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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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  • by g253 (855070) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:23PM (#32666366) Homepage
    Microsoft is in such a bad shape, it would be good for them if people thought Bill Gates still worked there :-)
    • 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?

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

      by jsnipy (913480) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:26PM (#32666430) Journal
      They still make tons of money. How are they in bad shape?
      • Re:Joke of the day (Score:5, Informative)

        by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@noSPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:28PM (#32666472) Homepage Journal

        Not only are they massively profitable, they are continuing to grow. Apparently growth means tanking.

        • 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!

        • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mcgrew (92797) *

            I seem to remember him saying right at the beginning that if he made it big, he would end up giving his money away.

            And I seem to remember that his father had to shame him into giving to charity.

            Gates is doing more good with his own money than most of our governments are doing with ours.

            He has more money than quite a few of our governments. And there are people far less rich than him that give far more to charity. Now his startup partner Alan, otoh, has my respect, because of his post-MS ventures that aren't

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by operagost (62405)
            You know what would be a good thing for governments to do with their citizens' money? Let them keep it.
            • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  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 barga

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by geekoid (135745)

                  "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 treeves (963993)

                    Reading comprehension FTW. He didn't say he paid 60% in taxes. He said 60% OF his taxes go to entitlements, the other 40% go to other stuff, like infrastructure, public safety, etc. Question him on that if you like but don't say he's wrong (or worse, lying) about something he didn't say.

                    Please list the advantages of California that are due to taxes or government. I'm truly interested to know them.

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

                by izomiac (815208) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:05PM (#32671930) Homepage
                Having libertarian tendancies and liking to test my assumptions, I did a quick linear regression of HDI VS Tax Rate. I included the 20 countries with the highest HDI (.950 or higher) and excluded Liechtenstein since I couldn't easily find its tax rate. Taxes were measured as Tax Revenue as a percent of GDP to control for the various types of tax systems.

                R = -.17. For countries with high development indexes, higher tax rates have little effect on HDI, and the effect seems to be negative at that. So, governments are not using higher tax rates to improve the lives of their citizenry. Therefore, I'd like to use my own money to improve my own life, since giving it to the government seems to be a poor investment.

                Of note, Japan, the US, Switzerland, Australia, and Canada have the highest HDI to Tax ratio (i.e. best bang for your tax buck), respectively. HDI^3/Taxes only swaps the position of Switzerland and Australia.
          • Re:Never mind. (Score:5, Informative)

            by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:41PM (#32668326)
            if only you knew how much harm he is still doing but is now using his foundation as his front company. You do know that Bill was publicly blasting the One Laptop Per Child program and not because of what it was doing but because it wasn't using Windows. You also should know that both he and Steve Ballmer went around the world talking to governments and their education leadership down playing the OLPC project and in some cases signing million dollar "support" deals which required them to use Microsoft software and therefore excluded the OLPC device. And lets not forget all those who have said that they've been told that once a school or library accepts money from his foundation, they are not allowed to use open source software.

            oh yes, Bill is doing a great job at spreading Microsoft software while he still gets a pat on the back for "doing more good" with his money but who is he really helping? I've got an OLPC and it is an amazing device and while it does run Linux, the software is not like anything on Windows or Linux. But the millions of kids who would have had a chance to get books and learn something about modern technology won't get that chance. Windows could not run on that hardware without added costs and from what I read, they did not want the Windows user interface hidden under the SUGAR UI. Anyways, Gates is not helping anyone and is only feeding his greedy desires to push his own companies products and that is not helping anyone but Bill and his ego. IMO

            LoB
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Bert64 (520050)

          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 mark

      • They still make tons of money. How are they in bad shape?

        The 'buying power per ton of money' ratio has shrunk significantly in recent times.

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

      by Forge (2456) <kevinforge@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:39PM (#32666684) Homepage Journal
      This isn't such a joke.

      Hate him or Loath him, Gates was a Geek. While he was at Microsoft he actually did some coding. Not the most elegant code mind you but it compiled most of the time and ran only a little less often.

      Because of this the other geeks at MS (shock and horror, they actually employ thousands) folowed his orders without question, the way soldiers folow a battle scarred General.

      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.

      What is that Business model? Manipulate everything from OEM deals to hardware prices so that the cheapest way to do most of the normal computer work in a normal office or home is to use your products. This was fine when they were competing with the likes of Lotus, IBM, Apple, and Sun.

      Some of those companies are still around, but now you can buy cheep PC Hardware with Free Software and be ahead of the price curve. Investors see growth slowing and about to reverse and are jumping ship in droves.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Locke2005 (849178)
        now you can buy cheep PC Hardware with Free Software and be ahead of the price curve And yet Apple is still using closed source software to leverage the sale of expensive hardware -- and exceeding Microsoft's market cap in the process! Perhaps perceived price/performance is more important than absolute cost.
      • 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: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.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by gbjbaanb (229885)

            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

        • Re:Joke of the day (Score:4, Interesting)

          by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:59PM (#32669728) Homepage Journal

          The biggest potential threat there is a resurgent Apple, especially on the consumer side, but increasingly on the business desktop for smaller organizations.

          IBM is experimenting with a transition to Apple as the business desktop. Most of IBM Research switched a while ago, many of the executives have switched or are switching, IBM actively supports employees who choose to use their own Mac hardware and is running some test deployments of company-provided equipment in various parts of the company. Linux is also quite well-supported.

          I won't go so far as to make any predictions, but I wouldn't be surprised if IBM moved to Apple as the primary desktop platform in the next 4-5 years.

          So, not just "smaller organizations".

  • 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.

    • 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?

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:34PM (#32666580) Journal

      Isn't he still a shareholder with +50% of the shares, so he essentially still has a say anyways? I thought I heard that somewhere, but I might be mistaken. Board of directors or something. Point is, Microsoft is not without Bill's Guidance, he simply isn't dealing with the hassles that come with being CEO.

      Microsoft's tanking* is completely independent of Bill's situation. They laid this path before them long long ago. You might even say it's Bill's fault they're in this mess.

      *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.

      • 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.

      • 7.3% as May-10-10 (Score:3, Informative)

        by peter303 (12292)
        He is still the largest shareholder. He gave some to his foundation and has been diversifying.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Locutus (9039)
          the funny thing about his foundation is that while he is still tied to Microsoft via his Board of Directors position and his stock holdings, his foundation is still allowed to pedal Microsoft software. I thought that non-profit orgs could not have these kinds of business ties and associations.

          I think his financial advisors are telling him something like, 'while you have plenty of wealth in MSFT stock, it is not growing and looks like it'll stay or drop in the future. It's time to diversify to something with
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dangitman (862676)

        You can relate anything to World of Warcraft.

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

    • 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 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.

  • 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 Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:28PM (#32666450) Journal

      Great. Now some Federal bureaucrat is going to read your post and the next thing you know we'll be seeing Bill Gates accepting his appointment as the Recession Czar or some such ;)

    • Re:Maybe you noticed (Score:5, Informative)

      by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:29PM (#32666478)
      No. RTFS.

      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

      Pretty sure that the last quarter was during the recession...

      • by gewalker (57809) <Gary DOT Walker AT AstraDigital DOT com> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:39PM (#32666678)

        Maybe, maybe not. Economists are still divided on that, many are predicting a double-dip too. I believe the Regan said

        A recession is when your neighbor loses his job.
        A depression is when you lose yours
        A recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.

        Assuming this to be true, there are a few possibilities

        1) Recovery is not possible since JC has no job to lose
        2) BO is the functional equivalent and recovery is when BO loses his job
        3) Recovery is futile (after all this is an article re: Bill Gates)

        Of course, the assumption may be flawed.

    • 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 Bert64 (520050) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drsmithy (35869)

        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.

    • Here's a graph. (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

      This goes back to before there was a recession [seattleweekly.com]. Illustrated in pastel loveliness.

  • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by delinear (991444)
      Ditto, I was under the impression he left the company in an official capacity several years ago, ostensibly to pursue his charity work, and that he was just a major shareholder now. I haven't seen comments on him having anything to do with running the company for years, either - it's all about Ballmer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by confused one (671304)
        turned over "Chief Software Architect" title in 2006 and "left the building" in 2008. Still Chairman of the board though...
    • William Henry "Bill" Gates III is still retired from Microsoft.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:25PM (#32666404)

    Ford is not being run by Henry Ford. Shocking news to everybody who thought that the latest version of the Model T would come out any day now.

    In other news, Richard Petty Motorsports has only one race victory in the past decade. Questions of why the King hasn't been driving are unanswered.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Shakrai (717556) *

      Yeah, but Elvis is still alive ;)

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Hylandr (813770)
      You know, A 'Rebooted' Model T might be a really hot seller once they end the current Mustang cycle. I wonder what that would look like...

      - Dan.
  • 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.

    • 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.

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:34PM (#32666586) Homepage
      It doesn't help that Microsoft is giving people plenty of reasons to switch to competitors though. Not upgrading their flagship browser for 10 years was a big mistake. Taking so long between XP and Vista, and then Vista being a flop was a big mistake. If Microsoft wants to stay at the top, they should constantly be releasing real upgrades to their products, to keep pace with how all the other guys are doing it. There's no reason they couldn't release a new version of Windows ever year, charge $50, and have everybody upgrade. The current model of, wait 3 or 4 years between versions, and charge $300 for it doesn't work, because nobody wants to drop $300 all at once, and they also don't want to have to buy a new computer, to get the price discounted.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by icebraining (1313345)

        Not upgrading their flagship browser for 10 years was a big mistake.

        What? When was that?

        IE 3: 1996
        IE 4: 1997
        IE 5: 1999
        IE 6: 2001
        IE 7: 2006
        IE 8: 2009

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:41PM (#32669384) Homepage Journal

      Microsoft managed to get itself into a monopoly position while the PC market exploded.

      Not exactly; there's more to it. Before IBM PC came on the market, there were a lot of competing PCs from different companies. All of them had proprietary busses, proprietary OSes, proprietary BIOSes. Although many if not most had variations of CP/M, you couldn't buy a CP/M program and expect it to run on any but one make of computer.

      Then IBM came into the scene with what IBM considered a toy, and after being rebuffed by the top CP/M guy went to one of its lawyer's children, Bill Gates, who bought an OS and tweaked it to work on IBM's machine. Microsoft had already been shipping BASIC to many computer manufacturers.

      Back then the battle cry was "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" and all the other companies* went out of business. Gates wisely held on to copyright on his OS, then named PC-DOS, rather than letting IBM get it. Then a few years later, Compaq reverse engineered and legally cloned the IBM BIOS, which allowed it to run Gate's OS, now named MS-DOS. This was before very many people had computers in the home, but PCs were saturating offices everywhere. Compaq came out with a PC that used the much faster 386 chip when IBM was still using 286s, and ate IBM's lunch.

      IBM unwisely decided to ditch DOS and use its own in-house offering OS2, which bombed badly.

      So it didn't exactly get itself into a monopoly position, it actually inherited its monopoly from IBM.

      people are realizing there are options.

      No, just us nerds. Non-nerds I know are amazed when I tell them there are not only options, but virus-free, more secure options that cost nothing.

      * Except Apple, because it had gotten a foothold in the schools and graphics houses before the IBM PCs were capable of graphics.

  • The "recent Fortune Article" link is to the front page of CNN's Money website. Not exactly useful when the front page updates constantly. Can an admin fix the link in the submission?
  • 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 caladine (1290184) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:32PM (#32666554)
    I mean, besides being obviously anti-MS (standard /. fare).
    If you look at MS's financials [google.com] and check the annual reports, it doesn't much look like a company that has been "tanking in recent years". Most companies would kill for the revenue growth and operating margin Microsoft has had since 2005. Tanking in recent years, my ass.
  • by random coward (527722) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:32PM (#32666558)
    Compare MS stock and Apple and Google and go back 5 years, or even 3 years. 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. They're were IBM was in 1990, or Novell in 1998. Ballmar really wasn't/isn't up to the task of running the company. In 2000 they should have copied Apple again and based their next windows(that would become Vista) on a BSD or Linux kernel. It is very likely that they will continue to shrink and in another 15 they'll be just another softare vendor like Adobe.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NevarMore (248971)

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

    • 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 reput
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)

      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 ver

  • by PrecambrianRabbit (1834412) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:37PM (#32666656)
    ... leave, let the company tank, then make a triumphant return! :-D
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:38PM (#32666672)

    They cut off his salary, and moved him to a basement office - but that darn Gates keeps coming in! Can't a guy take a hint?

  • Borg photo? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ziegast (168305) * on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:09PM (#32667130) Homepage

    If Bill is no longer "the face of Microsoft", perhaps we can change the Bill of Borg icon that's associated with Slashdot stories about Microsoft with one of Ballmer throwing a chair?

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

    • Windows Mobile (Score:4, Informative)

      by manekineko2 (1052430) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:54PM (#32668506)

      You may not remember, but back in the day, before Windows Mobile was called Windows Mobile, they competed on quality on it as well. Their main rival, Palm, stagnated for years rehashing the same products and Microsoft swooped in and ate their lunch.

      With Palm dealt with, Microsoft then went on to do what they do, and stagnated Windows Mobile until someone else came along and ate their lunch.

  • by sjonke (457707) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:29PM (#32668168) Journal

    ... or is Bill Gates gone because Microsoft was tanking? Gettin' out when the gettin's good....

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

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