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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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows

    Personally, I'd like to hear Eadon's opinion on this.

    1. BigAndos

      Re: Windows

      I predict a calm, considered and insightful comment that cautiously praises Ballmer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      Re: Windows

      Despite YEARS of pure ignorant arrogance - total belligerence, absolute total belligerence, on behalf of Microsoft's management towards WE the (now ex) consumers.....

      With our billions of legitimate complaints about their dirty tactics to keep imposing stupid ideas on us, as well as the totally unethical leverages to make people stay on the upgrade cash cow, I never thought I would see the day, that the bastards who run this company, had received such a beating for another utterly stupid set of ideas, that this would appear in print:

      "Last week, Windows group chief marketing and financial officer Tami Reller was finally handed the white flag and given the job of walking out into no man's land with a mea culpa to deliver from Microsoft: she confirmed the company will shift from "no compromises" on Windows' new Metro design to reinstating the familiar desktop Start menu."

      Fancy that.... it must have taken so much market pressure, for them to have been forced into taking ONE tiny little back step in imposition......

      I hope the entire Microsoft executive gets served Kool Aid by Ballmer at the next meeting.

      1. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: Windows

        Last week, Windows group chief marketing and financial officer Tami Reller was finally handed the white flag and given the job of walking out into no man's land with a mea culpa to deliver from Microsoft:

        NO, you meant to say that she was the sacrificial lamb sent to the slaughter.

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Balmer is safe because...

      My cynical guess for one reason that Bill G has been backing Monkey Boy is that he is afraid that if Ballmer goes, the board (and others) would push for him (Gates) to take back control, and I'd guess he doesn't want to do that anymore. I'm not saying it would be a bad thing for Microsoft if he did take back control, just that he doesn't want it.

      [citation not provided] This is opinion, not fact.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Balmer is safe because...

        @Steve the Cynic - You're not being cynic enough Steve. Getting rid of Ballmer would be an admission of failure on the part of his Billness. His ego won't let him.

      2. Johan Bastiaansen
        Happy

        Re: Balmer is safe because...

        Ok, let me have a go then.

      3. Christopher Rogers
        Windows

        Re: Balmer is safe because...

        I don't think the board would try to get Gates to step back in, but he would certainly be in the hot seat when it comes to Steve's (his great buddy) replacement. Awkward for all. MS (like Apple's share price is finding) need to get a tech visionary in the top spot quickly otherwise companies like Google are going to take them out of the consumer market completely.

        I wonder if MS have the problem of no one in the position to step into the role? Is SB still there because he is the ONLY option at the minute? At least Apple have Mr Ive to call upon...

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        2. auburnman
          Windows

          Re: Balmer is safe because...

          Maybe he's a placeholder until Elop finishes reducing Nokia to a minnow that MS can snap up for a pittance. As a reward for single handedly ruining an entire company with nothing more than blind loyalty to MS he will be welcomed back into the fold and given the throne when Ballmer retires.

          </bored paranoid speculation>

      4. Philip Lewis
        Holmes

        Re: Balmer is safe because...

        The next man in Ballmer's chair is on a pound to a hiding. Why would BillG put himeself in that position?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Balmer is safe because...

      Much as I dislike Ballmer and all the cock-ups he has presided over, simple fact is that MS revenues and share price are on the up.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Fibbles

        Re: Balmer is safe because...

        "Much as I dislike Ballmer and all the cock-ups he has presided over, simple fact is that MS revenues and share price are on the up."

        As noted in the article, it's Microsoft's channel partners that are feeling the pain at the moment. Those box shifters will only take so much, no sane company would willingly allow itself to be frogmarched towards oblivion. Eventually they're going to have to experiment with shipping different software in order to flog some of that hardware mountain that is depreciating in value by the day. There will be a lot of dead ends in such an experiment but eventually somebody is going to find a winner, something the public will buy en masse.

        When Microsoft eventually notices a dip in its profits it'll already be too late.

        1. jason 7 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Balmer is safe because...

          The box-shifters are struggling because they got lazy and greedy. Their products are just crap, it's not the OS that's at fault here.

          They haven't brought anything new or dynamic to the table. The Likes of HP/Fujitsu/Acer/Asus etc. have just decided that 99% of their products will be boring, bottom of the barrel standard, 1366x768 TN screen, loaded up with penny per unit bloat and crudware.

          They are the ones holding PC development back, not Microsoft.

          I really hope MS increases its hardware ranges. Then I can buy a MS laptop or PC with just Windows installed on it with all the right drivers. You know...just how Apple does it.

          Most of us know that if you just do a clean install of Windows it works just fine. MS does a good job on the whole.

          It's the moribund box-shifting partners that are doing their own damage. They need to quit blaming MS and get their own houses in order.

          I am prepared to pay bit more for something better.

          1. Tom 13

            Re: They are the ones holding PC development back

            That's the nub of the question though isn't it? Is there something holding PC development back? Or have we, 30 years after the development of the embryonic home pc systems, reached a mature market?

            Frankly, I'm in the mature market camp.

      3. Justin Clements

        Re: Balmer is safe because...

        >Much as I dislike Ballmer and all the cock-ups he has presided over, simple fact is that MS revenues and share price are on the up.

        In 1996, I'm sure Kodak and Blockbusters were having pretty good years as well. It's not about where Microsoft is today that is worrying people, it's where Microsoft will be next year that has people concerned.

    3. Mikel

      The explanation for Ballmer

      "The luckiest dorm room assignment in all of recorded history."

      The guy is retiring in 2017. Leave him alone. He's got a lot of work to do.

      1. asdf Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: The explanation for Bill Gates

        "The luckiest patent attorney's son in all of recorded history."

        There fixed it for ya. Having a dad that knows how to write contracts does have its advantages.

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          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The explanation for Bill Gates

            Sorry, what?

            You praise Google for Android and diss Microsoft for viruses?

            You are aware, presumably, that Android is a virii dream? I was on Android (Nexus 4) for less than a week before Lookout warned me that an IT site I was visiting wanted to surreptitiously download an apk. Without Lookout or equivalent I'd be screwed by now. Not so with WP8.

            1. Homer 1
              Headmaster

              Re: "Android is a virii dream"

              Bullshit.

              The so-called "malware" on Android are not viruses. Most of them are perfectly legitimate in-app advertising components that certain self-interested "security" companies have sensationalised as "malware", and the rest are phishing scams, both of which must be deliberately installed and run by the user.

              At best that's simply legitimate ad-ware, and at worst it's social engineering, both of which are totally beyond the scope of software security, and have nothing whatsoever to do with "viruses".

              An actual virus, OTOH, infects the user's system without his knowledge or consent, is self-propagating and typically delivers a destructive payload, and nearly every one of the millions of in-the-wild viruses exist only on the Windows platform.

              That is an example of poor software security, not Android.

          3. PghMike

            Re: The explanation for Bill Gates

            Every time I'm forced to upgrade to a new version of Office, I brace myself for tidal wave of pointless changes that only make Office harder to use.

            The latest change, creating PowerPoint 2011, managed to hide the grouping tool when making drawings, and makes more use of the awful Office ribbon. And to add insult to injury, if you have a PPT file from an older version (I'm guessing the file was created in Office 2008), the default line drawing color is "no line", so that your drawing is invisible. And the menu option to set the default for that shape doesn't have any effect. So, when drawing in one of these older docs, you either have to drive completely blind, or just keep copying an existing spline and then edit the set of points to match your desired shape.

            Its amazing to me that with all the money MSFT makes, they do such a bad job at user interface testing. It is uniformly awful.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The explanation for Bill Gates

            Who launched the tablet almost a decade before Apple? yes it was a flawed implementation but new concepts usually are, which is why most people don't shoot first with such ideas.

            Yes Gates was lucky, but you can't really dismiss him and others as also-rans. Gates can code, he did some very clever machine code tricks to get BASIC on the Altair.

            So without the IBM deal Microsoft and Gates may have been another Commodore or some other defunct computer company, but then Linux could have flopped too if Minix has been better.

          5. Fatman Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: The explanation for Bill Gates

            Bravo!!!!!

            I could not have said it better!!!!

            <------- Have one on me!!!!

      2. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: The explanation for Ballmer

        The guy is retiring in 2017. Leave him alone. He's got a lot of work to do.

        NO!!!!

        He's got a lot of work to do company to fuck up some more before he leaves.

    4. oolor
      Mushroom

      I actually agree, wait a minute...

      Where is the real Eadon and what have you done with him?

      < up-voted, yet to see signs of impeding rapture, cautiously optimistic

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PC sales crashing has more to do with factors like smartphones and tablets than a troublesome O/S.

    Your average tech purchaser is going the way of those who eschewed SACD and DVD-A in favour of 96Khz mp3 because you could cram more dubious bits of noise into a small box despite the resulting headache.

    I purchased a new PC 2 months ago and the vendor who built it (PCSPECIALIST) offered Windows-8 AND all flavours of Windows-7 as the O/S. Naturally we chose 7.

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      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Smart Phones Myth

        @Eadon, I was worried because your first post in here didn't end in BLAH BLAH FAIL (in capital letters).

        Glad you're back on track now, thanks.

        1. oolor
          Alien

          Re: Smart Phones Myth

          Perhaps, but he is making sense. I'm scared.

          1. Philip Lewis
            WTF?

            Re: Smart Phones Myth

            @oolor: Upvoted because I couldn't bring myself to upvote Eadon today (I have done so previously though in another of his rare insightful comments)

        2. apjanes
          Devil

          Re: Smart Phones Myth

          @Mrs B J Smegma.... What worried me first was that Eadon's post actually have some reasons in them rather than simply "MICROSOFT SUCKS"!

          What worried me second was that I was responding to someone with an unhygienic fellatio handle... eww.

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      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Happy

        Re: Smart Phones Myth

        I think the phrase "thrashed hard drives like a dominatrix who forgot the safe word" is quite telling as well.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Smart Phones Myth

        @Eadon,

        The problem is that MS tells the OEM's what to do

        You're right, but that was only half the story. Where MS really made a MASSIVE strategic mistake was when they told OEMs "Thank you, but we'll sell our own brand hardware now", so depriving them of a future with Microsoft (basically, this was Ballmer trying to make MS become Apple). Unsurprisingly, this idea wasn't universally well received, and OEMs started to look for alternatives - it could be argued that this alone was responsible for a considerable boost for Android, and some *clients* who figured this one simply defected to Apple's OSX if they hadn't entangled their enterprise too deeply in MS products.

        That one idea alone alienated the OEM partners MS had traditionally relied on for sales, and that trust is not going to be won back easily, if ever.

        IMHO, MS has lit the fuse on a time bomb. The hole in sales will eventually become visible. If I were Ballmer, I'd bail now while share options are still worth something..

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          1. mmeier

            Re: Smart Phones Myth

            Another lie from Eadon:

            HP Elite Pad - brand new tablet PC from HP, Strange, didn't they abandon Win8 tablets?

            The Surface/Pro is priced and designed with quite a bit of space for OEMs above and below. That's why most are busy producing new tablets/convertibles:

            Helix and Thinkpad Tablet 2

            Asus Taichi and 810

            Acer A510, 700, P3

            Sony Vaio Duo 11 (and the Duo13)

            ...

            1. MacGyver
              Childcatcher

              Re: Smart Phones Myth

              @mmeier

              I own a Taichi, the hardware is swell, it's the damn Windows8 that I can barely stomach. I would have paid $100 extra to have XP on the thing (I've installed 64-bit XP since, but some of the dual-screen, mult-mice apps are a no go, so I long for a vendor solution). I wanted the hardware bad enough to try to deal with the Windows 8, other people clearly aren't doing that.

              Not a day goes by that I don't curse the name Windows 8, from the 3rd party crap I've had to install to get a start-menu back, to the horrendous network functionality, and including the File Explorer that behaves like it is running as a Java Virtual Machine. There is no doubt that PC sales are suffering because some only have Win8 as a choice.

              I wonder if they really "dog-fooded" this version of their software first, if so, then not just Balmer should go, but anyone that used this on a normal computer and still signed off on its release to market.

              They should have sold "Metro/Modern" on their Win phones, released it as a choice to rival Android on ARM tablets in addition to Surface sales, and made it a free application that users could choose to download and install on their desktops. Forcing it on power users with no other choice was a bad move.

              I blame that Sholwsky (forgot his name) guy, now that he is gone, I hope their offerings are more of a collaborative effort from their top programmers, and not just what the loudest guy in the room wanted.

              1. mmeier

                Re: Smart Phones Myth

                Taichi and Win7 should work a lot better since penable support in Win7 is "almost as good" as in Win8. So why waste perfectly good hardware with XP that has no pen support in the base version and offers no benefits on a hardware as powerful as a Taichi?

                As for the rest: I prefer Win8 over Win7 since it fits my style of work better. Modern as a start screen is more my liking and the improvements in many areas (WLan, Voice and Handwritingr recognition etc) are great as well. YMMV.

          2. Jim in Hayward
            WTF?

            Re: Smart Phones Myth

            That part has always confused me. I would love to agree that MS has an advantage because they don't have to license their stuff, but, AFAIK, Microsoft MUST pay an amount equal to what they sell their licenses to OEM's. A company cannot sell at a loss or give away product from one division to another. Unless you are saying that Microsoft's hardware sales are somehow in the same Windows division I can't see that as true.

            However, if it IS true this must be brought us to the Justice Department because that means Microsoft is back to doing their dirty tactics leveraging their OS monopoly into other business areas.

            1. DaLo
              WTF?

              Re: Smart Phones Myth

              " A company cannot sell at a loss or give away product from one division to another."

              Eh? Where's your citation for that? I'm not sure how it works in a ll countries but that would seem a ridiculous law. How would the search arm of Google operate for free if it wasn't for the adwords division?

              How would the Xbox have been able to sell hardware at below cost if it wasn't for money from the Games division.

              It's the reason why companies are sometimes forced into a de-merger to separate their divisions with rules then governing their interactivity.

              There are certain rules that you have to follow if you are a monopoly in that particular area (such as bundling IE with windows and restricting competition when Windows is a monopoly). However in the Smartphone arena, for instance, they can force you to use the Microsoft App store and IE and Bing.

      5. cantankerousblogger

        Re: Smart Phones Myth

        Isn't it simply the fact that the Intel and Microsoft monopoly pricing of operating system and processor/chipset has become untenable with the rise of Android/OSX/iOS/Linux and ARM processors? I remember when a decent Compaq Windows laptop cost about £4000+VAT and the operating system was a tiny proportion of the cost. Intel and Microsoft are still trying to charge monopoly money (in every sense) for their PC components but the proportion of the cost absorbed by processor/chipset and operating system has grown by an order of magnitude rendering the PC platform uncompetitive and unattractive when consumers can choose to use smart TVs, tablets, media players, smartphones or old PCs to do what only a new PC could have done cost-effectively a few years ago. Companies like Dell and HP, who made good profits by hanging onto the Wintel monopoly for decades are being annihilated in the market but are incapable of doing anything else as the products are rendered uncompetitive by Microsoft and Intel's prices and their own lack of innovation and investment in R&D, itself a result of the Wintel monopoly. Unless some killer applications come along that forces the use of Intel processors and Windows, I can't see the situation changing any time soon.

      6. Don Jefe

        Re: Smart Phones Myth

        I'm not sure it is a myth. Last year I bought two iPads (one for me and one for the wife) and decided to try them for a while before upgrading our home notebooks. We decided not to upgrade the notebooks at all. The tablets are more than sufficient for home/entertainment/general web use.

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  4. Phoenix50
    Unhappy

    Oh dear.

    You know, yesterday; IDC came out and said Windows Phone is now "third" in the worldwide market share, having just overtaken Blackberry. And I smiled.

    Yes ok, you could probably come up with many Eadon-related reasons why the "numbers are dodgy" or "you can't trust analysts to count sheep let alone figures"; but it was cheery news as far as I was concerned (I note El Reg hasn't bothered to mention that article either by the way, but correct me if I'm wrong).

    There's not a lot of good news about Microsoft these days (hell, these *decades*) but now and then something is published that lifts my spirits.

    And then I visit the Register, and it's all destroyed in 60 seconds.

    Bravo chaps. Bravo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      good news about Microsoft?

      But why do you care? Are you a stockholder?

      1. Phoenix50
        FAIL

        Re: good news about Microsoft?

        What a ridiculous question - Of course I'm not a stockholder.

        What I am; is an IT pro who's built his entire career on planning, deploying and supporting Microsoft technologies for the next part of 20 years - why the hell shouldn't I care about them?

        What is wrong with people these days? Does no one actually have any *feelings* about these companies? They are the reason most of us have been able to pay our mortgages - you're damn right I care about them. I don't want them to fail - and frankly neither should you.

        1. Oninoshiko

          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.

          1. Random K
            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.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              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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          1. mmeier

            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

            1. Don Jefe

              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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              1. mmeier

                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!

              2. Philip Lewis
                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.

                1. mmeier

                  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.

            3. pepper

              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?

              1. mmeier

                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.

      2. druck Silver badge
        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.

  5. Rampant Spaniel

    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.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      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.

      1. Shades
        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??

        1. GregC

          @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.

          1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: @Shades

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

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

      2. Rampant Spaniel

        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.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      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!

      1. Rampant Spaniel

        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.

  6. JaitcH
    WTF?

    Ballmer doesn't need the money ...

    he has billions already.

  7. sisk

    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.

    1. Ramazan

      Re: qualifies Microsoft as a special kind of stupid

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

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Don Jefe

      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.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        "New Coke was terribly icky sweet"

        So what actually changed?

      2. Philip Lewis
        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

      3. sisk

        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.

  8. Woger
    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.

    1. MattEvansC3

      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.

      1. GregC

        "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....

      2. DaLo

        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.

    2. Ron Christian

      > 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.

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      @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.

  9. M Gale

    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?

    1. davidp231
      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.

    2. Daniel B.
      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.

    3. sisk

      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.

      1. spegru
        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

        1. M Gale

          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.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            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).

  10. Shakes
    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.

    1. Philip Lewis
      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!

  11. All names Taken

    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?

  12. tempemeaty

    ...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.

    1. davidp231

      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.

  13. Yet Another Commentard

    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.

    1. seansaysthis

      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.

      1. Getriebe
        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

  14. Mage Silver badge

    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.

    1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
      Pint

      Re: Pippin

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

  15. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

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

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: Bah!

      Yes, yes we are forgetting... that.

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

  16. Anonymous Coward
    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?

  17. jubtastic1
    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.

  18. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    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.

    1. Philip Lewis
      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?

  19. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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!

  20. Gray
    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.

  21. NYC1900

    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.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      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.

      1. Tom 13

        @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.

  22. Ramazan

    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'

  23. GordonJ
    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?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    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!

  25. A Butler

    -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?

  26. K Cartlidge
    Thumb Up

    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.

    1. enerider

      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).

  27. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  28. W. Anderson

    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.

  29. Salts

    @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

  30. wbw357
    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!!!

  31. Christian Berger Silver badge

    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.

  32. Magnus_Pym

    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.

  33. BrentRBrian

    Gates and Charismatic in same breath ?

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

  34. Levente Szileszky
    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

  35. Tom 13

    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.

  36. steeplejack
    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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