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Microsoft Software

Leaked Memo Gives Microsoft New Direction? 407

daria42 writes "An e-mail memo sent from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates to top execs at Microsoft has been leaked, revealing the executive wants his company to hurriedly change its focus and start to tap online advertising and services as new revenue sources. In the e-mail, Gates cites another, earlier memo, sent from MS exec Ray Ozzie, in which Ozzie also warns MS of the importance of focusing on the online medium. 'It's clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk,' Ozzie wrote. 'We must respond quickly and decisively. We should've been leaders with all our web properties in harnessing the potential of Ajax, following our pioneering work in OWA (Outlook Web Access),' he continued. 'We knew search would be important, but through Google's focus they've gained a tremendously strong position.'"
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Leaked Memo Gives Microsoft New Direction?

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  • Next up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SilverspurG ( 844751 ) * on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:23AM (#13987802) Homepage Journal
    fp
    In the memo, Gates cites an earlier missive from Ray Ozzie, outlining the importance of tapping online advertising and services as new revenue sources.
    Next up for Windows Longhorn: A brand new desktop popup ad API complete with billboard-type access to the background pic. No more questionably ethical malware required--it's now part of the OS.

    Oh, and you, the user, don't get the revenue. That is reserved exclusively to MS. It'll be in the EULA.
    Microsoft is proposing its own rival to PDF, known as Metro, with Windows Vista, its new operating system that is due out next year.
    That's just what we need: another "me too!" document format. Oh for crying out loud. Windows is fast becoming the toilet with a toaster, cordless drill, leaf blower, and pencil holder built in. It's the Chewbacca Defense of featureware.

    Gates, Ballmer, Ozzie, et al: I'm going to give you a hint which will help you. I'm not supposed to do this because I'm a Linux fanatic but I'm going to do it anyway because you seem to be retarded and it makes me feel good inside to help those who are less fortunate than I am. Do you really want to stay in the game? Figure out what your job is, define it, simplify it, and do it well before you try to branch out like some mutating cancerous amoeba. Drop all the featureware that's in your OS and concentrate on simplifying, standardizing, and securing the 600 layers beneath what the users see. There, I've even invented a new 3S meme for your PR campaign--and I claim full IP on it right here on /. You can start paying me the moment I see it used in your quarterly report.

    Young, energetic, and emerging Linux devs would do well to follow the same advice before they take Linux down the same path that MS forged years ago.
    • Re:Next up (Score:5, Funny)

      by GFPerez ( 683823 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:40AM (#13987878) Homepage
      Slashdotters will be in pure state of joy when the next leaked memo says something like "...as I read in Slashdot, said by SilverspurG, we need to do this, this and this..."
      • Re:Next up (Score:3, Funny)

        by jkrise ( 535370 )
        Slashdotters will be in pure state of joy when the next leaked memo says something like "...as I read in Slashdot, said by SilverspurG, we need to do this, this and this...

        You set rather high standards for Slashdotters. Most of us will be in a pure state of joy if we can get clips of the MS chair-man in action.
    • Re:Next up (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:45AM (#13987909)
      "Figure out what your job is, define it, simplify it, and do it well before you try to branch out like some mutating cancerous amoeba"

      That's a great strategy for a 100-million dollar company. Problem is, Microsoft is too HUGE to work with such simplifying strategies. Their business model relies on completely dominating ALL aspects of business desktop computing because that's where the biggest bang-for-the-buck is and they can still make billions there. Yeah, they may still be a lumbering monster making foolish mistakes, but they're going to continue to make billions because they are THE lumbering monster. This memo simply tells the lumbering monster to take the next left at the fork in the road instead of the next right. Nothing will change except what area of computing gets stomped next.

      TDz.

      • Re:Next up (Score:3, Interesting)

        by haggar ( 72771 )
        I like to compare MSFT to Bob Sapp: Sapp is really big, he can't truly fight and in the ring his movements are grotesque and uncoordinated. He gets tired VERY quickly and then his blocks are even more non-existent than usually.

        But, nobody can beat him in spite of all this, because he's just too big, and no matter how bad his shots are, one or two are plenty to put down any of his opponents. (that said, Mirko Crocop did beat him with a nice right kick to the temple).
    • Re:Next up (Score:5, Insightful)

      by khakipuce ( 625944 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:10AM (#13988028) Homepage Journal
      I guess when you are worth $40 billion you can tell Bill how to run his business.

      Fact is that most people don't care about the locking mechanism of their car, or it's cylinder diameter or stroke; they didn't by their DVD player because of its tech spec; they don't know the soil type in their garden or the geology unerlying their house. And ... (hope all the Slashdotter's are sitting down) ... they don't care about OS security or a few bugs.

      If people can plug in their latset gizmo and have it work 7 times out of 10 then they are happy enough. For most people the computer at work is reasonably well locked down and works 95% of the time. The home machine is a toy, if it fails they can't play for a while and I know many who are happy to assume that, like a lot of consumer electronics, when it stops working you go a get a new one (even if it stopped because it was shot through with viruses and bugs). Most people have too much other stuff to consume their time to care about quality of the underlying technology/infrastructure/design/geology...

      Bill knows this and knows what sells, "wasting" time on fixing security holes and the like does not deliver more profit to the shareholders. And as for making Slashdotters happy - why should he, he'll never persuade some people to use his software because they are ideologaiclly opposed to Microsoft, whatever it does.
      • Re:Next up (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SilverspurG ( 844751 )

        If people can plug in their latset gizmo and have it work 7 times out of 10 then they are happy enough

        I can give them 10 out of 10 with fewer bugs and a more socially responsible business model. Who should be receiving the benefit of massive government contracts? Me, or MS?

        Bill knows this and knows what sells

        MS knows how to work social connections. Take away the ignorant VCs who put MS where they are and the government contracts that throttled the life out of competing (and technologically superior

        • Re:Next up (Score:2, Funny)

          by kalel666 ( 587116 )
          If your idea of winning a race is tripping all the other participants then, evolutionarily, you're going to get blown out of the water by the runner who can dance. Watch it happen to MS.

          Well then, we need a competitor for MS who is Intelligently Designed to be untrippable while water dancing. Someone get Kansas on the line!
        • Re:Next up (Score:3, Informative)

          by Blakey Rat ( 99501 )
          I can give them 10 out of 10 with fewer bugs and a more socially responsible business model. Who should be receiving the benefit of massive government contracts? Me, or MS?

          You can? What is your OS called? How did you get all those hardware makers to write so many drivers for your OS? How is your business model more socially responsible?

          Frankly, if you actually *did* have a product that does what you describe, you'd already have government contracts.
      • Re:Next up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:26AM (#13988122) Journal
        Fact is ... And ... (hope all the Slashdotter's are sitting down) ... they don't care about OS security or a few bugs...

        Fact is.. this is Slashdot. For the rare Joe ServicePack reading these pages, he ought to be better informed. Not mis-informed.

        Bill knows this and knows what sells, "wasting" time on fixing security holes and the like does not deliver more profit to the shareholders.

        If enough developers got informed about the real Directions at Microsoft and stayed away from the Windows platform, the shareholders would turn a pck of hungry wolves. Ordinary users would have few, if any worthwhile apps to run on their Windows boxes.

        Once they start using Firefox and Opera and get comfy with the interface, they'd rapidly change the engine as well.

        -
      • Re:Next up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:47AM (#13988259) Homepage Journal
        I honestly think that's less true than it used to be; in the last few years I've heard a lot of non-technical people complaining about how insecure and unstable Windows is. They may not always -- in fact usually don't -- use the terminology correctly, and they're often clueless as to how to prevent problems or fix them when they occur, but they're aware of the problem ... and that a lot of it is not "just the way computers are," that there are other OSs and that maybe "throw it away when it breaks and get a new one" is not really a solution they should need to resort to.

        It's like with cars. First they were the toys of hobbyists, who expected to have to tinker with them all the time just to make them run. Now they're quite reliable for a very long time, as long as the user does very simple things to keep them running; even if you can't do anything more complex than filling up the gas tank yourself, you know where to go for anything else the car needs, and maintenance is pretty standardized these days. But there was a long, long intermediate period in which cars were very common if not universal, clearly consumer goods rather than the domain of specialists, but were still terribly unreliable and it it was a good idea for anyone who drove one to carry a complete toolkit and the knowledge of how to use it. And if you didn't? Well, sooner or later you'd be stranded on the side of the road. People bitched about this state of affairs, but they still drove -- but when truly reliable cars began coming on the market, there was no question about what they'd prefer.

        In case the analogy isn't entirely clear, I think personal computing in general is starting to move into the third stage. Microsoft is quite firmly stuck in the second. They may very well be able to change this -- Ford did; perhaps more relevantly, IBM did when business computing underwent the same transition -- but it's going to take a real effort, and I don't see much sign of it so far.
      • Re:Next up (Score:5, Interesting)

        by stinky wizzleteats ( 552063 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:59AM (#13988341) Homepage Journal
        I guess when you are worth $40 billion you can tell Bill how to run his business.

        Yes, because no rich people are stupid.

        Bill knows this and knows what sells

        No, he doesn't. That's exactly the point of all of this. If he knew what sells, he wouldn't have been blindsided by the success of Google's business model, and start yet another round of frantic catch-up to superior emergent technology from another company. He didn't know what Apple knew when he ripped off their graphical interface, he didn't know what Novell knew when he foisted AD snake oil in the face of Novell's (real) directory, and he doesn't know what the Linux community knows about the importance of a development and user community. He's hoping to get this with a marketing campaign with catch words like "passion" and hiring a few key open source people specifically to work on a Microsoft version of a Linux user community. Do you see a pattern here?

        If he comes up with another couple of billion at the end of the day, it will be because he successfully stole other people's ideas, cheated, or broke the law - the same way he got the first 40.
      • If people can plug in their latset gizmo and have it work 7 times out of 10 then they are happy enough. For most people the computer at work is reasonably well locked down and works 95% of the time. The home machine is a toy, if it fails they can't play for a while and I know many who are happy to assume that, like a lot of consumer electronics, when it stops working you go a get a new one (even if it stopped because it was shot through with viruses and bugs). Most people have too much other stuff to consum
      • Re:Next up (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:20PM (#13989500) Homepage Journal
        I have to disagree on quite a few points here.

        First of all let's get this out of the way:

        Soil type: acidic loam.
        Geology: Granite ledge
        OS Security: Perfectly acceptable, even on XP as I keep the firewall on keep my various apps patched, and don't use any Microsoft software if it can be avoided.

        Now the key point.

        Bill doesn't know what people want to buy. Microsoft has got a huge tin ear when it comes to consumer preferences. When it comes to consumers, their basic approach is to look for somebody who's figured it out (e.g. Palm). They then wage a hellish and assymetric war of attrition in which, backed by their resources, they have considerable leeway for making mistakes, but the opponent has none. When Microsoft does try to dream up stuff on their own (e.g. Bob), they're pretty much always laughably wrong.

        I'm not saying they aren't smart. They're very good on big picture startegy and, perhaps, organizational psychology. They know how to get IT managers to do what they want. They know how to do business deals and how to use advantages they have in one market to advance in another. But understanding consumers? Nope. Are you itching to buy into their online music service? Anyone?

        If people can plug in their latset gizmo and have it work 7 times out of 10 then they are happy enough

        This is very, very wrong. I'd place the bar for "happy" closer to 95/100, not 7/10. People accept 7/10 because they aren't aware there's any choice. Ignorance covers a multitude of sins.

        Think of the people who "hate" computers. There's tons of them. How can this possibly be? Computers are one of the most amazing, fascinating and spectacular inventions humanity has ever made. It's more than an invention -- it's a meta-invention, a think that can reinvent itself from being a calculator to being a music player to being a toy to being a communications device. Drawing on Steve Jobs, who gets consumer behavior, does anybody hate bicycles as a technology?

        No. It's not computers that people hate. It's Windows.

        The reason Windows sucks is that Microsoft is not consumer driven, nor does it have to be. It can afford to follow it's own independent strategic imperatives, and it lets others figure out what consumers actually want, confident in its nearly unique ability to react quickly. So -- consumers start buying iPods and $.99 music downloads? MS would never come up with that kind of idea on its own. But you can bet it's going to take several large and well funded swipes at it.
        • Re:Next up (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kadin2048 ( 468275 )
          That's actually one of the best MS-related posts I've read in a while.

          I think you're absolutely right -- Microsoft doesn't seem to actually do any market research, instead they just watch the Nasdaq listings to see what new companies are doing really well this year, and figure out what they're doing right, then either buy or copy it. This minimizes their risk and creates the perception that everything they make is gold.

          Personally I'm not a fan of that business model, because I think it hurts the market in g
    • Gates, Ballmer, Ozzie, et al: I'm going to give you a hint which will help you...

      If the chair-man acts on your advice, the shareholders would probly tear him apart...

      If the only feature in Vista was a shiny, new, unproven anti-malware on top of XP, people would still buy it in droves.

      A thing of beauty is joy forever... Keats.
      A thing of bugs is revenue forever... M$

      -
    • Re:Next up (Score:5, Funny)

      by MyLongNickName ( 822545 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:22AM (#13988096) Journal
      Gates, Ballmer, Ozzie, et al: I'm going to give you a hint which will help you. I'm not supposed to do this because I'm a Linux fanatic but I'm going to do it anyway because you seem to be retarded and it makes me feel good inside to help those who are less fortunate than I am.

      It is amazing how all the brilliant people are living in their mom's basement, posting on slashdot, while all the retards start and grow multi-billion dollar companies. if only the man wouldn't keep us down...
      • while all the retards start and grow multi-billion dollar companies.

        When I was fifteen, and stupid, I started my booming IT company.

        I couldn't have done it now that I'm twice as old - I'd be too scared, I now know how hard it is.

        Sometimes, It's easier to accomplish something when you don't know about all the hard things that are going to be in your way.

        Ok..... I'll put away the bold pen....

      • Re:Next up (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dodobh ( 65811 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @11:03AM (#13988870) Homepage
        The brilliant people have different areas of interest. If I earn enough to pay for my living, a few toys and a bit of savings, I am happy. It might not be your metric of success, but mine is the amount of happiness I feel, and the social benefit of what I do. Neither of which is measured in monetary terms.
    • Re:Next up (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mysticgoat ( 582871 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @12:03PM (#13989343) Homepage Journal

      while simplifying, standardizing, and securing is an excellent mantra, I don't think it addresses Microsoft's core problem.

      Microsoft is arguably the most successful entrepreneural endeavor, ever. But it's stuck in that mode when it should have grown beyond it years ago.

      <div class="smarttroll">

      The normal development for a successful entrepreneur business is to either break into an existing market or develop a new market and exploit it until rich. Microsoft has certainly done both, and shown itself to be really good at these things. But then the next step is to move from the entrepreneural behaviors to the behaviors of a capitalist, using the newly acquired wealth to secure solid, long term positions across a broad range of economic activities. Microsoft has not done that; instead it sits on this massive war chest of liquid assets. At this point MS labels should be showing up on bakery products, in the credits of movies and tv shows, on clothing and fashion accessories, and at the very least on computer hardware and data storage and conversion service providers. But we don't see that. Instead we see massive amounts of money poured into gambles that often don't pay off.

      Instead of broad-based long term investments, MS has this huge pile of liquid assets (and that is an excellent way of visualizing the absurdity of managing a multi billion dollar war chest-- as a pile of liquids). And it has only two serious revenue generators: the Windows OS and MS Office. There should be dozens of revenue streams from a broad range of sources feeding the MS monolith at this point; that huge corporate structure should not be supported by only these two legs. But that is the way it is. Microsoft's vision of the future may be more acute than anyone else's, but it is certainly too narrow, too tightly focused, to be economically healthy.

      Microsoft is in danger of falling apart. Not because Linux is beginning to cut into Windows sales or because the expense of meeting Vista's hardware requirements are going to cause a lot of MS's repeat business to go to other OSs. Nor is Microsoft at risk because OO.o offers an increasingly attractive alternative to MS Office. These things are true but if it wasn't Linux and OO.o, there would be other contenders in their place.

      Microsoft is in danger of falling apart because its upper management has insisted on keeping it in the entrepreneural mind set long after it should have grown out of that childhood and taken on the responsibilities of a mature company. To give you a visual, MS is going to lose it because the mentality that has given us monkey dances and chair-throwing antics is still the mentality that MS top management tolerates and encourages. MS is going to lose it because the people that run the company think that adolescent risk taking is a lot of fun and they would rather do that than spend their time doing the boring things that executives in mature companies like IBM, General Motors, or Starbucks do.

      </div>

  • by charleyb123 ( 618476 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:24AM (#13987805)
    Wasn't this supposed to be leaked on Halloween?
  • Ajax (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grazzy ( 56382 ) <grazzyNO@SPAMquake.swe.net> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:27AM (#13987815) Homepage Journal
    Sure, it's great and all, but it'll never change the way the web works. Improve it, yes. Change it? No. You can build as large js-applications as you wish (and yes, spend exponentially as much time debugging them) - you will never escape the fact that you're just building hacks around a stateless technology from pre 90's.
    • Seriously, don't give Microsoft ideas. Like the "stateless" bit. How would you like for Vista to have a nice little HTTP extension built-in the fabulous IE7 browser AND all the Live stuff, which would precisely identify the machine, the Windows and Office installations, and, why not, the persons using them?

      The State Management Mechanism (aka "cookies") was designed the way it was for a reason: privacy. And they stood the test of time all too well.

      Once Microsoft bundles that sweet little bit of spyware in Vi
      • The State Management Mechanism (aka "cookies") was designed the way it was for a reason: privacy

        Insert: false sense of. Cookies, even the ones which aren't personally identifiable, are used mathematically. It's all about collision sets. The only privacy you get from cookies is by flat out refusing to deal with them.

        And they stood the test of time all too well.

        I hope that's the chuckle of sarcasm that I hear.

        • > Insert: false sense of. Cookies, even the ones which aren't personally identifiable, are used mathematically. It's all about collision sets. The only privacy you get from cookies is by flat out refusing to deal with them.

          Y'know, some web devs (me, err, the guy sitting next to me, at least) do actually use cookies to hold session related data. Things like, who are you, and what page should I take you back to after this one. Don't get me wrong, when we're making a queue to get revenge on the marketing pe
    • Isn't that an advantage for the kind of problem for which you'd want a web application? By having all the state and persistent data stored on the server, you're free to access it from anywhere, and free from the need to backup client side data and the risk of losing data from client crashes.
      • Free to access if everywhere? I doubt it is going to be free. What MS (and other SW companies) want is to turn buying software into renting "services".
        While that's nice for some purposes, I don't like the fact that I'll end up with even lesser control over my own system. Basicly I'll be forced to buy new hardware whenever MS decides I should, just to be able to continue to write a letter.
  • ...to finally get MS Office on Linux.

    Will this be the next step (after the recent reorg) of the long-awaited breakup of MS into more focused and independent companies?

    • Well I think it is more a case where Microsoft was making linux a bigger threat then it actually is. Moving to web services is an easier way to be Linux Friendly without having to say, yea Linux is good enough, or yea we see some growth in that area. Microsoft biggest competition is with itself it is getting increasingly difficult to sell new versions of its software when windows 2000 is good enough for most people and companies, will only upgrade when they get new computer (where Microsoft sells their sof
    • Don't expect it to be fully functional. The web interface for Exchange degrades quite nicely from IE to Firefox, but it works much much better in IE.

      I doubt we'll see Linux support for:
      var myJsVar = new ActiveXObject("...");
  • Yeah.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Capt James McCarthy ( 860294 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:29AM (#13987824) Journal
    "Leaked."

    investor: "Wow, Microsoft is really going to push that online stuff. Let me call my broker."
    • Re:Yeah.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mysticalfruit ( 533341 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:27AM (#13988128) Homepage Journal
      I agree. This is an ideology game. However, MS is in a tight spot.

      They turn on the TV and they see Sun and Google standing up on stage saying into the mic "The age of Microsoft Office has come to an end!"

      Now, microsoft could hold their own press confence and reply with "Um, not it's not!" but (as their PR firm rightly pointed out) that would make them look reactionary (which MS is)

      Instead their PR firm said, "What you need todo is write up a memo discussing the Sun-Google partnership regarding the longstanding innovative stragetic work you've been doing on the Windows/Office side. Make sure you word it so that when people read it, they'll think you've actually got a plan and a strategy!"

      "Then what we'll do is downsample the thing via progressive photocopying and then we'll fax it to a couple of trade mags from random locations through the city and we'll right stuff like 'The world needs to know about this!!!' with a black marker in the margin"

      Gates responded with "Great idea!" the PR firm then gave him that look... he pressed a small little red button on the edge of his desk and a large sack of money fell into the trunk of a waiting car by the loading dock.

    • "Leaked."

      I agree with your cynicism. The question is, is this latest incarnation of the Halloween document a trick or treat?
  • Leaked? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by n0dalus ( 807994 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:30AM (#13987830) Journal
    I find it very hard to believe that anything like this coming from Microsoft is not entirely intentional.
    Microsoft is nothing more than a gargantuan marketing machine. This action is no exception.
    • Re:Leaked? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by PHPfanboy ( 841183 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:39AM (#13987873)
      Well I was about to say "you dumb /. zealot, there's more to Microsoft than marketing, they make some software too"....
      On second thoughts, based on their recent TV marketing campaign (the one where they show a bunch of children with aspirations including for things like music creation that Microsoft doesn't have any software offering for) which basically has no point whatsoever apart from an opportunity to say "Hi we're Microsoft, don't forget about us" and display a Microsoft logo I'm thinking you might be onto something. Go team!
      • Re:Leaked? (Score:4, Informative)

        by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:25AM (#13988116)
        On second thoughts, based on their recent TV marketing campaign (the one where they show a bunch of children with aspirations including for things like music creation that Microsoft doesn't have any software offering for) which basically has no point whatsoever apart from an opportunity to say "Hi we're Microsoft, don't forget about us" and display a Microsoft logo

        Except, if you do any sort of work - in almost any capacity - to support or deal with the successful aspirants they portray in those ads (famous musician, famous designer, fashionable scooter manufacturer, whatever), you're going to use business software. Every one of the roles they describe is backed up accountants, tax people, messaging, web sites, and a zillion other things that MS very aggressively wants to be a part of. A lot of people don't even know that Great Plains, Solomon, Navision, and Axapta (all widely-used accounting software packages) are Microsoft products.

        They've got armies of custom developers and consulting companies out there adapting those packages for "vertical" integration into all sorts of speciality business models, from mom-and-pop scale bookeeping up to major manufacturing. There's more to that ad campaign than meets the normal desktop user's eye.
  • Bill and friends are too busy running around trying to put out all the fires while they cannot even fix their core product. Bill, clean up your room and then go out and play.
  • by Doc Squidly ( 720087 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:32AM (#13987842)
    ...It must be true. Everyone knows that you can't fake an email.
  • Article Text (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:37AM (#13987862)
    Gates memo warns of 'disruptive' changes

    Ina Fried, Special to ZDNet
    November 09, 2005
    URL: http://www.zdnet.com.au/news/software/soa/Gates_me mo_warns_of_disruptive_changes/0,2000061733,392214 68,00.htm [zdnet.com.au]

    Aiming to stir up the same kind of momentum as his Internet Tidal Wave memo of a decade earlier, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has penned a memo outlining the challenges Microsoft faces from a host of online competitors.

    "This coming 'services wave' will be very disruptive," Gates said in an Oct. 30 e-mail to top Microsoft employees. "We have competitors who will seize on these approaches and challenge us."

    In the memo, Gates cites an earlier missive from Ray Ozzie, outlining the importance of tapping online advertising and services as new revenue sources.

    "It's clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk," Ozzie wrote. "We must respond quickly and decisively."

    Ozzie's memo, which was also seen by CNET News.com, includes a laundry list of missed opportunities for the software maker, citing competitive threats from rivals such as Google, Skype, Research In Motion and Adobe.

    Ozzie notes areas that Microsoft could have led, such as Web-based applications, but where other companies are instead more heavily focused.

    "We should've been leaders with all our web properties in harnessing the potential of Ajax, following our pioneering work in OWA (Outlook Web Access)," Ozzie wrote. "We knew search would be important, but through Google's focus they've gained a tremendously strong position."

    In the memo, Ozzie talks about Google as Microsoft's most prominent of the emerging competitors, but also makes reference to Yahoo and Apple Computer.

    "Google is obviously the most visible here, although given the hype level it is difficult to ascertain which of their myriad initiatives are simply adjuncts intended to drive scale for their advertising business, or which might ultimately grow to substantively challenge our offerings," Ozzie wrote. "Although Yahoo also has significant communications assets that combine software and services, they are more of a media company and--with the notable exception of their advertising platform--they seem to be utilising their platform capabilities largely as an internal asset.

    "The same is true of Apple, which has done an enviable job integrating hardware, software and services into a seamless experience with dotMac, iPod and iTunes, but seems less focused on enabling developers to build substantial products and businesses," Ozzie wrote in his memo.

    He also makes reference to smaller, emerging companies that are developing software and services that use the Internet, rather than Windows, as their base platform.

    "Developers needing tools and libraries to do their work just search the Internet, download, develop and integrate, deploy, refine," Ozzie wrote. "Speed, simplicity and loose coupling are paramount."

    At the same time, Ozzie sees am opportunity if Microsoft can create a Web-based development platform.

    "The work of these startups could be improved with a 'services platform'," Ozzie said. "Ironically, the same things that enable and catalyse rapid innovation can also be constraints to their success. "

    Microsoft has talked of a developer platform in conjunction with Windows Live, but the company has offered few details of how third parties will be able to build on top of Microsoft's work.

    Microsoft has already reorganised the company and outlined some of its plans, but the two memos make clear the urgency and importance that the company is placing on this effort.

    The company announced in September that it was reorganising itself into three units and tapping Ozzie to lead a companywide services push. Last week, Microsoft announced the first fruits of that effort--products called Windows Liv
  • To us brits AJAX [cleansweepsupply.com] is known for been a cleaning product, to Microsoft it sounds like the next best thing but AJAX [wikipedia.org] (not the cleaner) is already widely used for various things [wikipedia.org] including the MSDN, so why HAS it taken M$ so long to jump on the already rolling bannedwagon?
    • This is Microsoft's typical MO. wait to see which way the bandwagon is going, then jump on it and try to take out the opposition completely with monopolistic practices. They don't lead, they follow.

      GUI's? The internet? Microsoft was clueless until their dominance was threatened.

      One day they'll try and play catch up and fail completely to push out whoever they're pushing around this time. Then the writing will be on the wall for Microsoft.

      Whether it'll be google, AJAX and 'web 2.0' that does it now, or some
    • To us brits AJAX is known for been a cleaning product

      When I hear AJAX, I think of Ajax Amsterdam [wikipedia.org].
    • by Anonymous Coward
      It hasn't taken them this long to get the whole AJAX thing, they were pretty much the company that kickstarted it by rolling out the XMLHTTP object with IE.
       
      Prior to that, before AJAX was called AJAX, Microsoft were using it and similar methods for Outlook web access a good 5-6 years ago. There are also tools built into Visual Studio 2005 for helping to create AJAX components in pages.
       
    • by StRex ( 32430 )
      The sad thing is that CNN has a recent article [cnn.com] where they state matter of factly that MS invented AJAX in the 90's, when they created OWA (Outlook Web Access).

      MS bashing aside, it kills me that something as vague as AJAX is touted as a specific technology with a birth date. The only thing with a birthdate is the term. Wikipedia says [wikipedia.org] it's when Jesse James Garrett first coined the term, in an article [adaptivepath.com] dated 2/18/2005.

      • The sad thing is that CNN has a recent article where they state matter of factly that MS invented AJAX in the 90's, when they created OWA (Outlook Web Access).

        In what way is this not true? They didn't coin the term "AJAX", sure, but they came up with XmlHttpRequest and used it in OWA years before anyone else did much of anything with it.

        Yeah, I hate admitting this too, but you can't change the facts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:41AM (#13987890)
    Unix: Do one thing, and do it well
    Mac: Do a few things, but be simple, and secure about it
    Windows: Do lots of things, some well, most not, but get them into production fast
  • by putko ( 753330 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:43AM (#13987894) Homepage Journal
    Charles Ferguson created the company that produced FrontPage. He sold out to MicroSoft when he realized that Netscape would lose, due to their own faults. He wrote a great book on his story dealing with VCs and selling out to MicroSoft.

    In the book, he describes how MicroSoft slept through the early 'net, until the Netscape Wunderkind (can't remember his name) said Windows would be reduced to a bunch of buggy device drivers by the web. Then Bill woke up. He writes about it like Sauron has been up in Redmond, sleeping away, until the Netscape guy wakes him up. And then Bill wakes up, like a big pissed off Sauron, turns Ballmer loose so he can get medieval on Netscape and so on.

    Charles Ferguson also happens to have a PhD, and has done a lot on high tech competition. Here's something he's written on the topic of Microsoft fighting Google -- for real.

    "... But if Microsoft gets serious about search--and there is every reason to believe that it will--Google will need brilliant strategy and flawless execution simply to survive..."

    Which is an amazing think to consider.

    Here's the article where discusses this:
    http://www.technologyreview.com/InfoTech/wtr_14065 ,308,p1.html [technologyreview.com]

    • Then Bill woke up. He writes about it like Sauron has been up in Redmond, sleeping away, until the Netscape guy wakes him up. And then Bill wakes up, like a big pissed off Sauron

      *whew* I'm sure glad you cleared that up. For a minute there I wasn't sure if you were trying to say Bill woke up.
    • I dunno about that (Score:5, Insightful)

      by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <[gro.daetsriek] [ta] [todhsals]> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:20AM (#13988084) Homepage
      This article was written before GMail.

      It was written before Google Maps, and more importantly, before Google Maps and Google Local combined.

      It was written before Google Movies, and Google Video.

      Frankly, I think Microsoft has at least a year of catching up to do, and that is *because* they are Microsoft. Any other company, I would give them at least double that.

      That is just to match the technology. Then, they have to get marketshare. Sure, they have a huge channel to shove their stuff down (Windows), but Google is in a far better position than Netscape was in it's day. Netscape was still an app that had to be run. Google is a verb. You never saw the Jennifer Lopez talking about how she "Netscaped It" in Maid in Manhattan.

      It is the same reason that Amazon auctions and Yahoo! auctions flounder in obscurity, even though they are cheaper to list on and have basically the exact same feature set as eBay. Ebay has the mindshare. It is featured in Movies and TV constantly. It is a verb. It is so commonplace it will be really a tough nut to crack.

      Not to mention Google also has billions in the bank and is raking in revenue, while Netscape was giving away it's key product for free. They are also in a fa rbetter finiancial position to fight than Netscape ever was.

      • http://news.com.com/2061-10812_3-5940667.html?part =rss&tag=5940667&subj=news [com.com]

        Looks like they are giving away search appliances for free.

        Shades of Netscape?
      • Google is a verb. You never saw the Jennifer Lopez talking about how she "Netscaped It" in Maid in Manhattan.

        Actually there was a time when people "surfed the Netscape" -- they were basically synonomous with "web" for a while.

        Microsoft didn't just beat Netscape by building a better web browser -- they also endovered to make the web and Windows as seamless as possible. And that's their big opportunity against Google -- Google is just passively indexing web pages so that they can deliver targetted advertiseme
        • As I said above, that is not all Google is doing. In order to do what Google is doing, Microsoft will have to also integrate Hotmail and Terraserver and MSN.com seamlessly into windows, and search and index it all. This is easier said than done. Espeically since it would immediatly start competing with Outlook / Exchange licenses.

          It is not as simple as it looks. Google has a far broader reach into the web than just indexing web pages. They are rapidly growing the aiility to find any information, on anything
          • > For example, if you use GMail,

            Right, if you use GMail. However, Gmail is what you use to send funny links to your pals, while Outlook/Exchange is what you use for the important stuff (at least in most businesses). That's Microsofts advantage in this -- they can get at the important data ("the knowledge") much more easily than Google.

            I think from Microsoft's POV, Google's web search is nothing more than a very profitable targetted advertisement channel. Of course they would love to undercut this revenue
  • I think the main reason for M$'s sucess is because of its persistance. Still remember when it entered the server market everyone was too speculative, but microsoft persisted and kept improving their standards. Finqlly it grabbed a chunk from the server market.

    Sure thing microsoft has plans to do the same in the web-space, but the competetion is tougher in this case. The coming days are gonna be really very interesting.

  • by sexyrexy ( 793497 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:45AM (#13987907)
    They can spend billions of dollars and they will never catch up with Google, because Google has a position that money can't buy. It's not about Building a Better Browser this time - unless Microsoft manages to completely revolutionize search to where, as Eric Schmidt I believe put it, "it knows what you mean". However, Microsoft does have the right idea at least (we'll have to wait and see if they implement it well) with Live, and web-based productivity tools. Everyone has been deriding MS as "behind the curve" on the web-based, or subscription-based software model, claiming that the likes of Google will kill the desktop-oriented software market, and Microsoft with it, but Microsoft is the first to start rolling out prebetas of said software, while most else is just speculation and vapour.
  • Not quite (Score:4, Interesting)

    by squoozer ( 730327 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:47AM (#13987916)

    It's clear that if we fail to do so, our business as we know it is at risk

    This is a seriously ambiguous line. Is he saying that the business is at risk or that the business of being fundamentally a software development company is at risk. I assume he has got to be saying the first because moving into the Google services space is a fundamental shift in the way M$ works. I have wondered from time to time why M$ have decided to go down the services + content route when their core business and money making comes from software development. They could own the software development world but are instead going head to head with massive companies in the content and service space. Odd. Here's to hoping they contiune.

  • by spauldo ( 118058 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:49AM (#13987930)
    Joy. Their "pioneering work" with outlook web access used to get me woken up in the middle of the night at least once a week to play with registry settings when the OWA server forgot how to talk to the mail servers.

    Hopefully their foray into online advertising will be just as successful.
  • Article summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dekortage ( 697532 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:57AM (#13987971) Homepage

    In a nutshell: "We missed the boat again. Smaller companies are beating us. Let's crush them. Go Microsoft!"

  • by putko ( 753330 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:00AM (#13987988) Homepage Journal
    When Microsoft decides to kick ass in an area, here's what they do, in a nutshell (according to Charles Ferguson):

    In all of Microsoft's successful battles [technologyreview.com], it has used the same strategies. It undercuts its competitors in pricing, unifies previously separate markets, provides open but proprietary APIs, and bundles new functions into platforms it already dominates. Once it has acquired control over an industry standard, it invades neighboring markets.
    • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:22AM (#13988099)
      One important factor here that you have omitted.

      Microsoft has never been successful in an area where they couldn't leverage their desktop monopoly. Since they don't have a monopoly on the net, they'll have difficulty here.

      • Microsoft has never been successful in an area where they couldn't leverage their desktop monopoly. Since they don't have a monopoly on the net, they'll have difficulty here.

        If they adopt strategies similar to previous, MS needn't have much difficulty. (Not counting paying off a few wasted litigants and regulatory authorities in return for dominance in a multibillion dollar market.)

        They may not have a monopoly on the net, but they have a monopoly on how most people view the net: Windows and Internet Expl

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:00AM (#13987992)
    This really is ominous news, as it means that MS is going to release - YET ANOTHER - development platform which will surely have a slick interface that n00bz can pick up and drag'n'drop together some basic apps (but experienced programmers will scoff at) which - of course - will only build apps for MS' proprietary platform ... and of course, the only client which will be able to access this new platform is MSIE7 on Vistahorn...

    Nothing to see here people, its just another tactic to lock us in but this time they want to tax us -while- they rape us, rather than just beforehand.

    I know its wishful thinking, but I really hope this goes the way of passport and bob...

    -GenTimJS
    • YET ANOTHER - development platform which will surely have a slick interface that n00bz can pick up and drag'n'drop together some basic apps (but experienced programmers will scoff at) which - of course - will only build apps for MS' proprietary platform

      You know.. n00bz as you put, can probably hack together some piece of shit code in Visual Studio. You are absolutely right. But you know what? Proffesionals can actually use it to make decent software. See, I know how my machine work, I know how network

  • Gonna have to fix IE (Score:5, Interesting)

    by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:04AM (#13988002)
    Before they think about playing with ajax they may wish to fix the slow ass script interpreter in IE. Of course they are threatened as these new rich web applications neutralize the platform. This time however there is a new kid (firefox) in town that is gonna be hard to kill off like they did with netscape.
  • This email is nothing new. All over the years Microsoft has proved having a keen eye of what competitors are doing, not for being progressive. They jump on the fastest train.
    Nothing wrong with that, ofcourse. What I think will happen is that while Bill and his fellow Microman are betting on this new horse, Google is already doing something newer. For the users (that's me and you) that only means progression.
  • Pioneering? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dausha ( 546002 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:08AM (#13988023) Homepage
    TFA: '"We should've been leaders with all our web properties in harnessing the potential of Ajax, following our pioneering work in OWA (Outlook Web Access)," Ozzie wrote. "We knew search would be important, but through Google's focus they've gained a tremendously strong position."'

    Hmm, something does not add up. I remember several other web-based email interfaces long before Outlook Web Access. I thought pioneering was essentially the early adopter phase, not the second wave.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am a ASP.NET Developer, recently we switched to ASP.NET 2.0. While I must say, .NET has some powerful abilities, a great leap in producitivity. Rails, as another long time coworkwer says "makes asp.net look clumbsy to use". We both been programming 12+ years, and more I use rails, more I keep trying asp.net to do it. Oh do I hate DataSets. Its simply TERRIBLE compared to ActiveRecord.

    Microsoft fails to realize them naming it asp.net 2.0, I expected a good level of backward compatibility, its simply
  • by Fear the Clam ( 230933 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:12AM (#13988042)
    At last, Microsoft decides to specialize in annoying people as opposed to just dabbling in it as a sideline.
  • by Dausha ( 546002 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:15AM (#13988059) Homepage
    "Microsoft is proposing its own rival to PDF, known as Metro, with Windows Vista, its new operating system that is due out next year."

    Perhaps Billy failed to notice this, and I know he personally reads all my posts. The U.S. Federal Court system is accepting electronic delivery of documents. The two formats accepted by the court are WordPerfect and Portable Document Format.

    What Billy is ignoring is the reason PDF is so successful as a format--its everywhere and has been for years. So, to try to come in now with a "new" document format, he'll have to surmount the legacy. Of course, he'll try to do this with some variation of the PCDos bug and Microsoft's unique market position. Although, another reason why PDF is so successful is it builds off of the PostScript file format, which oddly enough is owned by the same company as PDF--Adobe. So, what Billy will have to do is defeat PS.

    All in all, that ZD article shows how grovelly they are toward Microsoft. There's nothing but positive spin on a leaked memo that itself carries little information of nutritional value.
  • by putko ( 753330 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:24AM (#13988105) Homepage Journal
  • Pulling a Xerox (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zarf ( 5735 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:36AM (#13988193) Journal
    If you have seen QooxDoo [sourceforge.net] then you probably thought the same thing I did when you saw it: "Microsoft should be freaking out about this!" Later when I learned that AJAX comes from discarded Microsoft Technology I realized that Microsoft had pulled a Xerox. Just as Xerox threw away the chance to be the leader of Desktop Software and gave away the GUI and Mouse... Microsoft handed Google a lead. The problem is, this is Microsoft not Xerox we're talking about. Will Google keep that lead?
  • by FishandChips ( 695645 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:41AM (#13988221) Journal
    Unfortunately the article doesn't dilate on exactly what Micrososft mean by "This coming 'services wave' will be very disruptive". But broadly it does suggest that a Google/Sun combo or similar outfit offering office apps on a client/server basis would really turn over the applecart, maybe not right now but sometime soon when the technology is robust enough.

    I guess two other things emerge from the article. First, Microsoft is getting sucked deeper into an impossible dilemma. They know they must become more and more friendly both to developers and to open source. But smooching with open source appears to shaft their lucrative closed-source licensing model. If there is a way out, they don't seem to have figured it yet.

    Second, sure, the memo was probably meant to be leaked. Why? Well, it suggests that Microsoft see the next few years as a serious and testing challenge for them. Since about 2000, they've had it easy because nothing fundamental has changed in the industry. But now the plates are shifting ...
  • Frantically playing catch up to technologically superior competition. This all seems familiar somehow.

    Looks like Microsoft is "innovating" again.
  • Lack Of Focus (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:57AM (#13988325)
    Of course Microsoft has a lack of focus. They spend too much time knee-jerking when the stock price of one of their competitors goes ballistic. Over-attention to competition and jumping from one topic to another (.Net, XBox, you name it, flavor du jour) is the best way to drive a company into the ground.

    MS needs to get its own house in order and execute first. This fiasco with Vista being the perfect example.

    The good news for Microsoft is that it sure looks like Google is losing focus now. Next they will have a disappointing quarter and a stock plunge, and then be like everyone else.

     
  • That is the jist of the memo...why pay for Microsoft's products when others are giving it away.
    Google will give away a lot of the features and services that were at one point a Microsoft monopoly.
    Advice for Bill Gates, stop sending around memos and CREATE something INNOVATIVE and useful. Something that everyone can use and can download for free. Add some advertising to make up for the revenue loss maybe? Also, change the hideous Microsoft support websites that are not only hard to navigate, but us
  • by DougDew ( 94589 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:03AM (#13988364)
    Seriously folks, how is Google competitively threatening Microsoft?

    How many people here have written checks to Google that they would have otherwise written to Microsoft?

    Put another way, in what product categories could you purchase a Google offering instead of a Microsoft offering? Google doesn't offer an operating system product and doesn't offer an office productivity suite.

    Recently, I purchased an Apple PowerBook instead of a Wintel laptop. And recently I purchased an Apple iPod instead of a Microsoft-backed MP3 player. Then and now, Google did not offer any competitive products in either of those categories. In other words, Apple was a competitor to Microsoft for my money, but Google was not.

    While it may be true that Google is the most sophisticated billboard company on the planet, selling advertising has never been one of Microsoft's core lines of business. So, even if Google had 100% of the Internet billboard revenues and Microsoft had 0%, how would Google be threatening Microsoft?

    There are those who believe that Google will someday undermine Microsoft's operating system and office productivity suite lines of business by offering subscription-based versions of each or even free versions of each. Well, how many people here want to pay subscription fees for software that is currently available in product form? Not many, I'd bet. Especially if using that subscription software also required storing your sensitive data on Google's servers. And as far as free software goes, Linux and OpenOffice are available for free now, yet at least within the U.S. neither is threatening Windows and MS Office today.

    And regarding all of this talk about AJAX-based offerings, let's get real folks. Who here would really like to trade in their desktop apps for AJAX-based apps?

    In my opinion, Microsoft has a locked in customer base and currently has Google trapped in a browser. As things stand now, Google is not a genuine competitive threat to Microsoft. The only way that Google will be able to become a genuine competitive threat is if Microsoft makes a serious mistake by heading down its proposed path of competing with Google on Google's browser-based terms.
    • by Tony ( 765 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:01PM (#13990855) Journal
      Microsoft has always had a hard-on for full desktop control. Their entry into the server market was as much to fight Novell (a cross-platform networking system) as it was to go after Unix. This is evident from the way the screwed over Novell*, as well as the general design of NT-- it essentially emulated Netware's capabilities.

      The one single thing in which Microsoft has proven exceptional is controlling the market. From using the market against DR-DOS to bundling IE with MS-Windows 95, to forcing OEMs to bundle MS-Office instead of Wordperfect Office, Microsoft has controlled the market perfectly. At least, as perfectly as anyone can control the market.

      These days, Microsoft is fighting not one, not two, but three major battles which they cannot control. First and foremost is Google, which is re-inventing information access by combining world-wide information access with an easy-to-use portal. Second is Apple, with the iPod. As Apple is currently the dominant distributor of on-line media, Apple is in a better position to control DRM. This could prove disasterous for Microsoft, as media distribution is going to be a huge market. Finally, the slow but invevitable move to open document standards is proving hard to manipulate, as it's hard to justify *not* moving to open standards.

      As big of a Linux fanatic as I am (and oh, I am), I don't think Linux is a threat per se to Microsoft. I think as Microsoft loses its grip, Linux will be positioned to quickly become the platform of choice; but I do not believe Linux itself capable of toppling the giant. As open standards are adopted, I think Linux will have a better chance of becoming a problem for MS.

      Unfortunately, I see Apple's control of the media market to be a potentially bigger issue in the next 5 years.

      Anyway, that's why Microsoft is scared of Google. It means they are losing control, and mindshare, and like most bullies, they don't want to stop being the center of attention.

      * Funny story. Ever wonder why MS-Windows NT was first released as MS-Windows NT 3.5, instead of NT 1.0 or MS-Windows 4.0? It seems the licensing agreement between Novell and Microsoft allowed Microsoft to ship Netware clients for any MS-Windows 3.x platform. When it came time for Microsoft to ship NT, they needed to have full compatibility with Netware, as that was the dominant networking architecture in most businesses. So, instead of re-negotiating with Novell (Microsoft knew Novell would not be happy about the competition), they simply dubbed their brand-new OS MS-Windows NT 3.5, sidestepping the problem entirely.
    • by dr.badass ( 25287 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @06:13PM (#13992854) Homepage
      Seriously folks, how is Google competitively threatening Microsoft?

      By being Google. By being big. By being popular. By having a tremendous amount of momentum. The threat is that Microsoft really doesn't know what they will do. A few years ago Google was a just a search engine. What will they do in the next few years?

      Put another way, in what product categories could you purchase a Google offering instead of a Microsoft offering? Google doesn't offer an operating system product and doesn't offer an office productivity suite.

      So? Maybe they will in the next 5 years. Maybe they won't. In any event, you're taking a very narrow view of competition. Google and Microsoft both have a pretty wide array of products, and quite a few of them are in direct competion.

      The only way that Google will be able to become a genuine competitive threat is if Microsoft makes a serious mistake by heading down its proposed path of competing with Google on Google's browser-based terms.

      So, you're saying that even if Google search crushes MSN search, Google Mail crushes Hotmail, Google Talk crushes MSN Messenger, Google Maps crushes MSN Mappoint, Google Earth crushes Terraserver, Blogger crushes MSN Spaces, Google Desktop crushes MSN Desktop Search, and so on, that Google isn't a threat to Microsoft?

      On top of this both of these companies (and Yahoo! and Amazon, etc.) are going to be spawning a lot of new services in the next few years (e.g. Windows/Office Live), and gobbling up a lot of startups. Even if there is no "crushing" involved, it's foolish to say that there is no competition going on between them.
  • You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • by Philodoxx ( 867034 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @10:20AM (#13988518)
    In the past, Microsoft has been very good at playing catch-up. They have been able to identify an area that the company lacks, and then through a variety of methods such as standardization, guaranteeing interoperability, undercutting, and flat out buying competitors they unify a market and they make a lot of money in the process.

    Microsoft in the past, rightly or not, was seen as a great innovator. I can remember in high school listening to a Microsoft employee talk about his job and being amazed about how fun it sounded to work there. Even though they were playing catch up in a lot of what they were doing, they were able to come off to a lot of people as improving whatever they were copying and pushing it in bold new directions.

    The problem now is that the perception of Microsoft has shifted to a more accurate one: a company that does not innovate, and "borrows" all of its good ideas rather than pushing the limits. This memo just furthers this idea. Online advertising has been done before, it has failed miserably before (anybody remember the dot com burst?) but now that Google has made a successful business model from it, Microsoft suddenly stands at attention and decides to get into the market.

    Right now Microsoft can't even compete with Google in the areas which Google is strong. Even though Microsoft released its "new" search engine, it still only occupies something like 5-10% of users with Google having something like 50%. I realize that Bill Gates desperately wants to kill Google off, because he (rightly) sees the company as a huge threat. The problem is that Google is much better at doing what Google does than Microsoft is.

    If Bill Gates wants to kill Google, he's going to have to find a way to leverage what Microsoft is dominant in (oh say... desktop operating systems) against Google. An even better idea would be to start innovating again, bring back the public perception that Microsoft is a leading edge company and start bringing back really smart people back to the company, and start doing something new.
  • Only a monopoly.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tji ( 74570 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:55PM (#13990317)
    Only a monopoly could have this kind of logic..

        PDF has become a ubiquitous standard for sharing documents on the Internet.

    Conclusion for a normal business:
        We better make sure we support PDF as well as possible and make sure our users can take advantage of this defacto standard.

    Conclusion for a monopoly:
        Some other company has managed to carve out a tiny stronghold in our otherwise impenetrable wall of power. We must use our power to overrun this foreign code with our proprietary replica of their technology.

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