back to article Hey, Teflon Ballmer. Look, isn't it time? You know, time to quit?

Those who upgraded to Windows 8 aren't the only ones unhappy with the new touch-driven operating system - Wall Street is too. Just don't expect any of the criticism hurled at Steve "Teflon" Ballmer, Microsoft's shy and retiring boss, to stick. The chief executive is under fire from money men who responded to tech reporters …

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Re: good news about Microsoft?

Why is it ridiculous that you might be a shareholder? MS's share price is between 34-35 USD at the moment. A small number of shares are probably within your reach, if you where interested in purchasing them.

Frankly, I have skills covering Linux, UNIX, and Windows, so I really don't care much who wins. The only thing I'll really miss if MS where to fail would be AD, but it wouldn't be that great of a loss.

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Linux

Re: good news about Microsoft?

"The only thing I'll really miss if MS where to fail would be AD, but it wouldn't be that great of a loss."

You should really check out Samba 4. All the familiar AD features, and you can even use the Microsoft AD management apps you already know and love. For single domain setups (basically 90% of SMEs) it's already stable enough for prime time as a Primary Domain Controller (IMHO), and most of the issues with multi-domain configurations and replication are nearly sorted. No need to live without AD after all.

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Re: good news about Microsoft?

Nokia was dying! They had good featurephones but the big money was and is in smartphones. And there they had Maemo/Mego/Tizen/Whatever it is named this year a system that had as much market share as it's parent OS Linux had on the desktop,

Maemo was a "Nerd OS" without any of the infrastructure/support that both end users AND commercial software developers wanted. No App-Store, no integration with Exchange or Domino, complex development environment and "excotic" dev language. Add in "no marketing" even when the system came out, no presence in the big chains and some hardware problems that could not be solved with the stuff used (resistive digitizer).

Nokia had three choices

Build the infrastructure needed AND switch to a induktive digitizer (Maemo needs a stylus and/or keyboard)

Buy into Android

Buy into Windows Phone

With Android they had to compete with Samsung and HTC directly. One can build good quality at lower prices and the other can do cheap. Nokia is always "costly". Add in that the Maemo system needs Note II sized hardware at least (not that common back then as a form factor)

Setting up a fourth infrastructure was likely a waste of money. So they did the smart thing and went MS. The base phone is relatively "locked down" specification wise so they can argue with "good quality" units (camery, general build, battery) and set themself appart

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Re: good news about Microsoft?

You are correct. Nokia was dying. Microsoft just put a pillow over its face to hasten the process. The company had absolutely no core management direction and everyone was too focused on their own pet projects. They were trying to operate like a research lab and forgot to manage the business that paid the bills. They left themselves open to an overly eager Microsoft. I hate it, but they did it to themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: good news about Microsoft?

"The only thing I'll really miss if MS where to fail would be AD, but it wouldn't be that great of a loss."

You should really check out Samba 4

We use 389 as backend. Flexible and robust, and handles everything we need. Sure, there are ways to make it work with SAMBA and pretend to be an AD controller, but the few Windows machines we have left are typically set up independent as user test - they get re-imaged on a weekly basis to keep testing clean.

As for "caring about Microsoft" - I don't. I care about delivering systems that work, and don't need daily changes to stay propped up. I worked for consultancies that saw Open Source as a plague, not because it would solve the clien't sproblem, but because it would solve the client's problem in full (read: no more sales). That's why they lead the Microsoft revolution, and it's also why it's so damn hard to get a company to even look at something else. The only thing they know is Windows, and few CTOs have the courage to look at alternatives, even if it would over time be more efficient. I've seen one London consultancy spend over £100k of internal labour on developing their website that would have been done much quicker by using an existing Open Source project and spend £10k on paying developers to tune it to their needs - that would have left £90k to build one hell of a launch party :). But no, it would have been politically unacceptable to prove that alternatives exist - in those days, there were making money hand over fist with selling Microsoft consulting to the New Labour government..

Yes, I appreciate that many make a living from the deficiencies in Microsoft software, like the entire anti-virus industry. However, that doesn't make it right that those deficiencies exist. Since Vista, MS discovered that people will even pay it to run what is at best beta quality software at Enterprise level, just to be able to crow to their golf buddies they're "advanced", leaving the plebs in IT to mop up the problems (and fire them if they can't). Windows 7 is about the first OS where things were slightly better, so that HAD to be nuked with something new - hence TIKFAM. MS sucks, and has for years. It's propped up by biased advise, market position abuse, lock-in and heavy marketing. It would be nice or companies if they eventually managed to live up to their own hype, but I cannot see innovation have any chance while Ballmer is in charge. He must go.

(and no, we won't switch back to Microsoft - it's nice to be free of eternal upgrades, provided we avoid anything made by Adobe).

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Re: good news about Microsoft?

Learn to read Edadon:

Nokia had and has a massiv market share - with FEATUREPHONES!

Maemo/Meego? Try this: http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?t=37570 for shares during the time Nokia switched. And Symbian was not good at touch and everyone and his dog wanted touch,

Nokia always had problems supporting more platforms. Again see Maemos problems. And switching to Android would not changed that.

Unlike you I actually used those things and know their capabilities and limits!

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Re: good news about Microsoft?

@mmeier,

Is C/C++ and Python an exotic dev language? Its using the oft used QT set for the interface elements... The DEV environment isnt that difficult, there are even multiple options. It did have a App store... I mean.. did you even USE this phone you are talking about?

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FAIL

Re: good news about Microsoft?

The "Nokia was dying" meme is a US analyst centric piece of BS that can and has been debunked so many times it is boring to relate. Eadon is correct, the post is pure bullshit and kudos to Eadon for calling busllshit where bullshit is in evidence.

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Unhappy

Re: good news about Microsoft?

An AC wrote:

But why do you care? Are you a stockholder?

Even if he isn't, his pension fund probably is.

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Re: good news about Microsoft?

Compared to what MS offered at the time and what Apple and Android offered / offer - yes the setup was complex / complicated. Linux was and is a rare system. Android abstracts that away completely making development for non Linux devs easy. Maemo required a complex sandbox setup among others. And compared to other languages - Phyton an C++ ARE exotic in 200x.

Even more so since Nokia was to cheap to buy the licence and enable the Java acceleration on the N770 and add Java to the list. Back then "Java" and "Platform independent" where big sales elements and Maemo was "close enough" to a full scale Linux to run Swing apps. IF the Java perdormance would have been there.

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Re: good news about Microsoft?

Strange, even the very "pro Nokia" link I posted says "Symbian was on the way out" and lists a number of problems compared to Android/iOS. By the time they did touch prpperly the market was already gone to iOS/Android

Nokia has long development cycles, some problems on the german market (closing of Bochum factory) and a "for business" reputation. Apple does "Hip" and Android does "cheap" so Nokia needed something else.

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I don't get why they were so adamant about no start menu. It isn't a deal breaker for their metro vision. All being stubborn about it has got them is bad press and sullied their relationship with customers. Windows 8 is a fine OS in certain situations, metro works well on tablets and touch screen laptops, on desktops it makes less sense, on work stations its a monumental ballache.

Balmy has clearly forgotten who pays who here. The screwed with office so I still use an older version (2007 i think). They make windows less attractive, I am happy to use win 7. Net result my money stays in my pocket and not his. When the oems resort to shipping 'downgraded by default' you know somethings wrong. They don't need to remove metro, hell they don't even have to make it boot to desktop, they just needed to relent on the start menu, apparently they knew what we wanted better than we did. Silly little consumers.

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Adds adds and sales through a store. If you have choice, you'll not take the adds they will/can add to Metro. While only a possibility, and not a guarantee of direction, their practice with Xbox Dash is the example they seem to be aiming for. I'm not sure if their shareholder talks, big wig talks or marketing surveys suggest they could get away with giving a customer choice and keeping the income piling in. But sadly, they may shoot themselves in the foot then.

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Paris Hilton

"Adds adds and sales through a store. If you have choice, you'll not take the adds they will/can add to Metro."

Come again??

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@Shades

I think if you remove a "d" from the second and third instances of "adds" the sentence will make more sense...

And if memory serves the Metro weather app already carries an ad.

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The thing is I would (and do) happily use metro when appropriate. I still use the store for apps. When they first launched win 8 I picked up 2 licenses for testing. It's stayed on a laptop for messing about and general netflixing etc. I'd happily have it on a tablet or phone. On a workstation I at least need the option of switching to the old style. The net result is less exposure not more for them. Because they haven't given people a choice (that they could easily have done, they didn't need to remove metro, just add the start menu) and then people would have picked as appropriate for the task. Metro makes a lot of sense for some types of use and not for others. Forcing it on people is just a bad move and has backfired.

As for adds, you won't see them on metro but they probably will make their way onto some free ms produced apps. I doubt they would get away with adverts on metro itself unless it was for a subsidised version.

Then again Balmer has proven hes daft enough to try.

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Anonymous Coward

@Rampant Spaniel: "The screwed with office so I still use an older version (2007 i think)."

Office 2007 is the one that they screwed with.

If you're still happy with Office 2003, would you have spent money to upgrade to Office 2007, even if they hadn't screwed with it?

It hasn't changed - I'm not paying to upgrade!

It has changed - it's too different, I'm not paying to upgrade!

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Sorry you are right it is 2003. Would I have paid to upgrade if it hadn't changed, it isn't about if it changes, it's about how it changes. Create a new iteration that saves me time or gives me new functionality then I will buy it, change it for the sake of change then I won't. The change has to be meaningful.

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Facepalm

Re: @Shades

Thanks Greg. Yes, I meant "Ads" not "Adds". :P

"Add to that the Ads they add". Oops!

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WTF?

Ballmer doesn't need the money ...

he has billions already.

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I don't think Microsoft has had any New Coke moments. By all accounts, New Coke was better than old Coke (it certainly faired better in taste tests and had PepsiCo worried when the industrial spies managed to get their hands on a couple cans before it hit the market) but old Coke carried a sentimental value that Coke just couldn't get past.

In contrast, Vista and Windows 8 are both train wrecks. Vista's performance was unacceptably terrible, and with Windows 8 Microsoft stupidly threw out 25 years of UI design experience to foist an interface designed for phones and tablets onto PC users. That, to me, qualifies Microsoft as a special kind of stupid.

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Re: qualifies Microsoft as a special kind of stupid

That, to me, qualifies Sinofsky as a special king of stupid.

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New Coke was terribly icky sweet. I don't know where you're getting your info but grocery stores were giving it away with six or twelve for the price of one an that was before they decided to cancel it and disappear it from stores.

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"New Coke was terribly icky sweet"

So what actually changed?

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Pint

I took the test and won

When I did the actual coke taste test, I was offerred two small cups. I was with my buddy who was a Pepsi drinker and I am a coke drinker. As luck would have it, the cups we each chose first were our regular brands. I called coke, and he called Pepsi. We were both right and we did not bother with cup number 2.

I cannot recall the exact question we were asked, but I seem to recall it was about differentiation, not preference - but hey, it was a couple of decades ago.

ps: I lived in Atlanta when this was all going down (quite some time after the Coke test)

pps: New Coke was horrid, like Pepsi (which tastes like soap) but worse.

pps: Classic coke isn't as good anymore because they use corn swetener which ruins the tast compared to suger.

ppps: Beer is my preference

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I don't know where you're getting your info

I did a paper on the subject for a college class I took a couple years back (no, I'm not that young, this is my second go round in college). In the taste tests they conducted before releasing New Coke it consistently beat out Coke Classic. There were about a dozen Pepsi execs who got a chance to try it just before it was released thanks to their industrial spies, and they commented that it was better than Pepsi, which at the time was trouncing Coke in the Pepsi Challenge. However when it was released the backlash against Coke for changing their product was extreme.

As a child of the 80s I was, at the time, young enough that I drank whatever soda the grown ups would let me have. And I distinctly remember telling my grandmother that that Coke Classic was better because it had a cooler can, so I think we probably shouldn't trust what my taste buds had to say on the matter.

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Coat

I don't understand why no one gets this. They forced desktop user to use metro so those same desktop users would know how to use their tablets when they came out. The customer would have a choice, shall I buy a Microsoft tablet with a user interface I know from my desktop or shall I buy an iPad with a user interface I don't know. It using their dominance in the desktop to drive their tablet sales - they had no interest in "user experience".

The same with the Ribbon. They have patented the Ribbon so open office can create a look-alike word processor. it has nothing to do with "user experience".

Icon : because they are rifling through your expectations.

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Actually its the other way around. The next generation of PC buyers won't be raised on desktops they'll be raised on smartphones and tablets. The Start Menu will be as unintuitive to them as the Start Screen is to the current generation.

We single out MS for this but the concepts behind Windows 8 are being applied across the board. Valve is diversifying its portfolio to include productivity software, subscriptions and single licenses to cover all platforms to make it a OS agnostic appstore. Apple is attempting to tie iOS and OSX together via app stores, iTunes and iCloud. Google is using Chrome and Android as platforms for Google Drive and Google+.

Lets not kid ourselves, both Google and Apple will start merging their mobile and desktop platforms, Microsoft just got in there early, realistically too early but this is what all three big players want.

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"Google and Apple will start merging their mobile and desktop platforms"

The idea of having a consistency across all your devices is not necessarily bad, it's how you implement it that matters.

I think MS have proved that slapping a fullscreen launcher over the desktop and calling it done is not the solution....

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> They forced desktop user to use metro so those same desktop users would know how to use their tablets when they came out.

Exactly. And that didn't even take a great deal of thought. Windows Mobile 6 and earlier was the Desktop (including start button and walking menus) pushed to mobile devices, on the theory that people would gravitate to something they were already used to. The only difference here is that someone said "We tried pushing desktop onto mobile devices; it didn't sell. Let's push the mobile interface onto the desktop that's surely a winner." And of course, all it did was suppress desktop sales.

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Merging UIs

I think the iOS and OSX is a good point because Apple hasn't tried to put iOS on the desktop. They recognise they are two different users and understand this.

The OSX user could typically use high end graphics, and video editing on multi-monitor (and large monitor) setups. A mouse is often more useful in this scenario with precise control, ctrl or right clicking, large tool boxes etc,

Although tablets are probably hurting PC sales this is unlikely to be from office/desktop users of Mac OSX who are replacing their work environment with tablets.

So there is no need to have a unified environment (at the moment). Maybe this is what Microsoft have failed to understand - best tool for the job.

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@Woger

"They forced desktop user to use metro so those same desktop users would know how to use their tablets when they came out."

Whilst your statement contains some logic, it overlooks the fact that Metro was so totally different to anything else in the market that it has caused users to make a choice - use an interface I know or buy something that I don't. Whilst iOS and Android are different to the classic Windows interface, there is sufficient similarity for users to prefer these as the change is not so great. Then as many have expressed here, having used iOS they have looked at OSX and found the change isn't as great as their originally thought.

So MS have tried to be too different and didn't provide the means for users to see and use the familiar and then 'discover' the new interface and it's features. Perhaps with "Windows for Workers" (Win8.11) we may see this.

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Only the second?

What about Windows ME? The OS that was so bad it was rumoured to be a live test of their bug-tracking system?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Only the second?

What about Windows ME?

The less said about WinME, the better... now was your mouth out with soap!

Though saying that - the original Win98 release wasn't much better - they had to release it again to get it right.

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Boffin

Re: Only the second?

The thing with Windows ME is that it wasn't force-fed to users at all. Back then, you could still buy either 98SE or Win2000, so many people went for these versions. The ones hit by ME were the suckers that bought it, and damn were they hit hard by it!

Vista and 8 are both cases where the alternative is made either hard to get, or outright impossible to buy. Thus 8 is "the second" in that sense.

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Re: Only the second?

Windows ME? I refuse to acknowledge the existence of any such product. I've been trying to forget that nightmare for over a decade now and the whole world seems determined to make me believe it was more than a bad dream.

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Meh

Re: Only the second?

ME was the last Windows I ever voluntarily used. Didnt seem too bad at the time.

Then I discovered SuSE and Mint - the rest is history

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Re: Only the second?

"ME was the last Windows I ever voluntarily used. Didnt seem too bad at the time."

Aye. Thing is, ME was fast by comparison to Windows 98, but rather fragile and tended to fall over at the drop of a hat. At least that was my own experience before going back to 98SE at the time.

And yes, the desktop Linuxes are rather nice these days. Problem is you'll never edit a docx file properly in Linux (for one example), and the problem isn't simply an engineering one.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Only the second?

Allegedly you can with SoftMaker Office. I've not used the newest version that handles .docx files though, so can only speak for it's best-in-class .doc compatibilty which has worked well for me on both Linux (make sure you install all the right fonts for best results) and Windows.

They quote their positive press here: http://www.softmaker.com/english/oflpress_en.htm

I'm not affiliated (other than being German, too).

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Facepalm

Monkey Dance

I find it hard to take Ballmer seriously after that monkey dance thing, it was a long time ago, but some things just stick. Perhaps everybody's afraid to touch him, lest he or she waken the monkey.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Monkey Dance

For me it was when the Reg noted that he looked like Uncle Fester

Paris: Better looking than Fester for sure!

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Yeh but, I mean but, You know no?

Who'l replace hime if he goes?

While SB's charma might be identifiably something else what charma can replace that?

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...until Ballmer & Gates are so old they're drewling on themselves

Only question is what do we all do from here. Waiting for the share holders to fix things is useless. The share holders can't organize themselves out of a wet paper sack. Meanwhile the PC industry burns as Ballmer and Gates fiddle on the roof.

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Re: ...until Ballmer & Gates are so old they're drewling on themselves

"Meanwhile the PC industry burns as Ballmer and Gates fiddle on the roof."

While playing Jet Set Willy and humming along to the music.

Extra prawn crackers (or a pint) for those that get the reference I made.

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Another reason

Ballmer should go, there can be no debate. He lacks judgement, reads the future consistently wrongly, and seems to be doing little but suppressing any would be heirs, BUT therein lies the problem...

With whom would you replace him?

I cannot for the life of me think of who could effectively deal with MS.

The same applies to Apple. Tim Cook is not the messiah-like Jobs, he's more of an accountant. Doubtless good, but I can't see where he's going with the company.

Both of them are acting as if they don't really have a plan other than reaction.

Again, who would be the replacement for him?

Google will face this in time when its talisman step down, and dealing with it is a pretty important thing.

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Re: Another reason

Sucession planning needs to be part of any leaders job. In any sane organisation the next generation of leaders are being groomed long before the leadership steps down.

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Big Brother

Re: Another reason

@seansaysthis Wouldn't you think? But having been close to some major company changes of leadership - not so much

In my experience its business as usual until some waterfall event and its all change and the difficulty of finding someone with the stones becomes all too aparent.

Welch stepping down for Immelt is how it should be done. HP's woes after Mark Hurd's kick out of the door are down to getting it well wrong

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