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Bill Gates Doesn't Work At Microsoft Anymore 497

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the permanent-vacation dept.
itwbennett writes "The recent Fortune article on Bill Gates' post-Microsoft life made one thing very clear to blogger Steven Vaughan-Nichols: 'Bill Gates was, and still is, the face of Microsoft. What Microsoft doesn't want you to know though is that Gates has almost nothing to do with the company anymore.' The fact is that Microsoft doesn't want to draw attention to Gates' absence because the company 'has been tanking in recent years,' says Vaughan-Nichols. 'While Microsoft's last quarter was far better than it was a year ago, thanks largely to Windows 7 finally picking up steam, neither Microsoft's growth nor its profits are what they were like when Gates was at the helm.'"
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Bill Gates Doesn't Work At Microsoft Anymore

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  • saturated market (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:24PM (#32666376) Journal

    neither Microsoft's growth nor its profits are what they were like when Gates was at the helm.'"

    And what do they think Gates could do differently if he was still calling the shots? For better or worse most of Microsoft's key markets are saturated.

  • Maybe you noticed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0racle (667029) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:24PM (#32666386)
    There's a pretty heavy recession going on, there wasn't one when Bill was at MS. I wonder if these two points are related.
  • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:24PM (#32666394)
    shocked that this is considered news. I thought that pretty much everybody knew that Bill Gates has basically zero involvement with MS since he retired from MS and left that chimp Balmer running things.
  • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:25PM (#32666410) Journal

    When will /. replace the Locutus of Microsoft icon with Ballmer throwing a chair?

  • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:27PM (#32666442)

    This has very little to do with Bill Gates, per se.

    Microsoft managed to get itself into a monopoly position while the PC market exploded. The PC market has since stabalized, and people are realizing there are options.

    There was no where for Microsoft to grow to. So they can't grow anymore.

  • Don't Worry!!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:28PM (#32666460) Journal
    He may not be here right now, in Microsoft Corporation Edition 2010; but a ground-up managed-code rewrite of him is definitely on the roadmap for Microsoft Corporate Edition 2012, as part of the Microsoft Enterprise Management Foundation suite of technologies. All his memos will take the form of powershell-compatible cmdlets remotely executed on his subordinates, and his rolodex will be replaced by a WinFS based structured-datastore.

    Version N+1 is going to be the best version ever!
  • Chairman (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bradgoodman (964302) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:28PM (#32666466) Homepage
    While he doesn't "work there" - I believe he is still the Chairman of the Board.

    That aside - I don't think Mircrosoft is doing poorly because "Gates doesn't work there anymore" - quite conversely - I always said that I believe that his departure deliberately coincided with Microsoft's decline. Wether you like them or not - he started Microsoft - created new products - built the company from the ground up - and grew it through the years. At some point - it really flatlined. They weren't doing anything new - creating anything new - growing - etc. As an entrepreneur myself - that would be the time an entrepreneur would get bored - with just running the day-to-day of a big company, and move on to new adventures.

  • by ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:30PM (#32666510)
    Yeah, kind of a no brainer here. Growth at a large company in a mostly saturated and slow-growing market during a recession is less than growth of a mid-size company in a largely uncontested and growing market during an economic boom. My god, it's the end of the world, sell all your MS stock!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:31PM (#32666528)

    Don't forget that Apple has become the new Microsoft, in a sense. They've adopted Microsoft's approach of vendor lock-in, and taken it to a degree that Microsoft never could.

    Not only does Apple lock you in at the software level, like Microsoft did, but they go so far as to limit what programming languages you can use when targetting some of their platforms. Microsoft never stooped that low.

    But Apple takes it further, by holding a monopoly on the hardware stack their software runs on. Microsoft never managed this. They may have had deals and influence with some PC hardware vendors, but they were never really in control like Apple is.

    Then Apple takes it yet a step further, and basically dictates how you can use your device when it's networked, and who can provide that access. Microsoft never did anything like this.

    So as the Microsoft generation retires from the workplace, we're beginning to see a new generation of Apple supporters move in. Except they're far more gullible and brainwashed than the Microsoft supporters ever were, and these Apple users are willing to accept a far greater degree of dictatorship and vendor control. It makes me weep.

  • by rwven (663186) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:32PM (#32666542)

    While what you said has a lot of merit, there are obviously other contributing factors as well.

    Windows failed to advance for a long time while other alternatives DID progress.

    Windows was plagued by a slew of very public security "whoopses."

    The MS alternatives came up with some great marketting and sales lines that pulled a lot of people away.

    I'm sure other people could add plenty to this list.

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff (120817) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:33PM (#32666564)

    your not thinking like an investor.
    Are they growing by more than 8% per quarter! then they are FAILING!

    Screw this long term planning stuff, strip R&D, lay off most of your developers and outsource your coding to a cheaper country. We need you to show much improvement next quarter, so my stock will go up a point or two!

  • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:33PM (#32666574)

    And what do they think Gates could do differently if he was still calling the shots? For better or worse most of Microsoft's key markets are saturated.

    Find new markets to penetrate?

  • Never mind. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:44PM (#32666766)
    One way or another, I doubt if Bil Gates really cares very much. I seem to remember him saying right at the beginning that if he made it big, he would end up giving his money away.

    Well, kudos to him: he is actually doing that. I dislike Microsoft on many levels (but mostly technical, since I am well and truly old enough to have only a remnant of my ideological principles), but Gates is doing more good with his own money than most of our governments are doing with ours.
  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Compholio (770966) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:48PM (#32666806)

    I'd like to know where you got your financial education. I think you need to get a refund. And maybe kill yourself.

    As an outsider to investment, it seems to me like this happens a lot with large public companies. It appears that investors get really upset when profits this year are less than profits last year (even if profits are huge) and they encourage the company to start sacrificing long-term stability for short-term income.

  • by david_thornley (598059) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:49PM (#32666828)

    Well, yes, they make more products. However, most of the profits come from Windows and Office. Their other products would have to show massive growth and profitability to be more than a blip on the bottom line, and I don't think Microsoft is well suited to come up with new stuff. Their research programs show great stuff, which generally doesn't become a product, and they appear to me to be very Windows-focused, so I don't have great hopes of growth from them.

  • by NevarMore (248971) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:50PM (#32666834) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure thats a bad thing. IBM seems to be doing OK these days.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:55PM (#32666918) Homepage Journal

    True but Microsoft really has made some massive stumbles of late.
    1. Vista. Love it or hate it Vista is the new Windows ME.
    2. Mobile phone strategy/music player strategy. What a mess that is.
    3. The failure to see the rise of the netbook/tablet.

    The mobile/music player strategy is the really the heart of the problem and yes they are related.
    Apple decided to make the music player market theirs. They created the iPod which eventually became the standard in mobile music players. They became cool and people actually really liked to use them.
    They then used that to create a smartphone. People already used their phones to play music and a lot of them hand crappy browsers and email. Apple combined a phone with music player with a good browser and then added apps. They now are a major force in mobile phones.
    Microsoft actually got into mobile phones before Apple. They put a version of Windows on a phone! It was clunky and not all that easy to use. They couldn't even execute a better email solution than RIM! While some what popular it never really was super exciting. Microsoft got into the mobile music market late and the Zune was a little clunky but had some potently great features but they where crippled! Heck it had wifi but couldn't surf the WEB! The Zune HD may be the best mobile music and video player on the market but that market is shrinking as people move to smartphones and tablets. Also it lacks the iPhone/Touch large app store.
    Now we have Windows Phone 7. It doesn't exist yet, it doesn't multi-task which Android, WebOS, and IOS 4 do.
    It lacks cut and paste.
    And frankly I have to wonder if anybody will care in a year when it is out.
    Microsoft seems to have NOTHING that can compete with the iPad.
    Microsoft is begining to look like IBM in the 90s.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:56PM (#32666936)

    *As a humorous anecdote, Tanks are a very important component to group play. I like to think of Microsoft as that big guy in the heavy armor who takes all the hits and soaks up all the damage, because it doesn't mean much to him anyways. I also think of Apple as the DPS, and if they keep critting too much with all their successful products, they'll eventually pull Aggro and end up getting all the criticism Microsoft recieves. And I think of *nix as a good healer, silently standing far away from everyone, keeping everything running nominally with their superior networking capabilities and low resource requirements. See? You can relate anything to World of Warcraft. I dare you to come up with something I can't.

    Fuck me, if these are the new metaphors we will see in 10 years, I think I will quit the Internet.

  • by Dzimas (547818) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:18PM (#32667272)

    Because Windows and Office are proprietary software, the onus is on Microsoft to shoulder the entire effort of development. It was a model that worked extremely well in the old days when hardware was less varied and complexity was significantly less. However, each iteration of Windows seems to be more painful to release. However, the fact still remains that Microsoft is an extremely good business because each copy of their software costs only a handful of dollars to produce and package while pulling in several hundred dollars on store shelves. The result was a net profit margin of 24.94% in FY 2009. Contrast that to Apple (19.19% net profit in FY 2009), which charges top dollar for sleek hardware but shoulders higher expenses as a result.

    Much as we like to whine about Microsoft, the truth is that there is no other well marketed consumer operating system brand apart from Mac OS. Until well marketed competition arrives, Microsoft still drives the market.

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:23PM (#32667314) Homepage

    Growing yes, but growing much slower than they used to... It's hard for them not to grow when they control a large percentage of a growing market. Most of their growth is their existing market share carrying on as the market itself expands, and the market cannot keep growing indefinitely.

    Their overall market share in their core markets is decreasing (ie they are growing slower than the market as a whole) and they are being pushed towards open standards and lower prices, their attempts to break into new markets are losing a lot of money with limited success (see xbox, msn etc), windows mobile seems to be tanking, they are facing antitrust problems from various places, older versions of their products (xp, office 2003 etc) are considered good enough and users are avoiding or delaying upgrades...

    It's not looking great for them overall, and i would certainly be very wary of investing... Especially now that the founder has jumped ship.

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp&Gmail,com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:24PM (#32667334) Homepage Journal

    "Without him, that voice of command is gone and none too soon as the core software and business model itself are under threat from OSS."

    Under threat how? While OSS will continue to grow in the business space, the biggest gains have already been made. Most of the companies that would ditch Unix for Linux have already done so. Companies that run Windows Server are generally satisfied with it... the server platform was never the problem at MS, the desktop was, particularly Vista. And open source doesn't have a chance in hell of threatening Microsoft on the desktop. The biggest potential threat there is a resurgent Apple, especially on the consumer side, but increasingly on the business desktop for smaller organizations.

    The fact is, for large enterprises, there really isn't an alternative to Windows on the desktop, and Microsoft knows it. And Linux certainly isn't a threat there, that's for sure. This whole "OSS is about to rule" thing is just another silly variant of "this is the year of Linux on the desktop!"... it's the Duke Nukem Forever of software fantasies.

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:2, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:26PM (#32667366) Journal

    MS is growing more slowly than Apple, therefore Apple is catching-up and will eventually pass. Or so the thinking goes. I have my doubts Bill Gates could make any difference though, since Microsoft's problems are a result of the changing marketplace.

    MS was a middling company through most of the 80s, but they scored big when competition like Atari and Commodore died out, and Apple almost died as well (early 90s), leaving only the IBM PC as the key platform. Since the PC won, Microsoft won. But now new platforms have arisen to challenge that, including revitalized Macintosh and Linux computers, plus cellphones.

    MS is starting to fall back to its position in the 80s - just one of many players.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:28PM (#32667386) Homepage

    Reality check: Microsoft is quite profitable. So is IBM. They make the wheels go around, and that's a solid business. That's what matters, not how much commentary the company gets on Gizmodo and Techcrunch.

    There are other big companies like that. Consider Consolidated Edison [coned.com], the power company for New York City. They've been selling electricity since 1882, and they made $14 billion last year. General Electric is still around, and with about the same product line they had a century ago - power station equipment, appliances, lamps, and turbines. (Along the way, GE entered and left semiconductors and computers.)

    Google, on the other hand, is quite vulnerable. They've never had a second profitable product. Google has whole lines of money-losers, from YouTube to GMail. 97% of Google's revenue is still from search ads.

  • by damien_kane (519267) <damien@st r a t . net> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:28PM (#32667388) Homepage
    World of Warcraft is like a car, because at the start of your journey, you haven't made any progress.
    You must choose a direction (class, spec, etc) initially, but you can change directions at will.
    Eventually, both the fast drivers (hardcore) and slow drivers (casual) can get to the same destination, given enough gas (time).
    Once you get to your chosen destination, you can still choose another direction and start heading in that route (reroll, different spec, etc). There is no "end" until the car is destroyed (WoW uninstalled).

    Good enough?
  • by logjon (1411219) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:29PM (#32667416)

    2 and 3 could be combined into a single "Mobile Technology" category, which is where MS really dropped the ball. Vista was a response to security criticisms, so it the focus given to that took away from the usability that the average IE6 running XP user wanted to deal with. It wasn't a terrible operating system (bloat aside, not an issue for me as my computer was made in this decade,) and certainly no more damning than Win2K.

    MS built its position as a market leader based on being ahead of the game as far as personal computing went, and they stood idly by, doing the same shit, while the personal technology market took a new direction toward mobility. That is where they really dropped the ball, and that's where they're going to be playing catch-up for a very long time.

  • by mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:32PM (#32667458)
    In 2000 they should have copied Apple again and based their next windows(that would become Vista) on a BSD or Linux kernel.

    I have never heard anyone say a bad word about the actual NT Microkernel, or, for that matter, about Cutler et al's work on VMS [which, to this day, has a reputation as being one of the most rock-solid, 24x7x365, 5/6/7/8/9-sigma operating systems known to man].

    Even the old embedded versions of NT, although they never gained all that much market share [vis-a-vis VXWorks], had a reputation for being very solid operating systems.

    Now you might not like some of the cruft which has been bolted on top of the NT Microkernel [Win32, Win64, NTVDM's, DirectX, etc etc etc], but if anyone has a beef with the underlying microkernel, then I haven't heard about it.
  • by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:32PM (#32667470) Homepage

    Apple only appear to be doing that in on the iphone and ipad... They are not doing it on their computer systems, which are arguably far more open than microsoft in many ways.

    Apple don't hold a dominant position in any market, and there are still viable competitors to their lock-in. Apple can be ignored, you can totally ignore their products, use alternatives and be in no way impaired. MS cannot be ignored, as sooner or later you will be faced with something thats tied to windows be it a broken website that requires ie, a proprietary file format or a niche application that only runs on windows... There are countries in which Apple simply don't exist.

    Personally i don't care how badly a company screws their customers so long as it doesn't affect me.

  • by logjon (1411219) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:34PM (#32667496)
    The thing about an iPad that makes it so hard for tech companies to compete with is that it's essentially a toy. Apple pretty much nailed anyone inclined to purchase a tablet when they released it.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:42PM (#32667580)

    3. The failure to see the rise of the netbook/tablet.

    This is I think somewhat unfair, in two ways (since those are two different markets).

    For Netbooks, Microsoft didin't really see that coming but reacted very quickly and with skill, to where Windows dominates Netbooks when it looked at first like that would be the realm of Linux. They may not have seen that coming but they managed to win that one anyway to the point where it does not matter that they didn't see it coming.

    Now tablets, that's a different story. They saw that coming, something like ten years ago? Off and on they tried VERY hard to make that market work. There they had vision, but no execution - and that I think is mostly the problem, Microsoft still can have vision but they have (for whatever reason) a ton of problems executing. It really seems from the outside like this is the old ossified company syndrome where endless layers of management just boil away any real innovation from a product because real innovation is too risky and focus groups all say they hate the new thing you are trying to do because it is different than what they are used to. I think even if Microsoft made their own tablet hardware (like Apple) they would have had the same issues.

  • by netruner (588721) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:44PM (#32667622)
    Don't sell the guy short - love him or hate him, you can't deny that he was the vision (good or evil) behind the company. This happens with all companies that outlive the careers of their founders - once the original visionaries that started the company start to retire, they are replaced with people who "just work there". Once that happens, the company either finds a new vision or it falters. There aren't many of the originals left there - thus, probably not much of the original vision.
  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:46PM (#32667642)

    What Microsoft completely failed to appreciate is the need to make good mobile OSes. If Windows CE hadn't been such a pathetic afterthought, and if it had been given away for free to suffocate the rest of the market, MS would have been in a pretty good place right now. They should have been leveraging their monopoly into other markets, and they would have gotten away with it if they had even had an actively-developed product for the mobile market.

    Microsoft just got complacent and lazy, because they were too accustomed to people buying their core products no matter how shitty they were. BillG knew that when they move into a new field, they actually have to win on quality. Office did this, IE4 did this, DirectX did this, but that's about the end of the list.

    Apple doesn't magically create compelling products because they're a charmed company. They have to drop lots of money on designers, UI research, testing and all that stuff. None of those things are our of reach for MS. They just don't research, focus and blitz the way Apple does. Maybe the government lawsuits had something to do with it. Steve Jobs asks his board every week: Where do I want to jab my sharp elbows today? They research it and come back with a plan for new conquests. Microsoft seems to be focused on answering the complaints from their present customers. There's no vision there. Sometimes, when their lunch gets eaten, they respond with Zunes, Xboxes and Bings - also-ran products that, at best, slightly improve on the established players that they ape. Witness the recent effort to make Hotmail relevant again! It reminds me of Communist countries who thought the best response to Western temptations is to make homegrown "equivalents" for Levi's and Coca Cola. Not long after this pathetic attempt, Communism collapsed.

    Apple and Google are sniffing around for unfilled needs, and designing products to fill them. Microsoft is looking at filled needs, and asking "how can we get in on this and also fill these needs?" Maybe that's in their DNA, because they got rich from an OS that basically innovated nothing. But the difference is that MS-DOS jumped into an unsaturated market and took ownership of it. MS product lines of the 21st century haven't even tried to do this. They've released fixes for established apps, and Zunes (and other Borg knockoffs of what's hot yesterday). If I were an investor who intended to hold stock for a while, it wouldn't be Microsoft.

  • Re:Never mind. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by operagost (62405) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:02PM (#32667838) Homepage Journal
    You know what would be a good thing for governments to do with their citizens' money? Let them keep it.
  • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:13PM (#32667990)

    Look at the hype for the iPad, for Android. Notice the FTC looking at Google, Notice no one cares about MS anymore; They're becoming irrelevant.

    Hype is a fad.

    Hype is noise.

    Hype is 0.11% of the web for Android. 0.09% for the iPad.

    Relevancy is 91.3% of the web for Windows. Operating System Market Share [hitslink.com] Relevancy is a trend line that is moving visibly upwards. Top Operating System Share Trend [hitslink.com]

    Apple has staked its future on the high end of the mobile device market, the mobile hardware market. That can be a very precarious perch in times of recession.

    Microsoft sells software and services to a much broader spectrum of buyers.

    It is lightly exposed on the hardware side.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:31PM (#32668182)
    Bill Gates left Ballmer in charge when he knew Microsoft would do poorly?
  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrgnDancer (137700) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:51PM (#32668464) Homepage

    I think OP seriously overestimates the threat of OSS of the desktop, but has a point of sorts. I see three major threat vectors affecting MS right now, and it's losing ground on all of them. Two it's losing ground slowly and may recover, the third it's already come closing to losing entirely.

    1) Enterprise Data center: MS is losing ground to OSS here. Apple has made some small inroads, but basically this is Microsoft vs various Linuxes. They are not being pummeled by any means, but definite inroads are being made, and MS is slowly losing ground. This is bad because MS thrives on its ecosystem. You buy MS servers because they integrate so well with other MS servers and the MS desktops. If you have fewer MS servers then the need for more MS server seems less pressing. Then there's the:

    2) Desktop: Obviously at the moment OSS is a minimal threat here, but Apple is more serious. They are making serious threats on the consumer side, and once people become used to it at home they ask about it at work. As things stand now, it's mostly smaller businesses that go for Apple on the desktop, or switch partially, but I've seen Macs creeping in larger businesses too (I used to do work with a Fortune 50 Aerospace company that had buckled and allowed some Macs for video editing in our facility). As bits of the data center go OSS, Macs become less of a liability too. Changes made to accommodate Unix based servers work just as well for Apple's Unix desktops. Installed an AD to OpenLDAP translator for the new web server? Oh look, Macs can auth against OpenLDAP. Again, Apple isn't anywhere close to "winning" on the desktop, but they're making inroads.

    3) Mobile platforms: This is where MS is losing big time to Apple and Google (and RIM, and possibly a couple kids with tin cans and a string). This is a pretty serious problem IMO, because this is the next platform. I see mobile platforms, tablets and phones, doing what laptops did 10 years ago and desktops did 10 years before that. Taking over. Not to say that there won't still be laptops, and in the medium term it might even help desktops, but I've already found that my laptop is a bit redundant because of my iPhone. Last trip I went on, I didn't even take it out of the bag. Next time I'm debating leaving it at home. If Microsoft can't own this space, they're going to be in trouble. Not, "OMG they're going out of business" trouble, but growth will become mostly a thing of the past in the next decade.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:55PM (#32668518)

    Last I checked, GE made the majority of its money from its various financial divisions (GE Capital and subsidiaries).

    The electrics/electronics industry is a ran-too for them.

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:01PM (#32668582)

    If Microsoft can't own this space, they're going to be in trouble. Not, "OMG they're going out of business" trouble, but growth will become mostly a thing of the past in the next decade.

    Not necessarily... companies are strange beasts, they need good cashflow to stay relevant, and if the mobile platform see MS losing money and marketshare, and therefore shareprice... they'll start to decline. And that means they'll sell less stuff. And once people have got rid of the 'it must be MS' mindset, then things are really going to be tricky for them. (and we now have examples like Google refusing to run Windows internally, that sends a bit of a signal to others)

    This isn't just about mobile marketplace; see how many companies still run XP and don't feel the need to upgrade. How many don't care to upgrade to the latest Office - all that costs money, and companies don't spend it just to be on the latest version, all that software is just a tool.

    If that starts to happen, MS will still be spending a fortune on people and other costs, without the revenue to maintain them. Look to Sun as an example of what happens next. Look to IBM as a more realistic example of what I think will happen to them; look to DEC if they can't alter their business!

  • by tokul (682258) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:05PM (#32668648)
    ConEd - natural monopoly. selling service to big market with low infrastructure upkeep costs (compared to costs of creating alternative infrastructure)
    GE - diversified company
    Google - not diversified company
    Microsoft - desperately trying to diversify its products, but most of alternative products are subsidized by main company's products and suffering from competition whos pricing is very hard to compete with.
  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by idontgno (624372) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:15PM (#32668852) Journal

    Making tons of money doesn't mean they have a future. IBM was in the same position.

    Yeah, it's a real shame about IBM, especially how they evaporated into obscurity and powerlessness. I miss them.

    No, wait, what?

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:3, Insightful)

    by squallbsr (826163) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:21PM (#32668964) Homepage
    The general purpose desktop market is going to start migrating towards developers and major power users (like graphic design), but the 90% use case for most people right now is surfing the web, checking email and playing flash games. All these can be accomplished with smaller, cheaper, portable devices like the iPad or whatever other tablets come out.
  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Loconut1389 (455297) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:36PM (#32669288)

    but less growth still equals growth until less growth equals no growth or negative growth.

  • Re:Never mind. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loshwomp (468955) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:54PM (#32669632)

    You know what would be a good thing for governments to do with their citizens' money? Let them keep it.

    I actually like living in civilization -- it's imperfect, but it's what my taxes buy, so on balance I like paying them.

    I've never found or even heard of a place with lower taxes in which I'd rather live. If you have, why didn't you move? (Serious question.)

  • Re:Never mind. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @04:23PM (#32670132) Journal

    There's a mass migration in America from states with high taxes to states with low taxes. If it continues, it will be a significant demographic shift over just a generation. I've lived in Cali (highest state taxes) and Texas and Florida (no state income tax for either). All three states had roads, teachers, policemen, etc, and I've never seen any evidence that Cali taxpayers get anything extra for their taxes.

    Sure, some small amount of taxation is needed for civilation, but ~60% of my taxes are simply handed directly to other citizens as a gift, and a lot of the 40% which actually pay for government services goes to paying government union workers more than market rate. Why should public service unions be legal, again?

  • Re:Never mind. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:09PM (#32670904) Journal

    I see we have a useful idiot. The correct solution to your whine about being underpaid is to demand more pay, not to enviously demand that others doing a similar job are paid less.

    Or maybe you think you're so much brighter than people who are paid more than you - in which case go apply for their job.

    paying government union workers more than market rate

    The market rate is the lowest rate that
    (i) a suitable worker is prepared to accept;
    (ii) an employer is prepared to pay.

    Why should public service unions be legal, again?

    Are you actually asking, "Why should collective bargaining be legal"? What part of the bargaining do you think should be outlawed - the bit where employees are allowed to express their views? The bit where people are allowed to not work if they so choose? Which Eastern nation are you modelling your "only some unions should be legal" assertion on?

  • Re:Never mind. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:45PM (#32671272) Homepage Journal

    "There's a mass migration in America from states with high taxes to states with low taxes."

    no, there isn't.

    " Cali taxpayers get anything extra for their taxes."
    you will when you move. Ca. has tons of advantages over most places without sales tax. But you keep living in your little box that Rush and Glen built for you.
    You do NOT pay 60% in taxes. sorry, you're a liar, or your tax accountant is ripping you off.

  • by drsmithy (35869) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yhtimsrd.> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:54PM (#32672308)

    Don't forget that Apple has become the new Microsoft, in a sense. They've adopted Microsoft's approach of vendor lock-in, and taken it to a degree that Microsoft never could.

    "New" ? "Adopted" ? Apple's methods haven't changed one iota in decades - it's just a lot more people seem to be paying attention all of a sudden.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @01:56AM (#32674216)

    You can relate anything to World of Warcraft.

    Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

  • Re:Never mind. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FuckingNickName (1362625) on Thursday June 24, 2010 @08:54AM (#32676488) Journal

    There's not a lot of evidence that it does any good in the modern world

    There's tremendous evidence that union workers are better off [epi.org] in today's Western world. There's also a lot of evidence that unionization does not undermine competitiveness [epi.org] (see how high unionization rates are outside the US?).

    Collective bargaining should only be legal if there's some good that comes from it that outweighs its downsides.

    So, let me repeat the question: What part of the bargaining do you think should be outlawed - the bit where employees are allowed to express their views? The bit where people are allowed to not work if they so choose?

    The workers should not have the power to undermine the will of the voters as a whole.

    The will of the voter is to not impose slavery and to not restrict speech (well, OK, it's the will of a Democratic Republic). This means that a man cannot be compelled to work for a particular employer (no slavery), which means he is welcome to chat with his colleagues about what conditions are acceptable (freedom of speech) and together decide not to work (no slavery) if his employer does not provide those conditions.

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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