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Bill Gates Doesn't Work At Microsoft Anymore 497

itwbennett writes "The recent Fortune article on Bill Gates' post-Microsoft life made one thing very clear to blogger Steven Vaughan-Nichols: 'Bill Gates was, and still is, the face of Microsoft. What Microsoft doesn't want you to know though is that Gates has almost nothing to do with the company anymore.' The fact is that Microsoft doesn't want to draw attention to Gates' absence because the company 'has been tanking in recent years,' says Vaughan-Nichols. 'While Microsoft's last quarter was far better than it was a year ago, thanks largely to Windows 7 finally picking up steam, neither Microsoft's growth nor its profits are what they were like when Gates was at the helm.'"
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Bill Gates Doesn't Work At Microsoft Anymore

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  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:5, Informative)

    by jsnipy ( 913480 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:26PM (#32666430) Journal
    They still make tons of money. How are they in bad shape?
  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:5, Informative)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .werdnaredne.> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:28PM (#32666472) Homepage Journal

    Not only are they massively profitable, they are continuing to grow. Apparently growth means tanking.

  • Re:Maybe you noticed (Score:5, Informative)

    by Low Ranked Craig ( 1327799 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:29PM (#32666478)
    No. RTFS.

    the company 'has been tanking in recent years,' says Vaughan-Nichols. 'While Microsoft's last quarter was far better than it was a year ago

    Pretty sure that the last quarter was during the recession...

  • by caladine ( 1290184 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:32PM (#32666554)
    I mean, besides being obviously anti-MS (standard /. fare).
    If you look at MS's financials [] and check the annual reports, it doesn't much look like a company that has been "tanking in recent years". Most companies would kill for the revenue growth and operating margin Microsoft has had since 2005. Tanking in recent years, my ass.
  • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:34PM (#32666586) Homepage
    It doesn't help that Microsoft is giving people plenty of reasons to switch to competitors though. Not upgrading their flagship browser for 10 years was a big mistake. Taking so long between XP and Vista, and then Vista being a flop was a big mistake. If Microsoft wants to stay at the top, they should constantly be releasing real upgrades to their products, to keep pace with how all the other guys are doing it. There's no reason they couldn't release a new version of Windows ever year, charge $50, and have everybody upgrade. The current model of, wait 3 or 4 years between versions, and charge $300 for it doesn't work, because nobody wants to drop $300 all at once, and they also don't want to have to buy a new computer, to get the price discounted.
  • Here's a graph. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:36PM (#32666632)

    There's a pretty heavy recession going on, there wasn't one when Bill was at MS. I wonder if these two points are related.

    This goes back to before there was a recession []. Illustrated in pastel loveliness.

  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:39PM (#32666688)
    Ditto, I was under the impression he left the company in an official capacity several years ago, ostensibly to pursue his charity work, and that he was just a major shareholder now. I haven't seen comments on him having anything to do with running the company for years, either - it's all about Ballmer.
  • Re:Maybe you noticed (Score:2, Informative)

    by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:49PM (#32666820)
    There's a pretty heavy recession going on, there wasn't one when Bill was at MS.

    Maybe you're living on a different planet to the one that some of us survived on in the '80s and '90s.
  • by Phizzle ( 1109923 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:00PM (#32666968) Homepage
    You just wait people! Bill is going to go back to Microsoft and rally people, like Steve did at Apple, and the Zune will inherit the world!!! The 2010 will be the Year of the Zune!!!
  • Re:saturated market (Score:2, Informative)

    by men0s ( 1413347 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:13PM (#32667192)

    For better or worse most of Microsoft's key markets are saturated.

    Last time I checked, Apache was still the most-used web server out there. They have a long way to go in that department until they reach saturation, much less taking over the number one spot.

  • 7.3% as May-10-10 (Score:3, Informative)

    by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:14PM (#32667208)
    He is still the largest shareholder. He gave some to his foundation and has been diversifying.
  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:16PM (#32667234) Homepage

    Not upgrading their flagship browser for 10 years was a big mistake.

    What? When was that?

    IE 3: 1996
    IE 4: 1997
    IE 5: 1999
    IE 6: 2001
    IE 7: 2006
    IE 8: 2009

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:5, Informative)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:18PM (#32667268)

    That's because if a company isn't growing, it's stagnant or shrinking. Markets are always changing, and we're seeing that in computing with the growth of the web and mobile devices--places where Microsoft is failing hard. Just having huge profits doesn't mean anything by itself, because that can go away quickly, and if a company doesn't change to match the market, it quickly becomes irrelevant.

  • by confused one ( 671304 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:22PM (#32667312)
    turned over "Chief Software Architect" title in 2006 and "left the building" in 2008. Still Chairman of the board though...
  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:40PM (#32667568)

    Hate him or Loath him, Gates was a Geek. While he was at Microsoft he actually did some coding. Not the most elegant code mind you but it compiled most of the time and ran only a little less often.

    *cough* Have you ever read "Barbarians Led By Bill Gates []"? The quality of Gates' own code is just an amusing little footnote really, but it's an instructive one as far as your comment is concerned.

    Seriously, check it out.

  • Re:7.3% as May-10-10 (Score:4, Informative)

    by LordNimon ( 85072 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:52PM (#32667716)
    still allowed to pedal Microsoft software

    "peddle", not "pedal".
  • Re:Never mind. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:41PM (#32668326)
    if only you knew how much harm he is still doing but is now using his foundation as his front company. You do know that Bill was publicly blasting the One Laptop Per Child program and not because of what it was doing but because it wasn't using Windows. You also should know that both he and Steve Ballmer went around the world talking to governments and their education leadership down playing the OLPC project and in some cases signing million dollar "support" deals which required them to use Microsoft software and therefore excluded the OLPC device. And lets not forget all those who have said that they've been told that once a school or library accepts money from his foundation, they are not allowed to use open source software.

    oh yes, Bill is doing a great job at spreading Microsoft software while he still gets a pat on the back for "doing more good" with his money but who is he really helping? I've got an OLPC and it is an amazing device and while it does run Linux, the software is not like anything on Windows or Linux. But the millions of kids who would have had a chance to get books and learn something about modern technology won't get that chance. Windows could not run on that hardware without added costs and from what I read, they did not want the Windows user interface hidden under the SUGAR UI. Anyways, Gates is not helping anyone and is only feeding his greedy desires to push his own companies products and that is not helping anyone but Bill and his ego. IMO

  • by man_of_mr_e ( 217855 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:50PM (#32668448)

    While he may own a large amount of stock, possibly more than anyone else (too lazy to look it up right now), he isn't a majority shareholder. Far from it. Yes, he has a large voice if he wants to, but it just a voice, not a authority.

  • Windows Mobile (Score:4, Informative)

    by manekineko2 ( 1052430 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:54PM (#32668506)

    You may not remember, but back in the day, before Windows Mobile was called Windows Mobile, they competed on quality on it as well. Their main rival, Palm, stagnated for years rehashing the same products and Microsoft swooped in and ate their lunch.

    With Palm dealt with, Microsoft then went on to do what they do, and stagnated Windows Mobile until someone else came along and ate their lunch.

  • Geek vs. Salesman (Score:2, Informative)

    by andlewis ( 885878 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:02PM (#32668606) Homepage
    Bill Gates is a geek, Steve Balmer is a salesman. Microsoft (a technology company) is tanking because it's being run by middle management now, while previously it was run by geeks. Expect the same thing from Google eventually, and Apple when Steve Jobs leaves.
  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:24PM (#32669040) Homepage

    Actually Lynx was originally designed for Unix and VMS, not Linux.

    Besides, Linux will never have a flagship browser, and that's a feature, not a bug. It's because it's free software, so any really good browser will eventually be ported to other OSes.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:41PM (#32669384) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft managed to get itself into a monopoly position while the PC market exploded.

    Not exactly; there's more to it. Before IBM PC came on the market, there were a lot of competing PCs from different companies. All of them had proprietary busses, proprietary OSes, proprietary BIOSes. Although many if not most had variations of CP/M, you couldn't buy a CP/M program and expect it to run on any but one make of computer.

    Then IBM came into the scene with what IBM considered a toy, and after being rebuffed by the top CP/M guy went to one of its lawyer's children, Bill Gates, who bought an OS and tweaked it to work on IBM's machine. Microsoft had already been shipping BASIC to many computer manufacturers.

    Back then the battle cry was "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" and all the other companies* went out of business. Gates wisely held on to copyright on his OS, then named PC-DOS, rather than letting IBM get it. Then a few years later, Compaq reverse engineered and legally cloned the IBM BIOS, which allowed it to run Gate's OS, now named MS-DOS. This was before very many people had computers in the home, but PCs were saturating offices everywhere. Compaq came out with a PC that used the much faster 386 chip when IBM was still using 286s, and ate IBM's lunch.

    IBM unwisely decided to ditch DOS and use its own in-house offering OS2, which bombed badly.

    So it didn't exactly get itself into a monopoly position, it actually inherited its monopoly from IBM.

    people are realizing there are options.

    No, just us nerds. Non-nerds I know are amazed when I tell them there are not only options, but virus-free, more secure options that cost nothing.

    * Except Apple, because it had gotten a foothold in the schools and graphics houses before the IBM PCs were capable of graphics.

  • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @06:35PM (#32671710)

    And yet the market capitalization of MS is $222B, Google's is $153B, and Apple's is $247B. The financial world seems to think that Apple is worth $25B more than Microsoft, but I'm the one that doesn't understand how financial markets work?

    I don't want to be a dick and repeat myself, but if you seriously consider that apple's own drivel about "market capitalization" matters for more then short term profit, you simply do not even begin to understand how financial world works, which makes arguing the point, well, pointless. You simply lack the knowledge base needed to argue the financial points at all.

    But it does look really good on paper, next to "we're biggest mobile device maker in the world". When you use a properly "fixed" metric, you can make anyone look like a world leader, no matter how badly it's real finances are. Case to point, 2k crisis, IT bubble and massive market collapse. Recent mortgage/financial crisis, exactly the same issue. Essentially market's idea of what something is worth means very little in long term, because even a small shift can sometimes cause a complete and total collapse of a company that may have been valued as one of the best in the world before that - example: Lehman Brothers

    One last time. Market value means nothing more then what the value is perceived as. It may or may not have any roots in reality. With apple's high build up on hype over substance, and creative "metrics" used to hype their own product, the bubble is very clearly seen to those who aren't inside it. And just like all bubbles, when it will collapse, it will probably be painful, but before that it will make people large amounts of money. Just like mortgage market did.

    MS on the other hand is pure substance and very little hype. It has it's products installed on almost every end-user operated personal computer in the world. It's productivity suite is clear #1 in the world. The only thing one could view as hype is xbox and microsoft games, and even there, microsoft itself isn't really hyping it up - it has been very open about the losses.

    Sure, we can split hairs and argue that smartphone market is the future, and that MS is the dinosaur. The argument was exactly the same just before IT bubble burst, and then we had companies like Nortel going "lol microsoft, soon to be small fry". Bubble burst. MS is still here, and still growing. Most of the very high valued companies that bet on that "new economy" of that time on the other hand are dead.

Loose bits sink chips.