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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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Pippin

At least after years of loss making the Xbox is beating Pippin.

But MS had Smartphones YEARS before Apple did a phone and went down the drain years for befoore Symbian crashed. Windows phone (CE) was once 1st in USA, though never 1st worldwide. They then fell to less than 5% in USA

They also had PDAs and true Tablets over 10 years ago,

So they didn't fail to see the market, they were holding it wrong. Ballmer is useless. Most MS software in the last 10 years is either incremental or where there are big changes they are STUPID changes.

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Pint

Re: Pippin

"Holding it wrong" - have a +1 ;)

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Bah!

"Second" new Coke moment? Aren't we forgetting Windows Millennium Edition?

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Re: Bah!

Yes, yes we are forgetting... that.

Now please quit reminding us about... that, or steps may be required.

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Anonymous Coward

Thankful for Teflon Ballmer

I, for one, am thankful for Teflon Ballmer - you don't want a sweaty, sticky Dancing Monkey Boy, do you?

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Stop

He's a genius

Most people would have folded after the Vista fiasco, but Balmer sees all the Vista machines downgraded to XP for what they really are, an opportunity for double dip sales, so profitable they did it twice.

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Alien

Balmer is transforming MS

into an NPE.

Remember that pretty well every Android Phone gives MS possibly in the region of $10 due to patent licensing deals.

Soon they will wake up to the fact that they can make more money out of the competition than they can from their own phones. $10 per device and no R&D expenses. The Shareholders will love that. Far better ROCI.

Eventually the won't need the droves os Windows or Office devs. I'd estimate that they could shed 50% or their staff. Thet will keep the shareholders happy.

I look forward to seeing Balmer retire. His (& BG's) shareholding will keep them happy until they kick the bucket even if BG keeps giving millions to his charity cronies.

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Pint

Re: Balmer is transforming MS

Citation Needed

$10? I used to read $5 regularly. Did the price go up or is their "guesswork inflation" at work.

Honestly, where did you get this number? I think 10*n where n=global android would be a big number. Is it really that big?

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1 % isn't a "minnow"

Get a couple of percent of a public company and you are close to a seat on the board. Plenty of scope to short MS stock with a view to getting the necessary stock cheaply.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 1 % isn't a "minnow"

Short ms? That would work well for you... Our stock is flying up at the moment. Kerching!

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Trollface

What's the fuss?

All this fuss because Win8 goes for the 'touch screen' paradigm:

" a supposedly seamless segue from keyboard and mouse to a world of touchscreen tablets and laptops."

Those who wish to use the mouse and keyboard with their desktop PC are still able to do so: simply slap the mouse against the screen to choose an icon, and lay a fluffy towel on the keyboard to catch the pieces. See? Nothing to it!

Oh, wait ... that's unnecessarily destructive. Bind a hot dog to a back-scratcher, and use that to flog the icons. Your arm will not suffer from over-extending to reach the screen. Leave the towel on the keyboard to catch the drippings. Eat the hot dog for lunch.

Windows 8: because MS cared enough to bring touch-screen glamour to desktop drudgery.

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Gates and Ballmer

I certainly agree with those who have speculated that as long as Gates is on the board that Ballmer will remain as CEO. But, unfortunately, Ballmer as CEO is no Gates (as few businessmen are). Gates made three major decisions in the early decades of MS existence that led to the company’s long running success and which MS is still largely profiting from today. The first was deciding to license MS-DOS to IBM rather than sell it outright (and yes, I know DOS was based on Tim Patterson’s QDOS which Gates and company bought for $50,000 without disclosing their IBM deal). The second was recognizing that the Internet--and how people accessed it---was going to revolutionize communication and information gathering and that Netscape was a threat to MS future platform dominance. So Gates determined to crush that threat in part by integrating IE with the OS and in part by getting his engineers to improve IE until it became a better browser than Netscape (and then languished for many years until Firefox came along). The third decision of course was the creation of Office. Those three decisions in part played a major role in shaping the landscape of computing for nearly 30 years. Contrast that with Ballmer’s snickering, dismissive reaction to the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007 in that ill advised video interview (partly in regard to the phones initially very high price tag). In any event, as has been pointed out by 1000’s of analysts, Ballmer was unable or unwilling to recognize the potential market for something like an iPhone and other mobile devices and --as a result---the mobile market train left MS sitting in the station over 6 years ago and it is now struggling to catch up. I suspect this would not have happened if Gates was still running the show. Gates started as a programer and along with Jobs, Andy Grove and a many others in the digital field was a visionary of sorts; he could see where things were headed and could position MS to take advantage of developing trends (admittedly in sometimes monopolistic ways). When Gates was making the big decisions and determining the direction the company was heading I think he and Ballmer were a pretty good team (like Jobs and Tim Cook at Apple); Gates steering the ship and Ballmer making sure the engine was running and all the nuts and bolts were in place. But, I think that in just about any other US corporation that 2007 Ballmer interview would have been playing over and over again in the company board room (or the board’s collective minds) and by this time--if not sooner---Ballmer would probably be gone. In a somewhat different way, a similar thing might be taking place at Apple in the wake of Steve Job’s death. Is Apple sitting on its laurels rather than seeking to be at the forefront of innovation? There are some instructive lessons to be learned in the history of businesses faltering for a while after a pioneering founder has retired or passed on. Time will tell.

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Devil

Re: Gates and Ballmer

No.

1) Mid to late 1970s: Gates got a friend to Port "free" Dartmouth Basic and flogged it as MS BASIC to CP/M users. Launched them.

2) Early 1980s: Bought an 8088 / 8086 rip off of CP/M and licensed it to IBM. Secured them for nearly 10 years.

3) Late 1980s to Early 1990s: Hijacked IBM OS/2 by being partner. Integrated LAN Manager to sell it as a server OS (MS OS/2 1989 after they fell out with IBM). Created Windows as a Shell on DOS copying the best ideas of Apple Lisa, Xerox Star, Digital Research Gem and IBM Presentation Manager (the Windows bit of OS/2).

4) Rebuilt MS OS/2 with some ideas from VMS (ironically a great security Model and NTFS with "Streams" because both rarely used by MS or 3rd party applications). Integrated WFWG 3.11 32bit TCP/IP and Program Manager + File Manager as NT 3.1 (This why Windows 8, really NT 6.3 approx starts as NT3.1)

5) Nearly kills embronic NT Workstation (NT Server OK) by the Evil Shell Makeover for Game Playing based on WFWG 3.11 called Win95 (no USB in 1st version, by 1994 WFWG has 32bit Disk manager, 32 bit TCP/IP and Win32s to run NT applications as well as working Multimedia). Win95 DirectX is a departure from Win API and excellent NT OpenGL really to allow easy porting of DOS Games. NT gets DirectX with NT 4.0 and no OpenGL on Win95. Win95 has 5 further versions, the Win98SE the best and Win ME the worst. Win95 success kills OS/2 Warp, but IBM mainframe people doing their best to make OS/2 a failure anyway.

6) Belatedly discover Internet after everyone else and make horribly incompatible Browsers even though based on Mosaic..

7) Dominate Office Apps, Internet Browser and Desktop. So give us the Rubbish of IE 6 then of Ribbon and Vista. Have cheek to charge for Vista fix pack as Win7.

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@Mage

And at the same time they were killing off OS/2, they were killing Lotus, Quatro Pro, WordPerfect, and Harvard Graphics in the applications market.

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guys like Sinofsky

Guys like Sinofsky never give a shit whether the software works for users or not. The ones clearing the mess after Sinofskys are Ballmers and Gates'

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Flame

Can't agree with this: "...online ads and search, and phone and tablet markets. Yes, these are relatively brand new areas so Microsoft may be forgiven..."

That's just rubbish - Microsoft themselves have been in all those businesses for a while; online ads since 2006, search since 2004, phones since 1983 and even tablets since either 1996 (HP 300LX with PocketPC) or 2002 (WinXP tablet). That's a lot of years of experience in some "brand new areas".

In most cases, they did see these things coming, they've just been utterly dreadful at finding a winning strategy as they're still stuck to the idea that you should be able to charge for stuff, for access to it and for (major) upgrades in the future. That's not so surprising though.

It all goes back to their core Windows/Exchange business; charging for software, CALs and support worked and drove shareholder value. Customers are finding other ways to get round paying for these with other providers with different business models - no need for CALs if all workflows are carried out in a browser, for example. How do you convince MS owners that removing what's left of one of these income streams would be good for them in the long term? You almost certainly can't until it's too late.

MS have never really adapted well to change; why change that - it's worked for years, right?

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Anonymous Coward

Drive it into the ground then get the position of CEO at Google!!

All Apple Phanbois hope he remains at that seat till he drives it into the ground......then he should go be the CEO of Google afterwards!

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-Windows 8 will be fixed for the desktop with the "blue" update (even though I do not find Windows 8 bad at all)

-Their will be a large amount of quality OEM Windows 8 tablets for the Autumn / xmas 2013 market at the right price and quality point that will sell on mass.

- The iPad fad will fade rapidly when individuals realize the limitations of the devices, its starting to happen already like the iPhone fad passing...

Order will be restored. Maybe?

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Nothing wrong with Windows 8.

Over the years I've used most versions of Microsoft OS'es from DOS 3.2 onwards. Hated Windows 95, 98 and ME. Liked 2000 and XP. Hated Vista. Bought full Windows 7 Ultimate as I felt MS had finally done good and wanted to vote with my wallet. I do tech for a living (web/desktop/mobile) and moved reluctantly to Windows 8 because of all the negative comments/reviews.

I usually run Linux Mint as well, plus ChrUbuntu on my Samsung Chromebook, so I'm not a Microsoft fanboy. Nevertheless Windows 8 is, finally, the first version of Windows that I'm happy enough with to not even bother updating the Mint partition or looking for an alternative.

It's fast, stable and reasonably good looking. I certainly don't miss the Start menu. For system stuff Windows-X is ideal. For other stuff pressing the Windows key, typing a few letters then pressing Enter is far quicker than the old Start menu was.

The Metro/Modern UI/TIFKAM aspect is personally pointless but to be honest other than clicking the Desktop tile upon booting it has no impact and I really don't get the fuss.

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Re: Nothing wrong with Windows 8.

I have to agree here - so far Win8 Pro has been solid and dependable. The omission of the Start menu has changed nothing in terms of use on the home front.

Driver support has at least picked up now - initially with a Z77E-ITX Asrock mobo and other misc bits to match, driver support was a little dodgy at times (although that said, 64 bit Windows 7 drivers worked fine). Since doing a reinstall (my old OS drive finally packed up after many years use), everything worked out of the box.

For us - we viewed it as a cheap upgrade option and have not been let down with the NZ$50 spend in order to get it. (Yes, we did take the early upgrade cheap option).

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FAIL

Reason for Sinofsky's sudden exit?

"Nobody officially knows the reason for Sinofsky's sudden exit; perhaps the man tipped as a future Microsoft CEO was involved in a power struggle at the very summit of the corporation. My theory is that it was obvious before Windows 8 launched that the software wasn't working well enough, but the countdown to liftoff could not be stopped - and Sinofsky wouldn't or couldn't brook any changes."

It was the other way round, Sinofsky wanted to cancel the Windows 8 launch but was overruled by Ballmer.

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The commenter "Mage" is correct in citing mobile and flex use products from Microsoft many years ago before Apple. However one needs to be technically experienced to a deeper level than most average consumers to understand more fully the "real" reasons that these Microsoft ventures failed.

One is that Microsoft did not have mobile technology software, or indeed even desktop or server software that was modern or innovative to support such advanced technologies. Remember, Windows was until recently based on PC DOS initially and then DEC VMS which was strictly designed for lower end minicomputers.

Software such as Java primarily, Javascript, Ruby language and other newer programmer developments along with the relentless miniturization of processors and circuits made true mobile experience a reality.

Even today in 2013, Microsoft lacks the innovation in software and microelectronics to be a dominant player as they were in the past, when monopolizing and bullying tactics were more advantageous to their efforts.

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@Gates and Ballmer

Pretty sure Bill Gates tried to sell DOS to IBM, but IBM refused because they where worried about a SEC case just after the SEC had broken up Bell Labs. So IBM decided to license DOS and handed the windfall to MS. Also it cost $10,000 (old age may make me wrong) not 50k, Bill wanted 80k.

Paul Allan called Bill Gates in to say hey you have missed the internet, as Gates had said it was rubbish and he would build his own network.

office that was a marketing thing which is what Gates is good at

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Happy

Please Keep Ballmer On!

Please keep Steve Ballmer at the head of Microsoft as long as possible. He is hastening the decline and fall of the Wintel Empire so that more innovative players with new approaches and better technologies can take over and lead the way. Keep up the good work, Steve!!!

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When in doubt, stick with your CEO

That seems to be the prevailing idea of investors these days, continuity of management, even if the current management consists of total idiots. I mean just look at HP, as far as I know they had a CEO who made stage publicity photographs of using a competitors product, and announced the discontinuation of the PC branch only to not actually do it afterwards.

As a CEO you have no actual accountability. You are paid to make decisions, you might have some bonus coupled to the stock price, but today it's near impossible to get sacked, no matter what you do.

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Balmercide.

We see them as potential leaders Balmer sees them as competition. Competition is not good for Balmer so competition ceases to exist. Gates backs Balmer because there is no one else left to govern.

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Gates and Charismatic in same breath ?

Please, he has the tact and charisma of an executioner turned IRS agent.

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FAIL

Anywhere else Ballmer would've been pushed out YEARS AGO...

...with this utter crap performance, with one royal screw-up after another, one billion-dollar failure after another.

It's a surreal company, with Bill'O not having the balls to stand up to his old bully friend, apparently.

The longer Ballmer stays the more costly and more damaging it will be to fix this utterly broken mess called MSFT.

And here's my ever-present link to the greatest article about MSTF & Ballmer from Vanity Fair (August 2012):

"How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo: Steve Ballmer And Corporate America's Most Spectacular Decline"

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2012/08/microsoft-lost-mojo-steve-ballmer#1

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As far as most people are concerned,

there is no 4th place in the mobile market. It's first, second, third and then all the losers.

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Mushroom

He called it a risk. But it was worse, a certain failure.

I remember Ballmer near the start of Windows 8 betas saying he was nervous, its a risk, a gamble, one of the biggest Microsoft had taken. When you look at that, it was a stunningly wrong view. For phones and tablets it wasn't a risk, more of a sheer necessity. Writing OSes is what they do, and they just had to crack on with it. But how in the blazes can you balls up the Desktop and call that a risk or a gamble? How can it be anything other than an immediate catastrophe? Did they think the Desktop somehow doesn't matter? It makes you wonder why executives get paid megabucks for being more stupid than a village idiot.

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