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Scoble Bites The Hand That Fed Him

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the define-sucks dept.

Microsoft 178

An anonymous reader writes "The Times Online points out a post that Robert Scoble, former Microsoft blogger, put up on his site recently. In essence, Scoble has moved 180 degrees from his former blogging tone, saying that 'Microsoft Sucks'. More specifically, he is highly critical of Microsoft's online policy. In Scoble's words: 'Microsoft's Internet execution sucks (on whole). Its search sucks. Its advertising sucks (look at that last post again). If that's in it to win then I don't get it. ... Microsoft isn't going away. Don't get me wrong. They have record profits, record sales, all that. But on the Internet? Come on. This isn't winning. Microsoft: stop the talk. Ship a better search, a better advertising system than Google, a better hosting service than Amazon, a better cross-platform Web development ecosystem than Adobe, and get some services out there that are innovative (where's the video RSS reader? Blog search? Something like Yahoo's Pipes? A real blog service? A way to look up people?) That's how you win.'"

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yeah, but Windows is still better than Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399299)

Linux is free but people still use Windows. Shows how good linux is when you can't even give it away.

It's a trap! (5, Insightful)

pinky99 (741036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399301)

...former MS blogger... How obviuos must it be?

Re:It's a trap! (2, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399403)

1. Ex-blogger says MSSucks(TM).

2. MS upgrades from "failing stragegy" to "doomed stragey II".

3. Ex-blogger says "doomed stragey II" has "put Google on notice".

4. Profit!!!

I'm not sure if it's completely obvious, after all - step three is normally expressed as "???".

Re:It's a trap! (3, Funny)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399627)

In fact it happened something just like that with Paul Thurrott and WGA [slashdot.org]
Besides, is anybody gonna trust one guy whose name begins with "SCO" anymore? :)

Dunno about trap (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399445)

Dunno about trap, or it's just that MS no longer pays him to do PR.

It's funny how a lot of people previously were taking it as the truth, _whole_ truth, and nothing but the truth, just because he's such a hip blogger. I even remember getting modded down and getting some annoyed responses before, when I pointed out that it was his paid job to show the good parts only. "Noo, it must be all spontaneous and 100% the complete uncensored, unbiased picture, because he says so! He's so hip and irreverent that he even bravely told Ballmer to write a memo that's good for PR! He said that MS lets him write whatever he wants, good or bad, so if he doesn't show anything bad, surely nothing bad exists at MS." Not an exact quote, because I'm too lazy to search for the thread right now, but that was the general gist of it.

Now it turns out that when his paycheck no longer depends on MS, he suddenly discovers some bad things about MS too. Who would have imagined that?

So let me just say again, to everoyne: Look folks, do exercise some healthy skepticism when a conflict of interest is _that_ blatant. When people's paychecks depend on the King (or CEO, or whatever) liking what they write, there's rarely even a need to put an explicit "thou shalt present me as the Messiah" clause in their contract. Either they figure it out on their own (like this guy seems to), or natural selection takes care of it.

You can see that from ancient times to the present day. From the Pharaoh's scribes in the Old Kingdom to Pravda (or Faux News) journalists in the 20'th century to paid corporate PR/astroturfing/whatever, the same theme is there: the Pharaoh/Emperor/King/Beloved President/CEO/whatever is nothing short of perfect, and the enemy/competition/etc are a bunch of vampires or sloped-forehead orcs. And that those who didn't figure out that that's what's expected from them, found themselves "restructured" out. (Though, depending on the time and place, that could mean more fun HR personnel management methods, like beaheading, feeding someone to the crocodiles, or putting them at the top of a sharp stake. How's that for upwards mobility in the organization?;)

And that when you're interviewed by the CEO's/president's/etc personal pet PR guy, you put on your best smiling face and proclaim yourself happier than a dog in a cat show. When the guys from Pravda came to Ivan Ivanovich's door, what do you think Ivan said? "Oh, I'm so unhappy under the communist party's rule"? Heh. Most of those interviews weren't scripted either, just everyone knew that it's not like it would even make it to print if they don't say what's expected of them. So what makes anyone think that when Ballmer's personal blogger entered someone's office anything fundamentally different happened?

Briefly, take your infos from less biased sources.

Re:Dunno about trap (4, Funny)

pinky99 (741036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399465)

Sure, you're completely right. No doubt. I just wanted to grab some "funny" karma points, but, as i got modded as insightful, this tactics clearly didn't work out...

Re:Dunno about trap (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401033)

I just wanted to grab some "funny" karma points
I don't think Slashdot's karma system gives karma for "funny" posts, only "insightful" and the like.

Re:Dunno about trap (4, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399553)

Maybe I've just had my fill of spindoctoring - especially as I live in the UK and have Blair et al to content with but these days I tend to warm to and give my business to firms who admit they make errors.

If something goes wrong, I don't want it spun to the nth degree to make it look like a good thing or to cover a CEO's back so they can be sure of their bonus. I want it to say what happened and what they're doing to fix it.

While we're at it, most CEO's bonus's are based around them being able to lie and mislead as much as possible - they're petrified of admitting to any sort of failure or error. That is a crazy situation. They should earn it for doing a good job, not their ability to hide a bad one.

Re:Dunno about trap (2, Interesting)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399753)

This sort of thing has been going on for many years. A lot of people to place more trust in an organisation who will admit their errors, but the majority perfer to live blind. That is, they will trust a company that doesn't admit any error, in the blind faith belief that they must have never committed any errors. To think overwise is to admit that companies are human (or at least made of humans), and most people would prefer to not admit that. So it can backfire.

Also, as a pessimist, you end up with companies admitting some small errors, but not the major ones.

Re:Dunno about trap (1)

linguizic (806996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400691)

I think part of the problem is the culture that has arisen out of branding. Once you create a culture where a company's public image isn't the product but an ideal you have to jump through hoops to maintain that ideal. Take Nike for instance, if they admitted that their shoes cause cuticle cancer then their "Just Do It" brand identity would get re-branded "Just don't it" or some counter brand that's actually clever.

Wanna trade? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18401709)

Maybe I've just had my fill of spindoctoring - especially as I live in the UK and have Blair et al to content with but these days I tend to warm to and give my business to firms who admit they make errors.


I'll take Blair over Bush any day of the week.

Bush is so stupid, he doesn't even know when he's spinning.

The enemies of ancient egypt were orcs and vampire (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399601)

The enemies of ancient egypt were orcs and vampires? There you have it gentlemen, the proof that education through games is a bad idea.

What? Wrong story? Oh.

Well, okay, so what you take half a page to say is, "follow the money". Okay got it.

But what you really should say is this. Be doubtfull of a person who disagrees with you but be suspicious as hell when a person agrees with you.

In that light, "just what is your game bud, who is paying you eh!"

Re:Dunno about trap (2, Funny)

blowdart (31458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399675)

Briefly, take your infos from less biased sources.

You're new to slashdot then?

Re:Dunno about trap (3, Insightful)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399691)

I think the part...."no longer pays him to do PR." kind of makes this a non story. I mean YE FLIPPIN GODS.....he's NOT biting the had that feeds (that fed....FED him). He no longer works for Microsoft. So who gives a rats ass that he says something bad about Microsoft. It's also not the first time! He's been making comments about Vista since it came out (which he still wasn't working for Microsoft then) and the comments have not all been good. So what I want to kno eis why the hell did this story get posted? Because it's going to generate page views on Slashdot. That's it. Hell it got me to post and all of you too.

I agree, just one comment to add (4, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399917)

Just because his paycheck is no longer coming from M$ he didn't become significantly more reliable. Who knows, he might get paid from elsewhere. Or just writes the crap out of spite. Once compromised, ever compromised.

Re:I agree, just one comment to add (2, Insightful)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401003)

Just because his paycheck is no longer coming from M$ he didn't become significantly more reliable.
You aren't paying attention. He's slamming Microsoft now; this makes him 100% reliable...almost saintly in fact (and if you still disagree...please take a moment to look at which site you are currently reading).

Re:I agree, just one comment to add (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401887)

He's slamming Microsoft now; this makes him 100% reliable
I am sure there are some who feel this way. But there are things that Microsoft does that are just plain laughable. Have you EVER used msn.com? I can do a google search and go to the best result in the time it takes to load msn.com. When I do use msn (in a give-em-one-more-chance mood) it sucks.

Also, Microsoft's web presence is quite horrid. You cannot find ANYTHING on their website, and its dirt slow. I remmeber one time I wanted to download media player 11, went to the site, and had to spend literally three minutes finding the download page. That is an eternity in web terms.

A while ago there was talk about Microsoft not allowing employees to use Google at work. That's what happens when you don't know the competition, you don't even know if there is something better out there. Microsoft probably thinks their search, site, etc are just fine. When I use it, I sit there thinking "they have to know this is bad, right?"

Microsoft makes some damn fine IDEs (Visual Studio and SQL Server tools are great). What they need to do is stick with their strengths. Hire someone else to do your search / site. In the spirit of "if you can't beat em, join em", they should use Google search for their site. You can't be the best at everything. Microsoft needs to realize that.

Re:I agree, just one comment to add (1)

Danse (1026) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401833)

Just because his paycheck is no longer coming from M$ he didn't become significantly more reliable. Who knows, he might get paid from elsewhere. Or just writes the crap out of spite. Once compromised, ever compromised.

How about we just read what he has to say and then decide for ourselves whether his claims hold any water? Would that work too?

Had to...and it's actually relevant... (2, Insightful)

ari wins (1016630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400265)

Look folks, do exercise some healthy skepticism when a conflict of interest is _that_ blatant. When people's paychecks depend on the King (or CEO, or whatever) liking what they write, there's rarely even a need to put an explicit "thou shalt present me as the Messiah" clause in their contract. Either they figure it out on their own (like this guy seems to), or natural selection takes care of it. In Soviet Russia, Putin takes care of you!

Re:It's a trap! (1)

Bamafan77 (565893) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401631)

Emporer Gates: It was I who allowed you to know have Robert Scoble. I assure you we are quite safe here in Redmond from your pathetic little band.

Who does microsoft execs listen to? (1)

Umuri (897961) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399305)

When you have the microsoft fanboys and employees complaining or pointing out problems, you have to wonder exactly WHO does microsoft ask for opinions and ideas of why their products aren't doing well?

Monkeys on typewriters?

Re:Who does microsoft execs listen to? (2, Funny)

adnonsense (826530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399345)

No doubt it was Microsoft who sponsored this particular piece of research [bbc.co.uk] .

Re:Who does microsoft execs listen to? (0)

linguizic (806996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400709)

They didn't use enough monkeys and they didn't give them enough time.

Re:Who does microsoft execs listen to? (4, Interesting)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399367)

When you have the microsoft fanboys and employees complaining or pointing out problems, you have to wonder exactly WHO does microsoft ask for opinions and ideas of why their products aren't doing well?

Monkeys on typewriters?
Traditionally Microsoft hasn't asked anybody when their products weren't doing well. They simply set about either making life so difficult for any competitor and users of his products that the competitor's market share dwindled down to almost nothing or they simply eliminated the competition altogether which forced the consumers to buy Microsoft products. Whenever they couldn't do either of those two things their products often fail. Microsoft products comparatively rarely seem to enjoy huge success on their own merits. I'll admit that despite all the hullablaloo about the demise of Netscape IE was a better browser than Netscape 4.x. Not that IE was anything to cheer over, somewhere between versions 3 and 4 it simply began to suck less than Netscape did. Of course nowadays IE is pretty much beaten by Firefox and Safari (at least IMHO). The MS Office pack is also a fairly good product, after c.a. Office 97 or so it actually became usable for something more than writing letters and short essays!! Their OS and Server products, however, have generally either sucked or been uninspiring at best and their databases are nothing special. It remains to be seen how they do on the Mobile Phone market with their Windows Mobile where they compete against Mobile Phone OS products like Symbian and Linux, and the digital Music/Media market where they are up against the iPod. MS seems to be doing fairly well on the game console market although they haven't exactly succeeded in assimilating it completely into their collective.

Re:Who does microsoft execs listen to? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399463)

Not that I'm one to wave the MS banner but they did/do have usability labs.

And I'm sure they didn't spend their time watching people struggle to install Dr.Dos.

Re:Who does microsoft execs listen to? (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399387)

Monkeys on typewriters?

Oh, I got it: monkeys with frickin' typewriters attached to their heads!

Really people, it would explain a lot!

Re:Who does microsoft execs listen to? (5, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399785)

When you have the microsoft fanboys and employees complaining or pointing out problems, you have to wonder exactly WHO does microsoft ask for opinions and ideas of why their products aren't doing well?

I have heard some read Slashdot. If they do, I can toss out a suggestion.. Don't sell the boxed version at an order of magnitude more than the OEM version. My older hardware has been getting upgrades to Linux because the upgrade cycle does not make sense for the software. A $650 PC should not need a Multi-Hundred dollar copy of XP Pro and $400 copy of Office.

After being given a Power Point presentation to show for a guest speaker, the Office 2000 on the Windows 2000 laptop presented the text a page at a time instead of a bullet at a time. Instead of spending lots of money for a software upgrade, I tried the same presentation on the same laptop running Ubuntu with Open Office. It worked like a charm. If MS Office was a $40 upgrade, I may have considered it. Due to the many versions, Professional, Small Office, Standard, & Home and Student, I figured a full upgrade was too expensive when an alternative works fine.

Wake up and smell the coffee. You have new neighbors and they are setting up shop in your back yard. Monopoly pricing and high priced retail versions are on their way to a dead end.

Just for the record, 3 of my older PC's now have Ubuntu. I only get a new version of a MS OS on new hardware. There is no reason to spend big bucks on a software upgrade.

don't encourage them please... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399307)

...i just can't wait for Microsoft to fuck off and die.

And Ballmer's response? (4, Funny)

jkrise (535370) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399331)

It appears you are angry and agitated. Here, take this chair!

Re:And Ballmer's response? (3, Funny)

armomurha (1056282) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399475)

Did you mean: Chairman Ballmer

Re:And Ballmer's response? (0)

ashwinds (743227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399715)

It appears you are angry and agitated. Here, take this chair!
.... and that will open up new vistas..

Re:And Ballmer's response? (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399811)

in communist microsoft balls chair back on to you, korea base grits inconsidering !

Re:Are you implying something? (2, Funny)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399819)

If you keep throwing chairs, one day you'll break windows....

Are you implying somehow that Windows isn't broken?

Thanks, I'll be here all week.

Re:And Ballmer's response? (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401685)

You have been offered a free chair.
        [Accept] or [Cancel]?

MS Profits on Ignorance (4, Insightful)

PO1FL (1074923) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399363)

Frankly, I think the average consumer is intimidated by a perceived need for serious technical know-how to be able use just about anything other than MS (with the exception of Mac). Others probably aren't even aware of anything other than Microsoft and Mac.

Re:MS Profits on Ignorance (1)

linguizic (806996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400849)

Others probably aren't even aware of anything other than Microsoft and Mac.
I think for now that's not an issue. Until I can put Ubuntu on my laptop and have it automagically support my wifi card and the proper screen resolution for my screen I won't be recommending it to the lay. The average user should not have to bother with config files. This being said, I don't recommend Windows either, for now Mac OS X is the best operating system for average use. Though I personally love it, I can see why some people don't, but Windows is not a viable alternative and for the moment Ubuntu isn't either (it hurts me to say that b/c I really do love Ubuntu. Given a few more years development I think it will probably be the best desktop solution).

Re:MS Profits on Ignorance (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401811)

Frankly, I think the average consumer is intimidated by a perceived need for serious technical know-how to be able use just about anything other than MS

Actually, I would argue the average consumer is intimidated by any software regardless of who makes it. Secondly, they most likely really don't know how to use Windows/Office as enough to get by to what they specifically want to do (surf, email, write printed letters).

The only reason most consumers use what software they use is because either:

A.) It came with the computer
B.) It was on the shelf at Best Buy/Stapes/Target/Walmart.
C.) Their relative/friend gave them a "copy"

Seeing that Windows and MS Office apply to all 3 rather easily it is a no brainier to why it is successful. It isn't that people are too familiar with MS products so much that they are unwilling to move on, but rather there is really no need.

Of these three reasons... Only C provides the opportunity for Linux and Open Office if they happen to have a relative/friend who is in the "know".

Best said from the outside (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399375)

Its the kind of thing people promise themselves and their co-workers they are going to say after they leave. Its good for the people still there, and its good in the long term for any stock you own in your previous employer.

Yes, he is bad mouthing them, but its not like he is posting their private bug database on bittorrent. And Microsoft might be better for it.

Aw poor Scoble (1, Interesting)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399379)

Looks like he's spitting the dummy now that he is out of the loop. MS are not a search company, MS dont want to be a search company but as is the way when you are a perceived are the dominant IT player you must be seen to 'compete' with all the 'upstarts' to keep the share holders happy, so your business heads gob off about how stupid the opposition business heads are. I think most people are going to be very surprised when they realise where MS see their future and while they are currently getting slaughtered in many sections of the press over Vista they are quietly laying the ground work for the next phase, which is largely why there has been so little reaction from Redmond to the adverse press.

Re:Aw poor Scoble (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399447)

MS are not a search company, MS dont want to be a search company but as is the way when you are a perceived are the dominant IT player you must be seen to 'compete' with all the 'upstarts' to keep the share holders happy, so your business heads gob off about how stupid the opposition business heads are.

Even for the dominant player, it does not make sense to try and compete with everyone. And many large corporations in other areas don't (do you see Daimler-Chrysler making extremely cheap cars? or Boeing making little sports planes?). I think this is a case of Microsoft hubris rather than necessity.

Re:Aw poor Scoble (4, Informative)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399485)

Even for the dominant player, it does not make sense to try and compete with everyone. And many large corporations in other areas don't (do you see Daimler-Chrysler making extremely cheap cars? or Boeing making little sports planes?). I think this is a case of Microsoft hubris rather than necessity.
You picked a bad example there, Daimler are the luxury arm of Chrysler who are a major brand who feel compelled to compete in several car markets as with Ford, owners of Jaguar and Aston Martin (which they have just sold). While they both produce sports cars to compete in NASCAR and rallying etc, they are not racing companies but their presence on the start line boosts the brand image as a whole. And as for Boeing, they do a lot of subcontracting for the military and NASA. Again not their primary business but a good selling point for the multi billion dollar deals.

Re:Aw poor Scoble (1)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400195)

You've got the wrong end of that stick. Daimler bought Chrysler, not the other way around; and now they are desperately trying to find anyone foolish enough to relieve them of the burden.

Re:Aw poor Scoble (1)

cbelle13013 (812401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400789)

Ummm.... Chrysler is the profitable division at Mercedes right now, they want to sell because it hurts their national pride that the American "brand" is making money and is more reliable than the last few years of Mercedes Benz vehicles.

Re:Aw poor Scoble (2, Interesting)

pionzypher (886253) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399543)

Are [earthtimes.org] you [pcadvisor.co.uk] sure [arstechnica.com] about [msn.com] that?

Seriously, MS still envies google in that area. For all the hot air Ballmer spews about googles' "cute" apps, and how their hire rate is "insane".... MS has lost this round of the search match, they're not able to compete. Look at the emphasis they've put on it. Why pay people to use windows live if you don't care? Microsoft is becoming the one thing that Bill Gates hoped he'd never see.... a lumbering behemoth not dissimilar to the old IBM. They are having diffifulty keeping up with the present, just look at vista for connfirmation. (Disclaimer: I don't mind vista).

But vista brings forth features that I've had in linux for years. gkrellm does a great job as a sidebar, without the resource usage. The latter part of... scratch that.... MOST OF XP's cycle was spent chasing holes and vulnerabilities.

I like vista, and see it being fairly well adoped in a few years time. But it's not a forward looking technology, just as Live Search isn't forward looking. They care, but there isn't much they can do about it besides pay people to use it.

Re:Aw poor Scoble (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399671)

Microsoft know that Vista is unspectacular, the licensing revenue will keep them in business until they crap out lungburn. They're quite prepared for Vista to get a cold reception if the marketing blitz for their next release will have more impact. I don't buy that what we see in Microsoft is a company that has gradually lost sight of what its customers actually want; they've always been adversarial. Additionally, Microsoft have held back development of key technologies a decade or more, kill competition and you kill the incentive for innovation.

What we are seeing now is a widespread understanding that it is advantageous for everyone that Microsoft be restrained. We are fortunate that competing products have been slipping through the cracks in Microsoft's armor. These products and Microsoft's lackluster offerings make a stronger case against Microsoft than zealotry and criticism ever did.

Re:Aw poor Scoble (1)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399747)

Newsflash: MS shares are in a downhill slide, and the stock has underperformed the market for a DECADE.

The shareholders AREN'T happy.

Re:Aw poor Scoble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18401823)

Hey, I learned something new today! I hadn't heard the phrase "spitting the dummy" before. Thanks!

(must have been the most productive part of my day so far!)

http://warriordoc.com/aussie_words.htm#Spit%20the% 20dummy [warriordoc.com]

I don't think they can (5, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399383)

I know this is absolutely begging to be modded Troll, but let's get real for a minute.

The web's been around a few years now. While they were late in recognising it, Microsoft have been taking the Internet seriously since before Google left Stanford University.

IMO, if Microsoft were able to develop "better search than Google.... better hosting than Amazon..." - they'd have done so long ago. As it stands, they can't even implement searching in their own OS (certainly not in XP - even with the Search addon, it's trivially easy to dig out something which returns zero results when it patently shouldn't) - and they've got far more control over that than Google has over the Internet.

Fact is, Microsoft's business plan has never been "build a better OS/office suite/mousetrap". It's been "build one that's good enough and market it as being better". But such marketing doesn't work so well in the Internet age because it's much easier to find out how much truth there is behind it, and AFAICT Microsoft still haven't worked that one out.

Re:I don't think they can (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399499)

Microsoft have been taking the Internet seriously since before Google left Stanford University.

Have they? I havn't seen much fabled "innovation" coming from Microsoft on the internet. They only take it seriously where it could threaten their traditional revenue streams, not because they have any interesting or innovative ideas that could make the internet a better place. The internet threatened to be an open network that anyone could play on, Microsoft tried to get people to use MSN instead. Netscape threatened to make the web, a killer application, platform-neutral: Microsoft made sure they killed it with Internet Explorer and ActiveX. Standard compliant email servers threatened to make email platform neutral; Microsoft push Exchange and Outlook with gratuitous incompatibilities and a lack of open standards. When Google were just a search engine Microsoft let them be; when Google started to become an on-line application provider, Microsoft suddenly begin to roll out technology to counter the threat to their Office and Windows revenue. Let's not forget the whole early ".NET will revolutionise the entire internet once we work out what it is!" marketing circus that amounted to nothing.

Microsoft talk big, deliver little and focus all their energy on crushing any threat to their income streams.

Re:I don't think they can (5, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399581)

Have they? I havn't seen much fabled "innovation" coming from Microsoft on the internet
Oh, I don't know. They really did turn on a dime and go all out Internet around the time of Win95. In a space of 6 months they went from no Internet to Internet enabling just about every product they had. Taking it seriously wasn't their problem.

What was their problem was 'getting it'. They added 'Internet' but didn't understand what or why so most of it was of no real use to anyone. The fact that they seriously thought they could puish MSN as a better and quite seperate Internet shows how wide of reality they were. I remember trying it out when it first went live - tons of unique content, online magazines, software etc but all quite seperate to the rest of the world. Sort of AOL without access to the Internet. Quite crazy.

Re:I don't think they can (2, Insightful)

rbochan (827946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400117)

...In a space of 6 months they went from no Internet to Internet enabling just about every product they had. Taking it seriously wasn't their problem...

Which partially, if not totally, explains their godawful security track record. "Security" isn't something you can download or bolt-on.

Re:I don't think they can (4, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399783)

Fact is, Microsoft's business plan has never been "build a better OS/office suite/mousetrap". It's been "build one that's good enough and market it as being better".
More recently, they added the "do everything to maintain the Windows monopoly" strategy. This is in fact why Microsoft cannot "Ship [...] a better cross-platform web development ecosystem than Adobe", as Scoble would suggest they do. Cross-platform? Never.

Cross-platform tools are always created by Microsoft's competitors, not Microsoft. Java is cross-platform, .Net isn't (despite even Mono). Firefox is cross-platform, IE isn't. And so on and so forth.

Scoble suggesting Microsoft do something 'cross-platform' is a sign of ignorance, I would say.

Re:I don't think they can (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400155)

More recently, they added the "do everything to maintain the Windows monopoly" strategy.

True. I was talking about historically.

I'm not sure Microsoft are still capable of changing direction quickly. Certainly there's been no evidence of it for some years. Without that ability, I think they'll do what IBM did - start looking more and more likely to render themselves obsolete until sooner or later a new person comes in at the top, makes major changes and reinvents the company. (Actually, I'm rather looking forward to the period just before that happens - I don't think we can truly say we're in it until such time as the Windows monoculture is well and truly dead - as I think it will herald a whole lot more innovation in IT)

Re:I don't think they can (2, Insightful)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400277)

As it stands, they can't even implement searching in their own OS (certainly not in XP - even with the Search addon, it's trivially easy to dig out something which returns zero results when it patently shouldn't)
There are a few reasons for this:

Their XP search tool (and the search tool add-on), rely heavily on the Indexing Service to be run before the search tool is used (and continuously thereafter).

Another reason is that (in particular) the case with system files and other files deemed "important" by MS, they were attributed with an extra "Secret" flag, that the search tools and indexing service were programmed to skip over/ignore. The same thing happens when you use the Find function in the Registry editor, certain key types won't be found because of the way the searching function was programmed. It also happens from a "Command Line Window" to the "DOS" subsystem. Even if you use the DIR command, it will refuse to show you certain files, even if you remove the hidden flag from every file on the disk.

This was all done intentionally, to supposedly "protect" the end-user from themselves. Heck, if you want something really frustrating, just try removing all of the attribute flags (especially the read-only) flags from the files in the C:\Windows and its subfolders once...always fun to use attrib or even by doing it from the GUI, only to find the OS has automagically reset them back to what they were before you changed them :)

Re:I don't think they can (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400703)

I've got a file here which isn't secret, existed before the indexing tool was run and still isn't found after running it.

I know one anecdote isn't data, but please don't imagine I haven't taken account of that. I have.

Its too late (1, Interesting)

el_jake (22335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399405)

MS time to market sucks. They are too late, they slept during the bigest internet ekspansion. Its all invented. There last option is to buy there competitors or change focus to operating system development. Even VISTA is late and feels not as smooth as OS X.
There only advantage is the huge amount of customer base, who are using there current platform. I think its over. The MS ship is going down, slowly.

Re:Its too late (5, Funny)

ixnaay (662250) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399577)

Its nice to see that the 'hooked on phonics' kids are growing up and posting on slashdot

Re:Its too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399849)

True. But he does get a cookie for spelling 'too' correctly. Of course, I'm sure that was unintentional.

Re:Its too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18400793)

Even choosing randomly between "to", "too" and "two", you're bound to get lucky 33% of the time.

Re:Its too late (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18401533)

Lighten up. English is obviously not this person's native language.

Oh come on (1)

konijn (247004) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399429)

He's not biting. He cares.

Hah! (2, Funny)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399477)

Well done Mr, you've just said what the rest of the IT industry has been saying for years!

Re:Hah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399855)

you've just said what the rest of the IT industry has been saying for years

And yet, this is "news" on slashdot. BFD.

In there to 'win'? (2, Interesting)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399501)

That's the problem with Microsoft, they are so obsessed with winning that they forgot that in the end, they are a service company, and in a service company you serve your customers, not yourself! Stop wanting to take over existing markets on the Internet and start creating yourselves new Internet markets. About any Internet company I think of that has been successful has brought a new experience to it's customers: eBay, Amazon, Yahoo, Google, Youtube, ... they all had a compelling reason for customers to use their service.

On Internet you need 2 things to be successful, and Idea and money for development/marketing. They definitely have the money, all they need is NEW ideas to use their money on.

No one can describe it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399503)

From the article:

What Windows Live lacks, specifically, is an identity. No one can describe it, no one from Microsoft has even tried.
Those words remind me of .Net, when it was first announced... back before it became just a framework for Windows apps.

Re:No one can describe it (4, Insightful)

linuxci (3530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399519)

Yeah, I remember everything at one time was going to be branded .NET. Didn't MSN Messenger become .NET Messenger for a while and now is Windows Live Messenger (but most people still call it MSN). Eventually if Windows Live is a failure you can see that name quietly disappear too.

Microsoft seem king of the pick a lame name and promote it strategy. I think they'd have been better sticking with the established MSN and improving it beyond recognition.

Re:No one can describe it (5, Interesting)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399607)

Yeah, they should set for one name and develop that, I guess they wanted to tie their web apps more to their desktop apps to give a sense of familiarity... But the worse part is even when they try to completely change their services, they still can't do it right.

Just look at their email. I have windows vista on another partition (for specialized programs that don't run on linux), well, it comes with Windows Mail. They changed their MSN/Hotmail service and you can download your mails on your desktop, great! So it's simple right, just use their new mail product to connect to the hotmail server... well NO! See their new Mail program is not 'Live' branded, so you need to download another Windows Mail, namely Windows Live Mail Desktop to use your hotmail on your desktop. And that new program logs in _before_ you can see your programs. How many mail apps do I need? And why do I have to sign in on MSN to read my other mail accounts?

And once you have installed Windows Live Mail Desktop, well it sets itself as the default program for reading your mails through windows live messenger. Worse part, it doesn't even work well with windows live messenger, since you usually have to delete mails in order for the number of mail notifications to be updated correctly!

All this money invested in locking customers into their live branded parts, such a waste! Instead of pouring money in 2 different programs, pour twice as much money in 1 and just set hotmail to work with pop/imap. Right now Microsoft has 3 completely independent email clients, 3! And none have actually been developed together, how stupid is this?

Re:No one can describe it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399697)

Use something else [mozdev.org]

Microsoft are the McDonalds of software and consumers are learning to eat more healthily.

Scoble never got it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399523)

Microsoft don't do innovation. They'll clone competitors products as soon as these emerging markets are making returns. Once they have a handle on a market segment, they use every dirty trick to dominate with complete disregard for antitrust law.

Scoble's in denial if he puts it any other way.

There is not bad PR...? (1)

ezh (707373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399533)

So what? M$ has realized that not many are willling to read only glorified blog posts about MS products. You have to have some so-called 'rebels'. At the same time, despite all the criticism, it looks that the author still sucks up to M$. In which case the whole thing is nothing more than yet another PR stunt.

What I don't understand in this case is what the hell this post is doing on /. ? You'd better give us some more about how much better Ubuntu is comparing to SuSe and we can have our holy war ourselves. Forget M$, this dying dinosaur...

Re:There is not bad PR...? (3, Interesting)

bateleur (814657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399709)

You'd better give us some more about how much better Ubuntu is comparing to SuSe

That's an interesting thing about Microsoft and Google, though, isn't it? After years of Microsoft-vs-Linux and occasional Microsoft-vs-Apple a lot of the geek tribal mindshare now seems to have shifted across to cheering for Google.

I consider myself a Linux fanboi in general, but the more time passes the more I find myself losing interest in OS wars and caring more about applications. Quite frequently I boot my desktop machine into Windows XP and spend the day mostly running Firefox, emacs and Cygwin because it's easier that way than trying to run the occasional Windows-only app on Debian (via Wine or whatever).

So if it's all about applications now it becomes clearer why Google are so popular. Search, mail, maps, documents... a lot of their stuff seems well designed and easy to use. Oh, plus it's cleverly funded so I don't pay anything. Compare with MS Office which is expensive, bloated and often hard to use.

yes, welcome to the ginternet of the future... (1)

ezh (707373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401513)

with google search, gmail, gmaps, gphone, gspots (wireless ones), gapps we are all heading full ahead to the greatest g of them ever - ginternet.

i, for one, gwelcome our gnew goverlords!

eh, /... what you have turned me into...

That's never been their plan (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399535)

Release better products? Compete on product quality? That's not the Microsoft way...
Do you really think they will spend all that money and effort to produce better products than google/yahoo/etc ?
No, they will leverage their desktop monopoly to push their search. Their search engine may be crap, just like IE is crap, but when 95% of desktop computers sold comes with their search engine as the default, very few people will ever bother looking for anything better.
Aside from that, how will they find something better when the search engine they use is designed to lock customers in?

About time (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399539)

"In Scoble's words: 'Microsoft's Internet execution sucks (on whole)."

MS was a late comer to the internet and little has changed since they came around. In some ways, you'd think MS has simply been waiting for the internet to peak and go away, so they could get back to having the full attention of users when kool-aid time comes around. Scoble's rant is just more evidence that their business model spanks of a rigidity that mimics the tobacco and music industries (resisting change) where respect for the client isn't even considered, much less demonstrated.

Scoble is going to be slapped around with 'what took you so long to wake up and smell the coffee?' retort so much that I'm surprised he choose that particular route for his dump this time. I want to know what is really behind his new attitude...

Re:About time (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399555)

I want to know what is really behind his new attitude...

Maybe he has a new employer.

Re:About time (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399765)

their business model spanks of a rigidity that mimics the tobacco and music industries (resisting change)

It's only recently that the music industry resisted change. For decades, from sheet music to records to cds, from adults to teenyboppers and back, from live to records to radio to tv, they did just fine. It's only in the Age of the Internet that they've completely shut down.

And the tobacco industry has been one of the most flexible when it comes to maintaining their revenue stream. They're even doing well in the face of nearly universal revilement and smoking bans. Any industry that figures out that putting cartoons on an addictive carcinogen will make sure kids replace their rapidly-dying customers, or that China, South Asia and Africa were going to be much more lucrative than the US ever was cannot be called "rigid".

Both the music industry and big tobacco may be evil in other ways, but they are hardly rigid.

You should write for Cobert (3, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399807)

...business model spanks of a rigidity...

I'm not sure what that means, but I like it anyway. That's right up there with Cobert's "flaccid with anger". Can't wait to be in the middle of a really important high-level meeting and announce some part of the plan "spanks of rigidity."

They'll still be wondering what it means on the plane home. Adding that to my quote tiddler. ---->

All you need to know is (4, Insightful)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399573)

"If you have a technical issue with Microsoft, it's faster to search their database with Google rather than their own search engine" Times Online [timesonline.co.uk] . Get your act together guys!

Re:All you need to know is (1)

LM741N (258038) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400819)

I agree. I recently tried to search about Vista. Its almost like MS doesn't even care about customer support. So I searched Google and at least got some information.

Re:All you need to know is (3, Interesting)

outcast36 (696132) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401509)

MSDN too. If you are a MS developer, just add "site:msdn.microsoft.com" to your google search. Hurray!!!

Re:All you need to know is (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401517)

This also goes for Wikipedia and many more website, although you're right that it looks kind of funny on MS.

Church of Scoble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18399667)

I don't get it... Scoble has built himself up to be the most influential blogger out there and everyone just went with it... I prefer my opinion from those with half a brain and notion of what's going on in the wider scheme of things - someone in the know and in the loop.

I guess I just don't get the whole Church of Scoble thing, either.

Pro-MS (1)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399727)

I think he's fairly pro Microsoft. I mean I am Anti-MS, and when I read this I say: "Yay, go Microsoft! Just go on like that."

Scoble, you missed an important point: (1, Troll)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18399793)

Mediocrity is the new progress.

Ship more useless web apps! (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400103)

Ship a better search, a better advertising system than Google, a better hosting service than Amazon, a better cross-platform Web development ecosystem than Adobe, and get some services out there that are innovative (where's the video RSS reader? Blog search? Something like Yahoo's Pipes? A real blog service? A way to look up people?)

Yeah! More useless web apps! That'll show 'em!

Inaccurate Reporting (-1, Flamebait)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400125)

The Times Online is wrong. Scoble never said Microsoft Sucks. But don't worry Slashdot Editors -- the truth was only revealed/explained two or three days ago. I'm sure you'll catch up sometime in April and retract the inaccurate statement.

http://scobleizer.com/2007/03/16/microsoft-tells-m vps-were-in-it-to-win-really/ [scobleizer.com]

You have to be kidding me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18400179)

I am a Linux Zealot. But I also use Vista and have a Zune. Am I sort of some kind of schitzo?

Before you bash Microsoft please try to use their "CURRENT" (As in Slackware-CURRENT) products before making such flaming statements. A LOT has changed since 1990 friends.

Not Microsofts Fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18400221)

Microsoft: stop the talk. Ship a better search, a better advertising system than Google, a better hosting service than Amazon, a better cross-platform Web development ecosystem than Adobe, and get some services out there that are innovative (where's the video RSS reader? Blog search? Something like Yahoo's Pipes? A real blog service? A way to look up people?) That's how you win.

Hey, you can't blame Microsoft; they've been looking all over the place for small companies who do those things so they can buy them out, but they just haven't been able to find any yet.

mod doD3n (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18400231)

neW faces and many NetBSD user [idge.net] achievements that Troubles of those munches the most

haha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18400345)

I was wondering how long it would take before the advanced minds of the American Linux Fag Coalition would come together with an overwhelmingly thoughtful story tag of "haha"

criticism != biting (3, Insightful)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400363)

While some marketing departments may believe that the only good publicity is good publicity, I don't think that's the case. Microsoft's biggest risk is becoming irrelevant, and even being criticized is better than being ignored. Besides, if the criticism is something fairly obvious, it's not like it's going to be news to people who have actually tried the product.

MS should focus on core (4, Interesting)

halliburton (116075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400591)

MS should focus on its core competency, which is hardware.
Drop all these other side projects like the search engine, the news site, the OS..
Go back to making great mice, keyboards and joysticks.
They used to be the best, and now that they are sidetracked with all these other projects they are losing focus, and it's starting to show.

Train Wreck (2, Informative)

jrentona (989920) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400783)

The truth is that M$ has pretty muched sucked since 2000. It took them a whopping 5 years for them to get XP working properly.

And Vista/Visual Studio 2005 is pretty much a train wreck for C developers. We used to be able to rely on the development environment. In fact, that area was always a significant innovation for these guys. No more. Fire Steve Embalmer before it is too late.

And the evidence just keeps rolling in:
http://www.microsoftweblog.com/2005/11/05/problems -with-visual-studio-2005/ [microsoftweblog.com]

Udell (1)

Kuja (216958) | more than 7 years ago | (#18400979)

Let's see how Jon Udell behave.

Hah (2, Insightful)

Greg_D (138979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401105)

Microsoft didn't make all that money by innovating or being better than their competitors. They made that money by doing a better job of selling their products to their customers.

They still do.

Rikes! (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401115)

Did someone not get their Scobie snack today?

Not Gates vs Ballmer, but Silverburg vs Allchin (1)

LibertineR (591918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401187)

Longtime current and former Microsofties dont see the problem stemming from Ballmer becoming CEO, they see it as the result of Brad Silverburg losing the internal power struggle with Jim Allchin back in 1997. Silverburg had browser responsibilities and was preaching that Microsoft needed to start transitioning to the web in a much more substantial way, including MS Office.

Allchin convinced upwards that Microsoft needed to keep the jewels propriatary, and he won. Silverburg left, and you can trace Microsoft's decline from that very day. I was not a Silverburg acolyte at the time, in fact, I was on Allchin's side. But clearly, we were wrong in a big way. There was no hint of a Google at that time, and the focus was stabbing Lotus Notes in the heart, kicking AOL to the curb, and those little fuckers at Netscape who said they would bury us.

Hindsight is a bitch. Microsoft should hire Silverburg back, put him in a room with Ozzie, and change the company. The stock has done NOTHING for too long. Ballmer, are you reading this? You know its true, tubby.

Timeline of events (-1, Redundant)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401285)

2007-03-19 Scoble posts critique of Microsoft on his blog.
2007-03-20 Scoble gets visit from Ballmer
2007-03-21 Scoble orders new office chairs

About time (3, Funny)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401443)

You are coming to a sad realization.
Cancel or Allow

Allow

Crisis, hunger, and denial (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18401775)

John Kennedy once said:

When written in Chinese the word, "crisis" is composed to two characters. One represents "danger", and the other represents "opportunity".

Microsoft is in crisis, but they are not willing to acknowledge it. It seems to me that they would rather spin everything so that no one notices it. The last time they had a crisis (being late to the Internet and world wide web) they responded admirably.

But that was a different world. These days their monopolistic practices have been exposed. Competitors are not afraid of them. Microsoft is defending too many fronts, many of which they created (Xbox, Windows CE/Mobile, etc.)

More importantly, Microsoft isn't as lean and hungry as they used to be. They are living off the the wealth of Office and Windows income. However in other areas, they have not produced. Windows and Office are their crutches but if those products start to fail, MS has nothing to fall back upon anymore. As with the release of Vista, it is apparent that they have lost focus of their core products. With Office, Microsoft's problem is that older versions of Office are good enough.

A decade ago, Apple faced a similar situation. Except Apple didn't have reserves MS has today. That forced them to get lean. Whole product lines were cut while the company refocused. They scraped their old OS and developed a new one. Some credit Jobs with getting the company's comeback as he was the driving force behind it. Right now, there is no one at MS that seems is doing that. If the recent relevations from Allchin are true, his managers (Ballmer, Gates) are not focused.

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