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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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  • by random coward ( 527722 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:32PM (#32666558)
    Compare MS stock and Apple and Google and go back 5 years, or even 3 years. Look at the hype for the iPad, for Android. Notice the FTC looking at Google, Notice no one cares about MS anymore; They're becoming irrelevant. They're were IBM was in 1990, or Novell in 1998. Ballmar really wasn't/isn't up to the task of running the company. In 2000 they should have copied Apple again and based their next windows(that would become Vista) on a BSD or Linux kernel. It is very likely that they will continue to shrink and in another 15 they'll be just another softare vendor like Adobe.
  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Forge ( 2456 ) <kevinforge@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:39PM (#32666684) Homepage Journal
    This isn't such a joke.

    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.

    Because of this the other geeks at MS (shock and horror, they actually employ thousands) folowed his orders without question, the way soldiers folow a battle scarred General.

    Without him, that voice of command is gone and none too soon as the core software and business model itself are under threat from OSS.

    What is that Business model? Manipulate everything from OEM deals to hardware prices so that the cheapest way to do most of the normal computer work in a normal office or home is to use your products. This was fine when they were competing with the likes of Lotus, IBM, Apple, and Sun.

    Some of those companies are still around, but now you can buy cheep PC Hardware with Free Software and be ahead of the price curve. Investors see growth slowing and about to reverse and are jumping ship in droves.
  • Re:Maybe you noticed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:40PM (#32666698)

    And XP3, Vista, and 7 all fix the horrid architectural mistakes abetted by Allchin and Gates. Demoting users from root in Windows fixed a healthy chunk of their design problems.... all instigated by Gates and his 'wizards'.

    Microsoft has lost mirth, magic, mind-share, and the 'oil well in the basement' of Office and Exchange will be toppled soon, too.

    But none of this is news, nor is Gates exit. We simply don't care anymore. He's a statistical fluke billionaire, nothing more.

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:4, Interesting)

    by boombaard ( 1001577 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:55PM (#32666902) Journal
    Yes, that's what's called the "anglo-saxon business model". Something similar happens when hedge funds buy up companies, use that company as collateral to borrow huge amounts of money with, and then dump the company again.
  • Re:saturated market (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @12:59PM (#32666960)

    Come up with a innovative product? Nah, couldn't happen...

    Perhaps not, but he could do a better job of acquiring products (or whole companies) that are well chosen to position Microsoft in new markets.

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:01PM (#32666996)
    now you can buy cheep PC Hardware with Free Software and be ahead of the price curve And yet Apple is still using closed source software to leverage the sale of expensive hardware -- and exceeding Microsoft's market cap in the process! Perhaps perceived price/performance is more important than absolute cost.
  • by BlueScreenOfTOM ( 939766 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:05PM (#32667060)
    I'll bet they're trying to copy Apple again. They're in Step 2. 1. Get Gates to leave for a few years 2. Turn into a brand that can be described as mediocre at best, always playing a game of catch-up 3. Bring back Gates and simultaneously introduce a new "revolutionary product". Give Gates the credit for "inventing" said product 4. Paint Gates as a messiah that will pull Microsoft up out of the ruins and guide all of mankind to better computing 5. Profit!
  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:26PM (#32667362) Journal

    What did Gates actually write other than Microsoft BASIC?

  • Re:Never mind. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:37PM (#32667526) Homepage Journal

    I seem to remember him saying right at the beginning that if he made it big, he would end up giving his money away.

    And I seem to remember that his father had to shame him into giving to charity.

    Gates is doing more good with his own money than most of our governments are doing with ours.

    He has more money than quite a few of our governments. And there are people far less rich than him that give far more to charity. Now his startup partner Alan, otoh, has my respect, because of his post-MS ventures that aren't charity but will benefit mankind immensely.

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

    by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:38PM (#32667546)
    the funny thing about his foundation is that while he is still tied to Microsoft via his Board of Directors position and his stock holdings, his foundation is still allowed to pedal Microsoft software. I thought that non-profit orgs could not have these kinds of business ties and associations.

    I think his financial advisors are telling him something like, 'while you have plenty of wealth in MSFT stock, it is not growing and looks like it'll stay or drop in the future. It's time to diversify to something with more growth potential now.'

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @01:46PM (#32667646)

    Does anybody at Microsoft consider the user experience?

    I think THAT is where Apple is killing them.

    Simple example... I'm an "on the go" type worker. I do work in one location, hibernate my laptop, move to another client, power up, do more work.... check Slashdot in between.... Yesterday I was on the run, and I had to power down to put in a new laptop battery. So I am on my way out the door, when Windows decided to install 24 updates. WTF????!

    "DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR PC DURING THE UPDATE" (no progress bar, no estimate of how long it will take... a full 90 minutes later, it reboots. Meanwhile I am late for my next appointment.)

    Are they REALLY that clueless that they think that installing updates is a good idea on the way toward "power off' on a laptop (without prompting). Or am I that clueless that I have a setting that enables such stupidity?


  • Re:Maybe you noticed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:02PM (#32667834)

    You damn him with faint praise.

    Bill Gates, from the time he started porting BASIC to Altairs 8080s, has been building a monopoly enterprise that's had to settle in and out of court in most major jurisdictions in the world for bad behavior.

    The defects within Windows are long and well-noted elsewhere, but the big fatality was user confidence, and the edge-of-your-seat anticipation of a new release.

    That Gates aspired to kick IBM and their 'church of the mainframe' mentality wasn't a bad thing. Yet when he could have been a hero at so many turns, he turned out to be an also-ran with a big wallet, as though the big wallet cured everything.

    Try re-reading his books. Then look at Microsoft's legal history. Look at all of the places that they're failing now:

    - They're two years behind Apple in consumer operating systems, although Windows 7 can be praised for what it doesn't do: blow up

    - They're three years behind Apple in smartphones

    - Public cloud is built on Linux and BSD, with a dose of occasional Solaris.

    - Game machines eat XBoxes for lunch

    - Application development has been mightily derailed in favor of admittedly small stuff, but when you think about 220,000 Apple Store apps, it's tacit evidence of where many programmers live, not to mention SourceForge, and so on. Microsoft's developer efforts have been stanched, if not derailed.

    - Oracle continues to make inroads into places that Microsoft needs to go....

    But the most heinous problem is vision; Microsoft now consists of highly competitive and expensive teams that follow, not lead in their respective markets.

    Gates was lucky that IBM didn't find Tim Patterson or Gordon Eubanks, else history would have found plentifully different tech millionaires.

  • by sjonke ( 457707 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @02:29PM (#32668168) Journal

    ... or is Bill Gates gone because Microsoft was tanking? Gettin' out when the gettin's good....

  • Bill is Back! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Favonius Cornelius ( 1691688 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:25PM (#32669044)
    It would be pretty fun to watch a return of the Bill and see if he could rescue the company.
  • Re:Donchya' know (Score:5, Interesting)

    by F34nor ( 321515 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:26PM (#32669068)

    No. He got 10,000 hrs of computer programing time before he finished college, he was well connected, well educated, was in the right place at the right time and he was a bully. The total package is nothing like luck. Luck is only one limiting factor for growth, to become the richest man on earth you need a shit load more than luck.

    p.s. On a side note MS needs to fire Balmer. He was OK when being a bully was effective, but that time is gone.

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:3, Interesting)

    by farble1670 ( 803356 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:50PM (#32669536)

    That's because if a company isn't growing, it's stagnant or shrinking.

    first, growing at a smaller rate != stagnant / shrinking. MSFT is still growing.

    second, no company can maintain increasing growth rates forever. that's for more immature companies that are exploiting a new market, as MSFT was doing in the dawn of the PC era, and apple is doing now in the dawn of the smart phone era.

    MSFT owns say 90% of PCs. moving from say 90% to 95% is *much* harder than say moving from 5% to 10%. you expect slower growth when the company in question already dominates the market.

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:4, Interesting)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @03:59PM (#32669728) Homepage Journal

    The biggest potential threat there is a resurgent Apple, especially on the consumer side, but increasingly on the business desktop for smaller organizations.

    IBM is experimenting with a transition to Apple as the business desktop. Most of IBM Research switched a while ago, many of the executives have switched or are switching, IBM actively supports employees who choose to use their own Mac hardware and is running some test deployments of company-provided equipment in various parts of the company. Linux is also quite well-supported.

    I won't go so far as to make any predictions, but I wouldn't be surprised if IBM moved to Apple as the primary desktop platform in the next 4-5 years.

    So, not just "smaller organizations".

  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jazman_777 ( 44742 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @04:45PM (#32670500) Homepage
    Cancer is growth, too.
  • Re:Joke of the day (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dare nMc ( 468959 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @05:50PM (#32671354)

    mostly because of Microsofts outside investments that are not doing so well, the value of assets they posses have been decreasing more often than not over the past 5 years.
    for example the last 3 years, they actually took on debt recently, and any growth in capital is more than offset by those debts: [] (look at the bottom line)

    you expect slower growth when the company in question already dominates the market.

    Investors are counting on more than PC's with microsoft, it is expected that management will invest wisely, and use the brand name to get a good return on assets. If a company is not growing anymore, then they better return all of their profit as a dividend. As an investor, if I am not seeing a plan for a positive return on capitol, then I won't invest.
    So because microsoft does not appear to be maintaining the brand image, and not investing wisely, their value (represented by their stock price) has dropped drastically. Basically the new management is not worth as much as the old management, and thus the company is not worth it either.

  • Re:Never mind. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by izomiac ( 815208 ) on Wednesday June 23, 2010 @07:05PM (#32671930) Homepage
    Having libertarian tendancies and liking to test my assumptions, I did a quick linear regression of HDI VS Tax Rate. I included the 20 countries with the highest HDI (.950 or higher) and excluded Liechtenstein since I couldn't easily find its tax rate. Taxes were measured as Tax Revenue as a percent of GDP to control for the various types of tax systems.

    R = -.17. For countries with high development indexes, higher tax rates have little effect on HDI, and the effect seems to be negative at that. So, governments are not using higher tax rates to improve the lives of their citizenry. Therefore, I'd like to use my own money to improve my own life, since giving it to the government seems to be a poor investment.

    Of note, Japan, the US, Switzerland, Australia, and Canada have the highest HDI to Tax ratio (i.e. best bang for your tax buck), respectively. HDI^3/Taxes only swaps the position of Switzerland and Australia.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982