back to article Windows 7, Bing and mobile will determine Ballmer's future

The wheels continue to roll, and fall off, of Steve Ballmer's pan-European tour of serious-minded national and broadcast media. Stopping in the Netherlands, Ballmer dealt with the obligatory questions on whether Microsoft would build its own Kindle-style reader. We've been here before on hardware, when the wishful thinking and …

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where's the fork ?

Steve - you're done. Win 7 will totter and stabilize but the ludicrous Vista->Win 7 upgrade prices mean that many will only buy it with a new PC. Whenever that happens, as you admit. So no big revenue bump. Pity :(

If you had priced it at, say $29 like Apple's upgrade, there would be big take up and a success story. At rip-off prices in a recession, well - who are you kidding? That wouldn't have been a revenue bump either but would have been great PR. How come you didn't realize that?

Bing and Mobile? They're just rounding errors.

Sorry Steve, you're toast. the only decision is which flavour of jam you prefer.

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Support for 128Bit?

Why?

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Stop

Makes me wonder ...

More than Steve Developers's remarks about Bing and W7, I am baffled by this 128bit business. To me, it makes no sense. 64 bit can address all RAM that I can buy in the next 10 years. Actually, 16 ExaByte, 16 billion GB.

And there are some shortcomings at blindly cranking up the word width.

Aside from no processors of 128 bit available, no 128-bit drivers. The sense of wider RAM is only in compensating for the much lower clock frequencies of RAM.

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Silver badge

Ballmer is a monumental failure

He's been at MS since 1980 but failed to make a name for himself until Bill Gates went to pasture, and even then very few people know who he is. MS went from being perceived as the shining light of American Ingenuity, lead by well-known Bill Gates to a headless corporation.

If he is associated with anything it is bad decisions and being a buffoon:

* Zune

* His laughing off iphone - one of the most successful products and brandings ever.

* Visa.

* Even XBox was a huge cock-up until 360.

* Stupid monkey shows with motivations like developers, developers,.... sales, sales, sales,.... Vista, Vista, Vista,....

And Google are completely eating their lunch.

What's to like about this guy?

MS's biggest problem though is that it is very hard to find anyone that can fill Fates' shoes.

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Joke

Balmer leaving Microsoft as CEO

would be a serious blow to the chair manufacturing industry!

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Gates Horns

The past comes back to haunt

Microsoft has been the bully of the industry for the past 30 years. This allowed it to hold onto and extend its monopoly. But keeping the monopoly is exactly what prevents them from being successful in new markets.

Bully behavior has lost them public trust. People are not warm to using the Bing search engine, because they don't trust Microsoft.

On the mobile side, Microsoft hass recently been having trouble attracting software developers to the Windows Mobile platform, because more alternatives exist in today. iPhone has the coolness factor, and Google's Android will eventually become the dominant mobile platform, because it's open source, and that means they can't be bullied Microsoft-style.

Ballmer's past bully practices come back to haunt.

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In a nutshell ...

Who gives a fuck?

Microsoft is no longer relevant.

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Linux

Just a metter of setting expectstion right

CEO Survival - 101, lesson 1.

Set Expectations Low, in this case Windows 7 and get the hacks/wall st idiots to believe this and when it comes in with more sales than you told everyone, you suddenly look like the knight in shining armour, the saviour of the business. Many journalists seem to have very short memories these days and this plays into that scenario exactly.

If Windows 7 was such a surefired hot potato then he would not need to make this trip around Europe. But hey, we are in a recession and he needs to kick ass in his salesforce to make business adopt this ASAP otherwise, he is a gonner. Not sure about who would replace him though?

Tux as this is what makes him have sleepless nights.

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Jobs Halo

Windows 7 *IS* Vista

I have XP, Vista and Windows 7 on my Mac in addition to Snow Leopard. Vista is as expected dog slow whereas XP is tolerable. Windows 7 started well but it seems to be getting slower and slower over time. It certainly isn't as fast as XP but that is only to be expected and it is definitely an improvement over Vista but only time will tell if it suffers the same bogging down that Windows always seems to suffer until you wipe it and reinstall.

The problem with Ballmer above all is he is simply an embarrassment. He is simply the wrong man to have in charge of the company. Actually, scratch that, he should stay a good long time and MS should continue to flap about pouring money into diverse areas in the hope that they can expand their reach. And no, I'm not bitter because my Xbox 360 has just RROD for the second time.....

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Perhaps...

if he threw a chair at the shareholders, and yelled that he would f***ing kill them, they would be more inclined to keep him on.

Need a flying chair icon

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Gates Halo

Honestly, what do you expect ?

Gates took 25 years or so to build M$ from a garage outfit to what ? 85% market share ? What does wall street want ? That Ballmer let's it grow it to an 190% market share ?

Are these the same Wall Street idiots that gave us the financial abyss we're trying to recover from ?

Maybe they want M$ to repackage old DOS versions into 'structured investment products' ?

M$ is a software company, it's their core business, and they own such a big chunk of the marked Ballmer will never be able to do what Gates did. If that's what these morons are after they will never be anything but disappointed.

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@jake

straight to the point and well made. as usual.

also,

ballmer is to tech as cro-magnon is to, well, tech

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FAIL

He's a 2/3 gonner, then.

Bing Is Not Google. And that's its problem.

Win Mobile has to play massive catch-up with Apple, Google and Palm.

So his hopes are really all on Win 7.

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Wallstreet Sucks

Much as I don't think Ballmer is the right guy for the job, this is Wallstreet we're talking about. They only care about having higher numbers quarter-on-quarter and do not have a f**king clue about anything long-term. They are the reason the world economy is in the toilet!

Ballmer has done well to last 9 years in the role considering the average tenure is something like 18 months to 2 years. He was the third billionaire that MS created - he should save himself the stress and retire.

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128bit...

... Seems to refer to a 128bit filesystem (a-la ZFS/btrfs/etc), not the OS as a whole. Who knows, maybe 128bit-WinFS will finally make it into a real release one day... ahem....

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The proof is in the pudding?

The phrase is: "The proof of the pudding is in the eating." I rarely find proof of anything significant by digging around in pudding.

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@IT specialist

Again we have IT professionals thinking that the average man or woman in the street gives a damn about open source on their phone. The vast majority of iPhone owners could not care less that it's a closed system - they just like it because it works and looks nice.

For the record I'm an IT professional who uses an Android phone (but understands completely why his wife adores her iPhone) and works on both *nix and Windows networks - so I have no particular axe to grind.

Every prefessional geek should undertake to wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, look in the mirror and say loudly to themselves - "USERS DON'T CARE!"

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@jake

Microsoft is no longer relevant...?

What world do you live them. Like them or loath them, they are very very relevant.

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Anonymous Coward

Win7 you need if you still run Vista

Everyone I know @Work running Vista has moved to Win7 -its faster and less painful. So if you accidentally bought a PC with Vista -and havent moved to ubuntu or WinXP- you need the upgrade. Too bad the upgrade costs are way steeper than for SnowLeopard -MS are punishing people for having bought vista, rather than apologising and trying to make up,.

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Gates Halo

I can't believe what I'm about to do....

...stick up for a Microsoft executive.

But I will, on one point only. He's not screaming and shouting about Windows 7 because doing the same as he did with Vista would cause people to think about the boy crying wolf. He knows people were bitten, and that the economy is still up the spout, so he'll try and sell it on the basis of grass-roots (or at the very least astroturf) feedback.

He also knows that the alternatives are not *yet* credible. Not for most people the Mac (pay a chunk more cash so Comrade Steve dictates your freedoms) or Linux (although I for one would welcome our penguin overloads if they just made it a bit simpler). Of course, if he doesn't sort it ASAP then either or both of these options will come steaming through and leave Microsoft with a fall from grace remarkably similar to IBM's...

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Innovation

The main thing that is lacking at MS. Since Bill left even more so.

They are very much becoming a Me-too organization.

Bing will never become a verb i.e. to google,

their cloud initiative will take years to catch up with Amazon/google

They have no worthy web2.0 products.

Their Web based office products are noway mature compared to googles

Messenger/communicator is nowhere near to being a great collaboration tool, compared to google wave.

In the short to medium term they still have their monopoly position on the desktop to fall back on, but they are being attacked from all sides.

Desktop OS's are slowly becoming redundent for the majority of people who will only need a browser (even for office apps)

Linux/Solaris are far better suited to server architectures (x86-64bit).

SQLserver still does not scale across servers (compared to oracle & DB2)

They don't have any real ERP products to speak of (dynamics is nowhere near SAP/Oracle apps)

If they want to servive in the long term they need to come up with a killer application

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Alert

Balmer needs to focus Microsoft

Stick with what they do best, get rid of the money pits that they suck at.

Drop: Zune, Xbox, all other hardware

Keep: Windows, Office, Developer Tools

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Headmaster

@Charles Manning

Charles, I am no Ballmer fan, but the evidence you bring against him is just rubbish:

-"* Zune"-

...you mean the product that even anti-MS sites like Wired and Gizmodo gave rave reviews to:

http://www.wired.com/reviews/product/pr_zune_hd_first

http://gizmodo.com/5360126/zune-hd-review-the-pmp-evolved

-"* His laughing off iphone - one of the most successful products and brandings ever."-

Right, 'cos no exec at tech company has ever predicted the future wrongly! lol. Like Apple were right that the Newton would be wonderful, and that firing Jobs was a good idea.... yeah, and Palm were right that splitting their hardware and software divisions was a good plan... uh-huh... Even Gates (who is really the only yardstick to measure Ballmer against) was wrong about the popularity of the internet. If you do your research, you'll see that lots of other analysts also doubted Apple's ability to break into the mobile phone market. That doesn't make Ballmer great, but it hardly makes him the failure you are implying. So he got one wrong. Give the guy a break.

-"* Visa."-

...sorry? You're blaming credit card problems on Ballmer?! That seems a bit harsh... Oh, wait, you meant "Vista". Right, that'll be the operating system that overtook OSX and all flavours of Linux, within 8 months of its launch...

http://paralleldivergence.com/2007/10/02/microsoft-vista-overtakes-apple-osx-in-only-eight-months/

Perhaps not a great success by comparison to XP, but certainly more successful than anyone else's efforts.

-"* Even XBox was a huge cock-up until 360."-

... right - so Halo, one of the most popular, genre-defining games of all time, (developed by MS's Bungie for the xbox) was a "cock-up"?! It's not like they failed to make any profit or capture significant market share!

-"* Stupid monkey shows with motivations like developers, developers,.... sales, sales, sales,.... Vista, Vista, Vista,...."-

I'm not even going to pretend I know what you meant here. You appear to be simply ranting.

-"And Google are completely eating their lunch."-

I think your argument here was supposed to be that MS has failed to break into Google's primary business, internet searching - but that cuts both ways, because Google has tried (and so far failed) to break into MS's primary business, operating systems, web browsers and productivity software, all of which are markets that Microsoft (still) dominates.

If you wanted to criticise Ballmer, you would have been much better off following the line that the original article took - his major weakness has not been the failure of one or two products out of a huge portfolio. His failure has been his inability to return value to shareholders in sufficiently high volumes.

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Ballmer said he's staying at MS until 2017

Ever watch "Pirates of Silicon Valley"? After those days, Gates, the hyper competitive game player, knew it was true, and hired the best (cosmetics) marketers and (smoke and mirrors) accountants to propel the undeserving MS upwards. But Gates also knew his limits and stepped lightly off MS at the peak. Ballmer never did get a thing, and MS is now thundering faster and faster downhill. Gates no longer cares; Ballmer barely knows.

But Windows is still a monopoly, and in business terms successive releases are simply a repaint of the monopoly revenue engine. Since nearly all Microsoft's earnings come from Windows & Office (the rest is a loss making business), it's very hard psychologically for them to cut prices. Yet that is what they should have done with Windows 7. A flat $29 price for an individual OEM (i.e. non-transferrable) Win 7 upgrade.

Microsoft's profitable core is the enterprise desktop, and everything else is just fungal growth feeding off this core revenue. MS will go further down before any turnaround, so Ballmer will be kicked out, even if he truly does know a way forward (no sign yet).

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Happy

All the time in the world. But not for Ballmer

One of the mantras people at Microsoft used to repeat for years was "we have all the time".

That is, to beat Sony with the Xbox, beat Nokia on smartphones, beat Unix, beat Google, beat any programming language, and so forth.

I still find funny that when Gates introduced the superb Windows Mobile, his goal was to beat Nokia.

Next Ballmer goes to Helsinki twice trying to persuade Nokia to produce WM cellphones.

No luck, and I am happy for that.

But funny it is, and I think it reveals some of the complete lack of realism Microsoft is showing.

Then there was Ballmer who came to say that they could equally well have invented "serach".

But they just did not.

In a way, or a lot of ways, I am happy it is not that easy to expand one lottery win into an other

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Re: In a nutshell...

"Who gives a fuck? Microsoft is no longer relevant."

Well, in a nutshell, anyone who's been holding MS shares for the past ten years gives quite a serious fuck about that. It's a massive reversal of fortune when compared with the previous twenty years and it's hard to see why the shareholders put up with Ballmer.

On an unrelated note, the 128-bit thing is a joke. 64 bits is enough for a million terabytes and even Google might have trouble filling that. It certainly isn't coming to your desktop any time soon. There are no architectures that use 128-bit addressing at the machine level. (AS400 and IPv6 are the only remotely mainstream examples of such large address spaces and they are both emulated.)

Given the cataclysmic rise in latency as you move past the first few megabytes, there probably never will be. Long before anyone packs exabytes into a desktop PC, we'll have switched to a massively parallel programming model with a visible memory hierarchy. We may even see a return to 32-bit processors.

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@Charles Manning

"* Even XBox was a huge cock-up until 360."

*Until* the 360? You wouldn't consider $1 billion in broken consoles a cock-up?

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Unhappy

@ In a nutshell ... #

Unfortunately, Microsoft ARE relevant if you are a PC gamer. Some developers are taking the plunge with Linux based gaming but I can't see it competing with Windoze based stuff for a long time.

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Ballmer IS Microsoft

MS was never seen as an innovator, ever. And there's nothing Ballmer can do to change that. The man is basically generic Business School Product. He has no technical ideas. Neither did Gates so there's no point in him attempting to out-Gates Gates. MS's only claim to fame is/was being a nasty competitor which would sink far below any level necessary to undermine competition.

The retail pricing of Windows 7 is also meaningless. Most users will only upgrade when they get a new machine. Business already does this because the pain and agony of tampering with any MS Malware is likely to sink one into a cess-pool of technical details. Windows 7 will be a success to the extent people/businesses buy PCs.

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Anonymous Coward

A leap too far

"Apple will have to scramble now that the gift of a flawed Vista has been replaced with a reliable, elegant version of Windows."

Windows 7 is going to have to be unreasonably spectacular to live up to that. I've got machines running XP, Vista and Leopard, and in spite of the fact Vista is little used and doesn't have a lot of software installed, it just seems to get slower every time I fire it up - what is that about; no version of Mac OS has ever done that to me without there being a quick, simple fix. I find it really hard to believe that Win 7 is going to evolve so far in one leap that is really a competitor against Snow Leopard. We hear this drivel every single time the Redmond organ grinds into life, and every time it's more of the same with a few cosmetic tweaks. Even getting close to Apple on keyboard shortcuts seems beyond them.

Bye, bye Ballmer.

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Jobs Halo

Ballmer = Idiot

As an Apple user I don't really give a monkey's what Ballmer does. But his problem is focusing on his competitors. Sinking billions into Bing just so he can "kill Google?" That's not the action of a competent businessman. And his buffoonery and stupidity (his iPhone comments are classic) are embarrassing to watch.

Historically, with no real competition, MS have never had to produce a quality product, resulting in shoddy, mediocre offerings. Now their products have to stand up against true competition their poor quality shows - and Ballmer is the wrong guy to correct that.

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Gates Halo

Character and Charisma

Bill Gates, for all the demonising, does have a certain character, respect ( though often grudgingly given ) and a small amount of under-stated charisma.

What's Steve Ballmer got ? Nothing much apart from an aggressive, bully-boy, obnoxious reputation. He's perceived as a bull in a china shop, embarrassing, cringe-worthy and even laughable. Although he's been CEO of the world's most well known software company for so long I suspect most outside the industry wouldn't have a clue if his name came up.

The 'host your own Windows 7 launch party' is an albatross which is going to get hung round his neck ( in the UK at least ), as much as "Wow" for Vista failed to impress ( though, to be fair, most did eventually go, "Wow; that's slow, that's bad" ).

Even when Wall Street has its eyes firmly fixed on the bottom line dollar the personality at the helm cannot be avoided; "Safe hands, my arse".

Be honest; if you had to invite one of them round for tea and a chat, which would it be ?

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@whiteafrican

"That doesn't make Ballmer great, but it hardly makes him the failure you are implying. So he got one wrong. Give the guy a break."

Now if Ballmer had simply said "I'm not convinced, let's wait and see" I'd give him a break but have you seen the video of him laughing off the iPhone? He didn't just "get it wrong", he made a total fool of himself.

"I think your argument here was supposed to be that MS has failed to break into Google's primary business, internet searching - but that cuts both ways, because Google has tried (and so far failed) to break into MS's primary business, operating systems, web browsers and productivity software, all of which are markets that Microsoft (still) dominates."

So you're measuring Google's success at breaking into the OS market based on what? ChromeOS hasn't been released yet. Android is pissing all over WinMo (see the number of big co.'s switching over) and their online productivity apps have gained a lot of traction while MS is lagging far behind. Chrome (the browser, not OS) has been gaining market share at twice the speed Mozilla ever managed with Firerox.

Like Ballmer it seems you're in denial.

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Paris Hilton

@Wanko

"The retail pricing of Windows 7 is also meaningless. Most users will only upgrade when they get a new machine. "

They might well upgrade if the upgrade was cheaper. I would.

The new product is better, the upgrade process is smooth and relatively simple, there are genuine benefits.

But it isn't worth the money. So I won't. And I won't suggest to any of my family and friends that they do either.

The retail pricing is very relevant. They may have done their sums on how to maximise revenue but they won't get the instant penetration they desire like this.

Paris because I don't go to the effort of shoehorning in a phrase like 'instant penetration' just to tag my post with an ordinary smiley.

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Anonymous Coward

A number of friends going Apple

A number of my non-IT colleagues have expressed a firm desire to switch to Apple after having had their hands on other peoples MacBooks ... despite the extra cost.

The people I talk with all want laptops and, I have to face it, once they get their hands on a Mac ... it is a done deal.

Me? I'm an IT worker ... I run Linux :-)

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Happy

Wall St. and Microsoft

MS is a statistical outlier. A lot of its success was accidental and also built on allowing piracy in markets it couldn't control in the early days. Ballmer/Gates so what?

You get one of these companies every generation or so and they hang around for a long time and Wall Street or the City of Lahndahn try to make everybody else be like them when that business model only works in a new market when no-one has any idea what to do next. It happens to be Microsoft because IBM's leadership had no idea what they'd unleashed - it *could* have been IBM or any one of a number of other companies that have now gone to the wall because MS's dominant position stifled them.

We have no idea who the next Microsoft even are. Ballmer's just another guy managing a big company that succeeded despite itself. The market is changing and MS will do its best to protect its equivalent of the pianola until it disappears or is reinvented as a medium sized player in a different market. The idiom of the ice companies making sharper saws while ignoring developments in refrigeration comes to mind. None of the ice companies became refrigeration companies.

I think the next innovation will be in finding a way to consistently write large chunks of software that do useful things. MS aren't even trying to play that game, as their last disaster shows too clearly.

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My Mac running Leopard gets slower

Over time too. Applications (Mail,Safari) also crash just as mush as Windows.

I've used Windows 7 and personally I prefer it over Leopard, but it's close. I simply prefer it's explorer over finder and I hate having no cut and paste.

As for Microsoft's future.

XBox is doing well and with Natal looking to be the next big thing of 2010 it could be a VERY good year for them, perhaps even selling a combined system using this as a media server is what I would do.

We'll see what they do in the mobile space, as an iPhone developer I wouldn't have any issue developing for a Windows Mobile device if they have market share that warrants it, same for any mobile really. 2010 could be the year that the iPhone gets some serious competition, they're a lot closer than they where 12 months ago.

We'll see, however the problem with MS is that they can't grow any more. I don't think MS will ever get back to the 60 pps value of before.

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Gates Halo

So many Apple trolls

The dark Lord Jobs reach has grown long.

I have no great love for Balmer, but Jobs somehow manages to be perceived as a great innovator and leader. If you read a little bit about him you will see stories from his own employees of how he reduced people to tears, how his company has been in trouble for share backdating and even now with the iPhone Apple are as bullying or even more so than MS has ever been.

Apple continue to sell generic PC hardware in shiny cases with a shiny operating system at huge markups and their users delight in handing over far more than the actual cost of producing the machine. Their software continues to be compromised at hacking conventions and yet their users insist that OSX security comes from more than just obscurity. Apple users tend to come more from higher income brackets and are therefore baffled that others find Macs to be overpriced and not worth paying extra.

Google I suppose are a moderately less evil company, and have success in search and are achieving success with their browser, but Google Wave is just released (or is it still in beta? Difficult to know with google) so lets not go calling it a Messenger killer just yet. Android is not a roaring success at all. There are only a handful of phones using that OS and none of them particularly popular. Google apps are rubbish, every review I have ever seen of them rates them well below other competing products, and MS offerings are still in beta so a comparison is not very fair.

The reason I stick up for MS is that the competition just doesn't produce a viable product. MS offers an operating system that will work and work well on a tonne of hardware configurations with a tonne of software. Apple doesn't offer this. Linux offers some of this but with an increased headache to me in configuration and no game compatibility (I won't count WINE sorry, reduced performance is not what I bought my hardware for).

Berate MS as often as you like, call them bullying if you like, but face it, there is no competition.

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Coat

Hey Fatboy

Don't forget your coat on the way out

and here's a chair :)

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@John Owens

I haven't experienced a slow down or crashes on Leopard. I suspect some bit of your hardware is starting to fail. Try Path Finder as a replacement for Finder, it's excellent.

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Grenade

@windywoo

"Jobs somehow manages to be perceived as a great innovator and leader. If you read a little bit about him you will see stories from his own employees of how he reduced people to tears"

Yes, he's very fussy and extremely demanding. How does that make him less of an innovator or visionary?

"Apple continue to sell generic PC hardware in shiny cases with a shiny operating system at huge markups and their users delight in handing over far more than the actual cost of producing the machine"

Yawn, typical anti-fanboi FUD. Do you want all manufacturers to sell their products at cost? Too bad you can't see beyond the initial price of the hardware. Ballmer would be most proud.

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Anonymous Coward

@windywoo

"The reason I stick up for MS is that the competition just doesn't produce a viable product"

Odd, my Mac seems to serve me perfectly well. Millions of other people would agree.

Perhaps my definition of viable isn't the same as yours?

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Thumb Down

@whiteafrican #

"Charles, I am no Ballmer fan, but the evidence you bring against him is just rubbish:"

> Could of fooled me

-"* Zune"-

"...you mean the product that even anti-MS sites like Wired and Gizmodo gave rave reviews to:"

>Reviews are one thing, but many a product has had steller reviews that later disappered(i.e. Like the zune mk1). There is nothing in the new Zune which is likely to scare the Apple Itouch. Coupled with the there terrible App strategy I cannot see it being any more succesful than its predecessor

-"* His laughing off iphone - one of the most successful products and brandings ever."-

"Right, 'cos no exec at tech company has ever predicted the future wrongly! lol. Like Apple were right that the Newton would be wonderful, and that firing Jobs was a good idea.... yeah, and Palm were right that splitting their hardware and software divisions was a good plan... uh-huh... Even Gates (who is really the only yardstick to measure Ballmer against) was wrong about the popularity of the internet. If you do your research, you'll see that lots of other analysts also doubted Apple's ability to break into the mobile phone market. That doesn't make Ballmer great, but it hardly makes him the failure you are implying. So he got one wrong. Give the guy a break."

>Many CEO's have lost there jobs for not detecting the wind of change. One of the jobs of the CEO is to predict future trends and position their company to take advantage of them. MS entire windows mobile strategy is playing catchup against not only with the iPhone but also android. And remember unlike the computer desktop they have no monopoly here so they are very vunerable to competitors. At the the very least it shows Balmer is not a visionary.

-"* Visa."-

"...sorry? You're blaming credit card problems on Ballmer?! That seems a bit harsh... Oh, wait, you meant "Vista". Right, that'll be the operating system that overtook OSX and all flavours of Linux, within 8 months of its launch..."

> and virtually everyone agrees was terrible. Yes they sold a lot, but monolpolies can do that. On the other hand they sold a lot less than they expected because they pitched the hardware requirements to high and many did not give any reasons for the vast majority of XP users to upgrade. The rise in the netbook market showed MS had misjudged the trends and were forced to keep selling XP. Also lets not forgot Vista was late due to a number of U Turns in the development process, and in many ways came out half baked and allowed OS X to take a greater share of the market especially at the high end

-"* Even XBox was a huge cock-up until 360."-

"... right - so Halo, one of the most popular, genre-defining games of all time, (developed by MS's Bungie for the xbox) was a "cock-up"?! It's not like they failed to make any profit or capture significant market share!"

>Yes XBox is a success, everyone can agree with that. However you could argue that it was more due to Sony's mis step rather than any great effort on MS part.

-"* Stupid monkey shows with motivations like developers, developers,.... sales, sales, sales,.... Vista, Vista, Vista,...."-

"I'm not even going to pretend I know what you meant here. You appear to be simply ranting."

>Balmer does seem to have a tendency to shoot his mouth off so giving his critics the ammunition they crave. If he was a unqualified success it would not be a great issue but....

-"And Google are completely eating their lunch."-

"I think your argument here was supposed to be that MS has failed to break into Google's primary business, internet searching - but that cuts both ways, because Google has tried (and so far failed) to break into MS's primary business, operating systems, web browsers and productivity software, all of which are markets that Microsoft (still) dominates."

> I don't think google has ever had much interest in competing on the desktop market. They see the future as the internet being the platform. MS with the majority of its products tied to the desktop find it hard to compete in this area without hurting there bottom line. MS have put a lot of money in search engines etc with very little return, and no sign they are anywhere close to taking over Google

"If you wanted to criticise Ballmer, you would have been much better off following the line that the original article took - his major weakness has not been the failure of one or two products out of a huge portfolio. His failure has been his inability to return value to shareholders in sufficiently high volumes."

>His failure has been his inability to diversify the Microsoft brand. To be fair it is not easy to grow outside your core markets, but areas like phones, and the internet are missed opportunities that MS may find they can never get back into. The XBox has been a success and they are trying very hard to build on that, but again they have limitations that may mean it may never be the cash cow they want. So despite his years in charge, you could still say that MS are a 2 product company(the OS and Office suite) Both are more vulnerable than ever, and at the same time there main markets are saturated with older versions of there products with no good reason for users to upgrade. What is needed is a technology forward thinker in the Steve Jobs role. Balmer seems to me nothing more than a glorified accountant

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Anonymous Coward

What if Ballmer actually left...

Let me peer into my crystal ball... new CEO with the shareholders clamoring for real change... a *real* reorg that trims away the hundreds of redundant middle managers... developer staff that really get to "innovate"... Windows core source is finally chucked and replaced with sleek, elegant code... pricing comes back into the realm of reality... MS finds a way to live peacefully with Linux and MacOS without all the silly name-calling... open-source and real standards are embraced and practiced so that the whole world can work together... we enter a new dawn of techno-utopia... world peace is finally achieved...

...it could happen...

Somebody pass me a pint, will ya...

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Silver badge

Microsoft out of Free Gas/Heavy MetaDataBase Fuel.

"I've got machines running XP, Vista and Leopard, and in spite of the fact Vista is little used and doesn't have a lot of software installed, it just seems to get slower every time I fire it up - what is that about;.." ....By Anonymous Coward Posted Friday 9th October 2009 09:52 GMT

That is just the system making sure that Microsoft have a Window on what you are doing. And there you were, sat there thinking about nothing in particular deeply, and Phorm is only a much more consumer focussed version of Redmond's Phishing Programs/Operating Systems. And you might even find they have a sync feed to DOD Intelligence Services lost and all at C in the Dynamic Art of Creative Information Placement.

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Megaphone

All seems a bloody inefficient

& expensive way of running a web browser, As seems the case for about 90% of the time for many users.

But then , SOMEONE has to pay for the sainthoods of St. Steve of Jobies and His geekeness the holy bill gates. The latter seemingly desperate for salvation; partly for charging me 100 squid 'cos a floppy got damaged. Such evil takes a lot of paying off.

All joking aside as more services are accessed through a browser , most people wont know or care if their operating system is made by Microsoft, Apple That bloke Linus what's his face or Nestle, as long as it runs their browser quickly and safely.

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Stop

@whiteafrican

"... right - so Halo, one of the most popular, genre-defining games of all time, (developed by MS's Bungie for the xbox) was a "cock-up"?! "

A minor point on Bungie - they were a game developer exclusive to the Mac platform, and Halo was to be a major game release for the Mac. It was even demonstrated by Steve Jobs in one of his keynotes. Microsoft didn't innovate here - they simply bought Bungie, lock, stock, and barrel, then released Halo exclusively for the XBox as their blockbuster introduction.

Give credit where credit is due. Microsoft hasn't released an innovative product on it's own in a decade.

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Anonymous Coward

Sisyphus

Like the greek man of old, punished by being made to roll a big rock up a steep hill only to see it roll back down again, and being made to repeat this for all eternity. Ballmer is in danger of ending this way as he endlessly tries to "catch up with Apple".

Give it up and go for what you do best.

Game platforms.

Before Apple get into that too, at which point MS are finished.

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Silver badge

@Nic 3; @Ken Hagan; @AC 09:23

Nic 3 wonders: "What world do you live them."

Assuming you are actually asking "What world do you live in?", it's called "The Earth". Third planet from the Sun. The sky is blue, and water is wet. And now that I've converted most of my friends and family to Linux, I almost never get calls to "fix my windows, please". Just think ... a world of virtually no end-user support calls! Don't you wish you lived on this rock?

Ken Hagan contributes: "Well, in a nutshell, anyone who's been holding MS shares for the past ten years gives quite a serious fuck about that."

You place your bets & take your chances. Bet wrong, you lose. Cry me a river. Personally, I got out of MSFT just before the dot-bomb bubble burst ...

AC 09:23: Games? The folks in my life wasting their time playing games know better than to call me ... I don't work on toys for under US$125/hr, with a four hour minimum. Even for friends and family.

So like it or not, Microsoft is not very relevant in my world. And I like it that way :-)

THAT said, I have a Win2K box that has been used almost daily for almost ten years. Without a single crash, and with no OS reinstalls. Current uptime reports 1154hr32min15sec (I put it into standby most nights, and yes it is usually air-gapped). So it's not that I don't know how to make Microsoft products work ... it's just that I find UN*X-style systems easier, more logical, more complete, more modular, more secure, more stable, more open, and pretty much "more" everything, except bloated. And I seriously doubt the Win2K box will outlast my Dual Pedestal Sun 3/470 "Pegasus" that has been running pretty much non-stop since July 1st of 1989 :-)

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