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Why Eric Schmidt Is Wrong About Microsoft Not Mattering Anymore 398

Posted by samzenpus
from the I'm-feeling-better dept.
First time accepted submitter Gumbercules!! writes "Eric Schmidt said he believes there is a 'Gang of Four' technology platform leaders — Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook — Microsoft isn't one of them. I wrote about why I believe he's wrong and what it might say about Google's weaknesses. From the article: 'It's no secret that Microsoft have utterly failed to make significant roads into the mobile market place. Windows Phone 7 has approximately no marketshare (ok they have live 5% or so) and this has actually gone down over the last year. It's also no secret that Microsoft have failed to gain any semblance of "cool" and that they're also managing to drag Nokia down with them. It's not even a secret that nearly everyone who looks at the new Windows 8 interface-formally-known-as-Metro doesn't like it. However this isn't the whole story.'"
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Why Eric Schmidt Is Wrong About Microsoft Not Mattering Anymore

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  • Market tells (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:27PM (#41624623)

    Facebook is not one of them but Microsoft.
    You can see it from their price history.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:30PM (#41624645)

    All four of the companies mentioned are walled-in gardens.

  • by KrazyDave (2559307) <htcprog@gmail.com> on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:31PM (#41624667) Homepage
    Ballmer and out-of-control, boy-billionaire eccentricities including management implementations, R&D based on petty jealousies and magical thinking are to blame for MS' slow, steady decline. Stick a fork in MS, it's done insofar as stock value as far as staking its entire hopes for the future on legacy Windows and Office market bases.
  • This guy is dumb (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:32PM (#41624681)

    Why would I buy a laptop or a PC for my staff ever again I could buy them a single tablet – or even pocket sized phone – that just connects to a dock or cable and viola - it’s now a fully fledged PC, running all my corporate software, legacy or otherwise on a full sized monitor with keyboard and mouse.

    This paragraph proves that this guy has no idea what he's talking about.

  • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:37PM (#41624749)

    Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, HP, if you look at it from a business point of view. Apple is a bit cornered here with only the iphone / ipad products, but people seem to like them. MS is obvious: software, Cisco runs most of the networks, and HP is popular w desktops & printers. On second thought, maybe we should swap out apple for IBM here too. Business sales are far more established, less trendy, and without looking up statistics on it, are a lot more $ than consumer sales.

  • Ho hum (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:38PM (#41624763)

    Yet another "Please come read my blog post where I totally miss the point of what someone said, but read it anyway so I can get some ad revenue" story on Slashdot.

    I read the article. It boils down to "Microsoft may make a comeback so they matter". Given the lack of anything other than speculation in the article - the author could've just as easily replaced "Microsoft" with "RIM". I mean, really - we should expect Windows tablets to make a strong showing simply because they can run Windows applications? Then why didn't all the old Windows tablets end up ruling the roost?

    Microsoft isn't a game-changer anymore. Sure, it's possible they'll rebound - after all, Apple was in the same boat in the 1990s. But they haven't demonstrated any reason we should give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:42PM (#41624813)

    and yet 69% of the pc market is still using some form of microsoft os... huh. I don't think MS is going anywhere soon.

  • Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:46PM (#41624841)

    Microsoft is relevant today the same way that railroads are relevant. It will continue to be part of the infrastructure for a long, long time, but only as a necessary evil and a relic of the past.

  • Re:Wha?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afgam28 (48611) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:46PM (#41624855)

    Having a good selling tablet makes you an leader in computing?

    No. Amazon is there because of AWS, not because of the Kindle Fire.

    This is basically a list of companies that Eric Schmidt sees as direct competitors to Google. Each one established and now dominates a field that Google desperately wants to get into: the cloud (AWS vs GCE), mobile (iOS vs Android) and social media (Google+ vs Facebook).

    The reason Microsoft is not mentioned is because it does not pose a serious threat to Google in any of these markets.

  • by robvangelder (472838) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:49PM (#41624877)

    I think what the author means is that a Windows enabled tablet could replace the laptop space.
    On your work desk, it's connected to an external mouse, keyboard and monitor - desktop mode
    When you go to a meeting, or go on the road, you take the tablet with you - mobile mode

    The advance here is that you're running the same apps (yes, Word, Excel, legacy apps), same logon, same computer... whereever you go. In the corporate world, this could be huge.

  • Re:Ho hum (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:49PM (#41624879)

    Thanks to Microsoft my on-premise private cloud is about to get a whole lot cheaper as they force VMware to start giving away the features we pay a lot for now. Windows 2012 is a game changer for the enterprise as they force the other vendors to drop their pants and remove the cost and other barriers to and agile cloud based IT scape.
    I think anyone who assume MS are over and out are going to get flanked. It is a very exciting time as MS have shown they aren't old dogs.

  • Facebook? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Keen Anthony (762006) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:50PM (#41624881)

    In exactly what ways is Facebook a technology platform leader that can be placed adjacent to Apple, Google, or Amazon. I'll buy Amazon. They have Kindle, but even without Kindle there's Amazon's web and cloud services, plus their supply chain management with all the technology that supports it, but Facebook? Facebook is still nothing more than a virtual platform that depends completely on existing platforms. Apple, Google, and Amazon can coexist independently in their own spaces. Facebook is a download, whether it's via browser to your personal computer or to your mobile device, it's still a download. Facebook does have its tech too. Something has made Zynga games successful and a seamless experience on Facebook, but Facebook has nothing that its competitors or its contemporaries lack except clicks. MySpace's luck with clicks and Facebook's constant stock devaluation illustrates just how easy it can be for Facebook to slip away. Microsoft has numerous platforms that interact with each other and is showing signs of realizing that today's market wants enterprise connectivity with consumer style, something Google and Apple have known. I would say that this "gang of four technology platform leaders" would best be described as a "gang of four attention leaders".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:53PM (#41624919)

    He does not get it. No it will not run and work. Tablet software runs and works well because it basically does very little

    Most office desktop also do very little these days. For the general office worker, the idea is not so terrible... a docked tablet or phone will provide email, calendaring, web, and light word processing. That covers 90% of what 90% of what corporate office monkeys need to do. Most web applications will work great on these slim browsers, and if there is a killer app needed it is the full fledged spreadsheet... the processor will handle it but it seems no one wants to write or sell it because it will compete with the desktop version, but there's no good reason it couldn't work. No, its not ideal for graphic design, CAD, or software development, but in a corporation of 10K users, the percentage doing this is tiny. You and all who replied are being short sighted. A phone could easily and effectively replace the general desktop, but not the specialized desktop.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:05PM (#41625015) Journal

    He does not get it. No it will not run and work. Tablet software runs and works well because it basically does very little, or is very heavily optimized.

    We did real work on computers slower than current low end smartphones less than 20 years ago.

  • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross AT yahoo DOT ca> on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:12PM (#41625089)

    Wayne Gretzky when you play hockey, don't look where the puck is/has been, but look for where the puck will be.

    This is what Schmidt is talking about.

  • by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:14PM (#41625111) Homepage

    Uh huh....that's why Apple makes way more money than IBM and Microsoft combined.

    IBM was a money printing machine for a time.
    So was Microsoft.
    Today it's Apple that prints their own money.
    Sometime in the future it will be someone else. It is the nature of things.

    The question currently is how long Apple will be able to keep it up without King Jobs at the throne.

  • by TENTH SHOW JAM (599239) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:14PM (#41625113) Homepage

    That's nice for the PC market. Says me listening to music using a smart phone while typing on a tablet. The PC market will never disappear, too many jobs require too much screen real estate to be conveniently carried about. But you cant use the PC market to leverage the NEXT BIG THING anymore.

  • Re:Wha?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rgbrenner (317308) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:15PM (#41625121)

    This is basically a list of companies that Eric Schmidt sees as direct competitors to Google. Each one established and now dominates a field that Google desperately wants to get into: the cloud (AWS vs GCE), mobile (iOS vs Android) and social media (Google+ vs Facebook).

    +1
    They should change the /. summary that.

  • Lol, Yeah Right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NinjaTekNeeks (817385) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:15PM (#41625127)
    What horse shit. They may not matter in search or mobile due to their current market share, but I'd speculate Research in Motion is a great example of how one day you are on top, the next you are bottom of the heap. MSFT has been churning out desktop and server operating systems, enterprise applications and CRM/ERP solutions for as long as I can remember. With further penetration into the virtualization market I'd say MSFT has a bright future and an obviously consistent and impressive track record. Remember, MSFT was piling up hundreds long before google, facebook and amazon even existed.
  • by shugah (881805) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:18PM (#41625153)
    He can't be an Apple shill, as anyone who has tried to use an iPad for anything useful would understand that this is absurd.
  • Re:Ho hum (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:27PM (#41625227) Homepage

    Then why didn't all the old Windows tablets end up ruling the roost?

    Because they didn't have anyone to steal a good idea from at the time. I'm not sure Microsoft ever innovated.

    The biggest issue with Apple 'controlling' the market is Apple's control over its market, they love controlling and locking down consumer devices, that doesn't get in to the enterprise very far. Apple simply doesn't provide the platforms that run the back end of a business. Microsoft is well established there, I don't see a lot of places dropping MSSQL or AD any time soon. If Microsoft ever gets a tablet out that doesn't suck like a hoover and integrates with the security polices already established, they could see profitable market in businesses. Windows 8 is there attempt at this, too bad it's going to piss off all the desktop users and hang itself in doing so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:32PM (#41625253)

    Microsoft's biggest revenue sources are still alive and well

    MS SQL and Office

    In my opinion, in the computing word,

    The powerhouses are

    Google, Apple, Adobe, Oracle, Microsoft

    To be honest

    Facebook is losing users everyday and while they have a lot of dominance they can't be a force in the world of computing. What they do or don't won't matter much to other parts of the IT world

    Amazon's biggest competitor is eBay

  • Cool (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Master Moose (1243274) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:34PM (#41625295) Homepage

    Microsoft have failed to gain any semblance of “cool”

    I don't think that Microsoft ever had cool. Microsoft rose to prominence not by being cool but by ensuring that their OS and utility applications became the default Business and Home standards.

    New, layman computer buyers have had little choice but to send some money to M$ with every new machine they bought for most of the past 20 years. These people weren't buying "Cool" gadgets though. On the whole they were buying computers. Computers for their homes, school, work, internet connections - computers that happened to come with Microsoft products running on them.

    Their vast OEM agreements with all major computer manufacturers and Getting Word and Excel to be ubiquitous with Word processor and Spreadsheet is what gave M$ their market share - Nothing to do with how cool they are.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:37PM (#41625321)

    Read the whole article. He's spot on. He specifically said "wait 12 months, then this gets interesting". In 12 months the Haswell-based Microsoft tablets will be out. This is an architecture that has been designed, from the ground up, to absolutely sip power. Read the Anandtech.com article on Haswell: http://www.anandtech.com/show/6355/intels-haswell-architecture

    If Intel manages to execute on what they're promising with Haswell, you will ABSOLUTELY be able to purchase a Wintel tablet that can replace today's "Laptop Workstation".

    Paired with a halfway decent mobile dock that includes a keyboard, the laptop use cases are covered. Paired with a desktop-dock and the existing monitors and keyboard in your office, you won't miss your existing laptop.

    How is it that so many on Slashdot don't see the potential in this? Everyone who is complaining "but-but Tablets! touch interfaces, gak no!" isn't actually READING the article... YOU GET A KEYBOARD WHEN YOU ADD THE DOCK. You have the best of ALL worlds, what's the downside? One device, no syncing other than to [INSERT_CLOUD_PROVIDER_HERE], from ONE DEVICE that's ALWAYS WITH YOU.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:40PM (#41625359)

    . No, its not ideal for graphic design, CAD, or software development, but in a corporation of 10K users, the percentage doing this is tiny.

    Yes, lets put accounting on an ipad; nevermind the spreadsheet he's larger than an ipads RAM; and he's got 5 of them open at the same time... and he'd rip your face off if he had to use them full screen swiping from one to other and back again. And then he'd put your face back on just to rip it off again when you told him he couldn't use Microsoft Excel.

      Legal? iPad's all round - I heard legal likes to put all their documents on iCloud anyway, right guys?

    And I could go on indefinitely.

    That covers 90% of what 90% of what corporate office monkeys need to do.

    What is a corporate office monkey and what do they do?

    Sure the legion of cubicle grunts doing data entry from handwritten submitted forms for an insurance company -- sure they can probably have their cheap desktop replaced with a docking tablet... but why? The PCs they are using are already cheaper than a tablet.

    And really anyone further up the food chain than that? Well you said it yourself... "That covers 90%...." meaning 10% of what they do isn't covered. So what's your solution? They just don't do those things?

    Someone in sales needs to post some product photos to the company twitter account... except he used an actual digital camera so they didn't look like shit... but he can't get his photos from his camera to his company issued tablet.

    The girl managing the cellular assets gets an iphone back from the field that's locked up... no problem documenting the issue in the web-crm-pos system on her tablet... but really she needs to attach it to a computer with itunes to revive it.

    The advertising manager who needs to sign off on the new website design can't see it on their tablet because the outsourced designer sent them a physical DVD. So wandering around the halls with a disk looking for the face-ripper from accounts receivable because he knows he got a proper PC...

    Anyone who thinks tablets can replace general purpose pc's is only ever looking at 90% of the problem. That other 10% will kill you.

  • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:43PM (#41625393)

    What's the point of the phone in that setup? A thin client that you can leave on your desk seems like a better deal if you're talking about just connecting to another computer that runs the actual applications.

  • Microsoft (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:52PM (#41625461) Journal

    From TFA:

    ... Itâ(TM)s also no secret that Microsoft have failed to gain any semblance of âoecoolâ ...

    Actually the market don't buy "coolness" per se.
     
    "Coolness" is an added value which the market appreciates, but what matters the most to the market is the practicality of the product - and in Microsoft's case, I'm sorry to say there is a lack of practical value for most of its products today.
     
    It used to be that Microsoft provides practical value back in the 20th century - it provided the DOS for the original PC (well, DOS was not an original creation of M$ but that's beside the point), and it duplicated the functions of Wordstar and Lotus-123 into the products it offered on DOS, and later Windows
     
    And with the maturing of the Windows operating system (and with competing operating systems offering windowing environment) we do not see any added practical value from Microsoft on its own Windows OS.
     
    That is what making Microsoft weaker and weaker, and the biggest problem Microsoft has today is Ballmer - the guy does not seem to be able to lead Microsoft to a greater height.
     
     
     
     
     
     

     
     

     

  • by LordLucless (582312) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:59PM (#41625515)

    No, actually I don't.

    iOS is a walled garden - you must get Apple's permission to run applications on it. Mac OSX isn't (yet).

    Google, it depends on which of their multitude of services you're using. If you're referring to Android, then no, it doesn't. It has an app store (garden), but doesn't restrict you to only installing apps from that store (no wall)

    Facebook, as far as I'm aware, will let you run whatever apps you using their API. They kick them off for TOS violations, which is entirely reasonable. I'm not really sure how you can compare that to applications installed on consumer hardware though.

    Amazon, again, has a bunch of services. I assume you're talking about the Kindle. While its easiest to just buy from the amazon store, you can also dump ebooks onto it via USB with no trouble. Again, garden, no wall.

    Apple is the only one with a walled garden.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @08:14PM (#41625617)

    We did real work on computers slower than current low end smartphones less than 20 years ago.

    We did real mining with pickaxes once upon a time too.

    We used the best tools we had at the time.
    Tablets are not a step forward from the current state of the art, the fact that they are better than my old 386 is rather irrelevant.

  • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xevioso (598654) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @08:21PM (#41625683)

    "Coolness" is an added value which the market appreciates, but what matters the most to the market is the practicality of the product - and in Microsoft's case, I'm sorry to say there is a lack of practical value for most of its products today.

    Uh...what? Granted, this is from 2010, but it hasn't changed much:

    "Worldwide, 500 million customers use Office. Office's marketshare has held steady at 94 percent for years according to market research firm Gartner. The next closest competitor, Adobe has a mere 4 percent of the market. "
    http://www.dailytech.com/Office+2010+to+Launch+Today+Microsoft+Owns+94+Percent+of+the+Market/article18360.htm [dailytech.com]

    So those 94 percent of people find no practical use in Microsoft products?

  • by eeek (83889) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @08:53PM (#41625927) Homepage

    I've long thought that Facebook's only real asset is in being a fad. And fads often vanish very suddenly.

  • by jamstar7 (694492) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @09:27PM (#41626185)

    I've long thought that Facebook's only real asset is in being a fad. And fads often vanish very suddenly.

    That, and feeding the 'customers' to advertisers. But a major 'technology' company? I don't think so...

  • by SpockLogic (1256972) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @10:24PM (#41626485)

    I've long thought that Facebook's only real asset is in being a fad. And fads often vanish very suddenly.

    Facebook's only real asset is not being MySpace.

  • by symbolset (646467) * on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:37AM (#41627209) Journal

    For many years Microsoft was the 800lb gorilla of technology, a titan among small fry, not just the largest technology company but such a king that could hold sway over all of the market. That gave us such gems as this: "Minding your Microsoft Manners." [rcpmag.com] The palpable hubris is, in hindsight, the problem. Pride goeth before a fall.

    When Apple knocked them off of the top of the market cap, revenue and profits hills many of them do doubt were telling themselves it was a fluke, a fad, a bubble. But now not only is Apple worth well over twice what Microsoft is, but Google has knocked them out of the second spot. Google! The company that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer swore he was going to kill in that legendary chair throwing incident eight years ago [theregister.co.uk] has grown over three times in size while Microsoft stood still and has bested him. As if that weren't enough, IBM has been in its customary patient, persistent, conservative way building itself up until it is ready to put Microsoft even out of the third row in "Technology Companies by Market Capitalization". This on the eve of the largest simultaneous refresh of Microsoft's products in its history: new versions of Windows, Server, Office, Mobile, gaming products, the expected success of which the market has already priced in.

    This is no longer the giant that others dread.

    Microsoft's fall from dominance goes really hard. They are still in denial, demanding things they are no longer entitled to. It affects their partners too. Their longtime partner HP remains loyal despite the fact that Windows PCs make them no profit to speak of, and aren't expected to in the next few years, and HP has been scrambling so fast for so long that literally every other option has been floated but still the company stock is trading at lows not seen in a decade and analysts are calling for a breakup of the company, or doom inescapable. What could make HP act this way when there is no profit in it, nor hope of any? Dell is just as bad off - in the midst of the 2008 panic their stock fell lower than today, but there's no panic today and their shares today traded at an annual low, and the company's market cap is about one third of where it was a decade ago. And then there's Nokia. We all know what's happened to Nokia in the last few years. The only Microsoft partners doing well these days are ones like Samsung, Asus and Acer who keep them at arm's length and are participating in the mobile revolution Microsoft somehow missed.

    The world has changed. We don't need to mind our "Microsoft Manners" any more. That is the really, really big deal.

  • Re:Walled gardens (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MysteriousPreacher (702266) on Friday October 12, 2012 @03:59AM (#41628231) Journal

    Slashdot argumentation 101: If I don't want it, why would anyone else?

    In this lesson you'll learn how your personal wants and needs define markets for all things. In week 2 we'll review cutting edge research in to the paradox of men having no use for tampons, yet millions are sold each day.

    Some people find it useful to be able to export their data - even those silly status updates.

  • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmcage (785177) on Friday October 12, 2012 @04:14AM (#41628309)
    The threat to office is from cloud services. For children doing homework, google drive is great, and be sure they already discovered that. Once using these tools, no way they will ask their parents to pay for MS office.
  • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gadget junkie (618542) <gbponz@libero.it> on Friday October 12, 2012 @04:38AM (#41628395) Journal

    Uh...what? Granted, this is from 2010, but it hasn't changed much:

    "Worldwide, 500 million customers use Office. Office's marketshare has held steady at 94 percent for years according to market research firm Gartner. The next closest competitor, Adobe has a mere 4 percent of the market. " http://www.dailytech.com/Office+2010+to+Launch+Today+Microsoft+Owns+94+Percent+of+the+Market/article18360.htm [dailytech.com]

    So those 94 percent of people find no practical use in Microsoft products?

    I am one of those guys using Office, and I'm old enough to remember using Lotus 1-2-3. Then, office was a real gamechanger. Now it's a commodity, most of the people using it would just as well use open office. They're not changing it because a) retraining b) admin tools.
    As much as the cloud paradigma can be attractive to Microsoft, in their shoes I'd be wary: anybody can enter that market provided that it has given you a login and password ( Facebook document repository?), and they are not asking people for a yearly fee. I'd probably put up ads saying "Microsoft: your documents are REALLY yours", promise to give out free document viewers for eternity with a facility to copy them to newer versions, and to never mess with the program menus and shortcuts, and stick to the personal PC model like it was a mix between a young Gloria Swanson and Adriana Lima.

    "Microsoft: we can do without a modem.... can you?" looks like a catchy phrase to me.

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