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Microsoft Businesses

Stephen Elop Would Pull a Nokia On Microsoft 292

Posted by Soulskill
from the preemptive-condolences dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "A new Bloomberg report suggests that Stephen Elop, who's apparently on the short list of candidates to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft's CEO, would eliminate company projects such as Xbox and Bing while focusing resources on Office. Before he left Microsoft to join Nokia, Elop headed Microsoft's Business Division, so it's no surprise he'd want to focus on Office and the company's other, highly profitable enterprise software. But as head of Nokia, Elop made similarly bold strategic realignments that, while they probably looked good on paper, didn't quite work out. Specifically, Elop decided to abandon Nokia's popular homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone. That caused Nokia's share of the overall mobile-device market to dive into the single digits. At the time, Elop insisted he made the decision because Symbian and its ilk were incapable of competing in the broader market against Android and iOS; revelations by the Finnish media over the past few months, however, suggest that he'd been offered a generous cash incentive for selling off the company, which gives his 'strategic realignment' (which everyone knew would initially collapse Nokia's market-share, as its product pipeline emptied out) a whiff of self-interest. So while it's likely that a Microsoft run by Elop would make some decisive moves, his previous attempt at game-changing quickly transformed Nokia from a communications powerhouse into a second-tier competitor and (eventually) a Microsoft subsidiary. And by eliminating Bing and Xbox, Microsoft would be giving up completely on the search and gaming markets in favor of becoming more of an enterprise-centric company—something that could please analysts mostly interested in the company's bottom line, but basically an admission of defeat in the consumer realm."
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Stephen Elop Would Pull a Nokia On Microsoft

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  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:07PM (#45370261) Journal

    Yes! Let's watch him do to Microsoft what he did to Nokia!

    But, that said, maybe a breakup and spin-off of non-core divisions is exactly what Microsoft needs. This whole 'chasing Apple/Sony/{$newTechMarket}' thing is slowly killing them.

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      Which is why Mulaly should be the one to get the job not a failure from Nokia
      • Come on, you know better than that. It's pretty clear Microsoft will pick some dark-horse candidate with little to no experience to help them collapse the company in the most dramatic fashion possible.

        • Sort of like HP outsider Carly Fiorina winning over internal candidate Ann Livermore? The question is, which one is Elop here?

    • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:26PM (#45370535)

      Elop said he will abandon Microsoft's failed attempt to create a modern operating system and simply bet the whole company on getting in bed with Nokia and use their Symbian operating system. Either that or Meego.

      The long term strategy is that after the company craters, Nokia can purchase it for a song, and he can then be tapped to be CEO of Nokia.

      He noted that this strategy has worked in the past. "Nokia's cratered stock price doubled after they sold me off of Microsoft, And I can confidently predict that after I crater microsoft, it's price will double when they sell me back to Nokia."

      He also pointed out that essentially the same strategy was used by Gil Amelio when Apple abandoned it's OS developement and bought Steve's Jobs and his Next OS, shedding Gil in the process.

      "it's proven. Buy another company's OS and bet on it. That's what I know how to do better than anyone."

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        The long term strategy is that after the company craters, Nokia can purchase it for a song, and he can then be tapped to be CEO of Nokia.

        That's what I was thinking. Maybe the plan all along was to get Microsoft to buy Nokia, then kill the rest of Microsoft so Nokia rises from the grave with billions of dollars of cash reserves behind it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Pope (17780)

      Yes! Let's watch him do to Microsoft what he did to Nokia!

      Go in as a mole do ensure that it got taken over by Microsoft? Recursive takeover!

    • by Quirkz (1206400)

      I for one welcome our Microsoft-destroying overlords.

    • by chrismcb (983081)

      But, that said, maybe a breakup and spin-off of non-core divisions is exactly what Microsoft needs. This whole 'chasing Apple/Sony/{$newTechMarket}' thing is slowly killing them.

      When you say "slowly killing them" do you mean they are making more money than they've ever made before, and that the annual profits continue to grow from year to year? Then, uhm, yeah...

  • Wait. What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:08PM (#45370271)

    So the plan is he'll gain stewardship of Microsoft and hand it over to... Microsoft?

    Seems a bit redundant

    Oh right we're going to pretend Elop wasn't an infiltrator sent to hasten the ripening of a patent laden company down on it's luck

  • He might. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by marcello_dl (667940) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:09PM (#45370283) Homepage Journal

    He sinked his own company once, he could do it again. But why? I mean, even slashdot had realized Elop was working for microsoft all along, whom would he work for now? Is google planning to buy microsoft? apple? the NSA?

  • Please pick Elop.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:10PM (#45370293) Homepage

    That moron completely destroyed Nokia, he will do the same to Microsoft.

    • by Quakeulf (2650167)
      I really like reading about these people who can just waltz into a company and run it into the ground and then jump on to the next venture as if nothing ever happened.

      I can do the same for a lot less money. Please pick me Microsoft, I am more economically beneficial! :3
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:31PM (#45370601)

        I really doubt you are competent enough to create that much loss that quickly. Elop is a professional, you can't compare with him.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        I can do the same for a lot less money. Please pick me Microsoft, I am more economically beneficial! :3

        I've considered it, but even tens of millions of dollars wouldn't be enough to live with myself after forcing Windows on millions of poor, defenceless phone users.

      • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:40PM (#45370717) Homepage Journal

        If you can take less than three years to:

        1) take over a huge multinational company with critical patents to the largest growth sector of the tech industry
        2) cut its market cap in half
        3) sell the board on an acquisition by the company that sent you

        then there's a CEO job waiting for you too.

        But ... cutting XBox? That would be worth a Sony CEO position...

    • by bfandreas (603438) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:41PM (#45371385)

      That moron completely destroyed Nokia, he will do the same to Microsoft.

      He didn't destroy Nokia. It was doomed before he showed up. They had slept through the smartphone revolution for quite some time before and spent most of the time infighting or directionlessly redoing the Meego/Maemo UI over and over again.
      He failed to turn the company around after the market had already been neatly divided between iThings and Androids.

      From a business point of view Microsoft had used the XBox to get a foothold "in the living room" and has sunk quite a lot of money into that and the competition is fierce. It might very well be that they should do just that.

      Whatever. I don't care either way.

  • Yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:10PM (#45370303)

    Elop decided to abandon Nokia's popular homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone. That caused Nokia's share of the overall mobile-device market to dive into the single digits.

    Blackberry stuck with their own stuff, which was even relatively entrenched in the enterprise... a lot of good it did them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by feral-troll (3419661)

      Elop decided to abandon Nokia's popular homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone. That caused Nokia's share of the overall mobile-device market to dive into the single digits.

      Blackberry stuck with their own stuff, which was even relatively entrenched in the enterprise... a lot of good it did them.

      The thing that killed off Blackberry was not the fact that they stuck with what they were good at. The problem was that they sat with their thumb up their ass for far too long and didn't improve the things they were good at. It might also have helped if they had tried really hard to become extremely good at new stuff. Microsoft, Apple and then Google, with it's Android OS starting doing everything Blackberry did, including push-mail which was one of the Blackberry killer features, but the competition was do

    • by fwarren (579763)

      That is the problem. Old skool players that have to much of the market cant make the switch. There is to much money in the old product and never enough money in the "where the market will be in 5 years product" to be worth their while. Then in 5 years if they enter the market, they are wannabes without a good product for that market.

    • by X.25 (255792)

      Blackberry stuck with their own stuff, which was even relatively entrenched in the enterprise... a lot of good it did them.

      This is the most retarded comparison you could think of.

      Nokia had excellent products and a very large and loyal 'user base'.

      Blackberry had nothing similar.

  • Whoa (Score:4, Funny)

    by vivek7006 (585218) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:12PM (#45370343) Homepage
    He is a double agent! He tricked Microsoft into believing that he was their agent working for them to run down Nokia, all the while he was really working for Google! This could be the plot of a new Mission Impossible movie, Tom Cruise playing Elop?
  • Symbian, really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chuckugly (2030942) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:13PM (#45370349)
    Anyone who thinks Symbian was a decent alternative OS and that abandoning it for virtually ANYTHING else was a mistake needs to have their head examined. In fact I'd credit sticking to Symbian for too long with as much of Nokias problems as anything else.
    • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:24PM (#45370501) Homepage

      As an OS, Symbian sucked. As an interface to a phone, it worked well. People who wanted a phone to run games and run all the bells and whistles didn't buy Nokia phones. People who bought Nokia phones wanted a phone that made phone calls, and in a pinch could do some other neat tricks, too.

      For comparison, consider my wife's old Android phone, which crashed when the Phone app was opened... or my iPhone, which has trouble figuring out whether it wants to use Wi-Fi or 4G for data transfer at any given time. My old Nokia phone was just a phone, and for a large market segment (such as the elderly retirees whose kids insist they have a cell phone "for emergencies"), that's all they need.

      Nokia had a niche market all ready as the manufacturer of reliable low-end phones. Elop led them down the familiar Microsoft path of following the latest trends, so they lost that one market they dominated.

      • Re:Symbian, really? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by RobertM1968 (951074) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:05PM (#45371005) Homepage Journal

        As an OS, Symbian sucked. As an interface to a phone, it worked well. People who wanted a phone to run games and run all the bells and whistles didn't buy Nokia phones. People who bought Nokia phones wanted a phone that made phone calls, and in a pinch could do some other neat tricks, too.

        For comparison, consider my wife's old Android phone, which crashed when the Phone app was opened... or my iPhone, which has trouble figuring out whether it wants to use Wi-Fi or 4G for data transfer at any given time. My old Nokia phone was just a phone, and for a large market segment (such as the elderly retirees whose kids insist they have a cell phone "for emergencies"), that's all they need.

        Nokia had a niche market all ready as the manufacturer of reliable low-end phones. Elop led them down the familiar Microsoft path of following the latest trends, so they lost that one market they dominated.

        That, (coupled with the sales figures to support it) is a better explanation of reality. The GP/PP/etc need to stop thinking as techie geeks, and start thinking in the way the highly diverse consumer market thinks. There's a reason the Symbian phones sold. Decent hardware that did the job for people who don't want (or are scared of) smartphones, but want something better than a dumb "calls/text only") phone.

      • by grumpyman (849537)
        I'm not sure what you're implying really. These days a cheap Android phone could be have for less than $50. Ask the Chinese factory worker if he'd prefer that or a rock solid symbian phone?
    • Yes... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Junta (36770) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:31PM (#45370599)

      Evaluating Elop with respect to good/bad done to Nokia:
      -Good: ditching Symbian
      -Bad: Picking MS, the last place platform
      -Bad: Focusing on higher end, North American market and neglecting Nokia's thriving global market.

      Basically, the only measure by which Elop was 'good' would be microsoft's measurement of loyalty, willingness to sink his company for the sake of giving microsoft more of a chance.

      Just imagine if Nokia had been the provider of things like Lumia 520 but with Android on it....

      • I can't mod you obviously but yes, if they'd sold off Symbian share like the other partners did and adopted something that sucks less (a long list) they would likely be better off today IMO.
    • Re:Symbian, really? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by king neckbeard (1801738) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:32PM (#45370621)
      Symbian wasn't a really competitive smartphone OS, but it had a lot of market share and a good transition path towards Maemo/Meego with Qt, which would have been a strong alternative.
    • by X.25 (255792)

      Anyone who thinks Symbian was a decent alternative OS and that abandoning it for virtually ANYTHING else was a mistake needs to have their head examined. In fact I'd credit sticking to Symbian for too long with as much of Nokias problems as anything else.

      Symbian was a phone OS. Not an 'alternative' OS (whatever you mean by that). And it was the best phone OS.

      You know, for people who want to have a phone, and not a miniaturized computer that runs shitty OS which spend more time tracking you than letting you use it.

  • incentives redux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by minstrelmike (1602771) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:15PM (#45370391)

    Article: ... they probably looked good on paper, didn't quite work out. Specifically, Elop decided to abandon Nokia's popular homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone.

    Depends on what you mean by "didn't work out."
    That decision didn't work out for Nokia but apparently worked out real well for Elop himself.

  • Time for focus (Score:4, Insightful)

    by asmkm22 (1902712) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:16PM (#45370407)

    Trimming the fat would probably be better for Microsoft at this point. They are trying to dance in too many rodeos, and it's starting to show. Focus on Enterprise, Windows, and Office products. That's a really strong foundation for them. If they want to stay in the mobile phone industry, buy rights to the Blackberry name and focus on the Enterprise and professional markets with solid phones built around security rather than entertainment.

    Something like that would free up all kinds of funds for R&D projects into potential technologies, while playing to their strengths. Microsoft is not -- and never will be -- the entertainment company it seems to desire. Yes, there's potential money in it, but it simply doesn't align with their core business.

    • by T.E.D. (34228)

      They are trying to dance in too many rodeos, and it's starting to show.

      I've been to quite a few rodeos in my day, and I can't remember any dancing in any of them. In fact, I'd say dancing in any rodeo is too many.

  • To bring down the market value of Nokia by both releasing new products (Elop) and then not buying them (consumers), all so that Microsoft could snap up a dead-end company like Nokia on the cheap and Elop could get a big, fat cash bonus for orchestrating it all.
  • by onyxruby (118189) <[onyxruby] [at] [comcast.net]> on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:20PM (#45370465)

    Nokia's OS work was absolutely terrible, in fact it was so bad that it made what Microsoft had look good. The one thing Elop couldn't do was stick with the old Nokia way of doing things, it simply wasn't relevant in this time and age. The mistake Elop made was not in getting rid of Nokia's homegrown OS developments, it was in choosing Microsoft's developments to replace them.

    Elop should have chosen to go with Android for the killer platform of the their OS with Nokia's hardware. Unfortunately for Nokia he went for the lethal platform of the Microsoft OS with Nokia's hardware. The result was the choosing of industry contacts that Elop had at Microsoft instead of going with Android and systematic destruction of billions of dollars in equity.

    Elop can be counted on to make hard choices and get rid of losing platforms. Unfortunately he can also be counted on to make foolish choices to fill the void. Inevitably he will therefore be the next Microsoft CEO...

    • by Antonovich (1354565) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:37PM (#45370675)
      They could have stuffed it up, but I can't help thinking Nokia would be in the position Samsung are now had they gone with Android. They may have had to tow the line a bit with Google but with their expertise (and kick-arse hardware), I'm convinced they would have made it very hard for others to thrive, even Samsung. And this is not just hindsight talking, LOTS of people knew Nokia would struggle if they went with anything apart from Android. It would have also meant there was a European company in the game too...
    • by KiloByte (825081)

      Can you show me a better phone than N900 then?

    • If their OS work was terrible, then why did the N9 win design awards, and receive overwhelmingly positive reviews? Agreed that Symbian was showing its age (in spite of not being the dog of a seller that MS reputation mgmt drones imply - it still was growing in sales when Elop axe-murdered it), but MeeGo was in-house as well, and took the N9 to a position that Windows Phones have never matched, in terms of critical acclaim.
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:27PM (#45370551) Homepage

    The XBox unit is profitable. The entire first generation of the XBox was financial lose, but in the last few years, the business finally started to make money.

    Bing, not so much. Bing seems to be a dumping ground for Microsoft managers. Every year or so, there's a new management team at Bing. Their business strategy is "copy Google". To some extent, they have to - for a while, their ad system was completely different from Google's, and advertisers wouldn't bother to use it. Something like 80% of Bing users use Internet Explorer. Those are the people who don't know how to change the default search engine.

    Google as the only major search engine, though, is scary. The remaining competition in web search is tiny in the US - IAC, InfoSeek, Yandex, and Baidu. (DuckDuckGo and Bleeko are resellers of Bing and Yandex, respectively.) With no competition, Google could charge much more for ads and become even more intrusive.

    • by rk (6314)

      I'm going to commit a slashdot crime here, but here it goes: on my Android phone, I have installed Bing. Hold on a minute! I still use Google for searching and everything else. Google Now rocks! It's changed the way I use my phone and organize my data.

      But Google Maps on Android is shit for searching. I search for a store that I know is around close somewhere, and Google maps shows me just one that's 30 miles away. Bing shows me all of them, including the one that's a mile away.

      • on my Android phone, I have installed Bing

        A couple months ago, I tried to install the Bing app on my Nexus 7 tablet, and Google Play Store said my carrier wasn't supported. It's a Wi-Fi tablet, and my carrier is Xfinity. At the time, I ended up installing DuckDuckGo instead, which tended to force stop after five minutes of use. I checked again today, and Bing was available. Go figure.

    • by Compholio (770966) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:00PM (#45370921)

      The XBox unit is profitable. ...

      You sure about that? Microsoft Is Making An Astonishing $2 Billion Per Year From Android Patent Royalties [businessinsider.com]

  • Elop ... would eliminate company projects such as Xbox and Bing while focusing resources on Office.

    Yes, because putting all your eggs into one basket is always a good idea. I'm not a Microsoft fan, but this seems like a stupid business decision. Good thing there aren't any free alternatives to Office so Microsoft can keep milking their Office cash cow forever...

    Elop decided to abandon Nokia's popular homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone.

    .

    Hmm... Microsoft exec gets hired by Nokia, kills in-house OS products in favor of Microsoft OS, company's market share tanks, gets considered for CEO at Microsoft. Nope, nothing fishy here. [/sarcasm]

  • by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:29PM (#45370573) Homepage Journal

    as in, "Marissa Meyer is going to 'Elop' Yahoo if it kills her"

    or "J.J. Abrahms had better not 'Elop' the franchise..."

    yep...

    TFA headline actually made me LOL: "Stephen Elop Would Pull a Nokia On Microsoft"

    Right?

    I think M$ is going to undergo even more headline grabbing changes and someone spinning off a major division or brand (like Xbox) is exactly the kind of way this would happen.

    Did you see the article on Playstation 4? I have never bought a PS (from the beginning IMHO it was a lesser nintendo but i'm old school like that...) and I'm not any kind of gamer fanboi but the PS4 looks badass all the way around. It's going to be $100 cheaper on launch and the 3rd Party game situation will be killer

    Xbox is M$'s next casualty...seriously...

    But yeah, to get back off-topic...let's make "Elop" a verb meaning to abandon a company's popular proven products in favor of an over-designed unusable system, which causes the company to lose sales & eventually be purchased by a competing interest.

    • by gdshaw (1015745) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:31PM (#45371283) Homepage

      let's make "Elop" a verb meaning to abandon a company's popular proven products in favor of an over-designed unusable system, which causes the company to lose sales

      Look up the term 'Elop Effect' [blogs.com], defined as what happens when you combine the Osborne Effect (making your current product appear obsolete by prematurely pre-announcing its successor) and the Ratner Effect (damaging sales by disparaging your own products).

  • by spiffmastercow (1001386) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:31PM (#45370609)
    Open VS to other platforms, provide a decent .NET implementation on those platforms, and support languages that weren't invented at MS. This, along with selling their enterprise software on other platforms, could make MS a lot of money.
  • By eliminating Bing and Xbox, Microsoft would [admit defeat] in the consumer realm.

    And you'd prefer them to not admit it and continue to pour money in bottomless pits ?
    Thinking about it, that sounds like a brilliant plan to get rid of Microsoft, but I'm not sure anyone of importance comes to SlashBI for the insight.

  • by Wycliffe (116160) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:40PM (#45370705) Homepage

    Putting all your eggs in the Office camp seems very dangerous. Our office recently
    migrated to openoffice and never looked back. I use google docs at home. Both
    are currently weak and can only get better. Google has recently added office tools
    to android. I see standalone high dollar office suites as a dying breed. I personally
    would not double down on them. Same with high-end computer OSes, another one
    of Microsoft's cash cows. If microsoft wants to exist in 20 years they need to be in
    the tablet, smartphone, tv console, and other growing markets that continue to reduce
    the need for a full blown desktop at home. I know a lot of people who no longer have
    a desktop computer or see no need for one. This number will probably continue to
    grow as tablets/smartphones and roku/xbox type devices continue to add features.

  • With Elop's record (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kawabago (551139) on Friday November 08, 2013 @02:40PM (#45370709)
    I wouldn't trust Elop to keep a popsicle frozen. He'd sell off the freezer to save on energy and make his only product, a popsicle, more profitable.
  • It used to be that MicroSoft defeated WordPerfect and they had the only usable office suite available, running on what at least 95% of potentially paying customers had as their only means to do office stuff on.

    These days, potentially paying customers use a plethora of devices, over half of which are totally not under control of MicroSoft, neither architecture or operating system, let alone business model. Many of these already offer quite capable alternatives to the MicroSoft office products, or free altern

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      I think part of the reason Microsoft is slipping on the office suite is their insistence on tying their office tools to their operating system products. (The only exception of which I'm aware is Office on Mac.) If they dropped the OS and concentrated on apps, there'd be a lot more incentive to have Office on a variety of operating systems, rather than trying to force people into Winders so that they can use Office, which as a strategy is demonstrably not working anymore.

  • Even if Elop was staying loyal to Microsoft while working at Nokia, he failed them big time. Microsoft expected him to drive Windows Phone market share up, not to burn Nokia down.

    I find it hard to imagine the Microsoft board is dumb enough to view such an underachiever as a serious candidate for the CEO job. All these stories leaking to the media telling the contrary might just be made up to give the impression that the whole Elop / Nokia / Windows Phone story was not the tragic failure it really is, and th

  • Sounds like a wonderfully horrendous plan. Certain aspects, such as those designed to allow Microsoft to compete in non-Windows environments (if implemented properly) are definitely good ideas. Killing off divisions like the xBox division... not so much.

    It makes it seem like he's trying to both hurt them and save them at the same time - sadly, I don't think it'll get them anywhere.

    That's of course assuming that the speculation is more than just speculation (and he actually plans on doing such things).

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:01PM (#45370945) Homepage Journal
    Let's put Windows in the line of fire
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:04PM (#45370987) Journal

    > A new Bloomberg report suggests that Stephen Elop, who's apparently on the short list of candidates to replace Steve Ballmer as Microsoft's CEO, would eliminate company projects such as Xbox and Bing while focusing resources on Office.

    Firstly this seems like wild conjecture to me, but let's say for the sake of argument that this is actually Elop's plan, and that he'd have the authority, personal power, and get the buy-in necessary to do all of this. (A huge leap of faith, but let's say it all happens.)

    Is this necessarily a bad thing, moving forward? The time where you could make huge amounts of money selling operating systems is past. We can all see that. The practice of tying all products irrevocably together to, I dunno, circle the wagons, and make other Microsoft income streams mandatory in order to participate in any other Microsoft income stream, also appears to becoming less and less effective.

    So, if you're going to sell software, what software is there left to sell? Why not drop (or spin off) the side products that aren't part of the company's core comptency, and also drop the infrastructure and operating system stuff (let other people do that for free) and concentrate on applications? I've felt for a long time that Microsoft's attempt to own everything is a conceit from a time that doesn't exist anymore, and will ultimately result in owning nothing. As an app developer, they could eck out a long term existence, although perhaps as a somewhat smaller company. But a smaller company that has long term survival prospects is a heck of a lot better than a huge company approaching a wall at speed.

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:10PM (#45371049)

      Except the only real reason to buy Office is if you need 100% compatibility with the latest version of Office producing the latest version of Office files. For the rest of us, free software is good enough.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Except the only real reason to buy Office is if you need 100% compatibility with the latest version of Office producing the latest version of Office files. For the rest of us, free software is good enough.

        There is something to what you say. But the reason people only use Office because they *have* to, instead of (here's a new idea...) *wanting* to, is because that very monopoly meant that Microsoft did not need to make the product engaging. It's that part that would need to change. (Also, the pricing needs to be restructured.)

  • by bravecanadian (638315) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:18PM (#45371153)

    Microsoft doesn't need to concentrate on Office. Microsoft needs to concentrate on integrating all these many pieces of the puzzle that they already have.

    They could do some kick ass stuff if they could make it easy to do all the things people would like to by having settings / media ownership and compatibility between all the different platforms and form factors.

    No one else has all the pieces that they do right now. If they could just stop infighting and head towards a common goal they could accomplish really cool stuff.

  • by worldthinker (536300) on Friday November 08, 2013 @03:29PM (#45371257)

    I've had a dislike for the company since the 90's. But I'm thankful to them for the job security I enjoyed supporting and maintaining their products in enterprises. But I come home at night to Mac and Linux systems.

    But seriously, Long term, Office and Windows are doomed. There is some interesting tech in Xbox Connect that could create some game changing product categories in enterprises such as Medical Tech etc. Bing, is the only thing that I can see that could even approach giving Google a ride but it's way too far behind. These 2 divisions should be spun off or at least unleashed (e.g. MSFT retains an ownership stake but takes them public) and run on a profitable basis (if they can). The bureaucracy at MSFT is killing innovation.

    The other interesting things MSFT is doing are their Azure platform and universal identity management. But a mistrustful tech community will hamper adoption of these products.

  • There was an interesting piece a few months back, What if Microsoft exited the search business? [dailycaller.com], arguing that the abandonment of Bing would lead to a near-immediate antitrust action against Google, either from the FTC or as a private action undertaken by Microsoft itself.

    It may be that Google needs Bing to hang around as plausible competition the same way that Microsoft needed Mac OS to soldier on in the late 90's as a putative competitor to Windows (and remember, Microsoft was still found to have engaged in illegal monopolistic practices anyways, something that Microsoft arguably never recovered from).

  • by RoccamOccam (953524) on Friday November 08, 2013 @05:26PM (#45372541)

    Here's what they should do. Sell off the XBox division for a pretty good price. Then, after a few years, arrange for a former Microsoft Executive to be put in charge of the new company. He would then drive that company into the ground and arrange for Microsoft to re-buy the company for pennies on the dollar.

    Somehow, I just know that would work.

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