fresh new non-tech oriented ideas will surely revitalize the company. /sarcasm meter explodes

He's in a no-win situation.. (4, Insightful)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547937)


If Ballmer and Microsoft had been wildly successful over the past few years most everyone here would be crying for the Microsoft juggernaut to be sunk or TOTALLY disbanded via political / legal means.

But many say they haven't been wildly successful over the past few years.

Either way the result is the same: people who don't like Microsoft are going to take pot-shots at them.

Picking your enemies (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548004)

If they were wildly successful in recent years geeks would complain.

When they're not successful media and economic pundits plus stock holders complain.

They'd rather anger the geeks than their investors.

Re:He's in a no-win situation.. (1)

Trigun (685027) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548078)

If they were wildly successful and good, we wouldn't be saying shit. Look at what we let Google get away with, because we like google. They operate in a basically transparent manner, and while they aren't open source, they publish high-quality APIs that let open source work with them.

If I could get linux mail clients to operate with Exchange Server or Outlook to operate with a Linux server, without any strange caveats, and Microsoft provided the glue, then I'd be much happier. The same goes for any of their other products. I don't want to roll out a linux desktop across a whole company, I just want the parts to operate at a much more efficient level, and give everyone a choice.

Unfortunately, "Windows or no calendar" isn't much of a choice.

Re:He's in a no-win situation.. (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548380)

Either way the result is the same: people who don't like Microsoft are going to take pot-shots at them.

Well, yes they well. And there'll be a bunch of folks who will support Microsoft with questions along the line of if you're so smart why aren't you rich. And some will point out that CNN is a subset of Time Warner which is a superset of AOL, and therefore a competitor: so is this generous advice or evil well-poisoning????? And who, really, doesn't enjoy a good chair joke?

I think that the slippage of Vista is a 6.2 on the Richter scale that rattled Microsoft with shaking felt on Wall Street. Maybe Vista or maybe the six or seven years Microsoft has put into other ventures with less than anticipated results has something to do with Mr. Gates' decision to leave the trenches and spend his time and money doing good things and addressing the problems of neglected people.

So, does this commentary signal that Wall Street is now thinking Ballmer has to be jettisoned in order to "turn the company around?" Don't know. Don't expect to get the answer today and here, but I'm curious.

also cue monkey boy jokes (3, Interesting)

swschrad (312009) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547943)

ballmer's big problem is he is inflicted with IP disease... he thinks MS owns all of its code, PLUS all of the data and programs folks put on their computers.

and he needs a cure or he needs to leave, cash in his options, and disappear to a tropical island someplace under a volcano. like seeks like.

Re:also cue monkey boy jokes (1)

AviLazar (741826) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547997)

he thinks MS owns all of its code

MS doesn't own all of its code? Is there some patent/tm they forgot to file? And if so, what are the steps for me to file it, cause I will just sell it to MS for a mere 10 million.

While there may be some aberrant piece of code that MS forgot to patent/tm (i doubt it) I am pretty sure MS owns its own code. Until the laws change that is, assuming they do, which you know I don't see in the near future.

Re:also cue monkey boy jokes (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548036)

Maybe he's referring to the BSD network code they used. I know that it was used in 95/98, but I haven't done enough research into how 2000/XP works to know if it's still present.

Re:also cue monkey boy jokes (2, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548043)

The current (pre-Vista) TCP/IP stack plus command line FTP and other old utilities are not "owned" by them. They're copyright BSD, IIRC.

Re:also cue monkey boy jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548199)

They don't own the defrag (diskeeper) and they don't own the volume manager.

Re:also cue monkey boy jokes (1)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548028)

ballmer's big problem is he is inflicted with IP disease....and he needs a cure

Perhaps this is the reason that Billy G is focusing on his foundation. He wants to channel more of his time and money in to finding a cure for the horrific and cruel affliction of "Being Steve Ballmer".

Still, wouldn't mind swapping bank accounts with the guy.

Re:also cue monkey boy jokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548323)

Perhaps Darl of Sco fame can find him a job, CCF ?

Turning "would" into "should"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15547947)

He said he would stop working there. Now you turn that into a should as fast as possible to turn it into a demand of M$ haters?

How incredibly pathetic. I'll use GeoIP to burn your place down and switch to FreeBSD afterwards!

But what will he do next? (-1, Redundant)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547958)

I say he should, ahem, "chair" a committee to get geeks to become more physically fit. Think about it. We all remember the way he got a whole crowd of Microsofties worked up and into a frothy sweat a few years ago. If only there were a Geek Olympics, where geeks could show off their athletic prowess in events such as the chair hurl, the fax machine smash, Quake III, and speed typing. A man with Ballmer's resources and influence could go a long way toward realizing such a dream.

While we're at it .. (5, Funny)

Entropy (6967) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547965)

# Comments are for wusses
chant()
    for {Microsoft.Employees}
        do
        print "Why %borg should step down." (Microsoft.Employees)

rejoice()
    for a = 1 to 1000000000
# This comment does nothing, like comments are good for anything anyways.
    print "REJOICE! The evil Empire is dead! Long live the mighty penguin!"

main()
    while Microsoft.Exists=1
        chant()
    rejoice()

Re:While we're at it .. (5, Funny)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548157)

Don't forget:
public void runMicrosoft(String stuffToDo) throws Chair
{
  if(stuffToDo == "kill fucking Google")
  {
      throw new Chair("executive swivel");
  }
.....
}

Re:While we're at it .. (1)

OctoberSky (888619) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548172)

"REJOICE! The evil Empire is dead!"

Uhmmm.... Last I checked the Yankees are alive and doing fine. In fact they lead the American League East, 1 game over some team from Boston.

Spoilsports! (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547971)

Jeez, CNN! Don't tell them why Ballmer should leave!! It's much more fun for us spectators to watch him flail around inneffectually while his empire crumbles.

What's next, sending CNN field reporters to the kids' library to point out where Waldo is? Maybe that guy who shouts Harry Potter spoilers at children works for CNN as well.

Pundits Gone Wild! (5, Insightful)

buckhead_buddy (186384) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547980)

The article quotes Rob Enderle:
"It's not likely that Ballmer will stay on as CEO after Gates steps down as the company's chief software architect", says Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, who has watched Microsoft (Charts) for almost 20 years. "When you get into a cycle like this, the founders go reasonably soon after each other," says Enderle.

Putting aside Rob Enderle's other failures as an analyst, I see him as simply trying to get back up on the wave of punditry that he completely missed with the revelation of Bill Gates leaving. If Ballmer doesn't leave, no one will care. If he does, then Enderle looks like he has an inside connection or excellent prognostication ability.

In reality, I don't see Mr. Ballmer leaving any time soon. The revolt wasn't due to the shareholders as much as Bill Gates just (apparently) getting sick of the day to day. Steve doesn't seem to share that boredom and he certainly doesn't have the hubris to realize that his leaving would be more beneficial to the stock price than any policy he enacts while in the driver seat.

Re:Pundits Gone Wild! (2, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548055)

> ...Bill Gates just (apparently) getting sick of the day to day...

Naaah. Gates just turned fifty and he's starting to feel his mortality. He's working on his historical legacy, a la John D. Rockefeller. Meanwhile, Balmer (who also just turned fifty) has no historical legacy outside Microsoft, so expect him to stay.

Re:Pundits Gone Wild! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548129)

You hit it on the head! Enderle's "Analyst group of one" show (I think it's him and his parrot actually) have proven to be so bias and innefectivity can be long lasting in the marketplace IMHO.

Between him and Yankee Group, I can't tell who is the worst.

Re:Pundits Gone Wild! (2, Funny)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548294)

"It's not likely that Rob Enderle will stay loyal to Gates and Ballmer as they step down as the company's Dynamic Duo of Evil", says Nuthell Fortytwo, principal analyst at the Nutshell Group, who has watched Slashdot (Dupes) for almost 7 years. "When you get into a cycle like this, the founders go reasonably soon after each other, and the astroturfers try to get into the good graces of their new masters" says Fortytwo.

Unproven business model (4, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#15547991)

"Gates deserves blame for missing the wave of Web-based software that has propelled Google and Yahoo"

Google and Yahoo's entire business model is web-based and advertisement based. One could just as easily argue that they deserve blame for having such a fragile model. It's not clear if building these web-based applications will be profitable or sustainable. Google in particular seems to be enjoying the same kind of unquestioning support that many dead dot-comms enjoyed.

Re:Unproven business model (4, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548073)

This is so obviously wrong I was going to ignore it. But I just can't.

Have you looked at their financials? How are billions in revenue not sustainable? Even before getting money from floating stock Google was making a fortune. And Yahoo SURVIVED the dot-com fallout. Their future could easily turn for the worse, but for years they've proven profitable and sustainable.

Revenue is not the whole story (2, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548134)

Take the total revenue made by the company over it's entire life and then subtract all the money invested in the company since it was created. In the case of Google, the result is a negative number.

Re:Revenue is not the whole story (1)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548177)

Take the total revenue made by the company over it's entire life and then subtract all the money invested in the company since it was created. In the case of Google, the result is a negative number.
Do you have a link to back that statement up? I find it highly unlikely. Google, as a start-up, exercised good cost controls. Google has existed for less than eight years. I cannot recall any point in that time where they were bleeding billions of dollars.

Re:Unproven business model (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548329)

Then why is Google switching to image-based ads on 3rd party sites? Their entire hook so far has been that they serve up unobtrusive, text-based ads that fit into the page without being (as) annoying. If they're making enough money, why change that? It seems that this whole "advertise on the web" thing may be yet another bubble. It's trendy for now, so people use it in spite of the fact that accounts will get randomly closed for "click fraud" with no recourse, and in spite of the fact that many people have already learned to block out the "google ads" formatted text block. And as more and more companies enter the space, and Google raises the price for some popular words 100-fold...

You may be right, but there's some things they're doing that lead me to believe the market isn't as stable as you think.

Re:Unproven business model (1)

gnuLNX (410742) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548087)

true...except google is making a ton of money. Granted I don't think all the web apps will really make any money but who knows.

Re:Unproven business model (4, Insightful)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548128)

Google and Yahoo's entire business model is web-based and advertisement based. One could just as easily argue that they deserve blame for having such a fragile model. It's not clear if building these web-based applications will be profitable or sustainable. Google in particular seems to be enjoying the same kind of unquestioning support that many dead dot-comms enjoyed.

And Microsoft's entire business model is monopoly based. One could just as easily argue that it deserves the blame for having such a fragile model. It's not clear that Microsoft will be profitable or sustainable, in a world where their monopoly starts to fade (look at the multi-billion dollar losses in the Xbox division, or the losses in the MSN division). In particular, Microsoft seems to enjoy the same kind of unquestioning support that AT&T once did. Where's AT&T now? That's right; dead and bought for the name rights.

On the other hand, Google's balance sheet [google.com] is solidly positive. Might be a bit overvalued at $391.00 per share, but that's neither here nor there.

Re:Unproven business model (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548165)

"And Microsoft's entire business model is monopoly based."

Sorry but being a monopoly isn't a business model.

Re:Unproven business model (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548268)

Have you read any of Microsoft's SEC filings? All statements regarding revenue outlook are about attacks on their monopoly or ways they're using their desktop monopoly to gain in other markets. Everything in the way they run their business is about the desktop monoploy. I could understand someone saying "being a monopoly" is Microsoft's business model. I've been watching Microsoft for years [msversus.org] .

Re:(Un)proven business model (1)

saddino (183491) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548231)

Unproven? Let's look at revenue numbers, shall we?

4Q 2004: $1.03B gross, $204MM net
1Q 2005: $1.26B gross, $369.2MM net
2Q 2005: $1.384B gross, $342.8MM net
3Q 2005: $1.578B gross, $381.2MM net
4Q 2005: $1.92B gross, $372.2MM net
1Q 2006: $2.25B gross, $592.3MM net

Looks like web-based and advertising based business models are as far from "fragile" as one can be.

Ballmer should step down, of course. (2, Interesting)

zzztkf (574953) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548002)

Ballmer decided to compete with Oracle and potentially SAP. I don't think M$ can't win against Oracle and SAP, however, looking at growth of Google and Yahoo in same time frame. What he had to do as CEO was so obvious. It was wiser decision to enhance search/web based business to compete Google, Yahoo or anything else than pursuing Oracle with SQL Server and acquiring business software marker like Navision.

Re:Ballmer should step down, of course. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548306)

Between a monkey like demeanor and throwing various pieces of office furniture, it sounds like he's competing against one of Nintendo's flagship products too.

Re:You should sit down, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548324)

If all your friends struggle with a complex math problem for 10+ hours and you step up and solve it in less than five minutes, which of the following is more likely:

A) You are vastly smarter than all of your friends.
B) You know something they don't.
C) They know something you don't.
D) You simply overlooked the hard part of the problem and did it wrong.

It is easy to criticize. It is a bit harder to invest real money in a product while extracting a real profit from its release. Following yahoo may satisfy onlookers like you, but who cares. It's all about the money.

Improving SQL Server was a great move by Microsoft. The fact that you see it as a mistake tells me all I need to know about your analytical skills.

Isn't it better CNN say this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548025)

Isn't it better for the Linux community for CNN to say this? I mean, is flailing leadership more or less likely to step down when other people say it should?

I think less likely.

i have three words for you (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548027)

i love this company

OMG!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548048)

Who's gonna be the "chair"man, and who will fscking kill Google if Ballmer's to quit MSFT and join Google. OMG! Chairs!!

Why should he step-down??? (2, Informative)

mincognito (839071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548058)

Two words:
Crazy [google.com]
lunatic [google.com]

Developers -- Developers -- Developers -- Develo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548351)

He's a remarkably bad cheer leader. In addition to the fact that he'd look plain awful in a short skirt (and he probably can't do the splits), it sure looks like that crowd is clapping primarily out of fear.

I wouldn't say he's a car salesman. He's a used car salesman.

Forgot login - Nick Donovan (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548067)

My position is coming from a biased perspective as I'm a CEO of a technology company however I do believe that Ballmer should step down and bring some fresh blood in if Microsoft wants to survive.

Microsoft seems to be operating in the mode of a 1990's company and has yet to realize that that the thick-GUI based apps are pretty much history and more over, the OS is a commodity and the whole idea of licenses for OS instances and that being a primary product is effectively dead IMHO.

Office Apps are pretty much commoditized now as well with the advent of OO2.X and now Google jumping into the affrey. Granted Googles product is pretty much a Proof of Concept but it does show where they're headed.

Just some thoughts....

Nick

Re:Forgot login - Nick Donovan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548336)

Remember just because you are a CEO does not mean much.

The CEO of Enron was hired elsewhere as a CEO...

Being CEO has less to do with skills and more to do with who you know.

BTW, I am also a CEO. I have a LLC that I am the Chief Executive Officer of. the title CEO means as much as MCSE does.

posting anon to avoid having chairs thrown at me.

Re:Forgot login - Nick Donovan (4, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548371)

Not ALL thick clients are irrelevant. You still need development environments, databases, and office apps that won't suddenly be "down for maintanance" in the middle of the day (and have more features than web-based systems can deliver at present). I'll be the first to say, I think the idea of distributed thin-client applications is fantastic, but there ARE problems that need to be solved first. And even then, how many people are going to accept the "pay per month" model that login-based services will almost certainly bring? The market for installable applications is far from dead.

As for "the whole idea of licenses for OS instances and that being a primary product is effectively dead IMHO"... what?? You still need a system on which to run the thin-client apps, even if that's all you use. And yes, some linux distros give it away for free, but that doesn't mean the idea of the OS as a marketable product is suddenly gone.

There he is!! In the window on the left. GET HIM! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548114)

Armed with pitchforks and torches, the angry mob of investors and users converged upon the Microsoft campus in Redmond. Chairman Bill had long left the area for the safety of other countries. Although his travels were charitable in name, The Chairman's main intent was to place large moats between him and the beligerent American mobs. And now, the evil president created by the chairman was left to his own devices. President Ballmer was trapped. And there were only a few chairs left in the room. He began to panic; what could he throw to show his might?

Go MonkeyBoy Go! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548115)

No one can defeat the MonkeyBoy!

Ballmer's a clown (1)

Warlock7 (531656) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548123)

developers developers developers
my ass, developers
sweaty bald idiot
sweaty bald idiot
sweaty bald idiot

Why Jobs should take the helm at Microsoft (1)

nincehelser (935936) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548143)

Now that would be a story...

Heh... (2, Informative)

Vorondil28 (864578) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548321)

Why Jobs should take the helm at Microsoft
Now that would be a story...


I'm not sure I'd call one of Dvorak's columns a story as much as a meaningless pile of steaming crap.

Missed out on SUV sales as well. (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548145)

Why should Microsoft have been in such a good position for web based software? It's a completely different chunk of the industry from software sales.

Re:Missed out on SUV sales as well. (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548312)

Mindshare + web browser

They have a well marketed name that guarantees interest in any web sites they promote. The majority of people who browse the web use their browser. They could add proprietary components to their browser that interact with web pages in ways other sites couldn't easily achieve. They could also hard-code the home page in the next version of IE to go to one of their own sites, sending them millions of visitors.

The web's a different industry but they could leverage what they have to get a strong foot-hold in it.

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548159)

Steve Ballmer was heard saying: "I'll fucking kill CNN!" before a chair was thrown out of his office window.

Some sort of change is needed (4, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548201)

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not Microsoft's #1 fan - I find thier business practices less than satisfying, and their software usually doesn't light my fires, but I have to give them a lot of credit for their business sense, so I'd like to see them do better.

Whether Ballmer leaves or not, there needs to be a shake up in the direction of the company, because in my mind, they've lost sight. Right now, they remind me of Sony: floundering about, trying to do several things at once, and not really winning either user love or support. They throw money at problems in the hope of winning something, but it doesn't seem like they really know what they are going to do when they get there except have another potential monopoly - and I think that's where they are failing. They're trying to recreate the Windows dominance, instead of just competing.

In a sense, it seems like what they keep trying to pursue is power, not money. And it keeps costing them user loyalty and potential revenue.

Take the Xbox: a $4 billion dollar loss. People can get up and shout "But they're number 2 in console sales", but they have lost $4 billion dollars, and it doesn't seem like they're going to do any better this time. Already the 360 in Japan has been a flop (even interesting looking games like "99 Nights" hasn't helped, through perhaps "Lost Planet" and "Blue Dragon" (if I got the name right) might help), their Xbox lead made users irritated by claiing that "nobody cares about backwards compatibility", a stance that he had to back pedal from as fast as possible. Then again, Sony's trying to figure out how to shoot their foot while sticking it in their mouth at the same time, so maybe they have a chance unless the Wii is as cool as people expect it to. But the Xbox division seems intent on "dominating" the gaming industry. As a counterpoint, look at Nintendo: 3rd place (whenever you take out the handhelds, which I never understand why people ignore), but profitable - and they don't care about being "first", just in making money on every sale.

Cable TV chasing, application server in big iron areas that hasn't panned out - it just seems like Microsoft's just throwing darts at a board, from what seems like an infinite supply of darts supplied by the Office and Windows monopoly. But if Google chips a little bit there, Apple a little bit there, all of the sudden bleeding money doesn't seem like a good idea.

My recommendation: they focus on what will make them money, not what will get them power. My father once made a comment that Bill Gates is intent on keeping Larry Ellison the 2nd richest man in the world (or in that area) by not porting MS SQL Server to Linux, Solaris, OS X, and everything else that they can. What if MS Office was *truly* ported to OS X (including true Outlook support instead of the "almost but close" version), with MS Project and Visio, and on Linux?

Instead of trying to make the world "support our monopoly", new leadership at Microsoft could focus on "what makes money?" Yes, there is a danger in making, say, SQL and Office for OS X and Linux, because that would potentially decrease the Windows desktop sales. But at the same time, it could ensure that if Windows ever goes away, they still have a steady source of income in the future - and it could make them a lot of money now.

It's a hard change to go from "We dominate the PCs, leverage that dominance and protect it" to "What do our customers want, and how can we fill that gap". Windows dominance has worked so well for so long, that I don't think MS can chance until that dominance is truly challenged. If Apple gets some sort of DarWine system working, if Vista keeps getting delayed, if Google actually makes the OS not matter - MS could be in trouble.

Granted, the odds are, nothing's going to happen to MS. People have predicted their demise for years, and I don't see things changing for them for 10 years. On the other hand, you never know when that "next big thing" that blows away the current generation is. If MS starts altering their plans now, I believe they can have insurance against the next "big thing", not by trying to dominate it, but by having a culture that decides that no matter what comes up, they work with it.

Of course, this is just my opinion - I could be wrong.

a recipe for microsoft (2, Interesting)

Danathar (267989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548250)

Although I HATE giving advice to MS..here it goes.

1. Get out of the OS biz!

2. License the Windows API's and other protocols that have practically become de-facto standards to ANY os vendor that wants to use it in their OS. Charge a per/seat license that is similar to the cost of windows now.

In one fell swoop windows apps would still be what people use/develop (for the most part) and they would not have to worry about all the security headaches the OS has given them. They can make the same amount of money by charging the OS vendors. Linux vendors would give users the option of buying windows application compatibility and I'm sure Apple would as well.

Real issue is stock options (3, Interesting)

OscarGunther (96736) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548281)

Today's WSJ noted that Microsoft backdated its monthly stock option issues from 1992 to 1999 to coincide with its stock's monthly lows. While not strictly illegal, depending on how it was accounted for, the practice was quietly discontinued in 1999 and it's stinky in the current regulatory climate. This should come as no more of a shock than Jeff Skilling's abrupt retirement from Enron. Not saying the two are even remotely related in substance or gravity, but such departures usually happen for a reason that isn't good. Also, given the company's current malaise, it might be a good idea for the current leadership to step aside and let some fresh faces take a crack at running the company.

Missed opportunities? (4, Informative)

joshv (13017) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548305)

"Gates deserves blame for missing the wave of Web-based software that has propelled Google and Yahoo."

Yes, instead they concentrated on making software people actually pay good money for. Google and Yahoo have revenue based for the most part on ads. MS is not in the ad business, though I am sure they sell a few on MSN, it's not really what they are good at.

MS didn't 'miss the wave', they just continued to make their spectacularly successful products even better, and made a lot of money in the process.

I am certainly glad that the google's and the yahoo's of the world exert competitive pressure on MS, which helps it overcome its monopolistic inertial. But this impetus is best directed towards adopting and innovating in its core business however. Leave search to google, but if Google Office has some interesting ideas, by all means, MS should use them, improve on them, and hopefully come up with innovative new ideas in an effort to best Google.

Please Noooooooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548307)


I do windows for a living!

(hey, that story is from the "insert-cheap-chair-throwing-joke-here" department, remember?...)

Chair manufacturers however... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15548309)

are saddenned by the loss of their favourite customer

Steve Ballmer is Microsoft (4, Interesting)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15548370)

As Steve has gotten older and fatter, so has the company. As Ballmer's temper and desire to kick has been moderated by exposure, so has the company lost its edge. When I worked at Microsoft, the company was all about beating the snot out of the competition. Now, winning doesnt seem to be the goal anymore. Its all about growth, benefits, process and PR. Ballmer used to stock the halls screaming, "Oh, you WILL ship, or you wont be here!" Now, from what I hear, its more like "Oh, please ship on time, okay guys?" Mark L. got it right, they cant ship anymore. Vista is a fucking disaster, whether it ships or not. Today is the first day in 20 years that I dont own a share of Microsoft stock. If Microsoft is going to change, they should put J. Allard in charge.
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