Re: Balmer and failure to execute.
I don't believe that Microsoft's business model absolutely requires high churn. I do believe it requires the ability to promptly react to threats from competitors or new markets. That requires nothing more than a strong R&D and probably a few isolated skunkworks projects in addition to that. Microsoft has the talent to go “oh, Apple released an iPad,” and then turn around 8 months later and absolutely wreck them.
The failure to do so is a failure to execute. There should have been Windows CE based ARM Microsoft Tablets making the rounds this July showing what hot shit they are in preparation for ruining Apple this Christmas. Do not bullshit me that it isn’t possible, the entire group that worked on the Kin project they just binned was available, and perfectly capable of taking their Kin OS to the next level, even if the Windows Phone 7 team were a being a giant sacks about keeping their code to themselves.
Windows Phone 7: To little too late. Microsoft should have seen that coming YEARS ago, but simply failed to devote the necessary resources. They didn’t have to act FIRST in this market, but they will be pummelled for acting LAST.
Microsoft’s failure to execute is huge. Vista? Office 2007? Exchange 2007 (festering pile of shite that it was, and so much more. A whole generation of products were released from this company, all of which left me deeply wanting to boil some people in oil.
Microsoft is broken into warring fiefdoms that are unable to co-operate with eachother, lack a single unifying vision and don’t have the ability to rapidly respond to change. There needs to be a slow, steady advancement of technology within the company that moves the colossus forward with frightening inevitability. There also needs to be a series of outlier R&D and consumer electronics groups the run around making REALLY COOL stuff that doesn’t quite have the enterprise polish on it yet. The version one guys.
These groups would produce something aimed at the consumer. It would have less features than a full blown enterprise product, but it would get out in time to match Apple, Google or whomever else was getting mindshare. That version one product then goes back to the “serious business” departments for Enterprise treatment and gets some serious polish. It gets rolled into the “frightening inevitability” update group by version three and becomes simply another cog in the Microsoft machine.
Similarly, if someone radically shakes up a market, (say tablets,) then Microsoft needs the ability to kick something OUT of the Enterprise steamroller and dump it right back into the hands of the frenetic consumer groups. Here they can pick up the ball and run it through some radical R&D in a short timeframe, reinvent the dochicky or application, release a product to match the competition and kick it back to the enterprise group.
Is Microsoft even REMOTELY capable of that? Hell no. They are disorganised and chaotic with no clue what’s going on. The whole company is completely disconnected from their customers and their reaction time is measured in decades.
Ballmer is the disease. If he wasn’t a complete tool he’d have recognised his company’s failure to execute and reorganised the whole bloody thing in order to compensate. Instead he’s shifted the deck chairs on the titanic a few times to absolutely zero effect. Every “reorganisation” hasn’t really done much to change company culture, and certainly hasn’t dealt with the “warring fiefdoms” issues.