What Has Microsoft Come To?

By James Kwak

From The New York Times:

“Consumers will be able to integrate the new phones with a number of Microsoft products, including Zune music and video content, the Bing search engine, business products like Microsoft’s OneNote software and the Xbox gaming platform.”

Apart from possibly the Xbox, who cares? How can it be that the master of bundling now has nothing that anyone wants as part of a bundle?

54 thoughts on “What Has Microsoft Come To?

  1. This is a completely off-topic post, why is this posted to baseline scenario? May be more relevant to your personal blog or tweet.

    “The Baseline Scenario is dedicated to explaining some of the key issues in the global economy and developing concrete policy proposals”

  2. Can you imagine the looks exchanged at Steve Ballmer’s meetings when everybody in the room knows it’s not working, one guy in the room talking nonstop the last 20 minutes, and everyone is afraid to tell him???

    I bet the nonverbal communication at Ballmer’s meetings could tell you more than Microsoft’s last 10-K report.

  3. It seems you have no clue how
    Microsoft got its monopoly and
    maintains it. Their motto is Windows
    every where. If WIndows is irrelevant
    to the consumer in Phone and Office
    is not needed then Microsoft is irrelevant.

    Just so you know, only reason XBox
    became successful (relative term because
    Microsoft has lost billions in the process)
    was that Microsoft
    used its PC Games architecture to extend
    to consoles. In process they destroyed
    the PC Games market as it was set up
    prior to XBox. Now Valve with their Steam
    controls the PC games market.

  4. Microsoft is dead but simply doesn’t know it yet.
    Its rotting corpse is going to be the greatest patent troll of them all, though.

    Long live innovation sans Microsoft.

    P.S. It’s funny how MS ( without rock solid monopoly ) is incapable to compete on its own merit.

  5. Like everything else here with few US corp.: Corrupt and incompetent leadership. Just look at Kodak(Fisher& Perez lost biz when dominant in images, manufacturing, scientific patents…have technology to manufacture cellphones=CAMERAS!!) Blah blah…Microsoft s dead because S. Ballmer’s lack of vision and poor Board of Directors just like HP’s BoD is becoming 2look like.

  6. Mcrosoft is ubquitous and global but failing therefore new companies wll redfne the nature of doing busines globaly thus Cell phones industry is global! Corporations are contemplating to do away with Headquarters because of the savings an integrated mobil cloud promises. You need to change your information channels my friend they clearly have let you down. We are living in a totally new world just like in 1915(automobil) we are witnesing “Disruptive Technology” watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrSbYiI3R-c or read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_technology

  7. This is off topic, but might be interesting to those of our audience chasing after their law degree.

    A woman was ejected from a Bush speech for having an antiwar bumper sticker on her car. She never protested or heckled, and was removed from her seat and thrown out by aides to former President “W” Bush. For a bumper sticker on her car….

    The Supreme Court ruled 7–2 this was not a violation of her 1st Amendment rights. I just wonder when Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin—a.k.a. “Braindead and friends” will be discussing this one on their shows??? Rumor has it those three men are pro-1st Amendment. Shall we mark their silence on this as hypocrisy of the A1 class???

    Obviously the Teabaggers missed this news item. Must have been busy deciphering the subtle nuances of Beetle Bailey cartoons.

  8. I know one thing, using Silverlight, I’m delivering content now that I could only dream about a few years ago.

    Start buying puts on CAD software companies.

  9. I like Windows Mobile a lot more than the silly Blackberry OS I’m currently suffering through, but I am loath to argue with your point.

    I don’t know if MS just doesn’t get it or they’re stuck in some sort of Redmond based cultural echo chamber.

    They do make a lot of dogs of a product don’t they?

  10. Will Microsoft just go away please? They are performing just as they did in the days that led up to the anti-trust action that was quietly put away by the Bushists. Playing the victim while victimizing. Recently I read that they are talking with Adobe about some sort of alliance against Apple. Too bad. I’d hate to see Adobe go down along with MS. I look forward to the day when Outlook Exchange is just a footnote in computing history.

  11. This is exactly the behavior one should expect of a company run for the interest of management rather than shareholders. The added exorbitant privilege of two monopolies (Office and Windows) further insulates management from effective board guidance.

    The picture is confused by the WP7 ads and marketing message. The phones are designed for Enterprise IT shops, where Office, Exchange and not-too-bad compatibility with in-house efforts that target Windows PCs. The uncompetitive games, media, social & location apps don’t matter because (a) all the people who want that already have an iPhone or an Android, and (b) those are just features that justify Enterprises pushing the phones on employees who would rather have something else.

    Trouble is, it’s hard to see post-recession Enterprises shelling out the bucks to force employees to have phones when the employees are already buying up the other gadgets.

    I’m a believer in capitalism, so I don’t think it’s just that MSFT got too big. Rather, they show what happens when boards get lazy enough for Creative Destruction (or Disruptive Technology; take your pick) to roll over a firm.

    Read Gassée’s “Three Envelopes” story on Microsoft. Sadly, Ballmer allowed this expensive hobby to be badly mismanaged, with the Kin disaster being the first concrete sign that he had no idea what was going on in the “growth” segment of the firm.

  12. James,
    I don’t care about microsoft. We have problems to deal with and this ain’t one of them. The general aviation company I work for is imploding. After over 70 years of producing airplanes, we are all slowly losing our jobs, our sales, our market share. I wouldn’t have believed it even a few months ago, but insolvency seems to be a real possibility. And you post about apps on a stupid electronic toy? Please, dude.
    Has anyone read the posts at Rortybomb explaining the foreclosure crisis? I can’t believe that we are allowing ourselves to be continuously bent over a barrel by these banks. The more I hear the right-wing distort the origins of the recession, like the Aussie on NPR a few days ago, droning on about the community reinvestment act and fannie and freddie and barney, the more pissed off I become. I have had enough. I have seen too many friends lose their jobs and their homes.

  13. If Google’s keeps taking the good ideas from open source and buying the rest of the innovators, then MS gets forced to come up with good ideas on it’s own – something they haven’t done for a LONG, LONG time.

  14. Apple, Google, and Facebook have eaten Microsoft’s lunch in the mobile/consumer electronics, internet (and mobile as well), and social spaces respectively. In EVERY one of those markets, the value of YOUR product is more or less determined by how many other people use it. Microsoft is hopelessly behind in every one of those markets because they simply didn’t see where things were headed for a very long time.

    It started in 1995 when Bill Gates didn’t think the Internet would be big and ignored it during Windows 95’s release. Microsoft has been making all the wrong bets ever since, and now we’re seeing the endgame of that scenario: a once-powerful giant in technology is now struggling to keep up with smarter, smaller competitors.

  15. I don’t understand this post. The writer says “I started using Ubuntu (along with Vista)…” What does that mean, particularly since he/she goes right on to say that people don’t need Windows nor Office? Vista IS Windows (or was — it’s dead now).

    I also recently switched to Ubuntu and have been astonished at the depth and stability of it, not to mention the many extraordinary applications that are available. Doubly nice since they’re mostly free. (And triply since my most-used Windows programs run fine in Ubuntu’s WINE mode, which can’t make Microsoft very happy.)

  16. It reminds me of the way the telecom rackets basically sell one thing anyone cares about, Internet access, and therefore should obviously be classified under Title II of the Communications Act. But they staple onto that service some e-mail and other junk nobody cares about buying from them, just enough to make it pseudo-plausible that they’re “information providers”.

    So that sounds similar. Except in this case, underlying the bogus bundle isn’t a camoflauged Communication Service, but nothing in particular.

  17. @Ted K good grouping of videos, they expose one of the reasons why MSFT has gone so far astray. They never were a particularly creative company just one that was agressive and bought others to use them or eliminate them, too bad there are no videos of their Board of Directors. You wrote:[one guy in the room talking nonstop the last 20 minutes, and everyone is afraid to tell him???] I wondered about the same but that is a syndrome that’s common whenever people are hostage to preserving their status quo such as Iraq under Saddam H.. Probably Carly Fiorina’s speech may point to an answer to your question http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3IbKbDhfKw&p=AB7F5356E3250024&playnext=1&index=46

  18. I agree with SageSimon that this is an off topic post for this blog. I will now fix that.

    In a market economy, people and organizations can risk their own money in an effort to make more by solving a problem, filling a need or simply delighting their customers. Microsoft (and Google and Toyota and Starbucks) have enough money to work on very large and very hard problems. Sometimes they succeed and often they do not. But it is their decision, their money and their success or failure, not a taxpayer’s.

    I suggest that James Kwak put a note in his digital calendar of choice to re-visit this post in a year or two or five to see how it worked out.

  19. Wubi installation, it means you install Ubuntu as you would any other software application. When you boot up you get to choose which operating system you will use (Windows or Ubuntu).

    The Wubi installation to upgrade to Ubuntu 10.10 has a bug that has yet to be fixed. (In other words, right now you cannot install or upgrade to Ubuntu 10.10 as a Wubi installation.) So there are problems with Ubuntu. But its free so one cannot complain.

    By Office I mean the MS Office applications (word, excel, spreadsheet, power point). As you know, there are comparable applications (Open Office / Oxygen) in Ubuntu.

  20. sorry if I’m not being coherent,

    meant to say, using Wubi, you install Ubuntu as a software application in Windows, then when you boot up you can choose either Windows or Ubuntu as the operating system to work in

  21. You’re right, of course. I should have thought a bit before responding. HOWEVER, using the WINE utility you can run the MS Office apps, along with many others, under Ubuntu directly — no Wubi nonsense.

  22. Their basic architecture and unwillingness to embrace open systems doomed them from the beginning. On the other hand, they took aggressive marketing farther than any other corp. I can think of.

  23. Incidentally, you may want to incorporate ‘Tweet’ and ‘Like’ buttons under your post. Some of us don’t Stumble, Digg, or Redd… :)

  24. Rich:

    Johnson & Kwak’s book is subtitled “The Next Financial Meltdown.” It is upon us, and J & K are mysteriously silent about it.

    And I feel your pain. The semiconductor co. I worked for up until last year disintegrated right under me. I feel lucky to still be doing engineering for 30% lower salary and much farther down the value chain.

  25. Yes, redserpent, like the blog. Seems you know your tech stuff (not that I would know either way). Hope you can keep the posts readable for the tech simpletons out there like me.

    I hope whatever Apple decides they get the hell away from AT&T. The AT&T customer service has been horrid for YEARS. I know at least two people who are holding off the i-Phone until they have another choice to AT&T. My guess is it’s quite a large anti-ATT band out there.

  26. Incidentally, OneNote is a fine product. That most have never heard of it indicates that Microsoft has some serious underlying problems.

  27. One word: Optional!

    Seriously. Word, Outlook and Windows, and to a lesser extent Xcel sold because you absolutely, positively needed the programs to use your computer and play nice with other computers. Open Office solved the Word and Xcel issue. Cloud options solved the Outlook issue. Linux solved the Windows issue, although so many people get it pre-installed that it isn’t a big issue.

  28. @Ted K, thanks 4the suggestion about the tech language had made the assumption that the subjects would be of interest only to folks already familiar with the lingo. Room to grow, thanx

  29. @tippy, I have a PC, Mac & Ubuntu. Love the Mac but really love Ubuntu more++, hardly use the Mac now. Today someone gave me an old Presario 900 laptop[2002] and decided to try something new, low and behold! discovered Ubunto openArtist http://openartisthq.org/ totally loaded with supper programs for audio, video, VJ’ing, programming and graphics like no other distros[distribution versions of Ubuntu which is a derivative of Unix via Linux] it boggles the mind, it came with the edition of Ubuntu User #06 magazine, Thousands of $$ worth of 1st rate programs free!

  30. I find what Mark Shuttlesworth and Canonical are doing very interesting. Their business model seems to be very different from Microsoft. I see Ubuntu as increasing access to technology. This is really important for developing countries.

    I’d be great if someone with more tech experience could comment on the difference between the Canonical and Microsoft business models.

  31. @redserpent,

    Thanks for your link. I’ll check it out. See my comment below. I’d be great to get some discussion on the difference between the Microsoft and Canonical business models.

  32. @kent smith,

    I wouldn’t call Wubi “nonsense”. Its a different way to install Ubuntu. Whatever works :) I haven’t tried WINE yet but I have heard good things about it.

  33. Has anyone else noticed that Microsoft fails in almost every market it tries to enter beyond Windows and Office? Zune, Microsoft Tablet (10 years of development trounced by Apple in a Cupertino minute), cell phone OS, WebTV, even XBox (sure they sell, but Microsoft is losing billions on them).

    Of course Microsoft’s biggest success has been to release incredibly buggy operating systems so everyone feels the need to upgrade to something marginally more stable every 2 years.

  34. But the funniest Microsoft failure has probably been their web search engine. Every couple of years they re-launch it with great fanfare, after spending yet more billions on it, and every time it’s a piece of dung. I don’t know what they’re doing wrong technically, but Google remains simply way, way better.

  35. @tippy: like that idea, Canonical baffles me, how do they really make money? I like their professionalism their business model may grow larger, lot of questions…

  36. @redserpent,

    I’ve asked myself that same question. How does Canonical make money? I’m not sure. Whatever the case, “software freedom” is a political and even revolutionary concept.

  37. Canonical is based on the Isle of Man and run by a South African named Mark Shuttleworth. It deals exclusively with free Ubuntu software, has offices in London, Montreal, Taipei, the US, etc., and says it has 350 employees. It makes money by providing “comprehensive systems management services” — tools, tech support, etc. — to larger companies that have made the switch to Ubuntu, and of course charges for that. Many companies are going to the Ubuntu platform because it’s more powerful and stable than anything from Microsoft, and a lot less expensive than IBM’s (or Larry Ellison’s) products. Of course it’s no competitor to the larger IBM mainframe systems, but that’s another story…

  38. @Speed, This may seem off topic for most however when one considers that we are talking about our last manufacturing industry left over that is trully[+/- error] American it is important to know its players and dynamics. MSFT has a dream business: a) no tangible manufacturing expenses /burdens b) An almost built in mandate for all users of computers in the world to use their product since computer OEM pre install them. Yet they are losing fast, HOW, WHY, WHOSE DECISION? While a guy with less than 2 year college is kicking their butt, Bill Gates rants about how important it is for America to improve it educational system blah blah, what a crock from a man who knows well that the unemployment lines are swelling with under&post graduate degrees while China graduates near 1/2 million a year in engineering degrees alone. http://cielotech.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/engineering-education-graduation-rates-for-20062007/ . We have a looming problem in our hands created by some agan some yet key Executives that talk about American ingenuity leading the global economy but their actions demonstrate their belief of depending on global talent to fuel the American Stocks Market. They do not want to talk about how Germany has managed to stay ahead of hte whole world in productivity using their own national talent while paying them as good or better than American talent. Only this year they became 2nd ceding their position to China http://www.forbes.com/feeds/businesswire/2010/09/22/businesswire145782303.html

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