Put my CV through but I have yet to hear.
Hopefully this El reg article will help during the interview.
Microsoft chief exec Steve Ballmer has gone sooner than anyone, even he himself, had expected. On Friday he announced he will give up the reins following a 12-month transition. A one-year exit is proper given Ballmer’s position: the CEO of a major listed company. What’s strange, however, is the timing - that Ballmer should be …
Hopefully this El reg article will help during the interview.
How are your chair-throwing skills?
You could say you're a Premium Gold ChairPoint 2013 Professional...
Compose all the following terms into a sentence which encapsulates your vision for Microsoft, instils sensations of immense profundity and authority in the naïve but means absolutely nothing at all:
opportunity integrated technologist platform
compute [but only as a ADJECTIVE]
leverage [but only as a VERB]
upward global trajectory
relationship monetization platform
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!
Can you say "services company focused on empowering customers in the activities they value most" without laughing ?
Ballmer did have to go, he missed the boat on smart phones and now even though they have a great product they are way behind the curve with market share, he released vista (enough said), obviously windows 8 is also somewhat of a flop too even though imho its actually a great product. The next CEO is going to have their work cut out for them that much I do know as they are being given a pretty smelly pile by the lack of priority given to innovation over the last decade.
"...obviously windows 8 is also somewhat of a flop too even though imho its actually a great product."
It might be a great product but its failing is that it is targeted to the wrong demographic, that being desktop computer users.
The usage paradigm, as well as both the hardware and ergonomics, of the current desktop computer design simply does not sit well with Windows 8's design paradigm: the mostly-touch UI. What happened here is Microsoft lost scope of its TRUE money-maker: the corporate PC. Listening to pundits and tech writers it is easy to believe that consumer PC sales drives the the majority business that Microsoft specializes in, the desktop OS. In reality, when a single company, like IBM, can have over 430,000 staff to migrate to an OS update
that counts for a lot of business.
Multiply the number of business users by the number of existing companies that want/need to migrate, SOHO / midsize / large corporate. Then create an OS that is perceived to be not "business oriented", and you've lost your foundational customer core.
And then, you have a PROBLEM.
In other words, a simple rule of economics: when your products are perceived by businesses to be fundamental TO business, and you then create your next product line that forgoes that "businesses first" attitude, targeting consumers above all, you are going to have a fiasco.
You [Balmer] lost $10bil on WIndows 8 RT, and you probably are asking: Why?! When you make a product that has limited scope for your 'classic' market (business, as you can't run business apps on RT's ARM-restricted API space), you've got a BIG problem. And it came back to bite you in the butt, didn't it? Full Win8 Surface? Not enough bang-for-the-buck for said business, same fundamental problem with a different face. Dell shifts millions of laptops per year and I'm sure, if you look at the sales charts, it is mostly Latitude business series parts. Selling 2,000 laptops to a single [business] customer means that you must sell a lot of consumer product to try to catch that number equivalence up, no matter how much the media concentrates on the glamour of the shiny said consumer line.
I'm as interested as the next fellow to read about the latest consumer kit. But Microsoft's OS business is very different: its vast sales volumes depends upon business upgrades. Consumer upgrades fuel a part of the fire but their greatest market penetration is business, and its resulting volume, we/they can't deny reality. Windows 8 is being ignored by business, as Vista was, and it is a market dud as a result. That's the honest assessment. As several other comments have said here, Microsoft should have made 2 different versions of the Win8 OS: business (Explorer UI) and consumer (touch UI). Microsoft may not like hearing that, but it's the truth.
"As several other comments have said here, Microsoft should have made 2 different versions of the Win8 OS: business (Explorer UI) and consumer (touch UI). Microsoft may not like hearing that, but it's the truth."
It might be the sort of thing Microsoft would do but a better OS designer would simply ask if the user wanted touch capabilities and serve up the appropriate experience from the install disk.
That being said, how many companies would have migrated to Windows 8 anyway? Many are still trying to get to 7, so in Ballmer's defence, going after the consumer space was not a a bad idea. If you can fault him for anything, it is not pushing through the single framework that would have united the three OSes.
"a better OS designer would...serve up the appropriate experience"
Yes. Even in the weird and wacky world of Linux/xBSD, the user can choose their desktop "experience"
That's the sensible choice. But they forced touch on everyone to guarantee that touch would be better supported. If nobody used the metro UI then nobody would write for it, leaving WinRT totally isolated.
Oh not that old FUD again. NOBODY is forced to use touch on Win8. It works just fine with keyboard and (if you insist) a mouse. On typical "heavy duty" desktop workstations with dual monitors and all.
On non-touch units modern is just another start menu. Unless you are one of the few people who used a specific capability of the old one - no feature is lost and some quite nice tuning was done.
And it is the ONLY OS to work on convertibles/2in1 in ALL modes!
"Microsoft should have made 2 different versions of the Win8 OS."
No I think it should have been one, with a user configuration setting to turn off not-metro. The pre-release version had a registry hack to do that but they ripped it out.
I want Windows7 interface with Windows8 underneath. That would be ideal on my Windows machines at the office and home.
I agree fully, that TIFKAM was/is a bad idea on the desktop and that MS should release a windows 7.1 upgrade with all the OS improvements, but minus the pointless and appalling TIFKAM interface.
It would be embraced by the business world in a second and a gajillion sleepless hours would be avoided.
MS can keep pushing TIFKAM in the mobile space where it does indeed make some sense and is not in any way an interface contradictory to mobile usage patterns.
Nobody is forced to use touch, but so many of the design decisions were clearly biased towards touch. End result; an OS that felt it was only grudgingly providing mouse and keyboard functionality, because it had too. For a system overwhelmingly used on desktops that's madness.
Microsoft thought they were going to ride in on a wave that changed computing forever. They wanted to be at the forefront of the change in the way people thought about computers, like the iPhone changed mobiles. But the problem was no-one liked Windows 8's ideas enough. There's nothing to excite. Nothing that made people want to change. All is has is innovations that annoy more than delight, and a nagging feeling that you're being told to change to suit Microsoft, not you.
In 10 years time maybe we'll all be seeing Windows 8 as a glorious failure that was before its time, but I doubt it.
So called usability experts seem to have a problem with the idea of "the right tool for the job". This is despite the fact that this idea is kind of embedded in the new paradigm. New devices won't necessarily displace the old ones. Microsoft missed the opportunity to create a tablet that works best with it's own "ecosystem" while sabotaging it's own flagship product.
The PC is a form factor and a level of end user control. Each of these independently have their own uses and use cases for which they are the best available option. Trying to ignore that in the rush to embrace the new shiny shiny is just stupid.
Although everyone appears to be making the same mistakes right now.
>MS should release a windows 7.1 upgrade with all the OS improvements
People don't pay for updates.
MSFT's business model relies on people updating their machine every 3years and getting the new shiny OEMed OS with it and then having to upgrade Office to keep up.
When people discovered that their 2010 3GHz CPUs are quite as capable or writing a memo or adding up an expenses spreadsheet as they were in 2010 they didn't upgrade and so didn't get the new OS
And then everyone pays the Microsoft Luxury Tax on Windows 8 Pro. So they can have the normal Keyboard & Mouse UI! While the Home Premium (Touch UI), sits there and rots away!
2010.... lol Try ca~2006/7 whenever it was that the C2D Conroe hit. They still power my machines to this day.
"Nobody is forced to use touch, but so many of the design decisions were clearly biased towards touch."
Such as? Honest question. I find it works fine. I can understand some people don't like the new start screen, but that's got nothing to do with touch (and can easily be changed with a free utility). The full screen apps are optional - you can carry on running your old Windows apps same as before. I hated the Windows XP start menu, but I didn't go around claiming it was made for touch, or Windows was therefore a flop. I don't think everything's perfect - there are criticisms are made. But I fail to fathom how it's unusable without touch, or that the diferences were made from touch in the first place.
Some things are done with a right mouse click on the start screen - how does that work with touch? Indeed one of the biggest complains, lack of a start button, makes no sense with touch either - how do I hover my finger over a hotspot? I assume there are different ways to do these operations with a touchscreen. Normally you'd expect a UI made for touch to be requiring buttons, not getting rid of them!
"like the iPhone changed mobiles"
No, it didn't. It couldn't even run apps. It wasn't first with a touchscreen. Did it popularise them? Nope, the most successful smartphone of all time is the 2009 Nokia 5230, with 150 million sales, compared to a few million for the 2007 iphone 1. It had a touchscreen. By platform, Symbian and later Android did far more to popularise touchscreens to the masses.
"In 10 years time maybe we'll all be seeing Windows 8 as a glorious failure that was before its time, but I doubt it."
With 100 million sales, it's already a runaway success, whatever one thinks of it. It's painful how people insist it's a flop - yet the original iphone was regarded as a runaway success with a mere one million sales in 76 days!
The Surface sales don't seem unreasonable either (again compare to the first iphone, or how do they compare to many Android tablets, or the Nexus line of phones until the Nexus 4?) - the mistake seems to have been to make far too many of them. Same with advertising - there's vastly more marketing for Apple than anyone else (e.g., product placement in virtually every US TV show, and also in plenty of adverts). One has to endure an Applevert multiple times a day, compared to an MS advert every few weeks. If there was a mistake, it was getting ripped off if they spent so much money, for so little resultant marketing that I've seen.
And actually, if Windows XP is anything to go by, ironically it will be the Windows critics themselves spinning Windows 8 as a glorious success, claiming how wonderful it is, and that MS are now doomed because of their horrible new Windows 10...
"I can understand some people don't like the new start screen, but that's got nothing to do with touch (and can easily be changed with a free utility)."
And, right there, you missed your own fallacy. Why do WIn8 supporters always (end up) stating that the OS is SO great...yet is can be changed to suit [needs] with a FREE, THIRD PARTY UTILITY? If it is truly so great, why in the WORLD would a third party utility even exist?!
If the product was designed for purpose a utility - designed and available from a non-trusted, non-secure third party, no less - should not be needed. It should have been built-in. A settings choice. An optional manufacturer-supplied component install. A user profile switch.
A third-party app? Sorry, that's not even in the discussion, especially when discussing OS implementation on the corporate level. Untried, unsupported, unproven and unvetted third-party apps NEED NOT APPLY, thank you very much and leave your forms with the secretary on the way out.
Win8 certainly does not "force" you to use touchscreen...but, even when using a mouse, you still get the UI's touchscreen look experience. Read: ugly (IMHO) large monochrome boxes (didn't we do monochrome interfaces in the 80's?!) with hidden 'secrets' like hotspots, etc. And you always end up back to that point even if you ran a legacy program, once you close the program or seek to open another one.
Apps on the desktop? Had that for years in the System Tray, we don't desire an OS where one of the spoken primary benefits is to make said 'minor' apps a focal point of desktop interaction. An "app" has minimal functionality, "desktop=full spectrum advantages" is a mantra to sing to yourself. When you are on a phone, or on a tablet, people basically understand that the device has limitations and said limitations comes with the tradeoff in size. Desktop = "full function", so making restricted-function apps a major "advantage" is outright, well...stupid.
It's not so much the touch itself was a bad idea. I don't like putting my hand up onto a monitor because it's tiring and there's finger prints and such. A track pad like on the laptops just suck altogether since they are just a pain in the butt.
Now what MS could have done as an option would have like on Xbox gesture type design. Like a trackpad but you don't touch it you just have a small mousepad sized device connected wirelessly into your usb and have it so it can track your finger on xyz axis so you move back and forth front to back for movement and down to select. Sure you'd need a keyboard for doing anything business related since touching the keys just gives a more confident feeling yours fingers are aligned while typing and getting contact.
Basically the idea of making touchscreens seems like an expensive and a pain in the ass way of implementing touch when an easier on the arm way of using gesture tech on a desktop pad like the xbox has for games seems like a better experience for the users of a desktop systems.
"""What happened here is Microsoft lost scope of its TRUE money-maker: the corporate PC. Listening to pundits and tech writers it is easy to believe that consumer PC sales drives the the majority business that Microsoft specializes in, the desktop OS."""
Nope, quite the contrary, they know the corporate market has no option but to swallow whatever comes of microsoft 's ass, and if it doesn't work corporates have the resources (money) and people (IT department) to deploy older versions of the software.
As corporates are locked-in in the foreseeable future all that is left is to conquer by whatever the means the minds and soul of the home user.
The problem seems to be that for some reason Microsoft must control everything, the corporate space, the home space, the mobile space, the mp3 player space, the online ads space, even outher space.
"That being said, how many companies would have migrated to Windows 8 anyway? Many are still trying to get to 7, so in Ballmer's defence, going after the consumer space was not a a bad idea."
A reasonable point. The problem is, it appears consumers hated it too. It's not just a business/consumer issue. It's a touch vs traditional PC issue. Come out with a touch-friendly OS, fine. Microsoft REALLY needed to do that. But force non-touch, traditional laptops and desktop PCs to use an inappropriate touch paradigm, only for the sake of forcing an ecosystem? Screw that. If I'm a non-geek and I just bought a conventional laptop, what is this crap?? Double screw that. If I'm the geek that has to help the non-geek try to live with his Windows 8 non-touch laptop? Triple screw that.
Windows 8 is a superb example of a company thinking they can dictate the marketplace, because they always had been able to do it in the past, and finding out it didn't work anymore. Coming out with a touch-oriented interface wasn't the mistake. Again, that was something Microsoft needed to do. Insisting that it be used on a non-touch device, when Microsoft mostly sells software that runs on non-touch devices, was a HUGE mistake.
Sorry, we have a convertible running Win8, and it doesn't work *well* in either mode. There are things that need touch and things that can't be done via touch, and basic phone-isms (like all metro apps being full screen) that don't make sense on a larger than 5 inch screen. It's clumsy enough to make it a chore even for standard Windows apps, resulting in going back to the Windows XP laptop it was supposed to replace. I don't recall ever being so profoundly disappointed in a computer purchase. Current plan is to upgrade to 8.1 when the update is finally released to mere mortals, and then find a new home for it.
I know, I know, we're all whiners who should just buck up and take whatever Microsoft gives us and LIKE it.
And there was a time when you just had to grit your teeth and work through it. Not true anymore.
And it's ugly! Geeze, they could at least have made it visibly appealing.
" I hated the Windows XP start menu, but I didn't go around claiming it was made for touch, or Windows was therefore a flop."
Really REALLY bad example. One setting change would turn off the garish XP look and give you the classic Windows look and feel. Same is true with Windows 7. (All my XP and Win7 machines are running the classic look.) If Win8 had this feature, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
"If the product was designed for purpose a utility - designed and available from a non-trusted, non-secure third party, no less - should not be needed. It should have been built-in. A settings choice. An optional manufacturer-supplied component install. A user profile switch."
Moreover, once that mistake was apparent, they had a SECOND OPPORTUNITY to fix it with Windows 8.1.... and chose not to. Were this a boxing match, I'd begin to suspect that Ballmer was throwing the fight.
(A side issue is that no corporation is going to plan to deploy a product that relies on a third-party free (and thus untrusted) utility.)
"Nope, quite the contrary, they know the corporate market has no option but to swallow whatever comes of microsoft 's ass,"
I have to disagree. Many corporations gave Vista a pass, for instance. Machines that were delivered with Vista were re-imaged with the corporate copy of Windows XP. It was one of the reasons XP has been in the field so long.
How is that different from what actually happened?
'2010.... lol Try ca~2006/7 whenever it was that the C2D Conroe hit. They still power my machines to this day.'
At home, oldest machine still in daily use is a Celeron 433, Circa 1999/2000.
At work I've an old P4 Optiplex GX520 (circa 2006) still running which still does more productive work on a daily basis than the shiny n-core wordprocessor/web browser/email boxen sitting on all the desktops. Oldest machine in daily use at work is the old IBM Aptiva system circa mid 1990's [Quite funny that one, it drives a £20,000++ piece of equipment, we've a new £500-- piece of gear which requires a multi-core, multi-GHz, multi-GB-ram box to run the proprietary software which drives it..]
If I went back to one of my old places of employ, I bet I'd still find systems from the early-mid 90's still lurking in the darker recesses just getting on with whatever their allotted jobs are (probably still he same ones I left them doing...)
Yes it's obvious MSFT alienated business with Windows8 but the reason was loss of market share to tablets. Many such users were/are home users for whom laptops and desktops are unnecessary. Microsoft's major mistake was to assume it could enforce a single solution on both.
The new management will surely make windows 9 a proper desktop solution that does not try t o be the same everywhere
Yes but a small business buyer just wants to walk into PC World or log onto Amazon or wherever and buy a new desktop or laptop with Windows 7 on it. Right now they have to buy a Windows 8 machine, buy a copy of Windows 7 and then faff about replacing Windows 8 with Windows 7! Probably going to cost them at least a day of their time or an employees time to do that. And then if it doesn't go smoothly, back to have an argument with the customer support personnel at the retailer/online supplier....
Not every business runs corporate apps... they just want 1 or 2 PCs that run Office, Internet, SKYPE and probably some accounting package plus attach to printers/scanners/cameras etc. and that is it! They certainly don't want all the Metro stuff and have to guess how it works Windows 8'ness and are exasperated about having to buy another OS and waste valuable time installing it!
"Windows 8 is being ignored by business, as Vista was, and it is a market dud as a result."
That's because business recognises that the Microsoft "development cycle" means that only every other new OS is worth using, with the intermediate versions being a waste of space;
ME = Bad
XP = Good
Vista = Bad
Win 7 = Good
Win 8 = Bad
So at least we know the next version of Windows will probably be usable...
"a runaway success"
I couldn't agree more. It's successfully made people run away from it.
Deary me, it's amazing how deluded some people can become.
The start screen. Even if you leave aside the horizontal scrolling (clearly designed for touch), you also have the ridiculous method with a mouse of getting to it (Top right, wait for the charms bar, etc). Again, clearly designed for touch gestures. If (like me) you often access machines at work via remote desktop in a window, it's a royal pain.
" I hated the Windows XP start menu"
I wasn't a fan either. But big shocker! You could switch it back to classic easily and it was properly supported by MS (and could be easily enabled by group policies for businesses that wanted consistency with W2000). If MS had kept the start menu as a selectable option, this mess wouldn't have happened - at least not to this magnitude.
"Did it popularise them? Nope"
If you honestly think that iPhone didn't popularise touch-screened smartphones then your deluded in the extreme. The first models did sell slowly, but if you used one, it had a real "wow" feeling that no Nokia or Windows 8 device has ever delivered.
"With 100 million sales, it's already a runaway success"
Ahh, the Microsoft response. Let's ignore how many tens of millions of those are corporate PCs that are promptly wiped and knocked back to Windows 7. Looking just at sales is idiotic because of how Windows licensing and PC sales work. By that measure, Vista was also a massive success. Instead, look at online activity as it's a far better benchmark. After 9 months from general release, Windows 8 holds 5% of the market. By the same point after Windows 7's release, it held nearly 15%. No matter how you look at it, that is comparatively a flop.
Windows 8 is a confusing mess. A sort of messy consumer-oriented trainwreck between touch and classic. MS needs to sort its direction out and stop trying the one-size-fits-all. I do NOT want the same interface on my 27" desktop monitor as I have on my mobile. Trying to do so is just idiotic.
"2010.... lol Try ca~2006/7 whenever it was that the C2D Conroe hit."
Yeah, three years ago I upgraded my desktop 2.4Ghz C2D Conroe to an Overstock.com Yorkfield Q9550 C2Q. Overclocked it to 4Ghz, for a total cost of $45 including a new cooler and shipping.
I'm thinking it'll do fine for another few years.
>As several other comments have said here, Microsoft should have made 2 different versions of the Win8 >OS: business (Explorer UI) and consumer (touch UI). Microsoft may not like hearing that, but it's the truth.
There is another factor - MS succeeded in the 90's and early 2000's because of another factor - getting students to use their products. This has a cascade in that (when those students go into business), they will inevitably push for the tools they are familiar with. Whilst students don't necessarily initially have the traction to change toolsets, over time those students *do* gain those capabilities.
So the MS long-term plan goes as follows:
1. Accustom the future product decision-makers to our technologies
2. Wait for a while
Unfortunately for MS, this hasn't worked for a while now. Students (especially CS students) have little exposure to the MS stack (other than maybe their laptops) - they are far more likely to be using open-source tools like Eclipse than VS (free innit!)
In the corporate setting, things like AD are still some of the best tools around. But we are increasingly putting in linux-based appliances that interface with AD rather than MS products - it's not hard to see a future where AD is the lone MS product installed with a whole series of non-MS products interfacing with it.
And that future probably worries MS more than losing a consumer market where they have never been profitable.
I agree that it may well be ahead of it's time. Perhaps too much change too soon for users. I always comment on the advent of the tablet era, and it's attribution to Apple and their iPad. Microsoft did this (the best they could using technology of the time) with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, and the tablets available at the time, but people weren't ready for that form factor, and the app eco-system wasn't available for that form of input to support it.
I don't think that has changed enough today, with Windows 8, it's a large amount of change, that if you can accept the way that Microsoft boffins envisage you using it, you'll work more efficiently, but for the large majority, the apps that they want to use are still desktop apps and therefore not part of the new vision.
Actually Win 8 isn't exactly setting the consumer market on fire either. There are a limited number of users who want to use Windows on a machine they can hold in their hands and touch the screen. And those will have already bought an Android or Apple jobbie.
Even home users who buy a computer want to be able to sit and type - otherwise they can make do with a cheaper Android device.
Forcing lap and desk top users to work on a touch device is a formula for turning them away.
Microsoft, under Mr. B said they were listening to their users. But all the most recent innovations (e.g. Ribbon, WIn 8) seem to be showing that Microsoft have not been listening to what users were saying, but rather what they wanted to hear us say. The point about the Start button was not that users didn't want it, but that they wanted one that worked better. But Microsoft only heard the "don't like" bit.
Not really an IT business problem. It's universal. Businesses run on fear of the shareholders, by accountants fighting for the short term bottom line are all playing "Follow the Leader" and are equally terrified of being left behind ( like Kodak) or sailing into uncharted waters.
Look at the film industry; Blockbuster chase movie1 is followed by Blockbuster chase movie 2, then 3 then 4 and so on.
You can buy a LeapMotion device that will let you do just that with the Windows 8 interface if that's what you want to do. You can place it just in front of your laptop, or just behind the keyboard (or wherever suits you) and hover your hand above the sensor and the swipe.
I wouldn't even differentiate business/consumer but explorer/touch. Even some consumers are going to prefer the explorer to touch. And really it depends on the device. Yes, tablets and phones touch makes sense. Desktop, not really.
The problem is, in addition to those changes, MS thinks it has been losing out on non-OS software sales. Apps make for a less chunky revenue stream which is something they think the desperately need. Maybe they do. But marrying that shift with the UI shift and even worse insisting on cramming it down the throats of people who don't want it is a recipe for disaster.
Technically the next CEO probably faces fewer obstacles than we think he does. As others have noted, some of the fixes are straight forward from a technical perspective. The real problem is going to be building a new confidence in the company. I'd say rebuilding, but they weren't in the best of spots on that front to begin with. The Win8 fiasco shattered what little they had. And honestly, it would be easier to build confidence as an unknown than from where MS is now.
NO! NO! And I say again NO!!!
The concept of the single framework is EXACTLY the problem. Even Jobs didn't have such godhood delusions that he thought he could do that. Different classes of hardware have different needs. Desktop processors don't work for laptops. Laptop processors don't work for phones. In the past some of these have been close enough on the OS level that you could fudge the difference. Some of them are too different to easily accommodate. When that happens the prudent CEO separates the products into different lines. Maybe you can share some core functionality, maybe you can't. But at the production end the products necessarily have to be different.
I've been asking this very question ever since Windows 8 hit.
Lol I'd hate to be there when they instal the new Service Pack, and it breaks all those lovely toys of theirs...
Well as you can see to MicroSofts chagrin, the World doesn't necessarily work like that...
Do we? Well hopefully Ballmer will be long outta the picture to f'it up for the rest of us. But what about the other side of that Windows Coin? I wouldn't trust the Cloud as far as it were possible to spit One. How do you plan to get the REALLY BIG ACCOUNTS Onboard with that? Now in the post PRISM age?
I have no clue where Windows will go from here. But a return to Win95~7 seems to me unlikely.
Many people would have migrated to Win8 if they hadn't of wrapped it in tiles, and then forced people to use it that way.
If they had made tiles an option, and provided a free mobile licence with every Windows desktop purchased, it would have been a no brainer.
It is not fixable, I'm already on Android, and am waiting until it is available for desktops. Goodbye MS.
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