When Steve Ballmer tackled the inevitable question on a Microsoft hardware acquisition, in the wake or Oracle's planned purchase of Sun Microsystems, he was "sticking to the knitting." "I have no idea why a software company would buy a hardware company," Microsoft's chief executive is reported to have said. That's not to say …
"Microsoft's approach on hardware is to partner, build an ecosystem, and then help tune and certify partners' resulting machines to its software..."
... and throw chairs, sweat profusely at the pits, make software that sucks like a Hoover, certify that the hardware that runs said software is as equally adept at sucking, and show to the world that since Bill cruised, they can... and will... transform his baby into the corporate equivalent of a spoiled little bytchkid living off a trust fund, complete with bytching, whining, narcissism, and a complete and utter lack of tact and common sense. Methinks Baldmer, et al. is in dire need of a good ol' country arse whoopin' to sort them out.
Mine's the one with the fresh-burned copy of Jaunty in the pocket.
Don't forget the stick, man!
"and various mice and keyboards."
And joysticks. Really-not-that-bad joysticks. Really-not-that-bad joysticks that Redmond would love us all to forget about. Really-not-that-bad joysticks that Redmond themselves seem to have forgotten about, dropping support for them as they did a long time ago.
I'm a PC!
The odd thing is that for a company whose core competency is software, all their TV commercials these days appear to be flogging hardware.
>"I have no idea why a software company would buy a hardware company," Microsoft's chief executive is reported to have said.
This might prove as prophetic as Ken Olsen's infamous quote and lead to the same end.
Microsoft as a hardware vendor
Balmer's response is understandable considering their track record. Microsoft's foray into the hardware world has been far from impressive.
The XBox is really just a glorified PC... the original one was exactly that just stuffed into an X-shaped box (which is why it ran Linux so well - or maybe that should be why Linux ran so well on it. *sigh* I miss XBMC *sigh*).
We've all seen the results of when Microsoft had a go at designing the XBox 360, I believe it's referred to as the 3RRoD. Quite how they managed to fuck up building a PC and putting it in a dull greyish box is beyond me.
Zune is probably best forgotten about. It appears that Microsoft want everyone to forget about it. Apple aren't losing any sleep about losing any iPod market share to Microsoft. Creative are a bigger threat to their revenue stream than Microsoft are, and despite the Zen et al being technically equivalent (some would say superior) to the iPod, it's not a serious threat.
Microsoft's mice and keyboards are somewhat overpriced for what they are but generally they're OK, I guess .... but then again how hard can it be to manufacture a mouse and a keyboard? Surely even the mighty mighty Microsoft aren't so inept that they can fuck that up.
Microsoft is a software company. In my opinion, their software is pretty mediocre compared to the alternatives (OS X, Linux, etc...). Their software always requires countless hotfixes and patches to address flaws in the original product. It's a lot more difficult to apply a hotfix to a piece of hardware than it is to their crappy software.
Here's hoping Balmer sticks to his guns and doesn't try anything else with hardware. Microsoft clearly don't "get" the hardware business - at least they realise that.
Wow what a concept
"Increasingly, a hardware and software stack tuned to the needs of a combined database, storage system, and processing unit - an appliance - is seen as the way to tackle this."
As deployed in the HP3000 range (long out of production ) and IBM AS400/e-series (still in production I think). Welcome back to the 1970s/1980s.
And will this new solution come complete with complaints about premium pricing (not infrequently by people who only counted PC costs in terms of the server hardware), infrequent hardware upgrades (got to milk that cash cow) and expensive peripherals (you can't just hang any old disk drive on an E-series).
As an old E-series bod I can say that for companies who like tinkering with 'puters they weren't very interesting. For companies who want to run a business, provided you were OK with playing by their rules (just like playing by MS rules, but different rules) they got the whole job done (I won't use the S word but the pre-integration of DB/storage/processors definitely simplified things). I never worried about disk crashes, record level locking, someone accidently deleting a database or recovery in DB2/400, because it was never a problem. Migration from proprietary processor to PowerPC architecture (following proper prep) was about 5 minutes. You only knew how crummy Access was when you had to implement multi-user access on it.
Didn't they actually make PCs at one time?
I seem to remember that Microsoft, in the early days of Windows actually supplied PCs, though I don't know if they designed and built them, or just "Badge Engineered" them from Intel?
Anyone remember better?
Of course Microsoft can see benefits in having a hardware platform and software as can everyone else but it's equally, of course Microsoft would say otherwise, as they don't really have the opportunity to do it. It follows that such a notion is therefore ridiculed or dismissed.
Microsoft have enough anti-trust problems as it is and they'd be compounded if they were in the PC hardware business as well. Only in particular cases and markets, where there is competition, can Microsoft get away with the hardware and software bundle. If they had their choice I'm sure they'd love to lock Microsoft OS's and Microsoft hardware together, just like Apple does. If for no other reason than to force DRM and TPM hardware support which third-party PC hardware suppliers may be less than enthusiastic about adding.
Microsoft's DNA hasn't 'evolved' its been forced into being what it is. Whether Microsoft would or could create decent PC hardware is a different matter.
Really looking forward to what Oracle are going to be offering in 6 months/ 1 year from now. I'm hoping for a complete solution and look forward to working with it. If it drives up performance significantly then they get a big thumbs up in my book.
Microsoft are simply shitting their pants at the moment and probably breathing a BIG sigh of relief that they didn't buy yahoo! I'm hoping that Win7 bombs, but unfortunately I think people will mostly like it as it seems (beta) such a big improvement on Vista .
Microsoft used to be able to do hardware. My (1998ish) Microsoft sidewinder force-feedback joystick is probably the best joystick I have ever used.
"Microsoft's DNA hasn't 'evolved' its been forced into being what it is."
uhh... what? Being forced into what you are is the definition of evolution. I guess you think that wolves haven't evolved into pack predators, they have been forced into it by rabbits being so fast, too?
They were forced into by the moose. I always said those were evil.
@Don't forget the stick, man!
I haven't forgotten, I thought microsoft were mad when they seemingly dropped the whole department making the best game controllers available.
i have a sidewinder force feedback joystick, rumbling pads are a joke in comparison, that is sat in a box in my attic as microsoft decided that they would no longer support gameports and didn't release a usb converter that could cope with their hacked sidewinder gameport protocols.
full force feedback joysticks seem to have vanished now for some reason, despite adding a great extra dimension of feel to games ie. if you got shot from behind, you could feel the hit and didn't have to spin around aimlessly until you could see something. They made freespace and X different games.
"i have a sidewinder force feedback joystick"
Sounds nice. But a non-standard peripheral to support and (i guess) too few games took the trouble to get other games publishers to do it also. It sounds mechanically more complex (hence more expensive) to make.
Too bad. But in the IT business someone will re-discover the idea in a few years.
Never say never
I have penned some thoughts about this article at: http://peterthomas.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/the-registers-take-on-microsoft-and-oracle-sun/
I read your piece. I thought you were dead. You look in good shape for a man of 96.
I was surprised that you didn't mention the old NCR Terradata package for BI. That seemed fairly tightly integrated as well. I'd heard they'd had a lot of chopping and changing but it seemed highly relevant to your interests.
M$ & Hardware
I have always had the greatest respect for Microsoft mouse product.
"I have no idea......
"I have no idea why a software company would buy a hardware company"
That's got to be some sort of anti-competitive shit going on when hardware doesn't run on Microsoft software.
Like it was my fault he couldn't get it up last night......
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- Something for the Weekend, Sir? If you think 3D printing is just firing blanks, just you wait