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Microsoft Businesses

Satya Nadella At Six Months: Grading Microsoft's New CEO 151

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-the-grade dept.
snydeq writes The future emerging for Microsoft under Nadella is a mixed bag of hope and turmoil, writes Woody Leonhard in his review of Nadella's first fix months at the helm of Microsoft. "When Nadella took over, Microsoft was mired in the aftermath of a lengthy and ultimately unpopular reign by longtime CEO — and Microsoft majority shareholder — Steve Ballmer. Given the constraint of that checkered past, some might argue that Nadella hasn't had enough time to make his imprint on every aspect of Microsoft. Yet there have been many changes already under Nadella's watch, and patterns are certainly emerging as to the kind of company Microsoft will be in the years ahead." Leadership, product lines, financials — Nadella's scorecard shows strong strategic leadership, particularly around the cloud, but Windows and devices are murky at best, with Microsoft employees "taking it in the shorts, and not only in Finland."
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Satya Nadella At Six Months: Grading Microsoft's New CEO

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  • by BenSchuarmer (922752) on Monday August 04, 2014 @01:41PM (#47601117)
    Why doesn't somebody tell me these things?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You might try Slashdot [slashdot.org]. :)
    • by Kenja (541830) on Monday August 04, 2014 @01:51PM (#47601171)
      It was pushed out as a bug fix update and bundled in with a bunch of others so you wouldn't notice that they're trying to fix a major problem.
      • Failure configuring Windows updates
        Reverting changes
        Do not turn off your computer.
        [spinning pearls animation]
      • by antdude (79039)

        "... review of Nadella's first fix months at the helm of Microsoft..."

    • by jfdavis668 (1414919) on Monday August 04, 2014 @02:38PM (#47601529)
      CEO SP2
    • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Monday August 04, 2014 @02:41PM (#47601565)

      Because at the end of the day it is "business as usual" -- no one really gives a fuck about Microsoft's new CEO.

      Microsoft still doesn't a fucking clue about UI, it still shits on PC gamers with its crappy [google.com] GWFL (Games For Windows Live), the Xbone has the stupidest marketing name ever, XP is still holding on because business can't be bought off with the latest untested shiny, DX12 will be only available on Windows 9 as MS tries to force gamers to upgrade, etc.

      • Weren't they going to kill GFWL?

        • by netsavior (627338)
          yeah, but it is only half-killed. You still have to install it to install the game, but it doesn't do anything besides cause crashes if it is not installed.
      • Because at the end of the day it is "business as usual" -- no one really gives a fuck about Microsoft's new CEO.

        Microsoft still doesn't a fucking clue about UI, it still shits on PC gamers with its crappy GWFL (Games For Windows Live), the Xbone has the stupidest marketing name ever, XP is still holding on because business can't be bought off with the latest untested shiny, DX12 will be only available on Windows 9 as MS tries to force gamers to upgrade, etc.

        Weren't all those things done during the "lengthy and ultimately unpopular reign" of Steve Ballmer?

      • That's because gaming does provide squat for MS. They're holding onto the market share in hopes of generating profit with reoccurring revenue subscription. And for good reason; MS is currently making bank on Office365. Hosted Exchange is where it's at for the SMB market. Local Exchange is geared toward a multi-server cluster environment for the Enterprise market (Fortune 500). In fact, SBS 2011 was the last single server solution to have Exchange. Server 2012 Essentials doesn't.

  • Well if MS can make mobile devices more productive for the businesses ... then there's something good coming out of new CEO.

    Usability next Windows does matter a lot, even with this mobile and cloud focus. The PC platform is starting to recover a bit, mostly due to Windows XP demise.

    • by JWW (79176) on Monday August 04, 2014 @02:06PM (#47601303)

      The problem I see with this is that even if Microsoft is starting to turn things around. "Employees are taking it in the shorts." That is what is really going to hurt. With the number being cut loose in the many thousands, and no clarification as who those thousands are, Microsoft now has pretty much everyone scared of losing their job.

      That doesn't translate well into a strong improving company. People are going to spend a good amout of their time trying to find the exit, not making the company better.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        With the number being cut loose in the many thousands, and no clarification as who those thousands are...

        No clarification who they are?

        You're joking, right?

        It's simple - did you formerly work for Nokia before drawing Microsoft pay checks? Odds are enormous that you won't be drawing Microsoft pay checks for much longer...

        Seriously, the vast majority of the layoffs are going to be Nokia's workforce.

      • uhhh...hate to say it but almost always employees who are "scared of losing their job" work harder and become, at least short-term measurably more productive.

        nothing motivates like fear.

        • by blue9steel (2758287) on Monday August 04, 2014 @03:02PM (#47601689)
          In my experience that means the appearance of work triples while actual productivity drops by half.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Been there. Done that. Yep, I sure worked a lot harder. But it was mostly on pushing resumes out the door and getting job interviews. Kissing your boss's ass and hoping not to be homeless next month is no way to live, especially when your boss and his boss are all in the same boat. Much better to spend your time finding a company where you have a future.

          Of course, everyone else feels the same way. A year or two down the road, the only folks left are the ones who can't find work elsewhere. Not exactly

      • by Kelbear (870538)

        Well, let's look at it more closely. If he'd announced a massive general layoff at all levels due to falling profitability, I'd agree that it's a sign the company has one foot in the grave.

        But really, a little more than 2/3rds of the layoffs are redundant positions taken on in a recent acquisition. Layoffs are always sure to follow in large acquisitions like this. The remaining third is targeted at MS itself to reduce the layers of management that they've accumulated (i.e further reducing redundancies)

        MS wa

      • The cuts this time round looked much less random than those in 2008-9. I don't actually know anyone (who is still working) who is actually scared of losing their job.

    • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Monday August 04, 2014 @03:21PM (#47601795)

      I learned quite a bit about Nadella from his e-mail which notified around eighteen thousand employees of impending layoffs and contained the word "synergies" no less than three times. Even his buzzwords are stale and unimaginative. This man either has no real vision, or he's very bad at communicating a clear vision. The article was correct in giving him a very bad grade in communication.

      The one-platform tech base strategy actually seems sound, though, and in truth, is how they should have been pushing Windows 8 - not as a touch-first OS like we got, but one that's touch-capable, able to integrate seamlessly with other small form factor touch-focused Microsoft devices by using a unified API (write once, deploy everywhere). There's a lot of legacy products out there that people will still depend on for decades to come, and businesses are made nervous when the creator of the OS on which they depend veers off in a new direction, seemingly abandoning the current platform on which you rely.

      It's a bit ironic to me that in trying to aim for the future, Microsoft is taking for granted and ultimately risking the core audience on which they've had a solid lock for the past twenty years. We'll see if Nadella manages to remember that while the desktop is no longer the face of new technology and is dwindling in importance, it's also a platform which is not likely to disappear as a significant market anytime in the near future. Rather than using that platform as a bully-pulpit to push it's other platforms, Microsoft needs to make it's other platforms compelling and attractive in their own right, and then demonstrate to businesses the value of a simple cross-platform deployment strategy, all while leaving it's "legacy" desktop platform in place in order to support more heavyweight computing tasks that individuals and business will still inevitably need.

      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday August 04, 2014 @07:32PM (#47603503)

        It's a bit ironic to me that in trying to aim for the future, Microsoft is taking for granted and ultimately risking the core audience on which they've had a solid lock for the past twenty years.

        That was my big take away from the article as well.

        There are exactly two major Microsoft product lines I have any interest in, either professionally or personally: Windows and Office. One remains by far the most flexible platform for a general purpose computing device today. The other remains the standard for word processing and spreadsheets. All of these are useful to me almost every day.

        However, I really have no interest in "the cloud" for everyday computing needs. As I've suggested many times, I think Microsoft really missed a trick by chasing the cloud hype instead of pushing "private clouds" -- a model with very practical arguments in its favour and where their breadth of products would have given them a distinct advantage over any other major tech firm today. But storing all my personal stuff or my sensitive business documents off-site, accessed over inherently unreliable and slow connections, with unknown security and privacy implications? I assumed that was a joke until I realised big businesses weren't laughing.

        Similarly, I have no interest in paying recurring revenues for software that isn't either constantly adding significant value or dramatically better than anything I can get as a one-off purchase. For me personally, no software has ever met that benchmark so far. I do use properly licensed copies of things like MS Office and Adobe Creative Suite, and I would and did happily pay for major upgrades that added significant value from time to time. But a rental model for everyday software that is so stagnant they couldn't get people to upgrade any other way? No thanks. There were and are many things these software companies could do that would be worth a lot of money to me, but why would they bother when they can just phone it in and rely on the lock-in lemmings to keep their bank account topped up anyway?

        And I have even less interest in half-baked devices with ambiguous use cases. I'm typing this on a real keyboard, with a real mouse next to me, and a set of monitors that would make your puny 300+dpi tabletconvertiblenettopsurface with its physically small screen cry. Every now and then I have to suffer using a laptop in a meeting, and even the good ones are so pathetic compared to real workstations in every possible respect except portability that I cry. Nadella is welcome to promote a word processor running on a device with no keyboard. I'll take my 100ish error-free wpm typing speed and punctuation I can input with fewer than three not-real-key presses, thanks.

        I think all of the above are basically hype-driven rather than benefit-driven. The cloud has some advantages, but they are oversold. Recurring revenues will be great until the benefits almost inevitably start to tail off compared to what people got before, the bean counters start protesting, and some young upstart company becomes the next Microsoft by adopting the radical policy of making useful software and selling it without a rental EULA full of catches. And these multi-purpose tablet/laptop hybrids are just Jacks of all trades so far: they lack the convenience of a phone or small tablet, and they cost significantly more than a proper laptop of otherwise similar spec with little practical advantage unless you really need touch-based input (which almost nothing running on such hardware today actually does).

        So a strategy based on this will probably be very successful in the short term, when purchasing decisions made by suits at Fortune 500 companies are still driven by the hype, but if^Wwhen the correction happens -- and in some cases there are already signs that the hype is fading, and with hybrid devices it's not clear they will ever really take off in the first place -- Microsoft is going to be a mighty big ship to steer on a radically different course, with its two biggest engines poorly maintained and running well below capacity.

      • by ultranova (717540)

        This man either has no real vision, or he's very bad at communicating a clear vision.

        He has no idea what to do. Mass layoffs make it pretty much impossible to launch new products (since who will develop them) or do any other major moves (since those always cause inefficiency before people adapt). Assuming he's not a complete idiot, he doesn't see Microsoft to be doing either in near future, then, and is trying to optimize the current situation by cutting costs.

        In other words, as far as Nadella is concerned

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The importance of Microsoft is a thing of the past. It has been eclipsed in all major areas except its Office software. It has tried frantically to wedge its foot in the door in such disparate areas as phones, games, personal electronics, media, and finance. It has been out-competed at every turn by other, more agile and newer, companies. It is simply a matter of time before most people life their lives free of the Microsoft parasite and unless you are a corporate lackey, you can actually do so right no
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You've got to be kidding, trolling or ignorant as hell. Just because you want MS to be irrelevant doesn't mean they actually are, like it or not.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2014 @02:24PM (#47601435)

      What I find particularly interesting is that your argument applies, pretty much word for word, to Mozilla just as well as it applies to Microsoft.

      The importance of Mozilla is a thing of the past. It has been eclipsed in all major areas except its Desktop Browser software. It has tried frantically to wedge its foot in the door in such disparate areas as phones, games, personal electronics, media, and authentication. It has been out-competed at every turn by other, more agile and newer, companies. It is simply a matter of time before most people life their lives free of the Mozilla parasite and unless you are a political correctness lackey, you can actually do so right now.

      This probably shouldn't be surprising, though. Mozilla arose as a response to Microsoft's 1990s-era tactics. Mozilla's only remaining product that still sees any use, the desktop version of Firefox, was meant to compete directly with Internet Explorer back when it was the dominant browser. As the Microsoft of the 1990s has slowly faded, morphing into the rather different organization that it is now, the driving force behind Mozilla has lessened.

      This may explain why Mozilla is such a mess right now. Like Microsoft, their cause is gone, and they're being out-competed at every step by Apple, Google, and other organizations. Their new products are me-too responses to what others have been successful at doing years earlier. They've trashed their existing products through horrendously botched UI redesigns. Their leadership and mission is in turmoil. There has been one scandal after another, from all those shenanigans involving their former CEO offending certain small but vocal groups to the recent MDN email and password data leak.

      While some may have seen Microsoft and Mozilla as opposites, today I think they're more alike than they are different. They're both becoming increasingly irrelevant in a fast-changing world that really has no need for either of them. And neither really knows how to compete in this very different landscape.

      • by ADRA (37398)

        The world certainly needs both companies, even if Mozilla simply exists to keep companies honest, and Microsoft giving competing products and services companies a bar to step over. Microsoft could easily be in business 20 years paying out fat dividends without any significant product 'development' effort at all. Their market is very entrenched, and much like UNIX, some shops just can't justify moving off the the platforms given the amount of sunk costs +mintainance vs. replacement.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Going very much off topic here but what I miss from Mozilla is a real open source and decentralized/self-hosted/third party hosted alternative to Facebook/iCloud/Google+ accounts, something like Diaspora and OwnCloud only better. It wouldn't let you mine data like the centralized solutions, but it'd be a very good continuation of their mission.

  • by ZipK (1051658) on Monday August 04, 2014 @01:49PM (#47601161)

    CEO — and Microsoft majority shareholder — Steve Ballmer.

    Ballmer doesn't hold a majority stake in Microsoft. In fact, no one does. Ballmer holds the largest individual stake, but his stake is in single digits as a percentage.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by ZipK (1051658)
      Ballmer is the fourth largest shareholder, behind Blackrock, Capital Group and Vanguard. Blackrock's stake is 5.4%. http://blogs.seattletimes.com/... [seattletimes.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        why does this failure to read get modded insightful? the gp said "individual",
        unless you are the supreme court, i would expect that your definition of
        individual does not include "blackrock", "capital group" or "vanguard".

        • When it comes to investing, at least, "individual" pretty much always refers to entities - not persons.

          Institutional investing is the norm nowadays. Knowing what person owns the most stock compared only to other persons doesn't give you any worthwhile information.

      • by Desler (1608317)

        Those would be institutional shareholders. He said individual shareholder.

    • Thanks, I was wondering how that could be true. I'm shocked, shocked, that poster got it wrong and a /. editor didn't catch it. What are the odds?
  • Devices (Score:5, Funny)

    by Teun (17872) on Monday August 04, 2014 @01:50PM (#47601167) Homepage
    I hope he doesn't do away with their best product, the Microsoft mouse.

    It's the one product they have that is Compatible.

    • I hope he doesn't do away with their best product, the Microsoft mouse.

      It's the one product they have that is Compatible.

      Or the Microsoft Natural Keyboards...

      • Re:Devices (Score:4, Funny)

        by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Monday August 04, 2014 @02:28PM (#47601467)
        Funny how their most lauded products are the one they were trying to do away with in the design of Windows 8's UI.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I've had 2 different MS Natural keyboards, both of them had a key that didn't work. Seriously. 2 different ones, purchased way apart from each other, from different vendors.

        I searched online and people talked about "fixing" failed keys on these keyboards with a cut piece of a drinking straw. Obviously it was a bad enough flaw to where many other people had issues with them.

        Fuck M$ hardware, just like Fuck M$ software.

        • I've had 2 different MS Natural keyboards, both of them had a key that didn't work. Seriously. 2 different ones, purchased way apart from each other, from different vendors.

          I searched online and people talked about "fixing" failed keys on these keyboards with a cut piece of a drinking straw. Obviously it was a bad enough flaw to where many other people had issues with them.

          Fuck M$ hardware, just like Fuck M$ software.

          Funny. I've used them exclusively since 1997. My original I bought in 1997 didn't die until 2004 or so when after the 3rd or 4th spill something shorted the circuitry. I was never a fan of the 1.1 version due to it being a little tighter together on the keys and the odd placement of the arrow keys (I had one at least temporarily...). I've since gotten two more at home - one wireless (which sucks for batteries as its not bluetooth) and another wired. I've been using them at work since 2008 (both present and

    • I hope he doesn't do away with their best product, the Microsoft mouse.

      wrong.

      microsoft bob...FTFY

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And some of there webcams. (the Windows drivers suck, but the hardware is quite nice on Linux)

    • by Alioth (221270)

      Apropos of nothing, but my Microsoft mouse at work has never been connected to a machine running Windows. It has only been used with machines running Debian.

  • Not that hard IMO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hamsterdan (815291) on Monday August 04, 2014 @01:59PM (#47601251)

    How hard can it be to be replace Ballmer? Vista, Zune, Media Center and Metro. Half of them really bad, the other two (Zune and MCE) were abandonned. MCE was a really good product (still using it on one of my machines), Zune could have been something too.

    They need to innovate, Tablets are replacing laptops, computers are fast enough to not need replacing (Mine is around 7y old) and competing office suites are good enough to replace Office in most cases. That means less Windows & Office licenses in the consumer market (beginning to change in the business market too)

    • Re:Not that hard IMO (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RotateLeftByte (797477) on Monday August 04, 2014 @02:19PM (#47601407)

      Some very astute comments.

      Apple has seen the light in not charging for OSX. They will make their margins elsewhere.
      On the othehand, Microsoft can't even give Windows 8 away so they have a precidence already to not charge for Windows.

      If they don't, where is the money (viz income) going to come from in the Operating System space?
      They don't seem to have a clue really.
      Their focus on the 'cloud' could have a big impact on their bottom line. Can they charge a $200-$1000 license fee for an Instance that may only last a few hours/days/weeks? Nope.

      so, once again... Where is the income going to come from?

      Satya is IMHO between a rock and a hard place. Balmer has left him up shit creek without a paddle.
      IMHO, it will be up to his successor to make or break MS. Satya will fix a few of the more obvious things that are wrong with MS. Then he'll head off to pastures new, a very rich man.

      Personally, I think MS is at a crossroads. They might do well to look at the maschinations of DEC in the 1994-1997 timeframe. I see a lot of similarities with MS in 2014.

      • apple should charge for OSX on any pc and what will happen if windows 9 flops??

        Apples hardware choice is way to limited and there will be a lot of good hardware out there that will need a good OS. Linux is too scattered and is lacking apps that you can get on PC and MAC.

        MS needs to make windows 9 good and forget about windows 8.

        • apple should charge for OSX on any pc and what will happen if windows 9 flops??

          Bahahahaha. Oh, you were serious? I don't see it happening. Part of what allows Apple to do what it does is the fact that they control the hardware. They've even gone as far as to design their own mobile chips. Opening up OS X to a massive number of hardware permutations will lead to support nightmares at the very least.

          • Part of what allows Apple to do what it does is the fact that they control the hardware

            I don't think that's necessarily true.

            What we tend to think of as personal computer problems might just be Windows problems. I'm willing to buy the notion that tight and close driver development are absolutely points in Apple's favor, I'm curious as to what the day to day life is like with a Hackintosh.

            That being said, Apple will never do OSX as generic PC OS unless someone can come up with a really compelling reason other than OSX on every desktop. This isn't 1992 anymore and shipping an OS isn't the whole

            • Apple does need a real desktop the new mac pro is nice but you are locked into it's video cards and the TB bus can't replace them.

              Also needs more build in storage / a build in SSD / HDD choice as well.

              • Yeah, but no one was buying the old giant cheese grater. That's why it languished. It stopped being a priority for them.

                Part of me wants, so badly, for Apple to come out with a reasonably priced mid tower Mac Pro or some other concept where I can mess around with the hardware, but another part of me knows that just ain't going to happen.

                The time for those kinds of machines is gone.

            • by graphius (907855)

              I'm curious as to what the day to day life is like with a Hackintosh.

              me too. Parts are on their way this week, so we will see...

        • by macs4all (973270)

          apple should charge for OSX on any pc and what will happen if windows 9 flops??

          Apple essentially tried that already (clone Licensing).

          It almost finished them off before they stopped it.

          Apple is a Hardware company. They just offer the software to sell the hardware.

          Pretty amazing that the only OS "platform" vendor who is not focused primarily on software also happens to have created the best OS around (for the desktop, at least), isn't it?

        • by gtall (79522)

          Yeah, that's what they should do, open themselves up to yet another round of MS dirty tricks. And to think you aren't a CEO yet.

        • Tried that in the 90s and it didn't work. Besides, running OSX on a 300$ plastic Acer crap kinda defeats the point of getting a Macbook. Apple neither sells software nor hardware, they sell Macs. Sure I'm running OSX on my PC, but selling OSX for PCs is a bad idea...

      • by sjbe (173966) on Monday August 04, 2014 @03:13PM (#47601747)

        If they don't, where is the money (viz income) going to come from in the Operating System space?

        Windows is going to be a cash cow for some time to come. I really don't see that changing even with the debacle that is Windows 8.

        Satya is IMHO between a rock and a hard place. Balmer has left him up shit creek without a paddle.

        Not really because he has one HUGE card he can play. Microsoft has approximately $100 billion in cash and cash equivalents. They can simply buy other companies if their core business starts to erode faster than they can build up new businesses. They have almost enough cash to buy both General Motors and Ford at their current market caps. They could buy Hewlett Packard in cash and have enough left over to buy Best Buy, Blackberry, and the wildly overpriced Tesla Motors.

        Microsoft may have serious problems in their Windows and Office business but they are by no means stuck for options if they care to exercise them.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Not really because he has one HUGE card he can play. Microsoft has approximately $100 billion in cash and cash equivalents. They can simply buy other companies if their core business starts to erode faster than they can build up new businesses.

          You're underestimating Microsoft's ability to destroy everything it touches. I have two words for you: aQuantive and Danger. Both wiped out completely. Ms had to write-off every last cent of goodwill from those acquisitions that they had on their books.

          The thing is, the culture at MS is toxic. The inmates are ruling the asylum. Anything they attempt to right the ship is likely to fail because no matter how logical and well intentioned the strategy is, it will have to overcome internal politics, empire-buil

          • by sjbe (173966)

            The thing is, the culture at MS is toxic. The inmates are ruling the asylum.

            Then it sounds like a good old fashioned purge may be just the medicine the doctor ordered. Cull the biggest troublemakers and adjust the incentive structure to something sane. It's a virtual certainty that 10% of the people are 90% of the problems.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward

              I used to believe a "purge" is what they needed. Then came the 2009 layoffs.

              I had left MS several years ago and in my new job, right across the lake, I would see a steady flow of MS candidates, most of them mediocre.
              Then in late January 2009, MS announced its first ever mass layoffs. We got a tidal waves of resumes and spent a few weeks doing a lot more interviews than usual. To my surprise, those candidates were WAY BETTER than anything we'd seen out of Redmond. We literally had our picks. I had to turn do

          • Yeah, Danger. They had the company that formed Android, but then lost almost everyone that really mattered who went off and formed Android. They didn't think they could do it with Microsoft. Those that stayed made KIN. Which wasn't a bad feature phone, but was conceived while windows mobile 6.5 was dying off and windows phone 7 hadn't been launched. It was killed for being late ( not its fault) and for not being windows enough ( not its fault).

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by ADRA (37398)

        Apple subsidizes the OS in the cost of the overpriced PC, so it certainly isn't a free product. Plus, they charge for upgrades further sallowing your argument.
        People who aren't of the pirate variety sure do pay for Windows 8 when they build their DIY kits. Most are probably gamers or PC enthusiests at this point, but people still do build PC's from parts. And of course essentially every new consumer PC runs windows and still hasd a healthy sales record. I'm sure many will also use Linux like myself but to a

        • by macs4all (973270)

          Apple subsidizes the OS in the cost of the overpriced PC, so it certainly isn't a free product. Plus, they charge for upgrades further sallowing your argument.

          Apple may roll a little of the R&D costs of OS X into their Personal Computers; but at least they:

          1. Listen to their Users (at least to a MUCH greater extent than MS).

          2. Constantly attempt to actually improve, rather than simply change their OS (and their included apps).

          Also, I don't know what rock you've been hiding under; but Apple hasn't charged for OS updates for the past 2 major revisions (Mavericks and the upcoming Yosemite). Yes, my friend; they are FREE (as in Beer).

          They also now include

    • by TMYates (1946034)
      I still use Windows Media Center on all my machines running Windows 8.1 Pro. Though they may not be actively developing it anymore, I would hardly call it abandoned when they still support, update, and ship it. Though in reality, the main reason they are not actively developing makes sense in some ways. With Hulu, Netflix and other video providers now making standalone apps for Windows 8, there was not a need to continue development. There is a video app, music app, and pictures app that split the functiona
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It is even worse than you seem to think. The OS doesn't matter anymore. Everything is in the browser and cloud now.

      Microsoft has nothing left to hold us hostage with.

    • by vivek7006 (585218)
      I still use windows 7 MCE as my DVR. Its the only solution which works with CableCard and allows recording HBO and other premium cable. It will be a shame if MS abandons it completely in windows9
      • by mythosaz (572040)

        I'm an MCE users as well (on Win7), and I wouldn't hold my breath.

        The decision to not include a Media Center Extender in the XBox One makes that pretty clear to me. At least the Media Center remote is functional from the XB1, so it works well pass-through, but it's an obvious glaring omission.

    • by hey! (33014)

      How hard can it be to replace Ballmer? Very, very hard. But I think that's not he question you meant to ask. That question, I believe is this: How hard can it be to do *better* than Ballmer?

    • by Xest (935314)

      "How hard can it be to be replace Ballmer? Vista, Zune, Media Center and Metro. Half of them really bad, the other two (Zune and MCE) were abandonned."

      Look, as much as I hate to defend Ballmer this is a ridiculously one sided list, because there was also XBox 360, server products (Windows Server, SQL Server), massive growth in use of their development tools (C# is now almost the de-facto language for indie development through Unity, XNA/MonoGame and so forth), and Windows releases like Windows 7 that were w

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2014 @02:04PM (#47601283)
    Given Nadella's short time so far as Microsoft CEO, some might argue that it would be stupid to try to review his progress so far. He hasn't had time enough to supervise a whole release cycle of Microsoft's most important products (not Windows nor XBox nor Office), but who says it would be a pathetic attempt at click-bait to write some nonsense about what he's done so far. Corporate culture takes a decade to change in an organization as large as Microsoft, but let's go ahead and scribble down whatever stupid thoughts pop into my head. There's no statistically significant evidence, but let's grab some random noise off the latest data and pretend like it makes a meaningful trend. We can't see the path forward, but I don't know why I shouldn't make a blend of wishful thinking, delusional futurecasting and gibberish to create a document that will drive ad revenue. The products of Microsoft are varied and numerous in amount. One thing they produce is Windows, or as the Indians call it, "Maize". In conclusion, Microsoft is a land of contrasts.
  • What is his job? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday August 04, 2014 @02:13PM (#47601367) Journal
    Before you grade his performance first decide what his job is. Whether he is going to be graded as a doctor trying to save a dying patient? Or a doctor doing terminal care, pain management etc to ease the passage? Or transplant surgeon who should harvest usable organs for transplant? or is he just an undertaker brought in to dress up the corpse for one last ride in the Cadillac?

    [The car analogy is left to the astute reader].

    • by tomhath (637240)
      He's the Chief Executive Officer of one of the largest and most profitable companies in the world. His job is to see that it remains that way.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      If we're going with medical analogies I'd say CEO make a prayer and take credit if the patient recovers and throw up their hands and say I did all I could if it fails.

  • by Junta (36770) on Monday August 04, 2014 @02:28PM (#47601453)

    Too early to try to measure 'success'.

    shows strong strategic leadership, particularly around the cloud

    So far there isn't anything particularly different about his time there as far as degree of success in the 'cloud' market. In terms of Azure, it's a tricky proposition for a company that is ostensibly a high-margin company. Going toe to toe with Amazon, a company that has repeatedly shown it is not shy about operating on margins so thin they are at high risk of actually operating at loss in a given quarter (I would say the same thing about IBM's foray into the space).

    I suspect Windows is there to stay for the foreseeable future (it is about the only product they have with a pretty proven market acceptance that is also consistently profitable). Devices I think will go away, as it should. They let Google and Apple get ahead in the broad ecosystem strategy and the vertically integrated strategy respectively, leaving no room for MS really. MS has to figure out how to somehow undercut Android cost for partners or give up on owning the underlying platform. Either way making devices in house will not be winning them any favors, Apple has shown the most success and the most loyalty and yet their share still is going down in the face of the huge ecosystem of android vendors.

    xBox would make more money as something sold to a third party, who probably would do better with it than microsoft has.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2014 @02:35PM (#47601511)

    I was an MS employee for 10 years (roughly from the mid-90's to the mid-00's).
    It is a company that is fundamentally dysfunctional, especially in the way it identifies its top performers.
    Nadella rose to the top under that system. There is no way he is the man to fix it.

    A few years ago I had a lapse in judgement and interviewed to go back. What I saw was scary. The technical questions were way too easy. I suspect that the employees asking them found them hard. The hiring manager was a Director and had trouble understanding moderately clever/optimized solutions to CS200 problems. Portions of the interview process that dealt with management style, corporate culture and cultural fit left me with the impression that things had gotten way worse since I'd left as far as micromanagement and internal politics went.

    In the end they made me an insulting offer, which in retrospect I am eternally grateful for because it was really easy to turn down without any second thoughts whatsoever.

    • The hiring manager was a Director and had trouble understanding moderately clever/optimized solutions to CS200 problems.

      I fail to see why that's a problem unless he was the one conducting the technical portion of the interview.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The hiring manager was a Director and had trouble understanding moderately clever/optimized solutions to CS200 problems.

        I fail to see why that's a problem unless he was the one conducting the technical portion of the interview.

        It's a problem for two reasons.

        1. Yes, he was conducting an interview that was partly technical in nature. So he asked me that lame CS200 question. Because the question was so easy I thought I'd present an optimized solution. Big mistake. The dude didn't have the chops to understand it. He was _really_ confused. Actually I suspect that he had learned the textbook answer and that's all he knew.

        2. I don't know if you've ever worked in software development under a technically incompetent manager but I can assu

    • I'm curious what the interview questions were, if you wouldn't mind sharing.

      I interviewed with ms back when I was in college (in the early 2000s) and remember my questions along with those of my classmates. They seemed challenging at the time but now seem trivial based on the real world experience I've gained.

      Do you have some examples you'd be interested in sharing?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm curious what the interview questions were, if you wouldn't mind sharing.

        Stupid sorting crap. I think they also asked me to convert an int into a roman numeral string.
        Basically they were all questions I myself had asked dozens of times as an interviewer.

        They seemed challenging at the time but now seem trivial based on the real world experience I've gained.

        I was an industry candidate with over 10 years experience. They should have challenged me more than that.I suspect they didn't because they couldn't. Big red flag. I pick jobs where I have room to grow and learn. That was unlikely to be the case there.

    • by gwstuff (2067112)

      This post would have been much more informative if you had included the questions they asked you, how you characterized the dysfunction in how MS identified its top performers. It sounds like you have a good story to tell...

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        how you characterized the dysfunction in how MS identified its top performers

        When a director in a software development org can't wrap their head around a CS200 type exercise, it is pretty clear that they do not belong. People like that are now the norm at MS. It wasn't the case 15 years ago. It is now.

        I have worked at MS. I have interviewed MS employees who were trying to leave. I have worked with / for ex MSFTees. My rule of thumb is, anybody who was at MS in a management role is useless. My first job after MS was across the lake. I saw 3 managers come there from MS (two of them di

    • by eulernet (1132389)

      I'm sorry, but I think you don't understand the goal of their performers' ratings.

      The goal is not to find the best technical developers, but instead to find who are the best self-sellers, in other words people that know how to present themselves in a shiny light.
      This is why Microsoft attract so many "top talents", and why you don't fit in their culture anymore.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Well, won't Nadella's H1B expire some time?

  • They can certainly both be priorities, but they can't both be first - at some point, there will be circumstances that require one of these gets prioritized ahead of the other.

  • Great Job So Far (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LifesABeach (234436) on Monday August 04, 2014 @03:23PM (#47601809)
    From 18,000 job cuts m$ has a fine leader at the helm. Maybe we can see more reasons to flush the H1B visa?
  • Nadella is a puppet as long as Gates and Ballmer on on the board of directors. And I'm not sure Bill would have allowed a true renegade to take over the CEO position anyway.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Actually I think its business as usual with Microsoft. I think that nothing can be done about Windows 8 at this point. Its another Vista failure and Microsoft will be quick about moving beyond it ASAP. Xbox side of Microsoft is leaning itself out and so I suspect to see a aggressive marketing strategy this Fall. Microsoft's biggest failure is not Windows 8 but rather Windows phone. I doubt this will turn around and Microsoft will have to decide if doing phones directly or even indirectly is possible.
    This is

  • by Anonymous Coward

    No longer are immigrants an underclass, now they can take over upper level management. I am all for this democratization. We need to encourage immigrants to enter into even more powerful positions. Woudn't it be great if the CNBC staff of talking heads were all replaced by illegal immigrant gang members. What about congress. Perhaps we could replace Nancy Polossi (sp) with an illegal. After all it is not fair that Nacy should have this position of leadership just based on the fact that she and her fam

  • The guy has only been on the job 6 months and we want to give him a report card. Can't we at least wait one year? Changing a large corporation is like turning an oil tanker, you have to plan far ahead, take your time, and be patient.

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