"We help people get stuff done."
"We hinder people when they're trying to get stuff done."
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has sent a six-page memo to the world warning of a company restructure at the end of the month. The open letter uses buzzwords and cliches to sugar-coat the news that he will tear up the Windows giant's approach to flogging devices and services. Instead, the biz will focus on building "productivity …
Word 2003 was a dream. Did everything perfectly.
Word 2007 had my blood boiling. Simple tasks took 5x longer because it tried to help you TOO much and just got in the way, formatting was a nightmare, things just jumped around all over the place, it pretty much drove me into a rage. The ribbon was a disaster zone where the most commonly used and basic of features were pretty much buried underground and impossible to find. Rolled back to Office 2003 because Excel wasn't too endearing either.
Word (and Excel) 2010. Big improvements, but still not as good as the old days. MOST of what irritated me about 2007 had been improved, fixed, or removed entirely. The ribbon gave up most of its secrets, essential and simple features took centre stage once again.
Office 2013? I don't like seeing ALL MY MENUS IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE IT LOOKS AMATEURISH. I don't like my professional office suite looking Fisher Price with lots of big, chunky, coloured buttons. I don't like basic functionality being hidden away... yet again.
Even GTA V had a joke on one of the radio stations about a large software company making every version of their word processor more expensive and harder to use than the previous one. Microsoft, take note.
By Office 2003, people had pretty much figured out what was needed in productivity tools to make them function properly.
Like screwdrivers have only had mild innovations since 1800, MS should have pretty much stopped fiddling in 2003.
Unfortunately they want to make stuff look new. Then Microsoft also forgot their place: to listen to customers and serve.
Finally, the people who actually worked on Word from the 1980s to 2003 during the battles with other word processors have long gone. Under competitive pressures they had to listen to customers and understood what it takes to build a productivity tool.
Fast forward 10 years and we have a bunch of designers who favour cute UI features ahead of prime purpose.
It is no suprise that productivity with "productivity tools" takes a hit. Features like ribbons make it harder to navigate. They make help desk support a lot harder.
Nadella needs to figure out that unless you are serving the customer and adding value to the customer, then fiddling with the frilly bits won't help your business survive.
"Under competitive pressures they had to listen to customers and understood what it takes to build a productivity tool."
It used to be that way, in the ages long past. They (well, somebody influential in there) wanted to scrap the old boring toolmaker image and dip into entertainment. Thus bringing about those silly hide-and-seek games, weird selection of colours, myriad of uncanny ways to draw user's attention on the interface, changes for the sake of change, lots of babbling about "user experience". Attention whoring, to put it not-so-mildly.
In this regard, any talk about enhancing productivity has to be viewed as a good sign. Maybe the tools will get usable again, instead of trying to "entertain" users to the point of mental meltdown.
It may help MS in the UK if, in their adverts, they were to pronounce "azure" properly. The "az" is a soft sound, like "as" not a hard sound like "adze" or "adge". Every time I hear a MS advert mention it it sounds more like a tourettes tick than a brand name - it actually took me a few views before I realised what they were trying to say!
It's AZURE not ADJ-A or ADJ-UR. Got it? Good.
But I still don't want a bar of it.
I HATE any advert with that tune with a passion.
If pink slips are being handed out, the marketing department should be the first to go and whoever (if anyone) outside of the marketing department approved those bloody adverts.
Microsoft's products have improved IMHO but their appalling marketing is one of their biggest problems at the moment.
Apple stole the Nokia camera guy, they should steal some Apple marketing execs as, despite refusing to own an iDevice, I actually quite like the Apple adverts.
Yep - I'm well aware what azure is (actually, it was the name of a dye that gave its name to the colour, and then became the colour that gave its name to a MS brand). It's by knowing what azure is that I am able to know (and look-up) how the word is meant to be pronounced. Check the adverts and it sounds like they're saying "adja" or "adjur". That's not how you pronounce "azure".
Well, not quite, perhaps if I pronounced "dog" like "cat" then confusion would reign supreme.
That has no bearing on how the word "dog" is "meant" to be pronounced, because there is no attribute of the word which endorses a pronunciation. The conventions observed by a speech community which make language mutually intelligible are just that - conventions.
But think of all the bold new industries that will be enabled now that spreadsheets have a little fruit machine animation of spinning numbers when you change a cell.
Such as using recipes - the latest killer app that Nadella has discovered. Perhaps next year Microsoft will invent the checkbook-balancing application. Or something to keep track of collected memorabilia.
Generalize the tooling off the "MUH WINDOWS RIGHT OR WRONG" platform?
That's something that should have happened even before the War on Terror proceeded to the "Mission Accomplished" stage.
And get rid of anyone who doesn't agree - with extreme prejudice.
AND get rid of the RIBBON, FFS!!
Who make expensive Surface devices that combine laptop and tablet functionality but cost more than a laptop and tablet combined and are a bad compromise between the two. And have been a financial disaster. And the OS was hated by desktop users who got saddled with Win8.
And offer the services of Office 365 on a rental basis when you can do the amazingly complex tasks involving word processors and spreadsheets and email clients with freeware or older versions anyway (Not to mention Google's free-for-home-users competioin Google Docs)
And have a new and unproven virtual machine offering that is late to the party....
Give the guy a billion dollars like the last couple of bosses!
...And giving NSA unlimited access to their servers, and letting them see everyone's unencrypted hotmail, and backdooring all their products for the government—all without complaining. See, there's no money in complaining about the NSA like the guy who shut his secure email server down rather than help the spies.
This may all be true. But you've also pissed off a lot of loyal customers, users and developers along the way... People that now want to see the back of you.... I'm talking here about the people below.... How are you going to win them back when there are now real alternatives....?
....Users who hated the Win8 changes and just want another Win7.
....Office users who felt you cynically changed Office and introduced the ribbon to create new lock-in and alienate loyal users on older versions...
....Developers who got certified, only to discover their programs were suddenly dropped.
....Resellers, who plugged MS product for years being punished for not pushing CloudFog offerings, when everyone knows early adopters will be guinea-pigs...
....Xbox fans alienated by user behavior monitoring, and draconian control tactics, who remain worried you'll reintroduce the beloved 'Trusted Computing' model later on..
that I wasted a few minutes reading Nadella's memo(email) before I wondered WTF I was doing. Microsoft = irrelevant, dinosaur, did I say irrelevant? Remember Nokia? They went from more than a 50% global market share to less than 10% in four years and are currently around 2%. Microsoft will undoubtedly go the same way that much is now certain but it could quite literally take ten times longer to do so.
I remember companies that were too big around the back end of last century to vanish and, yet they managed to do that. Long lost firms like Borland who brought us a good C compiler and also the very excellent Delphi who made great products and, yet, over the years lost everything.
Microsoft it seemed then invulnerable. It's turning out that due to its size, like the dinosaurs, they just took longer to die off.
I look at what the company does now and I don't understand what it does any more. I don't know what it stands for and it's certainly a million miles away from the tech-savvy outfit of last century.
A shame, but there we go. There's perhaps a lesson in there somewhere if only I could be bothered to rake over the dying embers.
There are very, very few companies that last more than a few decades and keep the same focus they had when founded. A well run company will keep a name but evolve to god knows what as the years pass. NCR, IBM, Siemens, Thales, General Electric, Alcoa, Honda, the list goes on. Thales would have raised a few eyebrows if they started business as 'A leading global provider of elevators (and motorized mobile cannon turrets)'.
Of course any company can die, eventually, but it's nearly impossible to kill a well run company. Massive, highly diversified companies can absorb stunning losses and be no worse for wear but companies with small catalogs of offerings are always incredibly vulnerable to changes in fashion and sea changes in their sector no matter how profitable they might be today.
Eventually, all companies must die (and be resurrected in China with hilariously off the mark products) but there's a lot, a whole, whole lot more to staying in business and making fucktons of money than terms like market share or profit and other terms people toss around as if those things meant anything by themselves.
>Microsoft seemed invulnerable due to its size.
They would have died after Vista but were still just about able to enjoy the last years of PC upgrades. That got them to Windows 8 which became a neo-Vista because fo the need to lock in what PC users still feared: Linux.
It wasn't size that did it but vendors like Dell and HP (and most other OEMs) being afraid of allowing the user to decide for themselves -which was just a matter of keeping the old hands at Indian help desks. Nothing to do with MS, everything to do with manufacturers of hardware.
In fact if it wasn't for the like of Zone Alarm and AVG etc., the OS would have had to earn its own keep 2 decades ago. They could keep on shovelling shit because that is what most users were scared of no longer using.
In fact it is a no-brainer when studying the charred offal left after a MS presentation. I would go so far as to say they deserve a medal for the bleeding obvious :
" Stuff like term papers, recipes and budgets"
Despite the attempt ("Stuff like ...") to sound casual this is the committee-of executives-and PR-Guys agonised-speech-writing to select punchy buzzwords for the business model. Schools, homes and businesses.
Oh and no sex please. We're American.
"Shouldn't that be dogs and penguins frolicking together!"
Yuck, imagine if they mated, it'd result in a Doguin, (or Pengdog... actually I think pengdog is a cool name).
Maybe offering Office on all possible platforms might be good (for a given value of 'good'). It would help MS to ensure Office remained dominant, if at the expense of their OS.
Linux might benefit from possible increased take-up in home and business settings if there were an Office version available.
Naww, Apple and Google users may be targetted with sweet talk and carrot waving but Linux is the insurgent in the jungle, ignored as radicals and targeted as dangerous.
Although, the recent Skype update surprised me, so maybe...
What the company really needs right now is a long series of short term visionaries to repurpose the whole organization, downsize confuse and demoralize the employees before being forcefully ejected, in turns. If Microsoft could work in some boardroom scandal shenanigans as well, that would be great. They've announced own-brand servers and storage, so that should just about do it for hardware partner support. Maybe they could attack software defined networking so as to enrage all three of the server room's Holy Trinity.
We haven't seen what Stephen Elop can do at the helm yet. That should be fabulous.
so when it all comes crashing down and the company is failing then they have a rethink and look at what customers are left and what they want all it will be is big corps who never touched Azure, never had Office 365 or MS devices but just run Windows, Office and Exchange / Lync / SharePoint on prem who just want improvements to these applications over time. They will then call this a new business model and frantically play catch-up before the last run off to find something else.
Not saying any of the above are the best tools but are the usual integrated stack found.
It's not that I am against any of the technology they are pushing at its that it goes against what customers want and anything they do deliver that was asked for is too much of a compromise between what we didn't ask for but were told we had to have and what we needed.
I have noticed that IT seems to be driven by marketing about what it cool much like toys in the school yard when I was in primary.
Basically what Marketing Departments try to do, create the kind of buzz and excitment that exists in the school playground for their companies products.
So very wrong, because outside of that kind of innocent world-view, this is very hard to achieve without something 'truly' remarkable. Flogging each piece of flawed crap as 'the new and improved' just increases cynicism and makes it harder to sell the next iteration. (i.e. Surface).
They really should just issue an apology, 'Sorry, this was a bad idea, we'll try harder next time.'
(Hey, a new motto for Windows 8 !!)
Washing Up Powder in the early 80's always seemed to be 'New and Improved', unitl they twigged this wasn't generating any interest any more (and it took some time for that to sink in). Some firm (can't recall which) got the bright idea of sending an annoying 'TV personaility' (for example Danny Baker) round to peoples houses (perhaps hoping on the 'love him or hate him' scale at least people who didn't were just as likely to put all their clothes in the machine and go sit under the shower for an hour or two until they felt clean again).
Powder marketing is more subtle now as they actaully took the time to understand the market. Things haven't gotten that intelligent in IT Marketing yet. The bods don't really understand what they are selling, and just spout buzz.
around like a fish out of water (well that's how it seems to me).
They are trying to be all things to everyone and sadly faiing at most of them.
I doubt that Mr Nadella can change the direction of the MS Microsoft before it hits an iceberg thus paving the way from Bill to come riding over the hill and save the day for what is left of his once great baby.
The sad thing that MS seems unable to understand (other once great tech companies suffered from this as well) that their key markets are changing and changing rapidly.
It is no use dropping support for Operating Systems in an attempt to force users onto their latest POS, users will either move to something else or just say, 'meh, it works so why should I change?'.
Pissing users off by moving to a subscription model is also IMHO a dead duck. Yeah, the idea of that monthy income stream gives your FD wet dreams but.... for the average man/women in the street it is something they can do without in their already stressful lives.
Metro? Lets hope the people who persuaded Mr Balmer that this was a good idea for all systems get their Pink slips ASAP.
In conclusion, MS are approcahing a tipping point. The wrong decision made in the next few months could see the company implode. (queue much cheering from the Anti MS Brigade)
This would hit business all over the world very hard so lets hope that his changes can bring about a soft landing and not a Nokia style pileup.
In Microsoft's desperate attempt to find new revenue streams, they have forgotten why they were successful to begin with. I like to say that those who do everything do nothing well. It seems like every tech idea that came along Microsoft wanted a piece of it. That is obviously a hyperbole but think about how many different ideas they wanted: Corel Wordperfect - Office; Google - Live search then Bing; iPod - Zune; and so on.
In a normal software world later versions of a product would get more reliable, not less and look prettier, not uglier. Not so with Office. I never had a problem with any Office 2003 program or Office 2007. Along comes Office 2010 and suddenly my Outlook freezes for no good reason. Google it. Far too many people have problems with their Outlook 2010. Then along comes Office 2013 with its higher price to try and force you to subscribe. The color contrast is hideous ugly and hard on the eyes, THE MENUS ARE IN CAPITAL LETTERS FOR NO GOOD REASON, and the worst part of all is that it is unreliable. I've had several different people with Office 365 mess up. Two weeks ago someone's Excel 2013 would not save a file. We had to run the full repair process included with Office 2013 to fix the problem. That should not happen, ever. Yet I have had to do this several times with multiple installations of Office 2013.
I could go on about all the other blunders of Microsoft recently. I could go on about Windows 8 and the reasons why Windows 8 sucks so much, and I am not referring to the TIFKAM but the features like tight Bing and OneDrive integration and trying to replace user accounts with a Live ID. The point is Microsoft forgot why they became successful because they are looking for new revenue. The result is the many disasters we see. They are indeed floundering.
None of this is pro MS, just large business in general. There's a point beyond which a company cannot grow without wildly throwing things into the crowd to see what happens. You become so large that it's impossible to have company wide strategies that you can summarize without being ridiculously vague (we're a services company) or insanely granular (we're a services company with offerings tailored to every possible use imaginable. Please review our latest 35,000 page roadmap).
Hidden behind any large company's flagship products are other products and services nobody even knows exists. Little sub-groups that are bigger than most other businesses, all operating fairly autonomously and there's very little intergroup collaboration or communication. It's all just too large to manage centrally and it's folly to even try. You give those little autonomous groups the resources they request, and enough room to hang themselves, and see what happens. You don't actually get involved unless something goes terribly wrong.
Since everything is under a single brand (Microsoft in this case) it gives the impression that some senior executive is discussing individual products and services with the CEO, but that's not how it works. That's what Directors and Group Directors are for you know.
There's nothing 'wrong' with the shotgun approach, like I said, it's required past a certain point, but the trick is to learn from what doesn't work. You can throw $80M at a project and cancel it in six months, that's fine, but you've got to know why it had to die. You can't just execute a project because the numbers weren't solid without knowing why they weren't solid. It's that part where MS is slipping. They aren't listening or learning. They've become so huge and insular they are mistaking their internal logic as reality. Maybe new guy can fix it. So far he seems like a boring person and that's never good for fixing anything.
What a sad tell! This fool has nothing! They could have turned things around, but it looks like they are going out of the frying pan and into the fire. You're looking at a dead brand. Let me tell you I just got back from my in-laws, and even THEY have a Mac book. They are John and Jane America and they have not one Microsoft device anymore, save for the hard drive they ripped out of their last PC before hey trashed it. And they said "some things changed" like when we went to write our Christmas letter, office isn't there any more, we had to use Pages. Then they picked up the office software box and said "we're glad we don't have to buy this again!" They also said "we're glad they could we can take classes at the Apple store, and if we have a problem, we can just just take the whole laptop to the Apple store".
Apple truly has ravished the Windows brand!
I love how this Nadella fool flaps his trap and says a whole lot of nothing. He says they are going to abandon hardware, except for all the hardware they currently make... What? Don't this jackass realize how stupid and empty his statements sound?
Gates is a big H1B liar who got what he deserves. a hollowed out fake corrupt fraud of a company; how fitting... These people and their culture of corruption are going to create the biggest most spectacular failure the world has seen. They might as well call win 9 the Titanic!
Gates is a big H1B liar who got what he deserves. a hollowed out fake corrupt fraud of a company; how fitting...
You mean the Millions of Dollars hes oh so quietly raking off whats left of his "company", by selling off all his MicroSoft Stock? You do realize that the single largest investor behind all the VCs and Hedge-fund Guys is Steve Ballmer, though right?!
At the rate Gates is burning though whats left of his Stock he should be free, and clear of MicroSoft sometime by early 2018, at the latest.
So I guess you think I'm just making it all up then?!
"Gates' shares were worth approximately $13.2 billion as of Friday*, or 17% of his estimated $78.1 billion net worth, as calculated by Bloomberg. That amount made Gates the world's richest individual.
At his 10-year pace of selling stock, Gates will hand over the shareholding crown to Ballmer before mid-2014.** Gates will have exhausted his holdings by September 2018 unless he stops or slows his selling."´
So if I'm guilty of anything its my crappy memory for stating that it was early 2018, and not mid-late 2018... So SUE ME!
* As of the time of writing the it was the Fourth of January 2014...
** Already happened!
“The day I took on my new role I said that our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
The day I took on my new role I said that Microsoft does not respect our customers who have invested time and money into the old versions of our products.
The day I took on my new role I said that Microsoft thrives by introducing spurious changes that continually extract a tithe from our customers by frightening them into implementing the latest set of retrograde [but supported] features.
Wow, downvoted for asking a perfectly reasonable question.
This is the Reg, and the comments section for a story about Microsoft at that. Reason will not be tolerated.
I admit that I can't offhand think of a Skype competitor that's free, integrates with POTS, is easy for non-technical users to install and use, and is any less likely to be spied upon by the intelligence services. I don't have any special love for Skype (and for work purposes I use or have used various commercial alternatives, some of which work pretty well), but where my threat model permits, it does the job. And frankly my threat model generally permits.
"Nadella pledged to make products such as personal assistant Cortana, Skype and Office 365 essential parts of daily life."
So basically, after all the time they took to finally exterminate Clippy, they bring us Cortana? Instead of just avoiding office to avoid Clippy, we now have to avoid Windows altogether?
Will she be just as annoying? Did they just change the name and the drawing routine?
"Hi, it looks like you are writing a resignation letter to your boss. Do you want me to insert some insults and email it right away? <Yes> <Of course> <Right away>"
So they'll give up on operating systems, and end up a cloud/server-based services company for businesses, implementing your email/messaging, document/content creation/management/sharing, databases, planning tools, .... and... nothing for people outside of work?
because they have no mobile presence and after billions spent attempting it Gates and the new guy figured out their strength/hammer is with MS Office. Nothing unseen here but will they do as they have always done and that is implement sub-par capabilities and delayed releases and updates on non-Windows platforms? We already see that even though the market share is Android, Microsoft targets Apple first with mobile MS Office support.
Also, they manipulated and controlled developers doing Windows apps such that it was very difficult to produce cross platform software thereby eliminating the competition by starving them of apps. Without the Windows OS and API/developer control, can they really keep growing by attempting to make MS Office a platform people can not do without while making it run on all platforms/OS's? Have they ever done this before and can they really be successful at it? Or is this the new Danger only much much bigger. I see Danger written all over the Nokia deal and wonder if it won't be the first domino to fall.
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