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Steve Ballmer has committed Microsoft to becoming an advertising and consumer device powerhouse, intent on sustaining growth via software sales and diversification into online services. Ballmer told Wall Street it had "no choice" but to accept "big bets" on software plus services as a way of sustaining growth and the industry's …

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Wizard Of Odds

My DNA prohibits me from grokking market speak of that magnitude. It conjures images of the wizard of Oz on bad steroids coming out of hiding to set up a cheap carney show with himself as the ringmaster. The Greatest Show On Earth and to go with it there's a sucker born every minute.

Takes balls though. MS is the scion of the tech industry and probably many of its institutional investors would like to see a nice, comfortable return without doing anything to threaten the cash cow. Microsoft has the cash on hand to take a serious run at getting it done but it's going to have to make the right buys and keep or poach the right people. By way of its investors and myriad contacts it's likely Microsoft can make it work. A three ring IT circus has come to town.

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What a minute..

Hang on. You mean AdCenter wasn't a joke? That was a serious attempt at breaking into a new market? Woah..... I want some of what Ballmer's been smoking.

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Same model as before then...

Copy whatever is working for others and squeeze them out, not by doing it better, but by acquiring someone else who can.

It is interesting though that Ballmer sees "devices" as a significant part of the Microsoft future. This in distinct contrast to Gates suggesting that Jobs had the wrong approach in wanting to do hardware during his interview at D. Jobs was saying that writing great software makes you want to do hardware too, and Gates replies "oh, I think I can resist that".

Imagine if MS actually did some real R&D with that cash, we could have the future today - rather than a behemoth company rolling out a very late and rather disappointing OS upgrade. And now their brilliant plan seems to be playing catchup with Google on advertising and search, and Apple on the devices front.

Time for a new helmsman I think...

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Just a suspicion...

... but I suspect MS paid Digg a hefty wedge to ditch Google. Why do I think so? Just the general air of desperation in the Ballmer quotes. Glad I'm not a shareholder. When the rout starts, they'll need to move quickly if they don't want to be holding paper.

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing new here

Read: We will continue to do what we have always done - copy, buy and steal, but not necessarily in that order. So look for Microsoft Ads and iGadgets in a Web portal/Microsoft Store near you!

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They might as well do it..

After all everyone hates them already, why not monopolize one of the most hated industries while they're at it.

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Best news for Apple and Linux yet!

This is actually to be expected: see the other article "Windows Vista Unreadiness Revealed" for just how unwieldy Windows and Office have become. By combining hardware and targeted platform-specific software MS has the possibility of reversing the bloat problems Windows suffers due to all the configurations it needs to support. MS has a possibility of becoming the world's largest electronics company, surpassing Sony and Matsushita.

So why is this good news for Apple and Linux? Apple is already in this market, and is actually ahead of MS with the diversity of its offerings and the research/support commitment it has provided its community. Somewhat like where AMD was vis. Intel last year: the market share is small, but growing fast. MS could lose as much as 15-25% share to Apple before it reaches momentum on hardware and content commitments.

Linux wins by being the "only girl at the dance". As MS starts cannibalizing hardware partners, Linux distros will begin looking VERY attractive to stand-alone hardware vendors that can't match MS in diversifying or tolerate MS dictating very restrictive specifications to them. (Think of Wal*Mart telling Dell how to design ALL of its systems - that is, BOTH of the two Wal*Mart will buy from them...) Expect to see a flurry of distro purchases and OSS application licenses in 2009-2010 if this holds true.

By 2015 with this model, my SWAG would be something like MS 40% market share, Apple 25% and various vendors with Linux making up the other 35%.

Of course, I'm almost ALWAYS wrong: ask my financial adviser sometime!

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft to launch new Spam Research division

...Well given the fact they have now got trademarks to integrate ads into future versions of Windows, and have spoken on several occassions now about their new focus into advertising, it won't be long now till they then expand into producing spam for businesses as well!

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