Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin – The Microsoft Story And The Future Of Computing: Select readings from the net


Is It Ballmer’s Fault by Matt Asay

Microsoft is in significant disarray, fettered by its desktop dominance as the world goes mobile. Would this have happened anyway, or is Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to blame?

Ballmer, after all, knows how to sing to developers, but he doesn’t really speak their language. Former Microsoft CEO and co-founder Bill Gates did. Now, more than ever, Microsoft needs to get in front of developers but finds itself playing catch-up.

Gates announced his resignation back in 2006 and formally discarded his full-time Microsoft duties in 2008. But it has been a long time since Gates’ hand was full time on the steering wheel. (Matt Asay,  The Open Road – CNET News)

Mark Anderson to Microsoft: Your consumer business is dead by John Cook

Microsoft Is Losing Fight for Consumers, Analyst Says by Steve Lohr

“Except for gaming, it is ‘game over’ for Microsoft in the consumer market,” he said. “It’s time to declare Microsoft a loser in phones. Just get out of Dodge.” (Mark Anderson)

If Microsoft loses in smartphones, Mr. Anderson noted, “It is pretty grim. Those applications are going to move upstream.”

The underlying problem, Mr. Anderson said, is cultural. “Phones are consumer items, and Microsoft doesn’t have consumer DNA,” he said.

“Walk the halls at Microsoft and you can see it is not a place that gets consumers,” Mr. Anderson said. “Just as if you walk the halls at Google, it’s obvious it is not a place that gets the enterprise world.” ( Steve Lohr, The New York Times – Technonogy)

The End of the Microsoft Empire? by Alex Salkever

The abysmal quarter reported last week by Microsoft was hardly a one-time occurrence. While Redmond may bounce back somewhat in the future, a host of headwinds makes a return to dominance highly unlikely for the software giant.

“… The sun is clearly setting on the Age of Microsoft as the pre-eminent software company in the world. Shareholders have known this for a while.” (Alex Salkever, July 27, 2009)

Putting Lipstick On Microsoft’s Pigs by Philip Elmer-DeWitt

“Microsoft has always touted itself as an innovator,” Wolf begins in a section entitled The Sincerest Form of Flattery. “But the company’s true genius has stemmed from its ability to copy the ideas of others.” (Charles Wolf as quoted by Philip Elmer-DeWitt)

The Second Clone War by Gerry Patterson

“Much of Microsoft’s marketing power depends on its perceived market dominance, or leadership, which is the term the corporation now prefers. If the the customer base, or more correctly consumers perceive that the desktop village is just a one-horse town, and that horse is stabled in Redmond, then of course, an individual consumer would be unwise to purchase anything but Microsoft products. This is an effect which could be termed the VHS principle, in deference to the Video Wars. And it all depends on perceived market share. If Microsoft shows the slightest concern about Open Source, however, the tiny cracks in the dam may widen rapidly.” (Gerry Patterson)

The Future Looks Bright for Microsoft? by Gerry Patterson

“Is the future bright for Microsoft? It would certainly seem so. However, there may be some dark clouds looming on that bright horizon.” (Gerry Patterson)

A Future Without Microsoft by Tony Mobily

“Regardless of how much hype Microsoft creates, the world still runs on Unix—and most of those servers are GNU/Linux machines. Your Netgear router has Linux in it. Your Internet provider is very likely to be running on GNU/Linux servers. So is your office. It’s a little hard to come by hard numbers, because anybody can download CentOS and deploy a top-class server in minutes. Each GNU/Linux server has stolen market share to the proprietary, expensive Windows NT—and Microsoft is immensely unlikely to get that market back.” (Tony Mobily)

Platform Wars: The Clone Wars by Tim Oren

“IBM counted on the power of its marketing, distribution, and reputation with customers to force these changes through. IBM lost its bet, badly.” (Tim Oren)

The New Microsoft PC Ads: As Fake As Lauren’s Red Hair

“Microsoft cannot expect people to buy Lauren’s argument without insulting their intelligence at some level. There are more factors (that go into buying a laptop than mere price. These include Microsoft’s product history and its  most recent  egg, the Vista operating system. Microsoft should be dealing with that instead of churning out lame ads …
“Right next to reinventing itself from the guts, the Microsoft needs to sever its marketing and advertising arm along with crappy ad agencies  like McCann Erickson Worldwide,  and Crispin Porter + Bogusky…. With a $300 million, budget, Microsoft  could have done way better. The CNN Money/ Fortune assumption that this lame campaign has put Apple on the defensive is terminally silly.” (Cyberaxis)

**

Microsoft in 2010: Four Challenges That Lie Ahead by Shane O’neill

CIO – When you’re a technology mongrel like Microsoft, challenges are constant – and 2009 was chock full of them. It was a tumultuous year that saw the software giant’s first widespread layoffs and its worst quarterly revenue earnings ever.

“If Microsoft delays much longer on producing a decent mobile platform with software, services and partners,” says veteran industry analyst Roger Kay, “then it will be out of the game.”

Microsoft’s Long Slow Decline by John Gruber

“Windows is at the core of everything Microsoft does that makes money. They sell Windows, then they sell software that runs on Windows. As Windows goes, so goes Microsoft, and right now Windows is heading south.” (John Gruber)

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