back to article Microsoft's new CEO: The technology isn't his problem

If Satya Nadella is the answer, what was the question? Let's begin by saying money was not the problem that needed solving: on that, the world's largest software company is printing cash. In January Microsoft announced yet another record quarter, this time thanks in huge part to Xbox sales over Christmas and its server …

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  1. CADmonkey

    Enough with "Linux is better" comments FFS....

    ...hang on...am I early?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      @CADmonkey

      FreeBSD is better ;)

      Who cares that we do things backwards and "different"; we're simply following the Microsoft strategy and we all know Ballmer's strategy was perfect.

      1. Euripides Pants Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: @ShelLuser

        BeOS is best!

        1. FrankAlphaXII

          Re: @ShelLuser

          No No, OpenIndiana is best!

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: @CADmonkey

        2014 is the year of openVMS on the desktop

  2. Roo

    "started a debate about how the baton of innovation has passed from Microsoft to the tech companies of Silicon Valley."

    I am surprised that such a debate exists...

    There is very little evidence that Microsoft ever held the baton of innovation in the first place. They started out with a shonky clone of CP/M and have only moved forward when they have been unable to FUD & litigate their competition into oblivion.

    1. Aybee

      "There is very little evidence that Microsoft ever held the baton of innovation in the first place. They started out with a shonky clone of CP/M and have only moved forward when they have been unable to FUD & litigate their competition into oblivion."

      Substitute:

      Apple for Microsoft

      BSD for CP/M

      Spot the difference?

      No, thought not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        NeXTSTEP

        Wrong comparison. Microsoft has really never innovated anything. They are very good at copying other's innovations.

        Windows 3 was copied from First Generation Apple. Only difference being that Windows 3 sucked. To their credit, Windows 3.1 sucked less, but it still sucked. MS SQL Server was copied from Sybase. Licensed at first, then slowly Embraced, Extended and Extinguished - The Microsoft Way. Windows NT4 was VMS.

        Steve Jobs left Apple and started NeXT Computer. That company produced what was probably the most innovative Operating System, Desktop Environment and UI Framework to this day. It was not BSD, it was the Mach Microkernel with a BSD-compatible layer on top of it. You should search for screenshots of NeXTSTEP from the early '90's and compare them with what was available as Desktop Environments and UI Frameworks at the time: Windows 3.1, TWM or Sun's NeWS or OpenWindows. All of them sucked. NeXTSTEP was a decade ahead. Tim Berners-Lee wrote the first Web Browser for NeXTSTEP while he was at CERN.

        NeXT Computer failed because Jobs didn't want to license NeXTSTEP to third parties and insisted on NeXT being a systems company [hardware and software] instead of being a pure Operating System + Software play. NeXT hardware although very innovative in appearance and design was quite mediocre in reality. And NeXT computers themselves were very slow. Jobs stuck with Motorola 68030/040 when RISC was winning the speed race, at the time. When Jobs finally relented and ported NeXTSTEP to Intel, it was already too late: NeXT was already out of the hardware business, and had no comprehensible business model. By the time NeXTSTEP became OpenSTEP, Sun, HP and SGI had successfully pushed CDE, which stole a whole lot from NeXTSTEP, but, being an open specificiation, and everyone could implement it.

        History footnote: Sun tried to port OpenSTEP to SPARC and made a huge brouhahaha about how OpenSTEP + SPARC + Sun Workstations were going to take on the world. The whole thing failed miserably, as expected - the only thing Sun has been consistently good at was to destroy every single successful UI Framework it got its paws on - and OpenSTEP on SPARC never materialized.

        Windows95 and what came after (XP, Vista) all copied NeXTSTEP's UI.

        Second Generation Apple (OS X and descendants) is, in fact, NeXTSTEP. If you've ever programmed on OS X, you will find all the NX* Interfaces are still there. NX* Interfaces come from NeXTSTEP.

        So, no. Microsoft != Apple. One can trace back the design lineage of any current UI Framework to NeXTSTEP. Not to Microsoft.

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: NeXTSTEP

          Failed because the Storage device was too slow & inflexible & expensive (MO Disc is a nice idea but really an expensive R/W semi-archival medium) and the Product too expensive and hardly any applications to take advantage of the GUI.

          Display Postscript probably too slow. Open GL is a better idea.

          So the innovations?

          Using MO instead of floppy or HDD. Bad Idea. MO complemented Floppy and HDD.

          CD ROM already existed as a cheaper RO distribution medium. It was 4 years before Nextstep adopted CDROM!

          A dock on the WIMP GUI. Hardly earth shattering. The GUI wasn't an innovation.

          Display Postscript: Like MO disk a nice idea but not practical. Even today still a bad idea.

          NeXTSTEP was an impractical Niche product. Only Steve's Charisma kept it alive so long.

          Steve was into IMAGE, not genuine SW & HW innovation. He killed the Newton (which was then innovative) rather than bother to understand the potential and fix it. The Newton needed to be fixed not killed. But it wasn't his idea and it didn't seem cool.

          1. ThomH Silver badge

            Re: NeXTSTEP (@Mage)

            Modern OS X uses, effectively, Display PDF. PDF is the output of a PostScript program. Apple's Core Graphics is all the same primitives, fill modes, etc as PostScript without the PostScript interpreter. So the two have both solved the same problem in the same way.

            This actually turns out to be a pretty good idea: that's why Apple's text looks like printed text, using classic printed fonts like Helvetica, and Microsoft have had to commission their own custom fonts like Calibri that are designed around their idiosyncratic ideas about typography just so that the aggressive hinting, lack of pair kerning, etc, won't look quite so retro.

            So what else did NextStep do that's interesting?

            It learnt the Xerox Smalltalk lesson — that full object oriented, dynamic typed languages are a great match for UI work — but adapted the language so that it's compiled, not interpreted, and can link directly to the C libraries that were otherwise industry standard. That's Objective-C. It's just as happy talking with C++ nowadays, of course. The language and the framework are why the web was first developed on NextStep, why Doom was mostly developed on NextStep, etc.

            It swept aside all the nonsense with application installers by introducing the application bundle. The application doesn't just look like a single icon in the Finder, it looks like one on disk too. Dragging it to the trash genuinely is an elemental file operation, not something that someone has hacked in as a special case. (aside: RISC OS did more or less the same thing at more or less the same time, as well as the dock and a focus on proper typography; all coincidence, apparently)

            It introduced the fully compositing window manager. Consider where Windows was up to and including XP: preemptive multitasking, protected memory. So it doesn't affect the wider system if an individual app hangs or flips out, right? The answer is: only if you don't care whether the screen is painted properly.

            File associations are handled by metadata, not as an exercise in string matching. If I want .doc to associate with Pages by default but have a few that render incorrectly and should be opened with full-on Word, I can set those to open with Word while leaving the rest alone. This becomes a property of the file and goes wherever the file goes. It is not a hack someone added into the Finder.

            It was the first graphical environment with system-wide scripting. It was designed from day one to be architecture agnostic, supporting fat binaries. It beat OS/2 to the punch on both of these things.

            Beyond that the big wins are really in the frameworks themselves. Pervasive rich text, system-wide spell checking, a system-wide encrypted store for passwords, etc.

            So none of those is individually a massive leap (though it depends what you compare it to; if it's only commercial competitors then Objective-C would count, as someone finally realised what Xerox had pioneered under the hood) but I'd agree that NextStep was a decade ahead in the '80s based on the combination of technologies.

            Though, yeah, then they decided to price it beyond any sense and predicate the machines on a dodgy media format. I guess Jobs learnt how to price things for optimum profits by reeling in from the far end.

            1. Robert Grant

              Re: NeXTSTEP (@Mage)

              MS and Apple just have different ideas about how to push fonts through a pixel grid. Apple say don't respect the grid and make it as close as possible to what a print version would look like. MS say do respect the grid, and design fonts that look good through it.

              Just a design philosophy difference.

        2. Alan Welk

          Re: NeXTSTEP

          Xerox!?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: NeXTSTEP

            I'll see your Xerox and raise it by Bush, Engelbart and Sutherland.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: NeXTSTEP

          "Windows NT4 was VMS."

          Wrong there. Whilst it has similar concepts - e.g. Proper security ACLS and auditing built in from the bottom up, and a modern (and more secure than legacy monolithic models) hybrid microkernel design, it was otherwise unrelated.

        4. Robert Grant

          Re: NeXTSTEP

          If you're happy to look into an understand the reasons for something failing (int this case NeXTSTEP, where from what you're saying, it was Jobs business errors, and looks over engineering in the hardware), but just dismiss everything competitor's product, without stating the reasons as to why their products were the way they were, then you be crazy biased :)

    2. jgarbo
      Happy

      MS?

      Always saw MS as a marketing company. Gates could have become a billionaire seilling toilet seats - he'd charge a per arse EULA. Set for life...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No MS innovation?

      They did the tablet a decade before iPad.

      They did phones with apps long before iPhone.

      Unfortunately for them, they were *so* innovative that the hardware wasn't up to the job. Apple merely waited for hardware to catch up, tweaked to suit and raked in the 'innovation' plaudits.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: No MS innovation?

        > They did the tablet a decade before iPad.

        But long after Newton.

  3. 's water music Silver badge

    bog phone/tabs you make calls from called phablets

    I'm still trying to work out of this is a typo for "BIG phone" or the category of device you take to play Kandy (not TM) Crush on when you slope off to curl one out at work

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When Microsoft doesn't put their name and Windows in big letters on a product it tends to do better.

    The brand is tired and associated with crummy operating systems and blue screens.

    1. localzuk

      Absolute tosh. Microsoft makes the most money from its Windows and Office brands!

      I'm of the mind that they should be putting their company brand on everything. But they then need to ensure they don't release dodgy stuff.

      1. Big_Ted

        @ localzuk

        "Absolute tosh. Microsoft makes the most money from its Windows and Office brands!"

        But mainly from enterprise and them wanting the cheap/easy option of no retraining etc etc. Remember the old addage, "No-one gets sacked for buying Microsoft software".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Someone did get the sack for buying Windows.

          Look at XBox. It has an image quite far removed from Windows. If it was called Windows Games Console XP then it may have flopped.

          Their marketing people really suck, they didn't like the XBox name and included it in a list of options when surveying the public. The most popular choice amongst the public was XBox!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's due to lock-in.

        They stick Windows on their Windows Phone OS and everyone talks about security holes, blue screens and installing updates all the time.

        We're talking about the general public, non-geeks here. They tend to run a mile from Windows on a phone since they get so many problems with their laptops.

        1. GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy

          Blue screens? Your living in the past. I've toyed with going to Open Office and the like for years, but frankly they're just not good enough. And Linux is a mess. You want to install some software? You just have to recompile the kernel. And doggy interfaces. Linux absolutely sucks. Lets not mention wobbly screens.

          Apple are on a role at the moment, but I've never really liked the way they treat their customers. My son has iPhone that he dropped. Try getting Apple to fix it.

          Microsoft isn't perfect but reasoned discussion is better than this tribal nonsense.

          1. Roo

            "You want to install some software? You just have to recompile the kernel. And doggy interfaces."

            Weirdly I haven't compiled any kernel (or software) on my Ubuntu Lucid Lynx desktop since I installed it nearly 4 years ago... That said I'll be the first to admit I've baulked at getting current with Ubuntu (really don't like Unity style UIs - sorry), and I'm currently soak-testing Linux Mint Debian Edition. Liking what I've seen so far.

            On my Windows 7 desktop at work I can't even run a simple awk script on it to aggregate a file that chokes excel (installed at huge extra cost of course)... By contrast every single UNIX box I have worked with had enough tools installed (by default) to mash files as fast as the I/O subsystems could feed my scripts... I know that shell scripting is not everyone's cup of tea though...

            I find that a clean brand spanking new Windows install is a cold and lonely place if you want to get some computing done... :)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Well I tried to upgrade from CENTOS 5 to 6, and I couldnt - clean install required! And then I found that my software wouldnt even compile under 6 - lots of missing dependencies. You just don't get that crap in Windows. It just works.

              1. Roo

                "Well I tried to upgrade from CENTOS 5 to 6, and I couldnt - clean install required! And then I found that my software wouldnt even compile under 6 - lots of missing dependencies. You just don't get that crap in Windows. It just works."

                It shouldn't come as a surprise to you that some dependencies are missing if you have just done a clean install...

                For the record you do get that crap on Windows and have done at least since Win 3.1 (which was the first one I installed & upgraded), but in fairness to Windows it does have a decent record of backwards binary compatibility with all of the downsides that brings with it.

                1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                  > I found that my software wouldnt even compile under 6 - lots of missing dependencies.

                  With a clean install of Windows you don't even get the compiler.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    "With a clean install of Windows you don't even get the compiler."

                    These were dependencies that were present on a default install of CENTOS 5. Erlang for instance - and numerous others. It's just a painful, shoddy experience compared to Windows.

                    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

                      > These were dependencies that were present on a default install of CENTOS 5. Erlang for instance - and numerous others. It's just a painful, shoddy experience compared to Windows.

                      Erlang is _not_ a dependency "on a default install of CENTOS 5". It is a dependency of, for example, RabbitMQ.

                      Just enable EPEL and then 'yum install rabbitmq-server' just works (as advised on the rabbitmq web site). How hard is that ?

                      """EPEL (Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux) is a volunteer-based community effort from the Fedora project to create a repository of high-quality add-on packages that complement the Fedora-based Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its compatible spinoffs, such as CentOS and Scientific Linux. """

              2. keithpeter
                Linux

                "Well I tried to upgrade from CENTOS 5 to 6, and I couldnt - clean install required!"

                Well of course you could not, that is in the documentation, and it is a very well known feature of how Red Hat chooses to manage Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

                CentOS, Scientific Linux, Springdale Linux and Oracle Linux are clones of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. They will, of course, follow the same approach.

                If you want to be able to upgrade from one major release to another, perhaps you should consider Debian?

                Now, are you related to The Vogon at all?

            2. Robert Grant

              Curious to know how you're soak testing a desktop operating system. Are you clicking really fast?

          2. keithpeter
            Windows

            "And Linux is a mess. You want to install some software? You just have to recompile the kernel."

            What kind of software are you trying to install? Been using GNU/Linux since around 2007 or so and never had to do that. Just written a 200 page course guide on LibreOffice, 500+ objects, 100+ drawings. Agreed screen redraw and scrolling is a tad slower than MS Office but still useable on a Duo Core 2 laptop with 2Gb RAM.

            PS: Torvalds might agree about the state of the kernel. Bit of a mudball, but then it does seem to work and run a fair chunk of the interwebs.

          3. Bladeforce

            Oh it was going so well until....

            You said "Apple is on a role..."

            Then you lost me because i find it hard to take serious people spouting their knowledge through explicitly bad spelling

            1. ToddR

              Re: Oh it was going so well until....

              @Baldeforce

              Get a life

              1. Bladeforce

                Re: Oh it was going so well until....

                Calm down! Calm down! you cant even spell my nickname correctly you are so wound up and full of Steve Ballmers finger

          4. SisterClamp

            Who goes to OpenOffice? LibreOffice is the ticket. Calligra is coming along fine. I'm not an Abiword fan but I know there are lots of them around. On Windows, you have Office and...?

            "You want to install some software? You just have to recompile the kernel."

            Wow, are you using a fresh install of Gentoo every time you want to run a programme? Maybe you should leave Linux to the people who actually know something about computers, sweetheart.

            Also, "your" > "you're"; "doggy" > "dodgy"; "role" > "roll" but I noticed you spelt "Microsoft" correctly. Good for you!

          5. cyborg
            Holmes

            "You want to install some software? You just have to recompile the kernel."

            Obvious troll is obvious.

            Come on people - you can't take this post seriously.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "That's due to lock-in."

          No, that's more due to TCO and support and software availability. Pretty much no one chooses anything else even on a Green Field site.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "They stick Windows on their Windows Phone OS and everyone talks about security holes, blue screens and installing updates all the time."

          Erm - no they don't. You are clearly clueless about what you speak. Windows Phone (Like Windows Mobile before it) has fewer security vulnerabilities than any other commonly used mobile OS. Updates are relatively rare (maybe twice a year). The only 'Blue Screen' is the Windows logo on boot up on some devices...

  5. Bub

    "in the same breath..."

    "that allowed Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon to be mentioned in the same breath as Microsoft".

    Actually, it's worse than that - often, Microsoft these days isn't seen fit to be mentioned in the same breath as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Tom 13

        Re: which at that point hadn't been fully thought through.

        I have to disagree with that point. It was fully thought through. And it was pushed as an ideological decision that ignored input from its massive user base.

        There may be a good OS hiding under metro, but it won't matter if MS don't do a full admission of guilt, revise the glitter to something palatable to their customers, and really take to heart the lessons learned in going through the full admission process.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Bub

        Re: "in the same breath..."

        It is absolutely a perception issue. Microsoft is no longer the "go-to" brand in the public mind when a "futuristic, technical" things are discussed. And that is a real problem for them in the consumer space where they want to be.

        IBM is still a major and profitable technology player. With a huge professional presence. Who'd be proud to be sporting an IBM branded phone?

        Maybe it's a natural progression and it's unfair to blame Ballmer - every company moves from cool teens to boring middle age at some point. But his famous iPhone quote does demonstrate a level of complacency that let the market get away from them.

        One more time Steve..

        "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get. "

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    If 'he needs to crack the web'

    is his top priority then MS is in deeper do-do that any could have imagined.

    This is so, 1995/96/97.

    He really needs to get rid of the dead wood at the top of the various groups that seem to do nothing but fight each other. Perhaps then they'll be able to change and mode forward.

    no, I'm not interested in being their CEO. I was married to a Microsoft staffer for a long time. She left because they couldn't get anything done.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If 'he needs to crack the web'

      "was married" ...

      did she leave the company, or leave you? are M$ the new scientology?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: are M$ the new scientology?

        Worse! Far, far worse.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Things I hope for...

    I really hope the CEO will reverse the braindead decision to whack the TechNet subscriptions. It won't make a difference for my company internally, we've already began preparations to replace our 2 in-house Windows 2k3 servers with FreeBSD.

    But if we can no longer set up test environments to prepare ourselves for what we may find at a customer place then the only thing we can do is prepare on-site as well. Resulting in taking more time thus higher costs for said customers (sure; you can do remote maintenance, but we only do that when companies have a SLA with us).

    I wonder what'll happen if customers complain about higher maintenance costs and we respond with "Have you heard of FreeBSD, Samba and Mono yet?".

    1. Roo

      Re: Things I hope for...

      "I wonder what'll happen if customers complain about higher maintenance costs and we respond with "Have you heard of FreeBSD, Samba and Mono yet?"."

      Well in the late 90s the usual response was something along the lines of "No, we want Windows 95 because we know it and MS has a massive market capitalisation so they will never fail ever". Cost, technical merit, performance and failure rates were usually not a consideration, the only thing that mattered was whether it was Microsoft or not.

      Let's hope things have moved on a little...

    2. Decade
      Trollface

      Re: Things I hope for...

      "Have you heard of FreeBSD, Samba and Mono yet?"

      Surely you mean OpenLDAP or something, and not the platform from the guy who's so in love with Microsoft technology that he named his clone of .NET after the kissing disease.

  8. Tom 13

    I think I can update this one for you so it works on both sides of the pond

    It would be like the England national football team hiring a foreigner as manager. whatever issues you might be having we're not aware of them. I'd go with

    It would be like the England national football team hiring Vince Lombardi as manager.

    1. Irongut

      Re: I think I can update this one for you so it works on both sides of the pond

      Doesn't work, I have no idea who Vince Lombardi is.

      A better equivalent to the quote from the article is imagine having a black man as president of the US.

    2. ToddR

      Re: I think I can update this one for you so it works on both sides of the pond

      Lombardi?

      Isn't he dead?

  9. Mage Silver badge

    Consumer Company?

    Maybe some day. But today they are Enterprise, Business and OEM. They need to do consumer stuff without alienating those markets or their name will be mud in Consumer anyway.

    Since Ribbon, Vista etc they HAVE been alienating their existing market.

    1. localzuk

      Re: Consumer Company?

      Microsoft should split itself into 2. Consumer and Enterprise. That way, they won't destroy their existing, highly profitable, markets in the endless pursuit of a fashionable product.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Consumer Company?

        Is your 'typical' consumer even aware of MS Enterprise products? I'm thinking the good stuff like Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio.

        Where MS have failed badly is where Windows laptops have been replaced by tablets. They were too late to market with Windows tables (whatever they're called this week).

        1. Mage Silver badge

          They were too late to market with Windows tables

          The Windows Table is an earlier large specialist product. The Windows Tablet was arguably too early .. 2002. But saw some niche market professional adoption.

          1. AMBxx Silver badge

            Re: They were too late to market with Windows tables

            Agh - should have said Tablet, not table.

            I agree the Windows Table (original Surface) was awesome. Sad to hear last week that it is no more. The last version you could hang on a wall - really wanted one of those, just to play with.

        2. Zane
          WTF?

          Re: Consumer Company?

          "good stuff like ... Visual Studio."

          Wow. Are you a developer? Haven't met many that like VS. Have you tried other IDEs? I know a few which are much better.

          1. Renato

            Re: Consumer Company?

            > I know a few which are much better.

            For instance...?

            Having worked on projects ranging from embedded to web, in different languages (C, C++, C#, Python, Lua, Bash shell scripts, a bit of Java, etc), I find Visual Studio better than the competitors.

            If you are talking about editors, yes, VS is not a general purpose editor, there are betters out there, but IDEs?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Consumer Company?

              Seriously, the stuff from Jetbrains is really beginning to push VS. I'd agree that they're not there yet, but really not that far either.

          2. AMBxx Silver badge

            Other IDEs

            Yes, most of the Java development environments - hated them all with a vengeance. Only thing that keeps me on C# rather than moving to Java is Visual Studio.

    2. Irongut

      Re: Consumer Company?

      They really need to ignore this consumer crap, it has caused all their problems in recent years. Let Apple be hip, trendy and bought by all the chavs. MS makes more than enough money from enterprise and professional customers and has no need to go chasing after the unwashed masses.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Consumer Company?

        "...bought by all the chavs"

        Funny, I'm sure that idiot like you are trying to convince the world that Samsung's Android offerings are the best selling. Tit.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    BUT....

    ...the one thing that it is hard to see altering within Microsoft any time soon is the "ecosystem" belief, effortlessly upheld by the millions of techies for whom the MS "ecosystem" is their bread and butter. It's the belief that the answer is an MS product no matter what the question and the belief that creates monopolistic outlooks (sorry...) by preventing the answer being anything else . It remains incredibly hard to run one piece of the MS product jigsaw without a load of other enabling pieces, and while this may be no bad thing in a "Microsoft shop" it's that day of assuming that the shop is a Microsoft one that is the thing that is changing. MS got to where it is by making itself into a monopoly ("naked" PC anyone?) with the one exception of XBox, That proves they can change, but unless the new CEO gets his head around that, and the moneypeople allow him the opportunity to change with its associated risk, they'll sadly be as also-ran as Borland, Novell, Lotus et al.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More like a PR relkease then a serious review

    I keep waiting to read he walks on water and can turn water into wine (or Surface sales into a success).

    Bing has been stuck at < 20 of the market since day one. I suspect 17% of the current users used it to download an alternate browser or stuck using it because of Corp. policy.

    Surface tablets are improving. Only if you look at % of growth (yesterday I had 1 dollar in my pocket, today 2 - does that mean I'm now rich?) and not market share. Based on market share if it was not MS Surface sales would be in the slice of the chart called "other"

    MS needs a Job's like leader. Someone with vision and can create products that break out of the pack.

    Satya is no Jobs

    1. fishman

      Re: More like a PR relkease then a serious review

      <<<Bing has been stuck at < 20 of the market since day one. >>>

      It's amazing that it is that low. Considering that it is the default search engine for IE, and most users are too lazy/don't care/can't figure out how to change the search engine in IE, you would think that it would have a much greater market share.

      <<<Surface tablets are improving. Only if you look at % of growth (yesterday I had 1 dollar in my pocket, today 2 - does that mean I'm now rich?) and not market share. Based on market share if it was not MS Surface sales would be in the slice of the chart called "other">>>

      Surface tablets are at 4.4%, up from 3.4% a year ago. But over half of the sales are from the dumping of the old Surface RT tablets at a massive discount.

      1. GrumpyMiddleAgedGuy

        Re: More like a PR relkease then a serious review

        If you believe the marketing types, most markets tend to a profile which has one major market player on 75%, second place on 20% and all the rest at 5%. (yes, I know there are exceptions, not as many as you might think) It may mean the search engine market is mature and MS simply won't be able to make headway without some sort of massive mindshift.

        I personally like BING but don't really care that much. I tend to use Google more, and use BING when I don't get results. I'm guessing most people are the same.

        1. Bullseyed

          Re: More like a PR relkease then a serious review

          " I tend to use Google more, and use BING when I don't get results."

          Wow. I haven't switched search engines for "lack of results" since high school. If you can't find something on Google, it simply does not exist or you're using it wrong.

      2. druck Silver badge

        Re: More like a PR relkease then a serious review

        fishman wrote:

        It's amazing that it is that low. Considering that it is the default search engine for IE, and most users are too lazy/don't care/can't figure out how to change the search engine in IE, you would think that it would have a much greater market share.

        That 20% is down to people typing "google" in to Bing, then using Google for the next 4 searches.

  12. W. Anderson

    Microsoft has never been an innovator of technology and this article writer and most of the tech media in USA need to cease such crass and false propaganda statements. Every one of the major technological software innovations of late 20th century and early 21st century like -

    The Internet

    TCP/IP, FTP, NFS, Ethernet, DHCP, BIND

    World Wide Web

    Content Management Systems Web software

    Web Browser

    HTML, SSL, Secure Shell (SSH)

    C and C++, Python, Ruby, Javascipt, Perl, Java, Node.JS, JQuery programming languages

    Graphical User Interface (GUI) and windowing UIs

    Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) and NoSQL Databases

    SQL Database Query Language

    Virtualization

    Software as a Service or Cloud Computing

    Symetric Multi-tasking and Multi-Processing

    Kerberos, LDAP Therefore it is disen

    Encryption

    Advanced Operating System (OS) File systems like XFS, AFS, ZFS, btrfs

    Spreadsheet, Word/Document Processing

    ......and many more great tech innovations came from individuals, groups, companeis, US government (DOD/NSA), universities not connected to Microcoft in any way. Therefore it is deceitful and disengenuous to constantly refer to the comany, Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer as technologically "innovative", which won't change the reality one iota.

    Bill Gates and Microsoft do deserve considerable credit for the the innovative and shrewd business agreements and contracts negotiated with hardware OEMs, in restricting their ability to pre-load any other OS, Office Suite or Web software. This one act alone - and indirectly through blunders of IBM) accounts for the hundreds millions of Windows based computers in use today, not innovation.

    1. Kristian Walsh

      I don't know a lot about the company's technologies, because I primarly work in MacOS or Linux, but off the top of my head, XMLHTTP was a Microsoft invention that has been pretty significant. Your USB keyboard also uses the USB Human Interface Device protocol, developed by Microsoft.

      If you were talking about products, then there's a lot there: Exchange, Windows NT, Excel (the first usable spreadsheet), Kinect were all groundbreaking products.

      One thing that Microsoft did do was standardise the PC hardware market. Until you've tried to get Linux onto a new ARM SoC, you won't appreciate how important the Windows Certification process was in making everyone's PC or server so similar that installing Linux was a breeze. That was work done by MS and its OEMs, and it's the number one factor in the wide adoption of Linux today.

      1. Mage Silver badge
        Devil

        Exchange, first usable spreadsheet, NT

        NT is good. But based on OS/2 and VMS. Almost no innovation. MS should NEVER have produced Win95, NT was already at 2nd major revision. MS nearly killed NT3.51 and NT4.0 workstation with their pushing of Gamer orientated Win95 and Win98 to Business. NT suffered for over 6 years due to MS marketing & Development resources going into Win95, Win98 and Win ME. Not till 2001/2002 did they dig themselves out of that. It's BECAUSE of people developing Business apps badly for Win9x that the excellent OS/2 & VMS model of Admin & User accounts got "broken" on NT4, Win2K and WinXP.

        Excel is good. But no more usable than Visicalc, Lotus123 or Supercalc, it was the first decent WIMP GUI based spreadsheet. Ironically on the Mac 1st as Windows wasn't good enough then.

        Viscalc made Apple ][ a success in Business it was so good.

        Supercalc and Wordrstar did the same for CP/M based PCs

        and the IBM PC would have languished without Lotus 123 and Wordperfect on DOS.

        Excel and Word made MS Windows into a success.

        Exchange is plain evil. The computing world would be a happier place without it and its evil slave Outlook.

        1. WOOOOO

          Re: Exchange, first usable spreadsheet, NT

          I have done a largish migration from Domino/Notes to Exchange/Outlook so genuinely interested in what makes you say Exchange is evil?

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: Exchange, first usable spreadsheet, NT

            Yes, well Domino / Notes does make Exchange look really good.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Exchange, first usable spreadsheet, NT

            Oh that's a low blow! You could put Hitler next to Domino/Notes and he wouldn't seem such a bad guy after all! ;-)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Exchange, first usable spreadsheet, NT

          "NT is good. But based on OS/2 and VMS."

          NT has zero connection to VMS, and only a tentative link with OS/2

          1. Pookietoo
            Facepalm

            Re: NT has zero connection to VMS

            Apart from Dave Cutler, who designed them both.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: NT has zero connection to VMS

              > Apart from Dave Cutler, who designed them both.

              It is not so much that NT is derived from VMS, but it is based on the design of VMS's successor which Cutler designed while at DEC.

              DEC thought it was too close and MS settled by paying DEC $100million or so.

      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > One thing that Microsoft did do was standardise the PC hardware market.

        No they did not. MS-DOS ran on many different hardware layouts. SCP implemented 86-DOS on S-100 bus systems. MS-DOS was available on dozens of non-IBM-PC compatible systems from Wang, DEC, etc. The only limitation was that it must be 8086 or clones.

        What turned the market to IBM PC compatibles was Lotus-123.

        1. Kristian Walsh

          @RIchard, Hardware standardisation

          I'm not talking about MSDOS - the heyday of MSDOS was long before Linux even existed.

          The PC System Design Guide specification series (PC 97, PC 98, PC 99, and PC 2001) from Microsoft and Intel significantly reduced the complexity of PC i/o and device drivers, even as the capability of that hardware increased dramatically, and it made the job of getting Linux to run on "any PC" much easier than it was before. Mac hardware at the time was far more varied, because Apple didn't need to run their software on anything but their own hardware - this diversity plagued efforts to get PowerPC Linux into any kind of shape, even with support from people within Apple.

      3. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > Excel (the first usable spreadsheet)

        Only if you exclude, or were unaware of, the several usable spreadsheets that were available well before Excel (including Lotus).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Erm, but Microsoft have over 40,000 patents on the stuff they have developed!

      Including numerous things in all categories you mentioned like Internet protocols / RFCs, File systems (ReFS, NTFS, FAT, FAT32, exFAT, etc...), UI and web technologies, databases, hypervisors and virtualisation, cloud, security, tools, and office applications....

    3. Bullseyed

      "Bill Gates and Microsoft do deserve considerable credit for the the innovative and shrewd business agreements and contracts negotiated with hardware OEMs"

      Sure, take those accolades away from Microsoft in the media. We can do this right after the media publishes that all Steve Jobs did was sell reboxed Samsung hardware under the Apple logo, because that is also a correct representation of reality.

  13. Semtex451 Silver badge

    You know, if you squint it looks like he's wearing a turtleneck

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Ah, that will be the MS Turtleneck

      That requires activation in order to get it over your head.

      The one that gets threadbare very quickly and needs patching every first tuesday of the month...

      etc etc etc

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Long ago Gates recognised that the Internet will be the death of Microsoft

      Long ago Gates recognised that the Internet will be the death of Microsoft, and many strategies were put in place to slow down and control the Internet's growth and usage - IE6 comes to mind, incompatibility with other browsers, the attack on Netscape etc. But this threat became magnified enormously by the lethal (for Microsoft) combination of Cloud computing plus mobile computing. The problem for Microsoft is that in both domains there is genuine and fierce competition, and the traditional Microsoft methods of lock-in and Scroogling (in its broadest sense) don't seem to have so much traction as they did in the PC world.

      Though it may survive in reduced form in the enterprise due to the old (updated) adage "The CIO is paid for by the company but works for Microsoft" .

    2. windowssucks

      After all Windows was never really meant for Internet because it's basically just innate stand-alone-computer-operation system. That's why the record of hundreds of millions of virus infected and billions of malware infected Windows pcs during the last two decades is horrible legacy for this Indian guy. And that guy himself comes from Redmond inner circle.

      We can say it clearly - Microsoft is a Neanderthal of IT. Strong but too slow and too stupid to adopt new conditions of life.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Xbox sales.

    Really, Many retailers are reporting it tanking. Wonder how long before it gets the chop.

  16. Levente Szileszky

    Ballmer did WHAT?

    "Ballmer has done the heavy lifting on One Microsoft. He even bought a phone company."

    Jesus, enough of this inane crap - Ballmer was the most clueless person among all CEOs during his tenure (yes, that includes Apotheker and Whitman too), he didn't do sh!t, especially nothing "heavy lifting", blowing money without the slightest clue randomly on everything shiny is his specialty, likely over 50% of his decade-long acquisitions were a total LOSS (aQuantive, Navision, Tellme, Yammer etc.).

  17. Herby Silver badge

    I'm happy.

    Browser: Firefox

    Office Suite: LibreOffice

    Main OS; Linux

    Development tools: GCC

    Tablet: iPad

    Phone: An old Motorola StarTac.

    Internet: Anything I want to do, unencumbered.

    All of these are really quite adequate for everything I want to do. So, as for Microsoft, the comment is "why bother".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm happy.

      "I'm happy."

      I like Zoos too, but personally I don't want to own one. I have Windows on everything and it just works.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm happy.

      Don't get much done do you?

      I guess you car is a Morris Minor and the TV has 625 lines

      1. Pookietoo
        Thumb Up

        Re: I'm happy.

        A Morris Minor like this perhaps?

  18. Joe User
    Megaphone

    Simple advice for Nadella

    Give customers what they want, not what you think they should buy, and your sales will improve. (Yes, I'm talking about Windows 8.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Simple advice for Nadella

      Henry Ford said that if he gave his customers what they wanted, he would be in the business of making faster horses.

      Customers for technology and engineering rarely know what they want, until they own it.

      1. MissingSecurity

        Re: Simple advice for Nadella

        What the need is to make it just work for the customer, while making it feel cool.

        Than the need the tools behind it to make sysadmins lives easier to manage it, making us more willing to adopt it into out networks.

        Right now, the don't do either, and try to tac on cloud as a solution to shitty development.

      2. Joe User

        Re: Simple advice for Nadella

        Windows 7 versus Windows 8 isn't a horse versus car comparison, it's car versus car. In Win 8, Microsoft rearranged the pedals and put the steering wheel in front of the passenger's seat. Not an improvement in my book (and many other peoples', judging from the lackluster sales).

      3. hplasm Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Simple advice for Nadella

        If Microsoft made cars, they would have a horse in the engine compartment.

        MS - a one trick pony.

  19. ben_myers

    Maybe England would do better?

    Maybe England would do better in the World Cup with a foreigner as the coach? For all the talent in the country, it has been barely average at the world level.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe England would do better?

      Tried that. Twice. Didn't work either time.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft withdrawing from China?

    China will not deal with an Indian CEO, so forget that any revenue growth there. So 400million WindowsXP users and new gamers market , lets not try for any profit there.

    Nadella is like Yahoo taking over Microsoft without the benefit of any Alibaba revenue, just the neater logo and prrttier search results.

    Though it is quite an achievement to scale up a cloud on Windows servers!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Microsoft withdrawing from China?

      "China will not deal with an Indian CEO"

      Why would that be seeing as the Chinese are largely Asian in heritage?

      "Though it is quite an achievement to scale up a cloud on Windows servers!"

      It's very easily actually - hence why Microsoft already have 30% of new virtualisation installs.

      And actually Microsoft's cloud services don't run on Windows. They run on Hyper-V Server - which is a dedicated hypervisor like vSphere and does not include Windows.

      It is also completely free to download and use with all features enabled!

      http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/evalcenter/dn205299.aspx

  21. windowssucks

    Isn’t Bill Gates the guy who decided to switch file-formats periodically to mess up the whole world so they would buy the latest release? Isn’t he the one who decided PCs should slow down so that people would buy a new one every few years? How did that work out for you? How did it work out for M$? The world decided to create ODF and nearly sunk the corporation for consumers. Last I heard, there were a hell of a lot more PCs and OS sold to consumers than businesses. Nevertheless, Gates threatened every business with destruction just for using M$’s products. There’s a recipe for long-term success. It was in the news for months that M$ was threatening whole countries over OOXML. What are those whole countries doing now? In the end, M$ had to support ODF or lose entirely. How much time, money and energy was wasted in the process?

    M$ has lots of money to waste. Think real big, Bill!

  22. Zot

    Hey, Nadella!

    Can you please make Windows 9 just like Win 7, only more efficient, bug free, and user friendly.

    Thanks.

    Oh and make it about £20,

    Cheers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hey, Nadella!

      RIght now, that's about the only path left to them....

      The world has moved on from Windows, Office, Xbox, and Surface and Windows Phone are pathetically bad replacements for the new Microsoft...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For all his faults, Gates is a clever and successful businessman. He also seems to be a pretty nice guy, at least in terms of committing his fortune to fighting various diseases in the third world rather than winning sailing boat races or just taking a bath in money.

    I don't know who this new guy is, but on the plus side, he's not Steve Ballmer. If Gates is going to be more involved in the business again, that is probably a good thing for Microsoft.

    At least they've gone for a candidate who has a computing background. Going for the Ford guy would have been catastrophic. The world of tech changes fast, you need a CEO with a bit of vision to see how different things could be in 5-10 years. Jobs had that vision, Gates did too (and maybe still does). Ballmer most definitely did not.

    The days of MS monopoly are gone; both Apple and Google have entire offerings to rival Microsoft in OS, mobile, cloud, apps, etc. More choice, is good for the consumer, and despite the obvious hatred many seem to have for MS, keeping them in the game benefits the consumer - even if they prefer Apple and Google stuff.

  24. Bullseyed

    Revising History?

    "Tablets and Office on Android did not compute"

    Bill Gates basically invented the tablet. He demoed an "ipad" years and years before Jobs did. Microsoft had moved on from a tablet strategy, because the market had resounding responded that they DID NOT WANT TABLETS.

    People changed their minds. That isn't Microsoft's fault. They had moved on to other things. Windows Vista would have been touch-centric like Windows 8, had consumers not rejected tablets the first time they were offered.

    1. Zot

      Re: Revising History?

      It's not as simple as it being just a tablet though. It's not the hardware that plays the trick.

      It's the whole experience of Apple's iPad, and the interaction with it that people responded to. It's desirability was built in on purpose.

      Ergonomics, visual smoothness, and all that fluffy stuff is the key. And no, people don't mind buying Apps in a walled garden - who'd have known. : )

  25. ian_from_oz

    Microsoft's problems can be summed up with one word; "Marketing"

    Actually, it is the lack of marketing at Microsoft is the problem. Bill Gates built up Microsoft by copying existing technology, but then added the magic sauce of marketing. Although Bill Gates had no formal training, he had the ability to see the company's products from its customer's point of view. This is the very essence of marketing, as marketing is the study of customer behaviour, customer motivation and customer requirements. The aim of marketing is to help a company to produce the products that its customers want. It was marketing that made Apple under Steve Jobs so successful. Steve Balmer however came from a background of sales. Sales is actually not the same as marketing. Sales is the study of pushing what ever products, which the company is currently producing, out the door at the highest possible volume and the best possible price. Sales oriented companies seek to exploit existing products for maximum return. However, the lack of customer focus by sales oriented companies means that they are not innovative in anything that will capture their customers' imagination. This is exactly the problem that Microsoft is having. Steve Balmer has been able to maximise income, but has lost the drive in the computer industry, because he has only focused on profits and not on products. The new products that Microsoft has introduced under Steve Balmer have been very pedestrian and for the most part, huge loss generators. They simply have not been able to capture the customers' imaginations, because they were for the most part poor knock-offs of other products. Unless the new CEO of Microsoft changes the focus back to the customer, there is little chance that the company's fortunes will improve.

    Ian

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Snore

    reading all this it's little wonder why MS never really innovated, it's because its critics only talk bits and bytes and can't see the world around.

    Get real, less than 25% of all intelligent devices shipped today run MS. They're fast becoming irrelevant and that's the their problem.

    Promoting from within will never allow them to see beyond the horizon of their own bull and hype and release them from people who debate XP and VMS etc. Meanwhile the world of computing has fundamentally changed and MS's challenge is no longer to dominate but to remain relevant.

  27. johnwerneken

    Hope he makes it happen

    Microsoft has always done well at several things. The third party developer environment. The packaging of software for diverse but actually quite related purposes. The proliferation of ways of doing one thing and the backward compatibility, as well as the semi-consistency of user presentation. Productivity tools for individuals, for firms, and for developers.

    They've never been great at design per se. Nor have they been innovators, any more than Apple has been.

    The thought that diverse platforms and form factors might present a unified experience is a good one, although I suspect unrealizable as long as physical screens and keyboards and pointing devices remain the main interfaces. But nobody likes any of those things anyway. Humans on their own don't communicate that way!

    Perhaps our contraptions ought not to either.

  28. raving angry loony

    Give it a rest, already.

    <quote> reclaim its place among the technology innovators?</quote>

    Innovators? The only thing Microsoft ever did in-house was Microsoft Word, and even then they had to resort to dirty tricks to get rid of the competition. Pretty much everything else they've bought or stolen from someone else, including their first product, DOS.

    Microsoft was successful not because of their innovation, but because they ruthlessly (and illegally) used their unethically acquired dominant position to beat everyone else up and leverage their other products into the market. There's a reason that just about every company that has either "partnered" or tried to compete with Microsoft while Gates was CEO ended up broken and bloody in the ditch, and it definitely wasn't because they were "technology innovators".

    More like "dirty tricks innovators", that I'd agree with.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Give it a rest, already.

      > including their first product, DOS.

      Actually it wasn't their first product. Ignoring the traf-o-data origins, the first product was BASIC for the Altair*. This was redone for many machines including the Apple II under the AppleSoft brand, and also for CP/M. Microsoft also had Pascal and COBOL compilers for CP/M. The most revenue came from their Z80 Softcard running CP/M for the Apple II.

      * which seems to be based on a public domain DEC BASIC for which source code was available, and as Bill had access to the DEC machine at Harvard it is likely that he had a copy of this.

  29. Phil_Evans

    "The reason Ballmer's seat is being occupied by somebody else today is because Redmond's chair-flinging former boss failed to anticipate market-changing shifts that allowed Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon to be mentioned in the same breath as Microsoft."

    I completely disagree. Ballmer, or more accurately, the Ballmer organisation are ensconsed in a different space-time continuum. The earth is flat, so don't give it none of that 'curvature' talk. The world IS Windows and apps are things that run ON Windows ON 'devices' Devices are either PCs or things we haven't invented yet.

    At least as an ex-staffer, that's how I see it. To say that Ballmer did not 'anticipate' things that had already been happening for some time before 'me-too-ing' them is anathema. And always from the perspective that 'we'll catch up'. Italy do not take the field against the All-Blacks in rugby with this perspective (as Microsoft did with Bing, Zune, Windows Store, etc, etc and oh, etc.). They know the All Blacks are very good at Rugby and will paste them. It's by how much that matters. So they would rather get into a cookery contest with them and probably win convincingly (given the choice).

    Choice is the key word here. Napping whilst Google stole a march on search is forgiveable - who would have thought that we needed search in the way we use it today? Inventing something (like the smartphone, for instance) and then letting a company (Apple, who they had flayed in PC) take their idea, not do much with it except make it sexy and win BIG? That is a crime in any stakeholder's book. As is letting Google do it again with Android, Apple again (or was it before?) with the iPod and then again with the iPad.

    Bill was crazy about the idea of Tablets and it was Microsoft who brought the first pen'n'bricks to market with those BEndy M400s or whatever they were.

    The major feature in all these failures was that if no-one could make these things a success IN THE MICROSOFT ECOSYSTEM, then it wasn't really happening. I got 'bollocked' for buying an iPod over a Zune in Seattle on a company trip despite the fact that the Zune was never released in the UK. Good call for me then.

    No, there is the real world where real things really happen, then there is the Microsoft world in a Microsoft Galaxy far, far away. From reality. Stevie Wonder would have greater vision than Stevie Ballmer on things like this. Trouble is, he polluted from above and got polluted from below by a Dalek-mentality. Surely we don't expect anything like this from Nadela....or is that Nutella?

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