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Microsoft

Five Years of Ballmer -- the Effect on Microsoft 324

An anonymous reader writes "In the five years since Bill Gates surprised the technology world by announcing he would give up his title as chief executive at Microsoft to Steve Ballmer, the company has changed significantly. Ballmer is largely credited for tripling the company's cash balance, with sales growing from less than $23 billion in 2000 to $36.8 billion last year. Critics claim that today, we see a much 'gentler' side of Microsoft and Ballmer seems to have received an "A" in Wall Street's eyes."
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Five Years of Ballmer -- the Effect on Microsoft

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:22AM (#11360453)
    "Everyone is fooled, prepare for phase 2..."
    • by SgtChaireBourne ( 457691 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:45AM (#11360657) Homepage
      "Everyone is fooled, prepare for phase 2..."
      No one really noticed the books when Bill hopped off. Or since then, for that matter. Proper accounting would have reflected a net loss of $18 billion for 1998 for Microsoft [economist.com].
    • Come on, Bill made comment that would make you laugh and think "get real", "whatever" (One day hardware will be free and people will pay for software). Steve, on the other hand, just pisses people off to the point of demonstrating the bird.

      What's the deal with Asia's Windows XP watered-down edition. With a continent that doesn't care to much about thier pirate mafias, that is sure going to move the governments away from open source.

      Oh yeah, and since it didn't work your going to sue an entire continent o
    • Man, I'm getting sick and tired of people thinking "PR" means "fooling the populace". That's not PR.

      The goal of a PR person is take a damaging event against a company, BLOWN UP BY THE PRESS and PUBLIC, and explain to the public exactly 1) why the damaging scenario occured and 2) what they're doing to fix it. The goal ISN'T to hide the damaging event or try to make the CEO look like he didn't know what was going on.

      PR has had a massive transformation in the past few years. Are their dicks in PR? Sure.
      • PR is what made the public believe that Hussein's Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction that threatened the United States. PR is what the Bush administration is using to make the public falsely believe that Social Security is in a crisis now. PR is what the Bush administration is using to make the public believe that destroying Social Security is a good thing.
      • > Are their dicks in PR?

        Ha!
      • So I guess when the tobacco companies were blatantly lying about not knowing that cigarettes cause cancer and other health problems they weren't simply protecting themselves from damage? It was all simply "BLOWN UP BY THE PRESS and PUBLIC" right?

        And people in the business world ALWAYS follow codes of ethics right? Is it going to be necessary for me to prepare a laundry list of companies that have blatantly violated all kinds of ethics?

        Btw, I have a friend in PR. She has worked for some well known compa
    • by Prince Vegeta SSJ4 ( 718736 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @10:15AM (#11361652)

      Chairman Gates: Lord Ballmer.

      CEO Ballmer: Yes Chairman?

      Chairman Gates: Rise...

      Emper^H^H^HChairman Gates: Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. Your friends, up there in the Justice Department, are walking into a trap, as is your OSS community. It was *I* who allowed the users to know the location of the source code. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best coders awaits them. Oh, I'm afraid the DRM will be quite operational when Longhorn arrives.

  • by falcon203e ( 589344 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:22AM (#11360454)
    Give it up for meeeeeeeeeee!!!
  • by jaredbpd ( 144090 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:22AM (#11360457)
    Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

    (Anyone still have that video?)
  • You'd think Microsoft would/could advertise more. What's up with that? It's like they avoid, at all costs, pointing out that how pervasive their software is.
    • Maybe the reason because they don't advertise as much is this [goyk.com].
    • When your software comes with 99% of new PC's and is already recognised as part of a computer itself, who needs advertising?
    • you're kiding right? We get bombarded with Microsoft ads here, and they're always feel good 'we helped this child learn to read' crap.
    • by frankthechicken ( 607647 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:28AM (#11360519) Journal
      Why should they advertise?

      When was the last time they had a major product rollout?

      Most of their software is so well known that they do not need to advertise. If you buy a computer, you get Windows, if you want word processor/spreadsheets etc., you buy Office. They are not a convicted monopoly for nothing.

      Wait until Longhorn rolls out, then you'll see the major advertising campaign. As was the case with the X-box.
      • They release new software alltime. Theres a lot of software that microsoft works on besides office or windows. Have you seen their collection of enterprise software? Microsoft CRM,sharepoint, content management, mappoint, commerce server. Or what about their consumer line which include CE, whatever their mobile phone OS is. And hardware which they make the best keyboards IMO and mice.
    • by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:29AM (#11360525)
      You'd think Microsoft would/could advertise more. What's up with that?

      Everyone thinks that they're a monopoly. Isn't that the best advertising?

      You'd think that they could innovate with their $65 billion in cash. Instead, we get a grand total of - not one, not two - but THREE color schemes for Windows XP. It is arrogance like this that will eventually displace Microsoft. Not that color schemes matter, but the company hasn't come up with anything original in a long time. This is just a good example.

      And they spend billions on R&D every year. It is like there is some law that prevents them from coming up with something both useful and non-evil. I have about a hundred ideas that they could use right now.
      • by gosand ( 234100 )
        You'd think that they could innovate with their $65 billion in cash. Instead, we get a grand total of - not one, not two - but THREE color schemes for Windows XP. It is arrogance like this that will eventually displace Microsoft. Not that color schemes matter, but the company hasn't come up with anything original in a long time. This is just a good example.

        And they spend billions on R&D every year. It is like there is some law that prevents them from coming up with something both useful and non-evil. I
      • >the company hasn't come up with anything original in a long time

        don't you think that, perhaps, their business model no longer depends on "coming up with anything original"?

      • It is not always about innovation. It is more about delivering the right features to the right comsumers at the right time, and Microsoft is very good at that. Companies rarely innovate. It is too expensive and takes too long to actually get to the product stage.
        • Companies rarely innovate.

          But the ones that do are the ones that make the big bucks. Look at DigiCypher. The first company that implemented a practical digital compression scheme for video files. Or IBM for the PC (as opposed to mainframes). The japanese company we just had that came up with a Blue LED. Nintendo came up with the Play Station, but sold it to sony because the load times were too long for them when compared to the Cartridges. They waited till the Cube to do disks. Also, Nintendo for
          • Nintendo came up with the Play Station, but sold it to sony because the load times were too long for them when compared to the Cartridges.

            Huh?

            I thought the SNES add-on device was a joint effort between Nintendo and Sony? In that light, I would have thought Sony would have had a little more to do with it than Nintendo "selling" it to Sony?

            Anyways, I do recall that the DSP for sound in the SNES was Sony's own, as well....
      • we get a grand total of - not one, not two - but THREE color schemes for Windows XP

        Yeah, but wait till you see Longhorn!
      • You'd think that they could innovate with their $65 billion in cash. Instead, we get a grand total of - not one, not two - but THREE color schemes for Windows XP. It is arrogance like this that will eventually displace Microsoft. Not that color schemes matter, but the company hasn't come up with anything original in a long time. This is just a good example.

        Sure, if you ignore everything and just use something irrelevant as an example. Ever since Visual Studio 6 from 1999 the developer products seemed stuc

        • Well if they would innovate in a way that the end users actually notice, that would be a good thing too.

          The command line compilers are now a free download

          Explain exactly how giving away a compiler for free is innovation.

          That just proved you're a mouse clicking monkey instead of someone who really uses software.

          Or someone who isn't a programmer? The mouse clicking monkeys make up most of Microsoft's market.
    • I guess you've never picked up a computer magazine... they've got all kinds of ads in everything from PC Magazine to SysAdmin... ranging from 7-11 chose us because of the lower TCO than Linux to "You see a goth chick, we see a vinyl clothing entrepreneur" type ads.
    • Hmm... thats false.

      Pick up any trade magazine and 99% of the time, the ad on the inside front cover is a Microsoft ad.
  • Monkey Boy (Score:2, Funny)

    by Gordigor ( 789419 )
    So the Wall Street monkey like the Monkey Boy. See, there's your proof of evolution!
  • No wonder (Score:3, Funny)

    by paranode ( 671698 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:23AM (#11360470)
    He scares the shit out of you so you have to buy his product or face his wrath.
  • I haven't noticed this. What with the patent assault they seem to be preparing for.
  • A confession (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skinfitz ( 564041 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:24AM (#11360477) Journal
    This really isn't a troll, it's an honest statement when I sat that it was the "Monkey Boy" video that really put me off Microsoft. I remember thinking "this idiot is in charge of what happens to our Windows PC's?".

    It was shortly after that I decided to switch to Macintosh for my primary platform. Obviously I still have a PC but I only use that for games now.
    • Re:A confession (Score:5, Insightful)

      by danheskett ( 178529 ) <danheskett@NoSpam.gmail.com> on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:44AM (#11360652)
      Really?

      Hmm.. you know, as an actual developer of software, it really actually had it's intended effect.

      The tools MS is providing for developers now are really great. Such an improvement to five years ago. The resources available are just pretty great.

      Software sells systems, and MS is doing a good job getting and retaining great ISVs for their platform.
      • Re:A confession (Score:2, Interesting)

        Really really?

        As a software engineer with over 20 years of MS development experience, I always preferred Borland's tools over Microsofts's.

        MS had what I considered to be great compilers with their C versions 6.0 and 7.0 and and nice assembler with MASM 5 and 6 (all text based). And the initial version of VB that generated Windows code was revolutionary. But they really dropped the ball after that. MFC was a fiasco from the start: thin OO wrappers around the Windows API. Borland was good from the get-g
        • MFC was a fiasco from the start: thin OO wrappers around the Windows API.
          Exactly. MFC sucks and is a disaster.

          .NET is such huge improvement over MFC that it's ridiculous. VS.NET 2003 and the beta of VS.NET 2005 are both excellent environments for all kinds of development.

          The whole idea of a bytecode runtime - like Java or NET is to abstract you and the system but in a good way.

          Borland has had excellent tools, and I did really like them for a bit. But the quality of their tools does not detra
    • Confession? Get off it. You probably use every opportunity you find to come up with a story on "This is why I switched to Macintosh."

      That same idiot is also in part in charge of what happens to your Macintosh PC's too, just FYI.
    • A three minute video clip was what made you switch to an incredibly more trendy and expensive system? Hrm.

      Anywho, Ballmer is not some slack-jawed idiot, as many like to demonize him. Not surprisingly, he is a killer salesman and communicator. I've heard him talk a couple of times at relatively small conferences and was very impressed by his vision, intelligence, and oratory skills.

  • Wasn't Ballmer the one who spewed things like "Linux is a cancer"?

    I wouldn't say Ballmer is "gentle". More like, uhm... big, loud, incoherent and jumps up and down a lot?

    • Wasn't Ballmer the one who spewed things like "Linux is a cancer"?


      I wouldn't say Ballmer is "gentle". More like, uhm... big, loud, incoherent and jumps up and down a lot?

      They may seem rather uncouth at the moment, but thinking back definitely reveals that this is their 'gentler' side, even if it is not particularly gentle.

    • I think they mean gentle as in "He drugged the girl and gently violated her" rather than "He beat the girl sensless with a baseball bat before having his way with her".

      Thanks, but no thanks.
  • by sebFlyte ( 844277 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:25AM (#11360486) Homepage Journal
    Five years of FUD, but financial success... He is feeling rattled by Linux though, as the recent FUD he's been spreading about patents [zdnet.co.uk] shows. One imagines this will continue for some time to come, since his style may not be popular, but it's certainly effective.
  • The stock price has been in a rut for years, the only positive has been the large cash payout to stockholders. Microsoft has yet to find the next growth opporunity that will replace the very mature operating system and office cash cows. Microsoft is losing ground in the next huge growth market, China, to Linux. I'd say that the past five years have been a failure for Ballmer. All Microsoft has done on his watch is tread water.
    • As much as you wish this were true, the facts say differently. During his five years, MS profits increased by more than 60%. I shouldn't even need to point out how they've branched out into many new fields under his watch. Doesn't look to me like 'treading water'. If anything, he's positioning MS so that Windows isn't it's make or break product.
      • Profits are easy to manipulate. The stock price is only marginally above where it was 5 years ago according to Yahoo.
        • I don't know if you realize this, but the tech sector is in recession.

          The Nasdaq Computer Index hit a peak around 1/1/00 and has subsequently lost two-thirds of its value. (chart [yahoo.com])

          Microsoft hit a peak around 1/1/00 and has subsequently lost half its value. (chart [yahoo.com])

          If you take losses in a recession, but you take smaller losses than everyone else, you are still outperforming the market.

          -Graham
      • I think they ARE treading water, but I also think you are right that Ballmer is attempting to position MS so that Windows/Office aren't the only options they have for making money. Companies which are dependent on a single product (especially tech companies) run the risk that new technologies will render them irrelevant. The PC demolished the mainframe business, for example. OSS is a real threat to closed source -- which traditionally is all MS has to offer.

        Why I claim MS is simply treading water, howev
  • he's quite the gentle monkey: http://www.ntk.net/ballmer/mirrors.html [ntk.net]
  • "Unfortunately ... we're known as a legal defendant"
    Better that than being known as litigitous, we-bulldoze-over-everyone-in-our-way bastards. Oh wait...
    • "Unfortunately ... we're known as a legal defendant"

      Better that than being known as litigitous, we-bulldoze-over-everyone-in-our-way bastards. Oh wait...

      Microsoft does not have a reputation for being litigious, and with good reason. They almost always try to avoid using the courts. Instead, they just buy out and/or destroy their rivals in a more free-form forum. Call them evil and vile all you want, but they are not yet litigious.
  • by SteveXE ( 641833 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:33AM (#11360564)
    Not trying to make fun, but ive NEVER seen a fat man move like that and have that much energy...except Chris Farley
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:36AM (#11360586)
    Lets see..

    Now in the past 5 years of Balmer the stock of Microsoft has dropped maybe 50% or so in value.

    Now of course since 5 years ago we had the .COM bubble burst, but while it seems that the the dow jones and Nasdaq have had a bit of a rise in profitablity, they seem to be leaving MS behind.

    I figure it has to do with no new OSes for people to buy and MS's inability to profitable merge into other tech markets.

    Of course if you invest 10 years ago, then you would of rocked the house.

    But if you invested 5 years ago you would of lost almost half of your investment and if you invested your money in them anytime between now and then you would of been better off keeping your money in a savings account.

    Hell you would have at least had some profit if you invested in Apple...

    hmm....

    You know you can go for a very long time in the stock market without rising or falling much at all. Could it be that when you have 95% of hte market your prospects for growth don't seem to hot to investors?

    So 5 years of mediocre performance. What will be the next 5 years? Even them returning a large part of their cash reserves to their investors had little to no effect on their stock... Unless it prevented it from falling further.

    It seems to me like nobody in Walstreet gives a shit about Balmer, but PC and financial magazines sure love that ad revenue!!!

    look fer yerself. [yahoo.com]
  • by koekepeer ( 197127 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:38AM (#11360602)
    "Ballmer is largely credited for tripling the company's cash balance, with sales growing from less than $23 billion in 2000 to $36.8 billion last year."

    their main revenues are form selling the OS and Office suites, right? well, he was still in the luxury position of building on a monopoly. i'm pretty sure it won't stay like this as competition gets more stiff.

    and yeah, OSS and/or Free software are a big competitor in the fields where MS wants to make money in the future (embedded space, servers, for example).
  • by kahei ( 466208 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:41AM (#11360619) Homepage

    It is precisely because of Ballmers orientation toward marketing and finance that MS's real potential is WEAKER than it was in 2000. For every temporary balance sheet win he has made, there has been permanent 'hearts and minds' damage.

    Communication is the issue; MS no longer listens to clients at the tech level. Up until a few years ago I rated MS very high in terms of listening to the marketplace and creating technology to match -- in fact, where governmental bodies and cross-industry standards groups constantly failed, and giant companies simply didn't give a good gosh damn, MS habitually actually listened to people who knew technology and produced what the world needed. This might have been more striking in my area than in some others, but it was certainly a general rule.

    Fast forward to the present day. The world asks MS , "What is your .NET product anyway?" and MS NEVER ANSWERS. Ballmer chants "XML! XML! XML!" for six months while programmers, managers and investors across the globe stare blankly at him. That was the quality of communication, on the subject of MS's own product.

    So financially, I agree that Ballmer has really done a lot. But putting the emphasis on extracting money from clients, rather than delivering benefits to clients, can only work for so long :(

    • by popeyethesailor ( 325796 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @09:27AM (#11361047)
      Well, my experience has been completely different. The last 5 years have been the "Open"-nest period for MS. XP and 2003 are solid systems, working with Office files are actually possible(with XML exports), IIS 6 is reasonably secure, and .NET is a productive development platform for millions of developers. If you dont understand it, its not their fault!

      More importantly, is the feedback you can directly provide to MS devs- most of the key people blog a lot. Lots of commentators have influenced decisions made by MS in the past 5 years.

      The parent comment is just irrational blather.
    • But putting the emphasis on extracting money from clients, rather than delivering benefits to clients, can only work for so long

      As the old saying goes, when you stop pursuing your customers and start pursuing your customers' money, eventually you wind up with neither.

    • I beg to differ with those who say Microsoft treats developers like crap. For developers, there are so many more people than Balmer to listen to. If you want the PR, fine, go with Balmer. But if you explore your options just a little, you will see what I mean.

      However, need I mention Channel 9 [msdn.com], which is run by 5 Microsoft employees. They interview a lot of people within Microsoft and you really get a feel for the stuff they deal with. There is the *free* ISV Buddy Program, a Microsoft employee assign
  • an "A" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by micmast ( 662317 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:42AM (#11360638)
    An A on wallstreet a D for operating system and a F for security... that is still below average to me...
  • Interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:43AM (#11360643) Homepage Journal
    It is interesting to see how this $23 to $36 billion growth compares to the drop of the USD value during those very years. Do the math.
    • I'll bite.

      Value compared to what?

      The Euro? 21.5%
      13 Jan 2000: Euro 22.3 bn*
      13 Jan 2005: Euro 27.1 bn

      The Yen? 62.5%
      13 Jan 2000: Yen 2.4 trn
      13 Jan 2005: Yen 3.9 trn

      British Pound? 36.7%
      13 Jan 2000: GBP 13.9 bn
      13 Jan 2005: GBP 19 bn

      Australian Dollar? 34.4%
      13 Jan 2000: AUD 34.9 bn
      13 Jan 2005: AUD 46.9 bn

      The Chinese Yuan? 56.7%
      13 Jan 2000: CNY 190.4 bn
      13 Jan 2005: CNY 298.3 bn

      That's an average overall 49.8% increase between these currencies (which is about the same as the dollar rise). The lowest was the E
      • Dude, lay off the guy, he's a phD!!! Not only that, but he speaks Latin, that much is apparent just by his sig! Who knows what else he's capable of? I don't see any credentials in your sig, just a link to some proof about where your numbers came from... Just who do you think you are buddy?
  • Another Ballmer-inspired change: Fostering a kinder, gentler image and greater trust among both customers and partners. Ballmer issues annual missives to his troops calling on them to build products that are more useful for customers and to be more responsive to customer needs.

    *sob* ...oh, the humanity! Well, if James Gandolfini won't come back for another season, now they know who to cast.

    And as for the razor-sharp journalists at ZDNet...just as gardeners itch to plant seeds, the pandering press likes

  • by dcw3 ( 649211 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:50AM (#11360697) Journal
    Critics claim that today, we see a much 'gentler' side of Microsoft and Ballmer seems to have received an "A" in Wall Street's eyes."

    And yet, where is the stock price in comparison to five years ago? Sure the bubble broke, but MS is sitting at less than half of the price it was back when he took over. How is this an "A"?
  • The man is OK (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MPHellwig ( 847067 ) * <mhellwig@xs4all.nl> on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:50AM (#11360704) Homepage
    What do you expect if you where the CEO of world biggest software company?
    Ofcourse he is out there to make money and to sell Windows.
    He would say anything to make sure his biz stays in biz, just like any other CEO but besides that he is perfectly reasonable, in real live.
    That man is not stupid neither evil, he sells his product in which he believes.
    The only "crime" he would be guilty of is the crime of commerce.
  • Call home software activation forced everyone to pony up. But have you noticed the thrust behind open source since then. He may have won the battle, the war is still raging and the winner is not clear. With six computers in my home and many more within my area of influence via family members I support it's not hard to understand that I now recommend "good enough" alternatives such as OO, and "Best of the breed" Firefox.
  • by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @08:56AM (#11360756) Homepage Journal
    While it's nice that Wall Street loves Balmer, it doesn't change the fact that Microsoft is facing a real challenge to its primary revenue streams as we begin to enter a post-PC era. While the PC is not going to disappear, prospects for growth are not good as other devices (that don't and won't run Windows) take the place of PCs for many functions. Microsoft has made some efforts to get out of the PC box, but so far they still seem inclined to try to stuff Windows into everything (Xbox, set top boxes, etc...). They've got to free themselves from this kind of thought if they're going to have a chance to create something new that people will want.
  • by OnanTheBarbarian ( 245959 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @09:30AM (#11361067)
    Perhaps I don't understand the subtleties here, but why should Ballmer get credit for piling up a lot of cash?

    Shouldn't this be going towards developing new products and services (whether they are internally developed or just bought lock-stock-and-barrel from outside)?
  • Hole more like ...
  • Ballmer has probably done a pretty decent job considering the circumstances. I think the cash horde was originally for a potential SAP acq/merge. When that was a no go, the only battle big enough and worthy of a fight was the very one that Microsoft was hoping would go away...the web.

    The real story here is the failure of Microsoft's Chief Architect to deliver a compelling vision. Longhorn, Avalon, Betting-on-Rich-Clients, Blah-Blah-Blah, No-One-Freakin-Cares!

    It's telling that the big technology stories

  • Could it be that inheriting a declared global monopoly, unencumbered by government remedy or that "surprise competition" Microsoft always claims is just around the corner, has handed them the cash? It's not so much 5 years of Ballmer; it's 5 years of post-Jackson "monopoly without guilt", not to mention 4 years of Bush. Wall Street can continue to rejoice - we consumers can continue to weep.
  • Another Ballmer-inspired change: Fostering a kinder, gentler image and greater trust among both customers and partners.

    Note, Ballmer hasn't changed Microsoft to be kinder or gentler, he has just fostered an image of Microsoft being this way.

    Ballmer tackled Microsoft's image problems almost from day one.

    We haven't seen Microsoft change. Although the message it's getting across has changed, everything is still running as normal back at Redmond.

    There have been a great deal of issues concerning frustrat
  • by EMIce ( 30092 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @11:00AM (#11362283) Homepage
    Microsoft has real problems and here is why - they approach the market reactively, "innovating" by relying on surveys, focus groups, market analysis, whatever you want to call it. To sum it up -

    if (no complaint)
    stick to status quo
    else
    fix complaint

    The problem is that complaints are usually symptoms of larger problems, and by tacking on simple fixes, Microsoft usually just ends up with a convoluted framework for whatever product they happen to be fixing.

    Your average joe doesn't understand the potential of new technology, he is just reacting to the new-fangled features you just put in. This is why technology design by survey fails miserably. You need someone who fully understands what is at the edge of current technology, and who can creatively apply it in ways that enhance the average joe's life. This is so goddam simple, but Ballmer misses the point. I have heard through the grapevine that this is ingrained in Microsoft company culture, and no one challenges it, because the company is conservatively micro-managed from the top.

    Microsoft gets away with this model because the average joe is unaware of innovative concepts while they are new, before Microsoft has copied them. But the software remains clunky, akin to cars of the old days, where you cranked the thing up by hand and put up with the smell, noise, and breakdowns - because there was still a tangible benefit. People thought this was the nature of cars back then, and accepted it because they couldn't see any better. Similar stylistic comparisons can be made between Microsoft and George Lucas, but I digress.

    Microsoft hasn't re-invented itself, it has only re-hashed itself into something superficially better. Until the old guard leaves, that isn't likely to happen. This can be witnessed in the company's financials - growth continues, but is slowing in a growing market, despite a monopoly. If you want to make some dough, invest in some Apple stock and short on Microsoft - since it is pretty clear that they will be sticking to their guns with Ballmer. I've never owned an Mac but I've used a few and I see them as the next best thing, especially with the affordable mini model out, a good architecture to boot, and style that drops Microsoft right on its ass.
  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Friday January 14, 2005 @01:06PM (#11364354)
    Seems to me msft has been on autopilot for the last five years. XP and Win2K are both about five years old.

    I suppose there have been a few standard application updates. I don't really consider that to be managerial genius.

    Longhorn is way behind schedule. Windows is way overloaded with security issues. Msft is being sued left and right - msft paid out about $3 billion in lawsuits in the last year. Stock price is way down. Market share is erroding. XP-SP2 was a flop (IMO). Msft's support for scox has been a scandle and a disgrace. Msft's huge push to patent the work of others as their own isn't helping msft's image.

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