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back to article No Jobs, Schmidt deleted: Microsoft can't fail, can it?

From the GUI to the iPad, Microsoft has been in a race to copy and catch up with Apple. On the internet, Microsoft's love of the desktop helped Google surge ahead in search and ads, leaving Microsoft to struggle uphill with Bing. So, we wonder, is there a silver lining for Microsoft in the interruptions in leadership at the top …

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Pint

Microsoft can't fail, can it?

Of course they can. And for some damned reason I hope they manage it.

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Linux

hummmm!

With Microsoft copying Apple, me wonders if there will be any copyright law suites coming down the pike.

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Joke

Depends on

the building

"copyright law suites coming down the pike".

I'll get me coat.....

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45 seconds of music

Does it get any more interesting if I wait any longer?

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Thumb Down

Whistling in the dark?

The only thing I found agreeable about this was the nice animated graphic - stainless steel vultures would be so much better than flying ducks or even flying ta<click>Brrrrrrrrrrr

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Alert

After Dark

Flying Toasters ripoff!

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Anonymous Coward

You know, I've never sat down and listened to this before

Interesting stuff, what are the chances of this cross-platform "layer" being used to run old programs? Would that be a plausible thing?

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>Microsoft Can't fail

Noone ever has got to rule the whole world. Something always goes wrong.

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Microsoft has always been slow on the uptick

Microsoft has always been slow to catch on to big changes. I remember being at a conference where BillGates spoke. It was about 1994 and everyone was shifting gears to embrace the Internet. Everyone except Microsoft. When his Bill-ness spoke it was about ...... cable tv set-top boxes.

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@ Microsoft has always been slow on the uptick

That makes perfect sense, considering the majority of MS's growth and their entrenched dominance in the software market came during the 1995 and thereafter period, where it remains today. Some would call having more money than God, "success".

Didn't MS embrace the internet though? They gave away their browser to squash Netscape, integrated it into windows to the point it was running all the time anyway, and had a vested interest in keeping people using their for-profit software products to share information over the internet via messaging, emailed office docs, etc. All they really failed to do was have the foresight to implement a progressive advertising model to fuel further online growth but at the time, Yahoo was quite stiff competition, a formidable opponent in that sector.

They did exactly what they should've at that point, you can't expect any one company to be best at everything tech including the internet... the field is simply too large with too many players and the tech too young to declare any few months or even a handful of years to be telling this early in the game.

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IE

IE 1 was effectively a rebadged version of Mosaic. For a company with so many resources it seems rather strange that they didn't see the Internet (or WWW) becoming popular. If they did then their first browser would have been their own product, not a rehash.

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Gates Horns

Fixed it for you.

"They gave away NCSA's Mosaic browser to squash Netscape,"

That was after they entered into a "profit" sharing agreement with NCSA of course!

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FAIL

I claim vaporware and typical PCWeek style of marketing

Where is Windows 8 for ARM? And even if you produce a Microsoft ship date it is still 90% likely to be a lie so why is there even a discussion of how Windows 8 on ARM can or can't take on iOS and Android with Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt out? Wait, don't answer that question because I see Mary-Jo Foley is involved. She did a great job pushing Microsoft's vaporware in the '90s at PCWeek.

When Windows 8 for ARM ships, than and only then will it matter who is then running Apple or Google and what those company's have for product. Not now.

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FAIL

Are you kidding me?

Ms has been failing since the DOS days, they've consistently failed to listen to consumer feedback, behave ethically, fix bugs, make 'secure' or even stable products, innovate .. on and on.

Fortunately they have a 'marketing department' with the morals of the lowest con men, or even politicos. They can, will and have lied to your face without blinking for decades.

The question should be *when* will they fail to keep the masses deluded. I for one will be glad to see this monstrosity GONE.

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Go

Most Dangerous Threats For M$

A) Mark Shuttleworth & Ubuntu

B) Redhat

C) Mozilla

D) Richard Stallman & GNU

In the datacenter the battles are already over. Big finance is now Linux. Ubuntu aims for the desktop now...

All MoneySoft has left is Office and Exchange. LibreOffice, AbiWord, GNUmeric growning stronger by the day. TeX already strong with engineers. Gmail eating into Exchange/Outlook.

Nobody really needs MoneySoft anymore.

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E)

#) Ballmer

Since he took over MS has not done anything really interesting.

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FAIL

Which finance companies for me

That would be trading shops like SIX, DB, CBOT, NYMEX, SSE etc. or perhaps you think Linux is powering MC & VISA, or is it BA, HSBC and CITI that are "powered by the penguin". Oh, I know, its the FED that changed to Linux, right?

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Linux

@Which finance companies

For example:

A) one of the largest derivatives exchanges.

B) a major stock exchange in Asia

C) the market leader in German financial information distribution

Basically, whoever ran commerical Unix, MVS or VMS is now migrating to Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

Dream on, or not

Call me in 20 years. A couple of outliers does not make a trend.

HP (Curly, Carley & Co.) screwed all the VMS users to be sure, however it's a decade ago, and I haven't noticed too many defections fully executed yet (not that I have been looking too closely lately). They will come, but not necessarily to Linux. MVS is not going away any time soon either. Most of the commercial Unices were, well Unix, for what that is worth. I am not sure Linux is the end game for high end customers for anything other than the lower tier systems - time will tell. My crystal ball is fuzzy there. For those already in the Unix camp, Linux might be appealing.

I cannot see MC/VISA changing any time soon.

If you have even once worked in a major financial institution, you will recognise the enormity of converting these types of systems. I have personally seen 5 year plans to "get off xyz os/database" that were still a point zero well over a decade later. And these companies were "houshold names" in the finance world. It is a really large undertaking that journalists and fan boys trivialise because they are essentially clueless. The reasons these projects stall, is that they rarely provide any business advantages, only the perceived advantages of being "fashionable", and that's a hard sell in the board room.

I don't have any dog in the OS fight, but I have spent years in the guts of some very large companies (financial and otherwise) watching "strategic conversions" fail or fail to deliver the functionality of the system that they replaced. And UNIFORMLY they have been, well, late.

YMMV and I am not gonna mention names of the FAILs.

That being said, which of the Finance institutions I mentioned are (a) running linux for the trading floor (stocks and/or derivs) and/or risk management (b) engaged in serious developments in that direction? I am in fact curious.

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Go

Deutsche Börse: VMS/Solairs->Linux

I know because I have seen the people working on it. They still have engineers left who can do this. Maybe not in five years though, because at that point everything will be done by one of these contractors from that certain Asian country.

They have engineers on their payroll who care about the Linux kernel and calls like epoll().

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Silver badge

History is not repeating

Microsoft got into their position on the coattails of a bad decision by IBM. Once they had dominance they remained there essentially on their own coattails - OEMs could be bribed or simply forced to entrench them and know-nothing middle management hadn't enough of a clue to switch to the many better alternatives for the various buggy programs that MS sold.

Now things are changing and the new platform doesn't have an IBM to give them a free ride and the new generation of managers knows how empty Microsoft's promises are - they certainly remember Vista and many of them had to work their way up the ladder on machines running Windows 95.

That leaves MS relying on its own talent and ability to ship quality product that no one else is doing better. Since they've never done this in their entire history as a company, frankly they're doomed unless they can bribe or force their way in to some sub-market. Like China, say.

But all things pass and I'd be pretty confident now in saying that Microsoft is receding into the past of computing. Whether their replacements will be any better for the consumer is less clear. Apple are pretty open in their hate for consumer choice and the Linux crowd are still very much in the mind set of "you don't like the program? Well, you have the source code" which is understandable for amateur developers but very unnerving for normal people wanting to buy a DVR.

Other important players are Amazon and Murdoch. Again, no real sign of pro-consumerism there. At least Murdoch hasn't much time left on the clock. Amazon and their "not only can you not have the source code, you can't even have the binary, you fucking pleb" cloud worry me more. Google are too confused about what they want to do at the moment to even guess how their story will turn out.

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Black Helicopters

Microsoft is a tool, well used and done.

A business starts as a tool of its founders - usually serving the goal of money and / or fame. That is its purpose. Paul Allen left Redmond in 1983 after a bout with cancer, having acquired more wealth than any one person could reasonably spend the interest on. He is still one of the world's wealthiest men. Bill Gates, the other founder, was also set for life at that time. Mr. Gates got the idea to repurpose this tool, Microsoft, to endow a philanthropic organization.

For over a quarter century after that he amassed unimaginable wealth, and used it to seed the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. The foundation invests the wealth, spurning Microsoft stock, with the plan to fund charity from the interest forever. It currently has an endowment of $36 billion and has given away nearly another $24 billion since 1994. With this stake Bill Gates approached many of the world's billionaires, inviting them to also leave half of their wealth to charity - and over 40 have obliged so far to the sum of over $600 billion pledged. Warren Buffett was one of the first and wealthiest, and helped encourage the others. They are between them in danger of running out of good deeds that money can do. To give an idea of the scale of this achievement, the US national debt in 1975 when Microsoft was founded was only $533 billion.

Microsoft as a tool has done admirably well, but it hasn't done well admirably. Oft cited, sued and fined, articles about its business practices abound. Its purpose may be to fund philanthropy, but its practice runs quite the other way. The company, which Bill Gates still has $15 billion of his estimated $54 billions of wealth in, hasn't really that much left to offer to the job of endowing a charitable foundation.

When you're done with a tool you put it away. In this case that means winding down the operations of the company in as orderly a manner as possible. Otherwise there remains some risk the company will once again run amok and detract from the philanthropy. The shareholders have had an entire decade of no equity growth to warn them away, which should be enough for all but the foolish - and Bill Gates has little patience for fools. Some rare companies transition after the departure of their founders to entities that are persistent, like HP and IBM, but not this one.

For these reasons it is my opinion that Bill Gates will step down as chairman of the board soon, with Steve Ballmer taking up his role, and that he'll divest himself of his holdings shortly thereafter. The new CEO, and the next few successors will be selected for their general ability to make a mess of things, fail to deliver, and - for a change - disappoint their business partners instead of consuming them.

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First man fired for buying Microsoft

A municipality in Sweden has recently fired a man for re-buying Microsoft licenses...

The days of "No one gets fired for buying Microsoft" are finally over.

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I'd really love a text version of that podcast.

Hard to follow the two when you're not a native speaker.

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Bronze badge

Microsoft & Arm/mobile/whatever

Mary Jo Foley and other Microsoft pundits never seem to explain certain facets of Microsoft's disjointed strategy plans, when for instance she 'confidently' proclaims near future offering of Windows 8 for Arm mobile devices.

Since Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7 are desktop OS, never designed for or effective in mobile technology - as compared to iOS or Android, then the question becomes " Is Windows 8 or whatever a completely different , "new" OS for these purposes, or just another Frankenstein modification/downgrading of their flagship, ancient technology? Why is there no in-depth mention of Windows 7 Mobile in connection/relation to Windows 8 for conversion/upgrade/whatever for competing with purpose built iOS and Android?

These aspects are never mentioned by independent Microsoft marketers/fan club.

W. Anderson

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Gates Horns

What they don't say is ..

exactly what resources will be need to run Windows on ARM. What has prevented Windows running on ARM in the past has not been the lack of tableets or anyting else, it has been resources and processing. Windows on ARM will not be running on your embedded fridge controller anytime soon, I suspect they will start with high-end iPAd type devices and it will struggle with anything less than a 1ghz processor and 2Gb of ram.

What was chenged for Windows to run on ARM? simple, ARM devices have finally got big and fasty enough to run the bloatware the MS traditionally ships. I wait patiently to see how responsive it is compared to the competition ...

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Probably not a huge issue

I really don't think that Eric Schmidt leaving Google and a loss of Steve Jobs will really hurt either Apple or Google. Eric Schmidt was already sharing quite a bit of power with with Sergey Brin and Larry Page. As for Steve Jobs, well, while he's great with marketing, Apple will likely still have an excellent marketing department, and their industrial design likely won't suffer seeing as how John Ives is the one who oversees that anyway. The only thing Jobs being gone MAY induce is some opening of up its platforms (although I still won't hold my breath on that).

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I think the BBC may have something to say about that......

'Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who gave us iPlayers....'

iPods maybe but iPlayers?

I think you'll find that 'iPlayer' is a BBC registered Trademark

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Jupiter

First, Mr. Clarke, speak *near* the mike! I kept having to raise the volume when you spoke, and lowering it when it wasMJ!

And she has a *slightly* higher pitched voice, so it really hurt if I wasn't fast enough :-)

MJ's description of Jupiter reminded me more of ChromeOS' idea of web apps with local "caches" and interfaces than some kind of wrapper for portable apps.

If it is this, and is reasonably done, then this could really save MS.

Having Web-based enterprise apps plus Office, all working the same way in a phone, tablet, desktop or some kind of Web VDI would get many, many companies droolling.

Especially if they make it easy for all the current enterprise webapps that only run on IE 6 to migrate to this model.

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