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Microsoft Businesses

It's Not a New Ballmer Microsoft Needs; It's a New Gates 211

Posted by timothy
from the round-table-needs-arthur dept.
theodp writes "Over at GeekWire, Todd Bishop posits that Microsoft doesn't need to replace Steve Ballmer as much as it needs to replace Bill Gates. 'The perennial push to oust Ballmer is back,' Bishop says. 'But as long as we're all going down this path again, there's actually a larger issue to address: Microsoft no longer has an overarching technology leader next to the CEO at the top of the company – someone with a strong engineering background and technical vision, surveying the field and calling the plays. There will never be another Bill Gates. But there should be someone in his former role as chief software architect, if not in title, then at least in effect.' Ray Ozzie was supposed to be The One, but for some reason that never really worked out (Dave Winer warns BigCo politics can crush even the most innovative). Any thoughts on who might 'fill the bill'?"
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It's Not a New Ballmer Microsoft Needs; It's a New Gates

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  • by Kamiza Ikioi (893310) on Friday July 01, 2011 @08:17AM (#36632210) Homepage

    Ironically, the best thing for Microsoft would be what could have been the result of its anti-trust problems, a company split. It's doing too much, in too many different directions, with too much rigidity. It needs to spin off its divisions and break away from the mother ship. The OS division and the mobile division should be one unit, the business productivity apps another unit, and the gaming division the third unit. Thinking that one CEO can do all that right for all those divisions is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. It's not too big to fail, its too big to succeed.

  • Re:It's obvious. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pandrijeczko (588093) on Friday July 01, 2011 @08:24AM (#36632260)

    God help us all.

  • by mangu (126918) on Friday July 01, 2011 @09:18AM (#36632686)

    The problem when divisions depend on each other like you mention is that innovating [wikipedia.org] becomes very hard to do.

    If Microsoft were split in several independent companies they would have to abandon their traditional "embrace and extend" strategy and learn to work together with others in following standards. That would be good for them.

    "Embrace and extend" only works when you have an undisputed monopoly, which Microsoft now has only in desktop systems, and nobody knows for how long even that monopoly will last.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday July 01, 2011 @09:26AM (#36632758) Homepage Journal

    Is that they have no taste. They have absolutely no taste, and... I don't mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way... (Steve Jobs, commenting on Microsoft in PBS's Triumph of the Nerds documentary).

    Even John Dvorack thinks that MS is brain-dead. He correctly pointed out YEARS AGO (more than a decade) that if Microsoft *really* employs the best and the brightest, as their PR claims, why is their software so backwards? He took an example of using the "copy" function.

    When you drag a bunch of icons to copy stuff from one drive to another, it blindly starts the copy, it doesn't check if there's enough space, it doesn't check if there's a file already at the destination with the same name, so, if this copy is going to take hours, you have to monitor it for any pop-up alerts. Because any of these issues will stop the copy dead. It's 2011 guys, why is "copy" still a function like it's 1950? Is this *really* what the best and brightest can achieve?

    MS needs a top to bottom overhaul. They are too mired in management, and even brilliant engineers can't rise to the top in such an environment. MS's greatest innovations came from stealing other people's ideas.

    These days, people are smart enough to NOT approach Microsoft to give a demo of new technology, so MS has less and less people to steal from, hence their perceived lack of innovation.

    If MS wants to innovate, they are better off separating into two companies -- one that serves their corporate interests, making "Enterprise" software, reliable and dull, that gets updated every 7 years, while the other creates glitzy consumer stuff that can crash, but at least it's cutting-edge, and churns out new OS releases yearly.

    And while I've got your attention; what's with the crap in the summary? Bill Gates doesn't have an engineering background, he's a college drop-out. He's not even visionary -- every idea he's ever had was stolen from someone else. Don't get me wrong, I admire his tenacity and drive to dominate the software industry, but that's been his ONLY vision - to be bigger than every other company. Well, he did that, until Google came along.

  • Bill never was... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 01, 2011 @09:51AM (#36633000)

    Microsoft is not thinking in this way because they know Bill Gates. He is not a great technologist. He is not a great programmer. He is an excellent salesman and executive.

    This has always been why Microsoft succeeded despite having products in most ways inferior to their competition. Go read the story of Gates and the first BASIC rom.

  • by Ironpoint (463916) on Friday July 01, 2011 @09:55AM (#36633042)

    Microsoft is way past the stage where techies are in control or driving the vision. Yeah, it would benefit Microsoft to have a very smart person in a top position, but current management, who probably have never held technical roles, would never allow that to happen. Rule number one in management is, if you are dumb, make sure everyone around you is dumber.

  • Color me surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JamesP (688957) on Friday July 01, 2011 @10:20AM (#36633268)

    "Ray Ozzie was supposed to be The One, but for some reason that never really worked out "

    Gee, I wonder why...

    MS hired the most nerd, bland, responsible for the most boring piece of software person ever, AND IT DIDN'T WORK OUT

    All that talk Steve Jobs gives, about passion, liberal arts, etc, may seem BS, but it is needed sometimes.

    Bill Gates of course is a geek, but he can 'kick ass'.

    Ray Ozzie seems the kind of idiot that at first chance would put everybody and all products in a strict 'waterfall process'/'design by committee'.

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