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Why Eric Schmidt Is Wrong About Microsoft Not Mattering Anymore 398

First time accepted submitter Gumbercules!! writes "Eric Schmidt said he believes there is a 'Gang of Four' technology platform leaders — Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook — Microsoft isn't one of them. I wrote about why I believe he's wrong and what it might say about Google's weaknesses. From the article: 'It's no secret that Microsoft have utterly failed to make significant roads into the mobile market place. Windows Phone 7 has approximately no marketshare (ok they have live 5% or so) and this has actually gone down over the last year. It's also no secret that Microsoft have failed to gain any semblance of "cool" and that they're also managing to drag Nokia down with them. It's not even a secret that nearly everyone who looks at the new Windows 8 interface-formally-known-as-Metro doesn't like it. However this isn't the whole story.'"
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Why Eric Schmidt Is Wrong About Microsoft Not Mattering Anymore

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  • by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:36PM (#41624717)

    A tablet has a completely different user interface with swipe gestures and a crappy keyboard.

    Why would I want to run legacy windows applications on it that already had in many cases godawful overcomplicated user interfaces with tiny menus and microscopic meaningless icons.

    Legacy photoshop on a windows tablet?

    Or standard Excel or Word with a monstrosity of control toolbars/ribbons with gazillions of tiny controls?

    Not going to happen.

  • by L3370 ( 1421413 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:36PM (#41624725)
    Microsoft is making money. Lots of it. Facebook has a really good idea on how to make money.

    Make your predictions about MS failing...there's evidence to suggest they are going the way of the dinosaur. Facebook's Golden Goose on the other hand has yet to lay eggs.
  • by stargazer1sd ( 708392 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @06:46PM (#41624849) Homepage

    Eric Schmidt has spend a lot of time competing against Microsoft. I think he's mostly right. Microsoft has only been able to prosper through monopoly tactics and those won't work anymore. They come out with a lousy version 1.0 to keep competitors away, refine it some through versions 2 and 3, then version 4 becomes useful. They can't even think about that strategy now because someone else came out with version s 1, 2, and 3.

    Microsoft is still dominant in the word processing and spreadsheet markets. Unfortunately, they'll probably lose that franchise, given the rise of PDF for interchange, and their unwillingness to port their products to either Android or iOS. Someone with deep pockets, probably Google, will come along and take those markets from them.

    There's also a lot of back office software that uses their servers, databases, and development tools.But those markets will never grow as quickly as the consumer end.

    They won't be going away any time soon, but if they're ever going to get back in to growing markets, they need to change radically. In the end, no company that size will turn on a dime, and its not clear whether there's still time for them to get back in the game.

  • Re:This guy is dumb (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:01PM (#41624991) Journal

    ...As i sit here with my phone docked to a 22" monitor with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, RDP'd into a virtual desktop that runs all my corporate software, legacy and otherwise.

    this post shows that you don't know what you're talking about and a bunch of moderators seem to agree.

  • Re:This guy is dumb (Score:4, Interesting)

    by 0xdeadbeef ( 28836 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:02PM (#41624997) Homepage Journal

    This guy is an idiot, but it is pretty telling that so many people are jumping on the only actual insight he wrote. Not that Microsoft has such a thing coming out anytime soon, but if you don't believe that this is the end goal of Apple (and therefore, Microsoft), then well, you're a bigger idiot than he is.

  • Re:This guy is dumb (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:05PM (#41625019)

    There is a problem IMO in this strategy. You are assuming that people will want to swipe and touch a screen. The Surface is a small device with a crappy mouse pad. The Apple MousePad is the norm and once you have used it, you don't go back. Imagine sitting at your desk and having to lift your hands to do anything? Not going to happen. Additionally ever tried to sit in front of a small screen to do work? Not very nice. I use 3 23" monitors for my daily work and will never go back to anything smaller.

    The assumption that you are making is that people will want to continue using the Microsoft software paradigm. As seen by the oodles of OSX, and now Linux users they can do just fine without Microsoft software. That is the irony in this entire situation. People don't hate Microsoft, they have become indifferent to Microsoft. That is worse than hating because people will look at your stuff and say Meh. When people hate, you will have those that will use just because others hate. When people say Meh people move on because they don't want to be boring.

  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:35PM (#41625307)

    At home I have a couple macs. They do the job I need a computer to do. But to service the whole families needs, to provide a media center, and to provide something for on the go usage I need another work station plus a tablet. Eventually my other computers will get old and I'll need to replace them.

    Now if I could just use a tablet hooked to a big screen I'd need ferwer devices and I'd be happier. The tablets would let me use apps that are touch freindly with ease and the attached screen for typing and mousing apps. It would allow on the go use. Media use (where you want to move it to the chair or the amplifer or tv). perfect.

    so far all the tablets seem to only mirror their small screens if they have video out at all. Or they lack a desktop mode for mouse and KB usage.

    Windows 8 is going to have both.

    I had been wondering why win8 had both metro and desktop modes but suddenly I get it. this use case is a killer app.

    it fits my profile exactly. it fits my moms profile. it fits my kids needs.

    What sucks is that I don't like windows or the apps made for windows. I'd prefer to use the ones I have on my macs.

  • by rabtech ( 223758 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:39PM (#41625357) Homepage

    Microsoft is making money

    Horse and buggy makers were still making money (and lots of it!) when the first Model T rolled off the assembly line. Doesn't mean a big change wasn't coming.

    The bulk of Microsoft's revenue comes from Windows and Office on the desktop. PC sales have slowed and begun shrinking - people just don't need to upgrade as often and the market is saturated.

    The iPad alone is a significant slice of the PC market (25% in the US) but more importantly it continues on a tremendous hockey stick growth curve. That's a market that Microsoft cant sell Windows to and refuses to sell Office to. It doesn't take a genius to see the wall of pain coming Microsoft's way and Windows 8 is a desperate attempt to push what worked in the past into a new area. Windows has been so successful in the PC arena that Microsoft cant imagine life without it or any strategy to monetize iPad users that doesn't involve billions in risk on producing their own hardware (like, say, Office for iPad.... A no-risk proposal that might cost a few million in developer salaries).

    That's always how entrenched players get beaten. It simply doesn't matter how dominant Microsoft is on the desktop because all the growth is happening in tablets and mobile... And being good early does you nothing there, you have to be good at the right time - the time when the market starts to look like a hockey stick so network and ecosystem effects can become self-reinforcing. Microsoft has already missed that point. That's why people think they are irrelevant.

  • Walled gardens (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) ( 193358 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @07:59PM (#41625513) Homepage Journal

    At least Google lets you get your data out.

  • by the_B0fh ( 208483 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @08:59PM (#41625989) Homepage

    Are you smoking something interesting?

    Amazon: DRM'ed ebooks, sent to Kindle. Add external ebooks to Kindle rather easily.

    Apple: DRM'ed ebooks, sent to iBooks. Add external ebooks to iBooks rather easily.

    How did you turn that into Apple = walled garden and Amazon = glorious freedom?

  • Re:Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jythie ( 914043 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @09:09PM (#41626075)
    Classic problem with a lot of tech blogging.... people often look at the particular niche they are interested in and expand that to 'technology'
  • by plover ( 150551 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @09:38PM (#41626255) Homepage Journal

    The thing most people don't see has nothing to do with the UI. It has to do with the hard shove of Microsoft products towards the cloud, and moving to a rental model.

    There is little reason to buy a new word processor or email client. They are stable, mature products. But Office is a good half of Microsoft's revenue stream. If they can no longer entice you with "features" of questionable value, why would you ever give them another dollar? They need to wean people off local apps and on to their word-processing-as-a-cloud-service, where the pay as you go model ensures a continual profit center.

    So they need two things: a locked down computing environment, and locked down services. Apple has shown people are willing to give up control to the cloud if it makes it easy for average people. Microsoft wants the same with the desktop. Governments and corporations also want to control apps for different reasons, so look for the changes to be adopted there first.

  • Re:Microsoft (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Thursday October 11, 2012 @09:46PM (#41626301)

    Things have changed, and anybody watching market share isn't going to notice. LibreOffice is invisible to the market because nobody pays for it. Or for any of the 20 other forks of Open Office, including Open Office itself, now managed by Apache (and out from under the entirely disinterested rubric of Oracle). It now takes work to discover how many copies have been downloaded, since there isn't just one Open Office, but the numbers are big, and getting bigger on a regular basis.

    And oddly enough, it was Microsoft that opened the door for Open Office to start making serious inroads on their market share. When they invented the ribbon, and made their UI ridiculously harder to use, with LOTS of extra clicking and gratuitous rearranging of options, suddenly it was easier to migrate to Open Office than it was to migrate to a newer MS Office. Open Office still has the familiar menu-driven interface, and lots of stuff is still where people have learned to expect it. Unlike MS Office, which is now foreign to a hundred million users who started with Word 6.

    I suspect that 94% is now substantially wrong.

  • Re:This guy is dumb (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Friday October 12, 2012 @12:17AM (#41627091)

    I'd really hate to see how Excel performs on a 1 GB spreadsheet.

    Just fine. I'm sure it would go to shit in a hurry if it was a GB of complicated formulas... but typically its just stuff like general ledger and sales ledger dumps; with a few running total columns, or a bit of conditional formatting, filtering and sorts.

    Pretty simple stuff.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire