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Microsoft Trolling for New Acquisitions

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the playing-catch-up dept.

142

NewShinyCD writes "Sources tell Valleywag that startup Ustream.tv is in advanced discussions with Microsoft to acquire the lifecasting service for more than $50 million, but there are other companies in the bidding as well. Ustream is currently raising a very large initial round of VC financing, and Microsoft is attempting to grab them prefunding for a cheap price. Our tipster also mentions that Microsoft would use Ustream as a way to promote its Adobe Flash competitor, Silverlight." Relatedly, Microsoft has also announced their intent to buy Sidekick maker Danger. Financial details of the Danger buyout were not disclosed.

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Wow, that's quite a title. (4, Insightful)

verbalcontract (909922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382294)

I wonder how the person who wrote that title feels about Microsoft?

Next up: "Microsoft cruising seedy bars on the hunt for fresh start-up action."

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (4, Interesting)

abaddononion (1004472) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382350)

Maybe that's a fair point (I'm not saying the title created was unbiased, at all), but I think that this is put into a different perspective in the wake of Microsoft attempting to buy Yahoo, as well.

There's a chance that this sudden surge of purchasing, if it's anything out of the ordinary (maybe it isn't, I don't personally keep close enough tabs on Microsoft acquisitions), is a sign of some sort of desperation on Microsoft's end. Rather than attempting to come up with any further new ideas (something I'm not certain Microsoft has really been interested in for a while now), they just seem to want to buy enough bits and pieces of the industry to increase their foothold.

But then, Im just speculating. Appearances may be deceiving, but this appears to be an indicator that something's up over at M$. I just wonder the impact it will have if they were to go through with all of these acquisitions--including Yahoo--and none of it did them any good. Seems like that'd put a big dent even into Microsoft's daunting coffers.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (4, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382500)

Rather than attempting to come up with any further new ideas (something I'm not certain Microsoft has really been interested in for a while now), they just seem to want to buy enough bits and pieces of the industry to increase their foothold.


Or threatening to sue for "patent infringement" like they did with several linux distros, Mark Shuttleworth gave them the finger...

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382608)

Microsoft haven't been about creating new ideas for a long while now, if they ever were. The interesting change is that, now, rather than buying the best company in a market they want to enter, they are failing to buy the second-best. The thing this really indicates is that the management at Microsoft is no longer able to predict (or control) technology trends accurately enough to buy companies before they can gain a major foothold on the market. I wonder what Larry and Sergei would have said to an offer of a few million from Microsoft in 1999.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1)

qwerty asdf (213799) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382692)

This is them being innovative.

Also, IIRC, they had something like $60billion in cash on hand last time I paid attention; the Yahoo! offer was $44B stock + cash. I think they'll still have gobs of billions left - not that it will necessarily happen, just if ...

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (4, Informative)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382764)

Also, IIRC, they had something like $60billion in cash on hand last time I paid attention;

You haven't been paying attention in quite a while - they have less than $22B. in cash, and even with offering only half-chas and half-stock,they've said they would probably borrow to finance the deal.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383778)

I think it was more like $55 Billion at the time and then they had the stock split and declared a dividend that gave half the reserves away. Based on what I read at the time, and I think the analysts were right, it was a half baked attempt to prop up their stock price. They (MS) were taking a lot of heat for having a stagnant stock price when companies like Google, IBM, HP, Apple etc. were seeing solid appreciation of their shares. I don't think it worked as well as they would have hoped.

I think MS knows that PC software is a mature market and there isn't much they can do to turn it back into a growth industry again. All they have going for them is the upgrade cycle and judging from the Vista numbers that isn't the cash cow it used to be. I also don't think their corporate culture is very conducive to "innovation". They certainly haven't been able to come up with the "next big thing" internally. I think they are pursuing their only hope which is to acquire it. I also think that the odds of acquiring "the next Google" are pretty slim. In my own personal opinion, I think MS would have been much better served by putting all that money into R&D or an "innovation incubator" that allowed for knew thinking and new products that were outside the MS box.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1, Informative)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382708)

Microsoft is continually looking for companies to purchase. They've acquired more than 80 companies since 1994 [microsoft.com] . So they've obviously discussed acquisitions with many times that number of companies. This looks like business as usual.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382808)

Indeed. Add to that the fact that a lot of the old-guard upper level Microsofties are retiring, and it makes sense that their strategies are changing a little with the moves into new markets via purchasing companies - new people in charge, new plans for growth.

new plans for growth? (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382900)

You may be wrongly assuming the acquisitions will improve microsoft's bottom line. It is a widely observed M&A fact that most acquisitions result in no net gain to the acquiring party.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (3, Insightful)

jalm111 (1237454) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382846)

Microsoft not coming up with new ideas? They only spend about $7 billion a year on research which last time I checked was more than Google, IBM, or anyeone else for that matter. I believe this counts as 'attempting to come up with new ideas'.

They've been buying a crap load of companies every year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companies_acquired_by_Microsoft_Corporation), this is nothing new...

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383008)

Yeah, but spending the money and coming up with nothing or little to nothing (excluding Surface, which was really a college experiment if I remember right) surely makes you wonder if that R&D money is being well spent, spent at all, or being channeled to another department for acquisitions in the guise of research.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (0, Troll)

jalm111 (1237454) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383174)

A lot of the technologies you see on the market today were born at MSR. There are also tons of projects brewing in there that are sci-fi like and probably won't hit the market for a good number of years if ever. The whole point of Research (not R&D) is to give researchers funds/space to brew ideas, most of which do not make it anywhere since they're either ahead of their time or simply fail. Those few that do come through and you actually see on the market are far between, the other majority simply end up in a patent or two and get shelved/trashed, this is the nature of it.

My point is that they do come up with a lot of stuff, most of which every day consumers don't get to see. Research at any company is an expenditure and pretty much never a profit but everyone should be glad that they at least put money into it instead of only "buying/acquiring" all new ideas. I know all you Microsoft haters are disagreeing but at least try to name a few new and innovative things that have come out of Google/Apple's/IBMs Research labs and I bet you'll see that they're just as few as at Microsoft.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1)

gwait (179005) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383272)

A lot of the technologies you see on the market today were born at MSR.

Ok I'll bite, name a few?

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (2)

jalm111 (1237454) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383360)

http://research.microsoft.com/research/projects/default.aspx [microsoft.com] Majority of those are not for everyday people use but they are advancing the CS field in vast strides which is what drives innovation...etc.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1)

GuNgA-DiN (17556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383640)

"....they are advancing the CS field in vast strides"

That's a bit vague. Kind of like: "Lots and lots of stuff".

The OP was asking for *specific* examples of technologies on the market which were innovated by MSR.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (0, Troll)

jalm111 (1237454) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384160)

Which is why there's a link with them all listed..... Half of the shit in windows/zune/xbox/server/sync..... was in some way created or innovated at MSR. MSR comes up with some idea, hands it off to a product group and they put it in where it fits, whether it be the spam filter in outlook or search algorithm in live. I don't think there are any purely made by MSR products on the market other than surface and some other prototypes.

...or copied (1)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384304)

Half of the shit in windows/zune/xbox/server/sync..... was in some way created or innovated or copied at MSR.

Seriously, what's innovative about zune/xbox/server/sync... or windows, for that matter?

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (3, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383146)

don't personally keep close enough tabs on Microsoft acquisitions), is a sign of some sort of desperation on Microsoft's end. Rather than attempting to come up with any further new ideas (something I'm not certain Microsoft has really been interested in for a while now), they just seem to want to buy enough bits and pieces of the industry to increase their foothold.
Does that mean Google is more desperate and has no new ideas? Google acquired 17 companies in 2007(including the behemoth DoubleClick) whereas MS acquired only 14. Well I shouldn't have replied to someone calling Microsoft M$.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (5, Insightful)

Pantero Blanco (792776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382466)

I wonder how the person who wrote that title feels about Microsoft?

Next up: "Microsoft cruising seedy bars on the hunt for fresh start-up action."

The word "trolling" means fishing by pulling lures through the water, which isn't a bad analogy. It didn't come into existence after the birth of Usenet.

"Microsoft Fishing for New Acquisitions" doesn't sound so bad, does it?

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (2, Insightful)

smitth1276 (832902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382628)

So "trolling" is now to be considered a complete and perfect synonym for "negotiating an acquisition"?

Grow up people. It isn't 1997 anymore. It's not cute anymore. It doesn't make you sound smart anymore. Give up the irrational MS hatred.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383400)

Not exactly, but it does work for MS's current tactic of throwing billions around and seeing who bites. In that sense, it's exactly like the fisherman's definition of trolling. Or, to be a bit more fair to Microsoft, the "trawling" spelling variant could be used.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383560)

"Give up the irrational MS hatred."

Fuck Microsoft. Fuck them in their stupid asses. Why are you here on Slashdot anyway? Go read MSNBC or something you douchebag.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (4, Funny)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383498)

"Microsoft Phishing for New Acquisitions" doesn't sound so bad, does it?
There, that sounds more interesting.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382850)

Next up: "Microsoft cruising seedy bars on the hunt for fresh start-up action."
"Microsoft trolling kindergarten for new acquisitions."

Even in the most benign context that could possibly exist, the implications are unthinkable.

If Microsoft isn't safe for your kids, who are they safe for? (microsoft = evil)

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383292)

I wonder how the person who wrote that title feels about Microsoft?

Next up: "Microsoft cruising seedy bars on the hunt for fresh start-up action."
ScuttleMonkey trolls airport bathrooms for cock. Much like you, homo.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383618)

Well, the original definition [wikipedia.org] wasn't quite so negative.

Dyarr.

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383744)

I wonder how the person who wrote that title feels about Microsoft?

It says absolutely nothing about how a person feels about Microsoft, though it does say something about your familiarity with the English language.

Hint: fishing ships troll [thefreedictionary.com] .

Re:Wow, that's quite a title. (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384114)

How about "Microsoft lurking in airport restrooms, tapping foot?"

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22382316)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
Microsoft should acquire goatse [goatse.ch]

You can't blame them... (2, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382318)

Predators have to eat too...

Re:You can't blame them... (3, Interesting)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382576)

and now that the yahoo thing isn't happening, they've got some money burning a hole in their pocket. apparently they can afford nearly 1000 of these little $50M companies.

Speaking of Silverlight... (2, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382358)

Our tipster also mentions that Microsoft would use Ustream as a way to promote its Adobe Flash competitor, Silverlight."

Joy. Another way for M$ to try to jam Silverlight down our throats...as if asking if we'd like to try it out every time we visit microsoft.com isn't quite invasive and annoying enough.

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (2, Interesting)

sjaguar (763407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382420)

As a .NET developer, I would go to one of Microsoft's sites every day. Since their deployment of Silverlight (and my refusal to install), I will only go once every few months or so.

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (1)

kni52 (598886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382442)

Sounds like a good reason to not visit microsoft.com. :)

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22382448)

Agreed. That's all we need is another proprietary bloated buggy piece of crapware plugin that does the same thing as flash, but that flash does so much better.

Hey Microsoft, before you try to sell us Silvercrap, why don't you try to sell us a bug-free OS first. Oh..wait..that would be Linux.

Just curious: (5, Funny)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382594)

Have you ever tried working on Flash as a developer? I'd pretty much rather slam my balls in a car door than do so again.

Anything that makes Flash actually have to compete in the marketplace is a good thing.

Re:Just curious: (1)

DeionXxX (261398) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383002)

That might have been true for ActionScript 1 and 2, AS3 is a solid OOP language. Also, as Flash gained popularity and was used for larger projects, it no longer became the realm of the designer. Most if not all sites I've worked on in the past 6 months have been using MVC and other design patterns.

Most of the books on Flash development don't even use FLA's. Everything is taught using code only, so the quality of code and programmers has gone up significantly.

Re:Just curious: (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383092)

Have you ever tried working on Flash as a developer? I'd pretty much rather slam my balls in a car door than do so again.


I haven't use Flash myself (a programmer) but my impression is that Flash is aimed at designers, not programmers. Maybe it works better for the target audience.

-matthew

If you don't like Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383094)

Then don't use it. Its so 1990's anyway.
There are far too many sites out there riddled with Flash 'stuff' where its not needed.
Thank god for Flashblock. We will soon need a Silverlight blocker as well

I'm curious (As I'm not a web designer) :-
1) What has flash/silverlight got that we really need these days?
2) If Flash is so awful to use, why do so many sites use it
???

Re:If you don't like Flash (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383446)

1) What has flash/silverlight got that we really need these days?


The big thing that Flash offers is a a consistent, customizable, cross platform, way to embed video in a web page.

2) If Flash is so awful to use, why do so many sites use it


Partially for the above reason, but also because some developers/designers just aren't very good at HTML/CSS/Javascript. Also, some people seem to like those in-your-face animated sites that just can't be done with HTML/Javascript.

-matthew

Re:Just curious: (0)

soliptic (665417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383980)

Funny you should say that.

I'm a web developer; one of those bloody-minded standards-bashing "on MY watch, we'll serve clean, semantic, gracefully degrading, browser neutral XHTML/CSS" types. I've always hated Flash (as a web user) and perhaps as a result never voluntarily extended my skillset into Flash development.

But my employer needs me to do the odd bit of Flash, so last week I went and did some Flash training.

Verdict: Christ, if only I could never build another XHTML/CSS/JS site ever again, and do everything in Flash...

The best word I can think for it is, is "sane". Instead of thinking: "I want to do <X>, well, that's supposedly not possible, but if I composite some images in a really tricksy way, and allow myself to add a few nonsense non-semantic divs and spans, I can do something that gives a pretty good illusion of <X>. Oh, but it won't work on IE. But if I throw in this javascript compatibility wrapper and stuff my CSS full of deliberately broken comments, I can make IE play along. Oh, but heaven knows if it'll still work in future. I guess that depends whether IE8 renders it as IE8 or as IE8 pretending to be IE7..."

In Flash, every time I thought "I want to do <X>", the tutor would say: "you can accomplish this by going to the <Y> menu and choosing 'Do <X>'." And anywhere it works at all, it will all work.

To be clear: as a user, I'm still not a big fan. But I'm honestly surprised you slate it from the dev point of view. Isn't that why we had/have so many Flash sites in the first place? Because developers can get on with achieving what they want to achieve, in a predictable environment, with a half decent IDE, etc, instead of spending 80% of their time hacking around fragmented insanity?

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22382484)

How is it different from Flash being rammed down our throats today?

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22382616)

How is it different from Flash being rammed down our throats today?
Or Java, especially with its aggressive additional drive-by install of Google apps (and what is a do-no-evil company doing with that kind of tactics?)

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22382634)

"How is it different from Flash being rammed down our throats today?"

Now we would have both Flash and something else rammed down are throats causing, yet again, more "do you have the right plugin" problems.

Do you think MS will make a Siverlight for Linux? Most likely it will have to be done by Mono project and no doubt it will not be 100%

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (4, Informative)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382732)

Do you think MS will make a Siverlight for Linux? Most likely it will have to be done by Mono project and no doubt it will not be 100%
Well known Microsoft supporter Miguel de Icaza is already several steps ahead of you. The Moonlight [mono-project.com] project is exactly that. And no, I will not install it.

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (2, Informative)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383776)

Why anyone would want to implement silverlight this early on in Linux is beyond me. Mono/Moonlight is helping a closed product to the market with no benefits for the community whatsoever. Not many sites use it and those who do is paid for it.

Miguel de Icaza should just crawl over to MS on hes knees and beg to work there instead of acting as if he cares anything about open source.

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383070)

Amen AC, my thoughts exactly. Why do I have to install flash to use the internet...didn't want it either but many sights are 100% flash and offer no alternative (such as my bank's site), now I have one more thing to install if silverlight becomes popular...please oh please let them both die...

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (1)

GuNgA-DiN (17556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383368)

One difference: Adobe releases a version of the Flash plugin for Linux. Do you think that Microsoft is going to lift a finger to make a Silverblight plugin for Linux? Not likely.

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22382678)

I didn't realize that site still exists...

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (1)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383264)

Yeah how are they going to keep making money off of OS Upgrades if they can't break the Internet for everyone who hasn't paid their OS upgrade tax recently?

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383708)

Thats probably the only way they can make people use it. Who wants to make their pages Windows only volontarily? Until Microsoft releases a client for other OS its officially Windows only.

Cross-platform from day 1! (1)

benwaggoner (513209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383756)

Silverlight has been shipping on Mac and Windows day-and-date. A Linux version based on Mono is being developed with Microsoft's cooperation.

Re:Cross-platform from day 1! (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383996)

Mac and Windows is two operating systems. That is not what i would call cross-platform in any way, shape or form. In that department Flash wins flat-out. Microsoft also competes with Apple and can pull the plug on them at any time if Apples marketshare threats windows.

The linux version, you must be kidding right? Its like saying that all Windows applications is cross platform because Wine exists. Right now all there is is a developer version without any packages. If thats the level of Microsofts cooperation id say that the Linux version is destined to be forever in alpha state lagging a couple of versions behind whats on the web.

Re:Speaking of Silverlight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383848)

I think silverlight has a LOT of potential. SL 2.0 release version will really rock. Plus it is actually something that you can program with rather than the crummy ActionScript nightmare. The fact of the matter is, MS really is innovating like crazy. I think that a lot of these acquisitions that are being mentioned are directly related to all the innovative technologies that they have been releasing lately which, to be frank, nobody else can compete with. Visual Studio 2008 WPF, WCF, Silverlight, LINQ... These technologies are freaking amazing and make it look like other developers are living in the stone age. Granted MS can be serious jerks, but wrt the big picture, they contribute in a huge way.

Why is it worth $50m? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22382394)

Say it has the (wildly improbable) number of 50m users. Is it really worth a buck a user to get people to install silverlight? Especially given that most web services have very low lock in and when Microsoft start exhibiting the "Hotmail factor" users will start to flee.

If I had no ethics, $50m dollars and needed to convert a lot of users in a hurry I would funnel the money through a whole bunch of shell companies to bribe tudou or 56.com* to switch to silverlight. That would get the user base up much faster because there are a million naff 'lifecasting' websites and only a couple of big sites that can operate outside the law freely.

*(popular flash video sites for pirated content, linked to frequently from western tv portals like alluc)

More propaganda! (4, Funny)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382410)

Okay, I'm sick of this anti-Microsoft propaganda! It's not called an "acquisition!" It's called innovation! And thank goodness Microsoft is willing to innovate! Where would we be without Microsoft's lawyers out there pushing innovation? I'll tell you where we'd be! We'd have to depend on independent-thinking coders, developers, and open-source maverick's for our software and hardware advances! Or (shudder the thought) small companies with "great ideas." Puhleez! Let's stick to reality here, Folks!

Should msft buy Intuit? (1, Offtopic)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382428)

Intuit probably owns at least 80% of the SMB financial software market. By some counts, Intuit owns 92% of that market.

I think msft may be in somewhat of a price war with intuit right now, but it is not helping msft. I think msft's quickbooks competitor is selling for around $150, but it looks like intuit has dropped the price of quickbooks to about $130. I think quickbooks used to cost around $500.

I see no way for msft to steal the market from intuit. Intuit is too well established, there is a huge network of Intuit "ProAdvisors" and Intuit developers, and thousands of quickbooks add-ons available.

This is a market that msft wants, and msft is not able to get it.

Been there, tried that. (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382464)

They already tried, a few years back.

As I recall, the DOJ (FTC?) wouldn't let them. It was around the time MSFT first came out with Microsoft Money.

Re:Should msft buy Intuit? (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382522)

I think you underestimate just how rich Microsoft is. They just got done trying to buy Yahoo for nearly 48bn, they have lots of cash to throw around due to their desktop monopoly that others do not. If anyone could do it, it's MS by financial brute force alone.

Re:Should msft buy Intuit? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382682)

If MS were to buy Intuit, I'm not sure where I would go for my personal financial software. I used MS Money for a couple of years. When I found that they add bugs that cause wrong totals to show, I spent about an hour and a half jumping through hoops to report the problem, and walk the support rep through recreating the problem on their end. 3 months later, a had a message on my answering machine that said, they were going to close the ticket without correcting it because I wasn't home when they called.

The next day, I went and bought Quicken, and haven't looked back.

Re:Should msft buy Intuit? (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383148)

Acemoney is a pretty good alternative http://www.mechcad.net/products/acemoney/ [mechcad.net] . In fact its very easy to use and unlike quicken it supports old import formats still in addition to all the new ones.

Another sign MS needs to fix its search.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22382476)

Trolling for acquisitions?? These guys [wikipedia.org] can just google for it.. and seems to be doing that a lot.

Copycat (3, Interesting)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382502)

Part of MS's strategy is to let other companies find markets, and then compete in them once those markets exist.

XBox. Zune. Live Search (let's buy Yahoo!)

The iPhone was wildly successful so let's copy it, since that seems to be working for us so well with the iPod.

The best part of this "strategy" is that every division except the office/Windows division, loses money. Which leads me to wonder why they even try.

Re:Copycat (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382562)

The best part of this "strategy" is that every division except the office/Windows division, loses money. Which leads me to wonder why they even try.
the mouse got the cookies it asked for and now it wants milk as well.

Re:Copycat (2, Informative)

ArikTheRed (865776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382684)

The best part of this "strategy" is that every division except the office/Windows division, loses money. Which leads me to wonder why they even try.
That's not entirely accurate. MS XBox division profited $524M so far the first half of this financial year, and growing (they did lose money in the beginning - no surprise to anyone).

It only takes one success to make up for many failures - that's how VC companies make their money. That's a large part of what MS is: a giant technology VC company. But rather than just invest in other companies, they buy them.

Re:Copycat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22382766)

The best part of this "strategy" is that every division except the office/Windows division, loses money. Which leads me to wonder why they even try.
Have you researched that recently so you know it for a fact, or is it just an old Slashdot truism we keep repeating but might be getting outdated? Not trying to be snarky, but I could have sworn I read that in their latest quarter Live Search was the only unprofitable business division in MS.

Making money by divisions (2, Insightful)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383484)

The problem is that since Gates left, Microsoft has reorganized a bunch of times by corporate executives that do what executives do, make themselves look good. The new divisional lines seem designed to make certain that every division is profitable, by taking a money maker and assigning it a bunch of losers.

The corporate structure appears designed to protect executives, their jobs, and their bonuses, not identify winners to ride and losers to cut loose. The company is WAY less cutthroat and vicious that it was when Gates ran the place... and it is not dominating new markets the same way... and the stock's performance reflects that.

So either Gates saw the glory days behind him and got out on a high note, or he was a truly remarkable visionary/businessman that saw waves early enough to get in and dominate, and his replacement keeps moving the chairs around knowing that payday is on Friday, and each payday he hits is a nice win for him

Re:Making money by divisions (1)

jalm111 (1237454) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383544)

Gates has not left yet.... He's never going to 100% leave, even once he's gone, he is still running MS part time along with Ballmer who has just as much of a passion for MS as Gates.

Re:Copycat (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22382932)

oh, fuck off.

Xbox? that market existed before Microsoft did, but they are "copycats"?

Zune? Really... so every personal media device company is a copy cat of the first walkman?

iPhone copying? Have you heard of Windows Mobile? Windows has been the driving software behind a lot of phones and pda's for long before the iphone was even announced.

and I believe the entertainment division posted a profit during hte last quarter, and was on track for a net profit shortly? Pretty good considering the $Xbn 360 hardware fiasco.

This place is getting tiresome with the Microsoft bashing. Microsoft isn't "one mistep" from failure, but it's only one or two "good steps" from crunching the competition (lots of slashdot posters probably under that heading), they simply can't hit the mark very often.

But hey, don't let me stop you from yanking your dicks proclaiming that forcing others to follow your "open" philosophy is "freedom"

Re:Copycat (1)

jalm111 (1237454) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384192)

Where do you get your facts? Saying that Office/Windows are the only profitable products at MS is far from true, if this was the case than they wouldn't be doing as good as they are (with profits).

http://www.microsoft.com/msft/download/Financial%20Operating%20Segment%20History.xls

Re:Copycat (1)

robizzle (975423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384264)

I'm not sure I understand your point about Microsoft copying the iPhone. Microsoft has been in the phone business for years now (Windows CE/Mobile), long before Apple decided to do the iPhone. Secondly, Ballmer has already stated that Microsoft is not interested in making a Zune-Phone or anything of that type; Microsoft is happy selling the operating system for phones to other companies to do with what they want on the hardware side of things.

Personally, I would think less of Microsoft if they didn't even try to get into new markets. I'm glad to see that they acknowledge that new markets exist and that there is room for more competition. Everyone should be thankful that Microsoft is competing because competition is the best for consumers -- just look at what it did with Intel and AMD (lower prices and faster technology development).

Speaking of trolling... (2, Insightful)

smitth1276 (832902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382568)

... Slashdot is a self-parody at this point.

title of story can be shortened to (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382662)

"Microsoft Trolling"

the meaning of which can go both ways, and still summarizes the meaning of the story better

Innovation? (1)

mattsgotredhair (945945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382868)

Relatedly, Microsoft has also announced their intent to buy Sidekick maker Danger. Financial details of the Danger buyout were not disclosed.
Seems like M$ has strong intention turn the Zune into a phone now. I only hope that they do this well and actually INNOVATE something new and exciting! I for one would love for a good competition to be spurred between MS and Apple in the phone department...

Re:Innovation? (0, Flamebait)

GuNgA-DiN (17556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383072)

Bwuahahahahahah! Whatever you're smoking... I want some! Microsoft innovate? Puhleeze. They wouldn't know what innovation is if it fucked them in the ass. By their very nature they are incapable of innovating. They are in fact "anti innovation". Even if they bought Apple they wouldn't know how to innovate anything.

Re:Innovation? (1)

saider (177166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383236)

Microsoft will innovate. However, their innovation will be for the customer (phone companies) not for the user.

MS has also eaten Caligari (2, Interesting)

Fallen Andy (795676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382872)

Click on the picture at top right and scroll through the

short thread at http://www.caligari.com/ [caligari.com] .

Does this mean we'll see a 3d desktop on Blue Crystals(R) 7.5 I wonder?

or even worse a 3d virtual MS-Bob

Andy

Re:MS has also eaten Caligari (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383208)

I'm kind of surprised I haven't seen this news on Slashdot or other tech orientated sites. This is a direct attempt to go toe to toe with Google Earth and Sketchup, and I assume 3D web content as well.

Re:MS has also eaten Caligari (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383240)

Truespace was always an interesting hobbyist app, I was quite fond of it from versions 2-4. Wasn't TS4 about the time Microsoft bought SoftImage? That went well for them didn't it?

This is just yet more stick waving in Adobes direction because of their integration work with Maxon. Caligari will be dead in 3-4 years.

Get ready for them to do a lot of shopping (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384126)

MS CFO, Chris Liddell, ( http://www.stuff.co.nz/4395049a28.html [stuff.co.nz] ) has driven up the aquisition rate and is proud of having done so. He says that MS should be prepared to borrow (for the first time) to make aquisitions.

Considering that they were prepared to spend 40-odd bn for yahoo when Vista probably cost them 5 bn, they are very serious about aquisitions.

MS have never really got far with their aquisitions (except office and MSDOS) so this new policy will probably burn a hole in the bottom of the ship.

Expect MS to go on a big shopping spree.

Yup (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382914)

I can see that, release a crappy new version of windows, nobody buys it, look for a new revenue stream by buying up a few good idea companies...though these choices they made just look like another sad attempt by monkeyboy to take over googles place in the market.

Say goodbye to the Sidekick (aka Danger HipTop) (2, Interesting)

GuNgA-DiN (17556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382992)

Say goodbye to the Sidekick (aka Danger HipTop). Microsoft is simply the kiss of death for any company or product. Like chatting with your friends on AIM? Forget it! You can force them to sign up for an MSN account now. Like using sites like Google to look up info on your Sidekick? Forget it! You'll use Windows Live and like it! Like using your Sidekick and think it's pretty stable? Not any more.... here comes Windows Mobile.... to fuck up the day! Microsoft thinks that they are going to get a big youth market who doesn't even realize that things have changed. Nope. Instead they'll get millions of kids dropping their Sidekick accounts and moving on to something cooler.

Re:Say goodbye to the Sidekick (aka Danger HipTop) (1)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383314)

As a Sidekick owner I am totally bummed out about this. The one area where the Sidekick is better than any other smart phone out there is it is DEBUGGED! I have never lost data, never had to reboot, never gone out of my mind dealing with bugs or slowness like I have with most other cellphones I have tried. The thing would sometimes not render wide-screen websites properly but it would never flat out crash. That was kind of the bargain with the sidekick, all you can eat data and easy to use well tested features instead of the latest in whiz bangy glitz. Well at least they didn't buy Yahoo...

ITYM "trawling" (2, Informative)

aduthie (530266) | more than 6 years ago | (#22382996)

"Trolling" would mean they're hanging around crappy discussion forums looking for ways to cheeze people off.

"Trawling" would mean they're out there dragging their nets and fishing lines in hopes of catching something worth keeping.

The former is intentionally pejorative, the latter is simply metaphorical.

Buying is Bad? (1, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383030)

First, it's obvious that "trolling" in the context of an online FORUM is going to have definite negative connotations. It doesn't really matter what the original term meant, it matters what it means to those you are talking to.

Secondly, since when has buying companies been new, or been evil? Google has bought a ton of stuff, and while some are honest in their thinking about it, most seem to have a "Microsoft Bad, Other Companies Good" mentality that shades their opinion about, for example, "new acquisitions."

And as for complaining about Silverlight, there isn't much complain about Flash, a proprietary essentially monopoly in the market. As someone previously stated, maybe Silverlight will be horrible, but perhaps it will at least give Flash some competition. [sarcasm] Oh wait, I'm sorry, Microsoft shouldn't be allowed to be competition for anything, because competition ruins good software. [/sarcasm]

Seriously. If Microsoft is so horrible and so obviously horrid software and so obviously non-innovative, it will die out. I guess I'm just tired of the hypocritical way of thinking about Microsoft as opposed to Apple, Google, Adobe, or open source software.

And I'm also kinda tired of the apparent opinion that Microsoft is just in it for the money, whereas grand ol' companies like Yahoo and Novell and [insert favourite non-MS company here] are really in it for the good of mankind and whatever. Hogwash. They might like computers, as I'm sure many people in Microsoft's company do, too, and like doing software or hardware stuff, but they want money, too.

Am I defending Microsoft? No. But I refuse to get into the "everything MS does is evil because it is MS and Bill Gates is the devil" camp...

[/rant]

Re:Buying is Bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383182)

Don't kid yourself. You are defending Microsoft. You're an apologist. So, how's the weather up in Redmond today?

Obviously, you do not remember the good ole' days (4, Insightful)

AppleTwoGuru (830505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383486)

The reason caution should be given to Microsoft regarding anything they do, is because what they did (in the public eye and behind closed doors) with the existing market computer market in the late 80's... take a crappy product (MS-DOS and Windows 3.0) litigate companies out of existence (like Stac Electronics,) run companies/products off/reduce the market through either bullying or blackmail (Atari, Amiga/Commodore 64/128, Wordperfect for Linux, Novell DOS7, Caldera DOS, CP/M) or through their illegal monopoly (Wordperfect in general, Visa-calc, WordPro, dBase III,) or through investment manipulation (the indirect funding of SCO Unix to litigate against Linux/IBM,) or even recently, the vote-buying and rigging of the ISO to pass a stupid standard like OOXML off as an ISO standard.

No, Bill Gates is not the Devil, but he might be listening to him. And a lot of what MS-Executives do, not necessarily the employees, is Evil. Evil against a true democratic-judicial system that is somewhat prone to influence, bribery, and special interests when enough money is presented with a certain level of political maneuvering. True justice is when a person without large sums of money, a person like the consumer, can be protected from a person with a lot of wealth, power, and influence. (BTW: When someone can successfully use power, wealth, and influence to compromise a market and law enforcement the way microsoft has done over the years, that is not True Capitalism. That is Greed, Suppression of the People, and Taking Unfair Advantage of the consumer market. There is a reason they call it ANTI-TRUST, because the market DOES NOT TRUST them. You can defile the true beneficial impact of ANTI-TRUST by paying off the guardians of Trust.)

And no, how Microsoft runs their business is not how it is suppose to be, because there were certain laws established to protect consumer markets, and all Microsoft see them as are marketing hurdles, not items that give respect to the people. By their actions, they reduce the options available to the market, because they know themselves, that anyone can out-produce, out-innovate, or out-create them. They had to change the rules to suit their corporate personality, which is equal to that of a high-school bully.

Defending Microsoft? You claim you are not. But I refused to buy into the lie that Microsoft is a good corporate citizen of it's market and country. I want corporate responsibility, accountability, and true innovation by even the smallest least insignificant inventor, to give them a chance to get themselves out of poverty or a lower economic class just like people in pro-sports do. All of the citizens are valuable, not just a select few rich and wealthy people who also happen to be bent on Greed instead of being a public or market servant.

I forgot to mention - Xerox, Apple, and Microsoft (2, Informative)

AppleTwoGuru (830505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383620)

Apple, when they got the technology from Xerox Parc, technology that Xerox execs outrightly rejected, Steve Jobs was there to get it, legally and fair. But then Bill Gates stole it. (see Pirates of Silicon Valley [wikipedia.org] ) - Justice is not brought on those who slip up with stupidity like Steve Jobs may have done. Justice is brought on to those who break the law. And Bill Gates and co had enough power and politics to slither out of justice being served in the proper way when Apple and Microsoft went to court. Apple had to settle in order to survive. Just because Microsoft came out the victor, does not make Microsoft right or the winner of Justice. There are many court cases in the U.S. where the people lose and the criminals win because, in that case, justice is either corrupt or ignorant.

Re:Buying is Bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22384122)

"And as for complaining about Silverlight, there isn't much complain about Flash, . . . "
Have you been hiding under a rock? Complaints about Flash abundant in Slashdot comments.

Diworsification (5, Interesting)

TruthfulLiar (927336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383130)

Some investment book I was reading (Peter Lynch, maybe) referred to companies investing in areas outside their traditional areas as diworsification because when companies did it, it usually hurt the business. And in either Built to Last or Good to Great, Jim Collins says that great businesses stick to their main thing they do well (their "hedgehog concept"). I wonder if Microsoft has lost its vision. Seems like they would do better if they focussed on making a great OS (their main strength) for mobile phones rather than making phones (not their strength).

Re:Diworsification (1)

Dutchmang (74300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383602)

A week later, and the idea of MS pissing away $50+ billion in this Yahoo! debacle makes me warm and fuzzy. Taking that cash away from MS only serves to more evenly level the playing field. A lot of people, even MS-haters, don't seem to adequately grock just how important that cash stash is when Redmond decides to purchase a market, or just use to intimidate people from trying to compete.

Yahoo! engineers will be flooding Google (or backpacking through the Himalayas), leaving MS with the rotting carcass and egg on its face. Never thought I'd say this but I love Steve Ballmer!!!!!

Re:Diworsification (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383888)

I think MS has foresight. They know they have to diversify to survive. The problem with them is lack of imagination. Everything has to be related to their OS by decree or by habit. It's one thing to rely on you strength. It's another to solely rely on your strength when it looks like it is not working. How many attempts at Windows Mobile have they tried before they realized that a miniature version of Windows wasn't the answer?

Re:Diworsification (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384226)

Seems like they would do better if they focussed on making a great OS (their main strength) for mobile phones rather than making phones

Ha!

Seriously, use an iPhone (or an iPod touch, the UI's more or less the same) for 20 minutes and then tell me MS can design an OS which is of good use on a phone.

(Before anyone berates me for using an Apple product as an example, remember that most of the market buys something that they can use without wishing a slow painful death on the designers. Not something that offers every bell and whistle imaginable and makes 90% of them unusable).

Re:Diworsification (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22384312)

"Seems like they would do better if they focussed on making a great OS"

I would like to remind you they never quite excelled at making OSs. Even if we go back to the PC-DOS days, what they had was an OEM agreement where IBM bundled PC-DOS with the IBM PC. PC-DOS became a de-facto standard because IBM shipped lots of PCs and charged a lot to bundle it with CP/M-86 in a time when CP/M (which was quite yawn-inspiring) was _the_ office computer standard OS. Letting IBM impose PC-DOS as the corporate computer standard by creating a user base for software developers was instrumental. When clones arrived, it was a no brainer to sell MS-DOS to their users so they could take advantage of the library IBM's size helped create.

You may be referring at their Xenix offering. While it was a Unix-like, it was not a particularly good one. I distinctly remember it sucked when compared to real Unixes. It could run on 286s and drive a couple terminals, which made it a nice OS for small offices.

Windows 1, 2 and 3 were a sorry joke. They were very unstable and the people who welcomed them (me included) did so mainly because I didn't have the money to buy a Mac, which was the beacon of excellence on desktop OSs of the time.

There was a brief period, coinciding with the darkest days of Apple, during and after the transition from 68K to PowerPC when MacOS 7 and Windows 95 were more or less equally stable. OS/2 was good, but was never more than a niche player. When NT 4 arrived MS had, finally, an OS that were as stable as the MacOS of the day and not uncomfortable to use. It compared favorably not because NT was admirably stable but because OS7 and 8 sucked really bad. OS9 was not much of an improvement either.

When announced, OSX blew the socks off 2000 and has been doing so ever since with each and every Windows release. Vista sucks so bad OEMs offer XP instead, so, it would not qualify as an example of this "strenght".

In the meantime, Linux became a very robust, usable and quite full-featured Unix-like OS that, in sharp contrast with previous Unix-like OSs (mainly Unix itself), neither did cost more than the computer it ran on (like Unix for 386) nor required a computer costing more than a decent car (like, say, Solaris).

I switched from 2000 to XP and, shortly after, I switched to Linux never to look back.

It's been a long, long time since Microsoft did an OS that could really compete in the marketplace without OEM tie-ins or shady tricks (remember DR-DOS and Windows 3), but they did some good-enough stuff. MS-DOS 6 was good enough. Windows for Workgroups was good enough (and a clever realization people don't buy servers - they buy file and printer sharing). 95 was nice, NT 4 was nice. 2000 was in the sweet spot and XP is, more or less, 2000 with a nice skin. None of them was particularly excellent.

That simple realization - that people don't buy software: they buy useful capabilities - is at the core of MS's demise. Either they get it or they will suffer.

Google fanboys jealous (1)

wshwe (687657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383154)

Google fanboys are jealous that Google didn't try to buy Yahoo first. Yahoo is ripe to be either bought out or broken up. There's nothing wrong with growing through acquisitions. Google did it with Youtube.

Danger likely has never turned a profit. Danger was probably facing extinction if MS hadn't come to the rescue.

Re:Google fanboys jealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22383306)

What is up with all the Microsoft assholes today? Microsoft kills anything they touch. Look it up.

Competing with Flash?! (2, Insightful)

Cathoderoytube (1088737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22383878)

I'm not particularly sure how far Microsoft going to get with their attempts to compete with Flash. Considering how widely used it is everywhere. It's even used outside of web applications. An ungodly number of cartoons on TV are animated using Flash. It's even beating out similar products in that field as well. Toonboom studio which is supposed to be a more animator friendly vector based animation program isn't even touching Flash. So I'm not sure what the hell Microsoft intends to do here. I think they should have released their Flash knockoff maybe 10 years ago, instead of now when they have absolutely zero chance of success.
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