Feeds

back to article Dead Pink phone fallout hits Microsoft's top brass

If killing the KIN after just two months was bad for Microsoft, what happened next is far worse – especially for its corporate captains. This single act has blown the lid off what appears to be smoldering frustrations inside the consumer products group and divisions between that group and the rest of the company. Allegations …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

WTF?

I know I am repeating myself, but in my amazement

...I just can't help asking again, the the microsoft what? "Kin?" You mean Kinect, right? No? It sounds like you're talking about some sort of communications device, but I'm sure I would have heard of that. You must be mistaken.

6
0
FAIL

Windows Phone 7 is Kin all over again

That speeding train is still speeding. Towards an even bigger crash with Windows Phone 7.

It's still Ballmer in the driver's cabin, with his team of merry executives still back-stabbing each other not far behind.

Many of the same problems facing Kin also face Windows Phone 7. The lack of features compared to the competition. Running late. Buggy.

Added to that, the 'Windows Phone' brand is now mud. WP7 has no chance whatsoever.

9
1

Well....

A CPA friend always warned me "money makes people think they're smarter"

7
0
Thumb Down

Redmond chemists should stock anti-hubris pills

As this article notes, Microsoft used to be known for innovation. But some years ago they seemed to stop feeding off creativity and living off "hubris-reserves," like some giant beast in cryogenesis.

I don't know if anyone can explain the extended-trainwreck of Vista, or how anyone with a functioning XP system is going to jump into the maelstrom of SKU-bewilderment/rip-and-replace-and-pray world of W7. But the actions of Microsoft over the last few years resemble a sibling-rivalry-obsessed little brother with few skills. Oh, big brother made a phone...well, *I* can makes a phone all by myselfs! It'll be better than my own mp3-player, and you know all the Ballmer kids have their very own!!

What happened to this company?

5
0
mt1

xbox live

Id say MS have innovated a lot in the online console space with other like sony, steam trying to catch up with trophies, steam achievements etc

If it wasnt for xbox live im sure psn would still be int he dark ages

1
1
FAIL

@Jack - could not agree more !

m$ have completely lost the plot.

Since XP which I actually have come to like we have had nothing but shitware from m$. vista and windo$e 7 are total crap. Sure the screen is great with loads of eye candy, but you still have the rotten unstable, untested core of the pile of shit to deal with.

Bring back public flogging and put the entire bunch past and present m$ manangement and executives in the pit to be flogged. The only way the useless bunch of arrogant, ignorant retards are going to learn.

0
0
Silver badge

So

you havent actually OWNED windows 7 then, you might have USED it briefly in which case i understand your confusion. Its stable, fast, works with ALL my hardware and i have some odd hardware.

Vista was shit but even though the core is similar the end product is very very different.

XP is still very very good also and people will use that long past 2014.

0
0
FAIL

Not M&A failure

Those who think this is M&A failure are the delusionists who think that MS is on the Right Track.

Sorry, folks. WIndows and Office are your cash cows. There's not much more grass growing where your cows are grazin' so milk 'em while you can.

The greener grass is elsewhere and Ballmer isn't going to help you find it.

15
0
Megaphone

Dilbertized

This is what happens when you have meetings about when you are going to have meetings and nobody can make a proper decision for fear of being shot down.

I wonder how many times the words "paradigm shift" and "game changer" were used in the development meetings.

7
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge
Flame

Which would just mean...

...that giving incentives to "control IP behind the tech" leads to massive waste and trainwrecks.

Quite different from what the USPTO would have us believe.

It would be like wanting to control the bones of the roast chicken you just bought. Hell yeah.

0
0
WTF?

Fair enough...

... but If you've got some talented people as part of the M&A (even if they were not your motivation for the purchase) it would seem to make sense to actually capitalise on their expertise - you might as well. Rather than leaving them to rot.

0
0
Gates Halo

Time for Evil Stevil...

To draw his own conclusions? I'm actually quite the MS fanboi, but this is getting embarrassing.

0
0

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Bronze badge
FAIL

How Long..until we short?

Microsoft are an old and terminally ill collapsing star.

They have no focus and no desire to stick with thier core business, the PC. Instead its this device (console) and that device (phone) and they are all worse than the core PC is it any wonder that people are not buying?

when microsoft stripped gaming away from the PC and focused on the console, they rang the death bell for the microsoft PC in the home. along came the linux netbooks and tv's with browsers, and the return of the mac, these have all enabled people to opt out of buying a windows pc but to buy a better chaeper internet device, and because they have a console under the telly, they dont need a pc anymore. so what is this doing to microsoft's core business? well its a little bit more than micro-shafting it!

6
3
Gold badge

This slide has been going on for some time

As far as I can see, MS only has two problems:

1 - leadership. For setting a strategy to profit you need a clued up thinker, not a show monkey. Show monkeys are supporting cast, but without leadership, well, QED.. Ballmer is a bully who you need to target to get results. He doesn't have the brains to set targets himself, he lacks the required long range view.

2 - innovation. Traditionally, MS has lived off buying or stealing innovation, and putting a more glossy wrapper on it. The problem with that is that the company itself is actually arch conservative - unless an idea feels safe they're not going to run with it, and, what's more, it has started to believe its own projections. Most of the new market innovation has been properly branded, locked up in patents or done under a license prohibiting proprietary use, leaving MS with almost nothing new to market themselves. What do you do when you don't have a clue about innovation? Well, you pretend. Hence the MS Office ribbon and the confusing interface changes in Windows - all are glossy (and actually detrimental) covers over old technology, which only the blind, the fanatical, the paid and the gullible will herald as "improvement".

MS has bought enough talent to come up with new ideas, but it suffers a real classic problem: it is scared of that talent, because the good ones speak their minds.

Though seriously needed, criticism is never welcome in a company with weak leadership.

11
0
LDS
Silver badge
Thumb Down

The KIN should have never be rolled out

I am not amazed the KIN was killed after six weeks, I am amazed such a product got approval for release. It looks the typical product noone dares to kill, while everybody knows it should.

Since they acquired Danger, the landscape changed a lot. If management didn't understand it, time to change it - dropping a product is not enough.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

What odds will anyone give me

on Windows Phone 7 never even making it to market?

2
0
Gold badge

Odds are good

It will get out there, but it will always lag about two years behind everyone else unless they throw some resource at it.

It seems like an interesting UI slapped on top of Windows CE.

I really do wonder why IE gets so much attention and resource when it's free. Yet something which could make them a lot of money (phones) doesn't get much resource.

With mobile computing predicted to become more popular, the desktop OS and office tools are going to diminish in the next 10 years.

0
0
Pirate

IE got so much attention

because it was needed to kill Netscape and prevent the desktop OS from becoming commoditized down to a zero-profit product that could be easily replaced. So they kept the desktop OS as a high-profit product that's not so easy to replace (I'm a Linux fanboi, and I realize that fact), and made the browser the zero-profit product. Remember, this happened in the days when Microsoft's Total World Domination via Windows 95 and Office wasn't assured. Netscape (and the concept of the Internet) scared the crap out ofMS and they needed some way to marginalize the threat. Netscape didn't sell an OS, so by giving away IE (as well as bundling it in with later versions of Windows), Microsoft almost completely gutted Netscape's market.

Mobile phones have always been something MS chases, but can never really seem to catch. They get some traction in Corporate, but consumers don't seem to care too much for the MS mobile offerings. Or at least, MS is still looking for the "killer app" that will sell phones, instead of looking for the killer phone that will sell apps.

2
0

The odd thing is

... having looked at the videos of the UI, I think it looks quite well suited to a tablet. In my opinion, Apple have stretched the iOS a bit. moving from the phone (where it was very well suited) to the iPad. By contrast WP7 looks a bit crappy as a phone UI, but could work nicely on something bigger.

I bet that won't happen, though.

0
0
FAIL

Unbelieveable

No, not the KIN debacle; but the Microsoft Press Centre photos.

Does 'eating their own dog food' extend to graphics packages? Have they used Microsoft Paint to do the cut outs on the photos (Roz Ho's in particular. Feather guys, feather). Surely MS can negotiate a good deal on Photoshop...

1
0
Go

Oh dear oh dear...

This doesn't bode well for Windows 7 Mobile System 7 System or whatever it's called (not that I'm suggesting the same dev team are involved) and really ups the ante on Microsoft. If it can't reverse the decline in market share or at least hold it at current levels then Microsoft are toast in any market where the target hardware can't run a version of its desktop OS.

Personally I expect W7MS7S to miss the target by quite some distance. The product needs to be performant, stable, provide an intuitive user experience and above all appeal primarily to consumers not businessmen. Microsoft don't have a brilliant track record in these areas...

It would be nice to see them comprehensively blow away my expectations so that we have another solid platform and plenty of choice - but I'm not holding my breath.

0
0
Thumb Up

KIN

I am off to google it for pictures. I don't believe it ever existed. Certainly never saw a playmobil reconstruction or a reg hardware review so it never happend.

0
0
FAIL

I almost brought one lat week!

I was in Best Buy in Denver last week and saw a Kin avaiable for sale. I wish I'd brought it now as it can join my Google Phone as a collectors item\curio in the future. Mind you, my Nexus One is a great business phone and I suspect I'll be using it for quite some time to come.

0
0
Gates Horns

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

Similar stories were coming out of IBM when they were losing their grip on the mainstream computing market in the late eighties. Because Microsoft is driven by the needs of the Windows and Office cash cows, this sacrifices the needs of the games, mobile phones and Internet services developers into choosing approaches consistent with another family of products.

For example, it's very unlikely that anyone proposing a Linux or even open-source based mobile phone or games console would get very far in Microsoft, regardless of which methodology is more effective in that development space. Large vertical corporations become inefficient to the point of becoming ineffective, due to over centralised control stifling innovation and initiative at ground level. The former Soviet Union was a classic case of this kind of hubris prior to its inevitable collapse.

4
0
Thumb Up

William Butler Yeats

"TURNING and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity."

That is all.

4
0
Welcome

So, they'll just spin it into a hip new reality TV show...

...and the market will applaud, none the wiser. All hail our renewed technological shmeaders!

Tee hee?

0
0
Pint

Crash and burn

Microsoft are not the only company who stifle creativity, innovation and drive so much that developers feel they may as well be working for an Indian coding shop. It usually ends with developers resenting management and then the company, while management accuses the developers of not being "team players", blame them for the failures of their own making.

Good on the Danger crew for speaking out.

2
0
WTF?

Innovative products? Are you sure?

'A company that prides itself on harnessing the best in new thinking and funneling ideas into innovative products'. Huh? Really? Are we talking about a different Microsoft that I don't know about, because that has certainly never described the one I'm familiar with.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Read carefully

They pride themselves. Only they don't actually manage to do what they pride themselves on. You're right on the last bit; I've never ever seen them do that either. But they do pride themselves a lot.

FUD and empty promises are their main weapon... er, yes, the long red medieval one's mine, thanks.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

The KIN was abhorrent, and heads deserve to roll

I was under the impression with Bach and Allard gone that they already had though.

Any manager who allowed the KIN to get to market has some serious explaining to do. The WinPho7 team who apparently tried to kill this off by killing off their support were on the right track. Why weren't they listened to? Why did Microsoft release a featurephone when the now is a smartphone?

People deserve to get fired for this. That Windows cash cow has clearly bred a culture of complacency. Execs better lay down the law.

0
0

I would like to apply...

...for the post of Team Leader (Vision Setting and Irrelevant Projects) at Microsoft.

Team Leaders of the World, Unite.

0
0
Bronze badge
Stop

WP7

... better be right first time otherwise they can forget about a mobile presence.

0
0
FAIL

It just goes to show

how much Bill Gates held that company together. They've totally lost their direction since he gave up an active role in Microsoft and it's been down hill all the way.

1
0
Grenade

billyboy

didn't have a clue. Obviously a clever and capable programmer. But an operating system ? They still haven't released one !

enough said !

0
0

The phone business is bad for Microsoft

I can't help but comment on this type of article about Microsoft. The only question is: why did anyone in Microsoft get carried away enough with the hype that this project wasn't stopped much sooner.

If you are an investor in Microsoft, you know you have two product suites in Windows and Office that cannot be replaced. Some call them cash cows and maybe they are. But despite many valiant attempts no organization or group has been able to seriously dent Microsoft's hold on the huge markets in which they operate. There will always be offerings on the fringe that find a niche. Like any product, Windows and Office cannot be everything to everyone.

By contrast, as Google and Apple have shown, it only takes a couple of years to create a phone. There's a low barrier to entry. Why would investors want Microsoft waste money competing in a market with a low barrier to entry? Explain that logic?

Sure, the short-term investors would love Microsoft to do something sexy to drive the stock price up so they can make a killing. However pension fund managers will only worry if Microsoft fails to protect its core businesses and so jeopardize the billions of dividends they receive. It's core businesses are not about creating short-term retail fashion products.

Microsoft has always done well when it worked to support the hardware manufacturers. This is presumably why they managed to pull off a rare success in X-Box (which is really a PC running Windows with slightly specialized hardware). My set top box runs Windows CE, again possible because

The phone business is hard because the barriers are too low and the customers fickle. Ask Nokia, ask Google about Nexus, ask Apple in a couple of years time.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Objection

Micros~1 Windows[tm] and Micros~1 Office[tm] _can_ be replaced. The only real reason it hasn't happened more widely yet is people believing things can't be replaced. But it's fairly easy if you can manage to wrap your head around a switch. Yes, things will change, but that was the point.

Currently working with an office full of "windows users" that talk about "office" like they're using a micros~1 product, only they're not. Where it proves bothersome (``docx'') everyone knows to blame micros~1 for failing their own astroturfed standard. Swapping out micros~1 windows[tm] would be a tad harder for these people, but could be done and probably will be when it's cost-effective to do so. It doesn't even hinge on micros~1, but on 3rd party software vendors. Changing "office" already clearly was cost effective.

0
0
Gates Horns

Innovation

“a company that prides itself on harnessing the best in new thinking and funneling ideas into innovative products”

I think you mean “spotting the best in new thinking and acquiring the company responsible”. You’d think by now they’d be able to handle acquisitions better, though - they’ve had enough practice!

2
0
JDX
Gold badge
Grenade

Nice article

Informative and objective, I like it.

Seems things are a little poorly over at MS but on the other hand, they _should_ be pushing in new directions (though Office is _not_ going to die soon). And at least they do have the funds to do so. However, maybe some big internal rebuilding is in order.

0
0

No pleasing some

I'm actually impressed Microsoft had the good sense to can the projects before they drained even more resources, it's a start anyway.

0
0
FAIL

The fish rots from the head

It's simple. Ballmer is a sales guy, without a vision. Don't get me wrong, a company needs good sales people, but they are a bad match for the top position in what needs to be an innovative and focused tech company.

Say what you like about Steve Jobs, but only an idiot would deny that the man has a very clear and definite idea of what Apple should be and what products it should be making. And they stay true to that idea.

Ballmer is like a spastic octopus in comparison, thrashing desperately around at anything that comes near. If only he was the psychic octopus that predicted the world cup results, they might have a chance.

3
0

the original windows mobile...

I think was awesome... multi tasking and working in a tiny memory footprint...

sometimes it could be a little laggy, but so is my iphone.

app store? I dont think that there is much on my iphone that I didnt already have from handango and I had the freedom (if I had the skills) to write my own apps for the phone...

windows mobile had a much wider market than just phones too... have a look in your local Tesco, there will be probably more winmo devices in there than all phones put together... pretty much all the handheld devices in retail and delivery are windows powered... end user modification and lockdown, custom rom images, etc are all possible...

not sure what im getting at here, but basically winmo hasnt been a dead duck... although winphone7 does look to be dumping all that for a closed, fluffy, apple clone system.... which could cause issues for these markets....

0
0
Gold badge

Orange SPV

You're on about the Orange SPV. It was pretty shocking. It didn't have a camera when cheaper phones did, you had to clip on a camera, the lag was terrible.

It had no bluetooth and the battery life was terrible.

0
0
Go

Huh??

"... autocratic leadership, incompetence, ignorance..."

This is news? This has been a major problem of theirs for decades and everybody knows it. But then, it's a major problem in all corporations where the Peter Principle has had time to become fully developed and embedded.

1
0
Jobs Horns

There needs to be a full clear out of the old guard

There is nothing like wasting people time and effort in develping a new and interesting ideas only to see it snuffed out. What is needed is a fresh and open minded management team from the top down, which mean clearing out all the old execs including Ballmer and bringing up on comming people.

There needs to be a full review on future projects and plans for new way of developing future OS's including window 8,9 etc.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

That'll be a "strong sell" then

I'm talking about MSFT here.

1
0
FAIL

OMG! Microsoft screws over a(nother) company

Jeez... like you didn't know what would hit you..

2
0

More than half a decade

Whodapunk's web blog has been flinging this sort of opprobrium at Redmond's management for years. At first, people thought they were witnessing The Boston Tea Party (only with towels), but in fact nothing ever changes. When Brummel first arrived they were all dancing in the streets: "Ding dong, the wicked curve is dead. We're saved!" Poor fuckers. They'll never be saved.

Minimsft serves as an interesting Window into a delusional world, where the culture of Ubergeek Visionary has been enshrined, and where none of the normal, sweaty, low-functioning geeks can understand why an environment entirely populated by aggressive geeks( and in which only aggressive geekiness - or something that can fake it - is rewarded), can be such an unpleasant place to work. It is interesting to see which talentless slacker is getting the blame for this week's snafu, but don't expect George Washington to turn up any time soon.

If this is 'fallout', it only serves to explain why everyone who gets promoted above about level 66 instantly mutates into something nasty, with cannibalistic tendencies.

1
0
WTF?

That's absolutely one explanation

So they had a buggy device with problems.

MS then started cutting features to try to get something out the door.

The developers *then* started having long lunches and looking forward to their fat paycheque.

Or

They had a buggy device with problems

MS then started cutting features to try to get something out the door

The developers spent more time congratulating themselves on being bought by MS and didn't bother producing a good product because they knew that there was a fat paycheque coming, and besides everyone hates MS so they can always play the victim.

0
2

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.