Are Ballmer’s Executive Talents Underrated?

I’d be interested in the more technologically sophisticated Juicers’ opinion of this, by John Cassidy in the New Yorker:

Ballmer isn’t a technologist; he’s a businessman who started out at Procter & Gamble. To describe him as a failure is to misunderstand how the technology industry works these days. At once oligopolistic and highly competitive, it is perhaps best described as an ongoing lottery in which the prizes, bestowed at irregular intervals, are temporary monopolies in a given market, such as P.C. operating systems, search, or tablets.

In this setup, there are two very different types of players, each with very different incentives: those entering the lotteries, and those who have already won one. The job of the lottery entrants, such as Zuckerberg when he launched Facebook, in 2004, and Karp when he launched Tumblr, in 2007, is to come up with innovative and exciting products that the judges—investors and the public—are likely to award first prize. (The contest is a lottery because there are often many competing products, with little to distinguish them save that one has first-mover advantage.) The job of the lottery winners is to make the most of their monopoly franchise, building it out and making it last as long as possible.

Most of Ballmer’s critics ignore this crucial distinction. They attack him for being a poor lottery entrant, but he wasn’t hired to play that game—he was chosen to run a company that had already won the prize. And, as a monopolist, he was pretty effective. Under the leadership of Gates and Ballmer, Microsoft dominated the computer business for more than two decades. In such a fast-moving industry, that’s a very long time. Only I.B.M. has had a comparable reign…

Some critics point to the fact that Microsoft’s share price has languished, but that’s based upon another misunderstanding. When a tech business like Microsoft or Google or Apple establishes a temporary monopoly, its stock price shoots up in anticipation of future profits. If the firm doesn’t fulfill its promise, its stock price collapses. If it does, it spends many years growing into its valuation, which is what Microsoft has done. Since the bursting of the tech bubble, in 2000, the company’s stock price hasn’t gone anywhere. But since 1986, when it went public, the stock is up more than five-hundredfold…

107 replies
  1. 1
    kindness says:

    Well we haven’t had a PC/Mac food fight in a while….

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Since the bursting of the tech bubble, in 2000, the company’s stock price hasn’t gone anywhere. But since 1986, when it went public, the stock is up more than five-hundredfold…

    Um, what have they done for us lately? Like in the last fiscal quarter? Huh? Let’s get MBA here…

  3. 3
    NotMax says:

    Snowden is supposedly tech savvy, and is looking for a job…

  4. 4
    Greg says:

    It’s a “can you walk and chew gum at the same time” sort of situation. Sure, Balmer did a fine job at milking the Windows & Office monopolies, but arguably, lots of people could have done that just as well after Microsoft won that lottery.

    At the same time, Balmer and Microsoft have bet huge and lost billions on search and mobile and these other lotteries. So either you judge Balmer as a failure for failing to win in any of those areas, or you judge Balmer as a failure for blowing a huge percentage of the monopoly profits on areas that he wasn’t going to win that could have gone to shareholders instead.

  5. 5
    giterdone says:

    I seriously doubt you are interested in opinions. Just seems to be your modus because you probably read it in some “how to be a blogger” instructions somewhere.

    Balmer still doesn’t “get” open source or the fact that Linux/Android/iOS are now steam rolling M$.

    Also he had M$ owning the consumer smartphone market long before Apple/Android came along and he totally blew that because he couldn’t understand that there are other ways to make money besides selling software licenses. Also, wanted to buy Yahoo for 45Billion…lol…I was wishing so bad that was going to happen because I knew it would have been an unrecoverable mistake.

    Balmer is a total joke. Oh and don’t forget this.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRm0NDo1CiY

  6. 6
    the Conster says:

    Microsoft’s problem is that people don’t need computers anymore. Between the cloud and all of the mobile devices out there, the PC era is coming to a close.

  7. 7
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    I don’t disagree with that sentiment.

    The real dig on Ballmer is that he’s not a “visionary,” whatever that is. Jobs revolutionized shit, man; Ballmer’s just trying to keep people buying MS Office licenses and stay on the Windows upgrade treadmill. So people think Jobs is so much better an exec than Ballmer. It’s not exactly the best means of comparison.

  8. 8
    Keith P. says:

    As a developer, I liked Ballmer a lot.MS is very friendly to devs, and MS devotes a TON of resources towards making developers’ lives easier (much moreso than consumers, IMO). MSDN is both a very deep library of knowledge and programming advice, but it’s also a damn good product library, although under Ballmer’s reign, it because less so, as it veered away from being a “here’s our entire product line for you to download” and more of a “what role do you have? OK, here’s some of our software for that. Now cough up $5000”. But in terms of ease of use, MS is, IMO, easier to develop for that Google/Davlik and *way* easier to develop for than iOS. It’s just a shame that so many developers will reflectively say “BSOD!” or “BORG!” when MS comes up rather than discuss its merits as a dev ecosystem. It’s interesting reading Slashdot comments when something like Java vs. C# comes up, though, as there is a sizeable contingent of devs who will ack that C# is superior to Java, which fell back years from C# after Oracle bought it. (speaking of bad product mgmt, let’s talk Oracle!)
    If I were to fault Ballmer for something, particularly when compared to Apple, it’s been failure to move research projects out to consumer availability. The canceled Courier tablet is a prime example. There’s also the infamous gen 1 smartphone that got redone almost from scratch as well as their tablet, which was out a decade before iPad yet still is nearly forgotten due to bad targetting (among other failures)

  9. 9
    srv says:

    People who don’t like Ballmer don’t have any idea where Microsoft should go. So that makes them just as dim as him.

    In my stellasphere of family/friend/bartenders/cab drivers telling me about their dead laptops and what they should buy… there is so much post-PC left it’s unbelievable. It’s barely tapped.

  10. 10
    mike with a mic says:

    There isn’t much more for them to expand into, or ways for them to do it that wouldn’t land them with a huge lawsuit. All the big players in tech are pretty much interconnected monopolies. MS dominates because of Exchange/AD/Office/Windows which is a superior platform for a corporate networked environment. They aren’t really competing with apple’s ipad/iphone/ipod in that sense. Google is still a search/webmail/android provider and dominating there. CISCO is utterly dominant when it comes to items like switches/networking/VOIP. IBM is the king of UNIX and their POWER chips are almost a monopoly when talking about RISC. intel has entirely won the x86 chip war with AMD barely hanging on. The only real “competition” remains the holy war between AMD and nvidia on the GPU front.

    It’s a set of monopolies that all compliment each other with competition around the edges, but for the most part they all play in their own areas. You have to really screw up ala RIM to fall, and for the most part the top dogs execute fairly well for their core products.

  11. 11
    Lee says:

    THREADJACK!!!!!!

    TN newborns get rare bleeding disorder after parents refused vitamin K shots

    WTF is wrong with people?

    Join to 21st century you stupid fuckers.

  12. 12
    MattF says:

    Ballmer did a passable job of managing an unmanageable company. However, no one was really loyal to him, personally– if Ballmer ordered one of his Vice Presidents to self-immolate, it would have been understood as a joke.

    Unlike, e.g., an order from someone like Gates, Jobs, Bezos– guys who, in an earlier age, would have been warlords and killers.

  13. 13
    Schlemizel says:

    The analysis is spot on. Both about the technology and about the business/share price. A small quibble – it is almost NEVER the 1st in that wins the lotto, Myspace, Yahoo many others go to the market 1st but got overrun by better/different (facebook/google).

    Balmers failure is that MS is sitting on 10’s of billions of dollars in cash and some of the most brow-beaten, frightened for their job, design & code people but they botched everything they have tried. iPod/Zune? iPad/Android/Surface? iPhone/Android/Windows Phone? Thats a 3 time loser in areas they could have easily walked away with. It is impossible to see at this moment how they will get out of the hole they have dug.

    In Balmers defense Gates only genius was his ability to crush honest competition, steal, buy or destroy new ideas and improvements though the monopoly he built with the only clever idea he ever had – give your product away so nobody can afford to compete then attach like a lamprey to anything they want to do

  14. 14
    cleek says:

    @srv:
    if i knew where MS should go, i wouldn’t tell them. i’d go there myself and then let MS crush my business by putting out free alternatives to my stuff. again.
    /bitter

    MS’s problem is that it’s never managed to become cool. it has good products, but it just can’t attract attention the way Apple and Google can. so their mobile OSs and music players and PCs, etc., just wither – the community required to sustain them never flourishes (except xBox). don’t know how they can change it.

    as a dev, i’m totally loyal to Windows (it’s all i’ve really done for the past 20 years). but i carry an iPhone in my pocket, and have a bunch of worn-out iPods in a box.

  15. 15
    chopper says:

    no.

  16. 16
    mike with a mic says:

    @Schlemizel:

    The same could be said about Jobs who openly advocated stealing. This happens all the time, it’s not worth getting upset over it.

    Besides they have server/exchange/active directory/office/windows professional and the various integration tools there. That’s where their real bread and butter is, and nobody comes close. People have tried, but they fail horribly like apple did. Others had working products (Novell) but got steamrolled and jumped the Linux bandwagon.

    I’m still waiting for the epic linux revolution that keeps being promised, but it’s not there. Though SUSE and Redhat do have good products.

  17. 17
    Barry says:

    @Greg: Greg, the whole theme of that article is that Ballmer did his job, which was primarily to suck as much money up as possible for the existing ‘monopoly’.

  18. 18
    👾 Martin says:

    When a tech business like Microsoft or Google or Apple establishes a temporary monopoly, its stock price shoots up in anticipation of future profits.

    This isn’t accurate. A monopoly implies that consumers lack reasonable alternatives. That’s true for Google, but not in the way people think. If you want to advertise online, you pretty much MUST deal with Google. Apple’s only real monopoly is on mobile apps. From the consumer side, there’s plenty of choices – and usually good ones at that. They have no exclusivity on music sales or anything else like that.

    Apple has sustained their position because they did what everyone assumes is impossible, which is come out with multiple revolutionary products in their history – the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad. That is, they didn’t rely on the last ‘temporary monopoly’ to carry them. They say repeatedly that they are happy to cannibalize their own products because it means someone else isn’t. And so in its day the iPod carried more of the company than the Mac did, and then the iPhone overshadowed that, and now the iPad appears as though it may overshadow the iPhone (its adoption curve is much more rapid than it was for the iPhone).

    Google is a bit harder to gauge because the majority of their revenue is ads, so it’s hard to tell how much products like Google Docs or Android or whatnot have contributed to their long term. But I think it’s fair to say that they’ve worked quite hard to move past search and into other markets.

    Microsofts problem is precisely this:

    The job of the lottery winners is to make the most of their monopoly franchise, building it out and making it last as long as possible.

    That’s short-term thinking. Even if that monopoly lasts a decade, then what? Go ask Nokia or RIM or Dell, because they really fucking need to know the answer to that question. The real job of the lottery winner is to take your victory and reinvest in the next thing faster than your competition can do. This notion of sitting on your thumbs in the interest of ‘shareholder value’ is the most fucked up idea to ever take hold in the US economy. Fuck the shareholders. You’ve won the fucking lottery – you don’t need their investment to fund the next thing, your own successful product can do that, so take that money and run with it and build something great. Microsoft never did that. They tried a number of things, but they never made the full throttle commitment to it that they did when they were young. They were unwilling to risk undermining Windows or Office or revenues or profits. They grew timid. Yeah, they did XBox and that turned out well, but its hardly going to carry the company to the kind of future that Windows and Office brought them. They refused to bet big on mobile or on any other thing. They created a culture that punished people that tried to do that. And in all that time, shareholders weren’t particularly well served. They got their dividends, but the share price has gone nowhere. Fuck, invest in the power or phone company and eliminate the risk. The utilities aren’t going anywhere.

  19. 19
    oldster says:

    You have to hope that Cassidy got paid a lot by Ballmer to write this extended riff on “it’s not my fault don’t blame me.”

    Or at least that he got a few free dinners from it.

    I mean–defending Ballmer is a bold, contrarian move only in an alternate reality in which Ballmer is not still insanely wealthy, despite having lost a ton of money for Microsoft.

    In the real world, defending Ballmer is still a lot like defending the very, very powerful.

  20. 20
    The Dangerman says:

    @giterdone:

    Also, wanted to buy Yahoo for 45Billion…lol…

    I’ve typically used Yahoo Sports for my sports scores; this morning, they changed their interface to something that can best be described as “bad highschool level” work. Actually, I’ve seen some high schoolers that would look at it and say “WTF is that shit?”. I’m not sure what Yahoo was thinking, but if that is a universal interface change, they are well and truly fucked.

  21. 21
    MattF says:

    FYI, Mini-Microsoft is a blog by an anonymous Microsoftie, apparently a rather high-level manager. The blog has been dormant for a while, but there’s a new post on Ballmer:

    http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2.....ickin.html

    I haven’t read the comments on the post, but if you want a sample of what people in the company are thinking, it’s the place to go.

  22. 22
    mike with a mic says:

    @cleek:

    xbox is cool, and there are lots of cool PC’s out there.

    http://www.razerzone.com/gamin.....-blade-pro
    http://www.msimobile.com/level.....038;id=410
    http://www.asus.com/Notebooks_Ultrabooks/G750JX/

    All of which are a generation ahead when it comes to CPU/GPU/RAM and storage tech than the competition. These products do exist, but MS doesn’t push them as they aren’t corporate products, it’s gaming and lifestyle. And those brands have been growing and expanding rapidly. Samsung has started to jump in as well and crank out some interesting stuff. I can trot out some amazing desktops as well.

  23. 23
    BruceJ says:

    Microsoft had the first tablet and several of the first smartphones long before Apple did.

    They could never get away from the mindset that “Windows on the PC” is the King, who must protected at all times. Their first tablet PC’s were clunky, clumsy things that never rose above gimmicry. The rest of the time they’ve been reacting to other’s moves; skating to where the puck is never gets you a goal. Remember the Zune, anyone? As anything but a punchline, that is?

    Apple got that, they were more than willing to cannibalize Mac sales to sell iPads. They essentially halted development of their flagship Mac OS for three years in order to develop IOS.

    Of course, they ended up cannibalizing everyone *else’s* notebooks even more. Remember those quaint things called ‘netbooks’ that were going to gobble the PC market? Yeah, neither does anyone else. Now we have the ‘premium ultralight notebooks’ that just all happen to look like (and in most cases cost MORE!) than Apple’s MacBook Air.

    Apple, in the person of Steve Jobs, also saw the gargantuan market for a true smart phone. Apple’s engineers brought the iPad to him first..he told them make it a phone, a phone like the iPod is a music player.

    That was the genius move, because the iPhone was an instant hit, and by the time they’d finished developing the iPad, it was seen as ‘a big iPhone’ not a ‘keyboard-less Mac laptop’, which was the key clunky model of MS’s tablets. Starting off with the iPad would have been a disaster because no one would ever think of it as a ‘big iPhone’ and only compared it to laptops.

    Then again, anyone who watched MS harden into a giant bureaucracy over the last 20 years saw this coming long long ago.

    Ballmer is the PERFECT Procter and Gamble CEO and he’s treated Windows and Office like Cheer, Tide and Dawn: brands to be just kept on the rails. And he’s done that well at MS. The problem is now the tech environment is analogous to a household world where you don’t NEED laundry detergent anymore….

  24. 24
    MikeJ says:

    taptaptap

    Is this thing on?

  25. 25
    Sloegin says:

    About the only product outside their core that seems to have found a successful niche is the game console. The console also seems to be the only thing they’ve released that wasn’t an also-ran product based on MS market paranoia.

    Paranoia drive the company at every level, from product releases, to employee stack ranking, to internal divisions and groups constantly fighting each other by corporate design. Where’s the risk-taking and creativity in that kind of culture?

  26. 26
    jah says:

    @The Dangerman: pretty much this. loved yahoo sports for baseball scores – simple, clean, not a lot of bloat on the page…..now…not so much. what a mess.

  27. 27
    beer time somewhere says:

    Rank and yank. FU, Ballmer. That is all.

  28. 28
    Anoniminous says:

    When Ballmer did nothing he did it very well. When he had to make technical decisions he blew it: Bing is a bit player in the search engine market, Xbox is nowhere outside the US, Vista (need I say more?,) Surface was a $900 million money sink, Windows Mobile has gone nowhere, and Windows 8.

  29. 29
    matt says:

    Microsoft squandered their monopoly on the desktop – these days real developers use Macs. It was not always so.

    For years the way Microsoft kept its position was to incorporate the newest ideas into the OS, to use up the oxygen that would sustain competitors. Under Ballmer they lost their focus and stopped doing this effectively.

    This apologia for Ballmer is glib and simplistic.

  30. 30
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @BruceJ: The first PC tablets weighed about 2kg and had the runtime of a mayfly because the tech wasn’t up to making better within their limitations. They needed low-power chips, lightweight displays and aggressive power management along with a severe throttling of capability in the OS and apps (stuff like no multitasking) to produce the iPad and its clones, slim, light and offering a decent runtime. A few years of development and the current generation of tablets are vastly better than the first-gen iPads in terms of screen quality, processing and GPU power, OS capabilities etc. but still within that envelope of low power consumption, small size and weight.

  31. 31
    srv says:

    @cleek: History is filled with crushed apple devs too, so no monopoly there.

    @Anoniminous: For all the Surface hate, the pro is a system that my tech friends (not IT really, but power users) in the corporate world have found to be the perfect fit – they don’t need to carry a tablet AND a laptop, they’ve managed to get it all onto the Surface Pro.

    Aside – it is curious how Gates is lauded today for his wife’s philanthropy. All the kool kids don’t remember how he was satan and Jobs was the messiah. Now it’s the other way around.

    And although Gates has given away half his wealth, he’s still worth eleventy-billion dollars, so Ballmer must have done something right.

  32. 32
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: MSFT revenues are up over 5% year on year according to the last financials that were released in mid-July and that includes the $900mill writedown for Surface inventory. Then again they took a $6 BILLON writedown over an acquisition (AQuantive) last year. In contrast Apple’s last quarter results say their earnings were flat and profits were down on lower gross margins but no-one seems to think Apple’s lost its mojo.

  33. 33
    Keith P. says:

    @matt: Do you actually look at the software job market? People use Macs to write code if they’re writing iOS apps. If they’re writing open source apps, they’re using Linux boxes. If they’re writing Windows enterprise apps (HUGE market for this), they’re using Windows PCs running MS Visual Studio to develop MS.Net apps that hit MS SQL Server databases. That’s an aspect of MS that people rarely mention – they own an entire ecosystem from the phone to the server to the enterprise to the cloud. Apple sure as hell doesn’t have much of a presence in the enterprise, and neither does Android (although several other Linux variants do). The big difference, though is that MS owns the entire codebase. The have their own OS kernel, their own shell (phone, tablet, consumer, server, and datacenter variants of each), their own middleware, their own backoffice suite, their own database…and they support it all with a developer network, including skill certifications)

  34. 34
    Mark B. says:

    @giterdone: Microsoft has actually done pretty well in the server products division, and enterprise products like databases. MS SQL Server, which started out as a joke, is now one of the best and most stable databases out there. The Server OS’s are pretty good and the new web service API is great for building service based architecture that’s scalable and adaptable easily.

    As for developer products, Visual Studio rocks! Whenever I have to pick up XCode, I groan, since it’s extremely primitive compared to VS2012. And for cloud architecture, Azure is great. I don’t want to sound like a MS salesman, because I’m not, but they are not as moribund as many people seem to think they are.

    I think Windows 8 was a major misstep, it’s ugly and harder to use than windows 7. Not terrible, but a disappointment.

    But if you’re predicting the end of Microsoft, I think you’d be wrong. It’s going to be around for a long time, since it’s embedded in many enterprises that aren’t going to change anytime soon. Their share of the desktop OS market is shrinking, but they are doing fine in enterprise applications.

  35. 35
    Roger Moore says:

    @mike with a mic:

    They aren’t really competing with apple’s ipad/iphone/ipod in that sense. Google is still a search/webmail/android provider and dominating there.

    But Microsoft’s failure to compete in those markets is not for lack of trying, e.g. Zune, Surface RT, Bing, etc. As Greg says above, Balmer poured a bunch of money into trying to get into markets other than the corporate desktop without much success. They also went in for a bunch of other stuff like MSN that doesn’t appear to have justified the investment. If Balmer’s main job was to milk the monopoly, he wasted a bunch of milk on products that didn’t go anywhere.

  36. 36
    danielx says:

    @the Conster:

    Really? Try programming a pro forma model, or doing statistical analysis, or for that matter writing a novel on a smart phone. Let us know how that works out….

  37. 37
    Anoniminous says:

    @srv:

    I don’t give a rat’s ass about Surface. Any product that has to be written off to the tune of $900,000,000 is a failure and the responsible people should be fired for incompetence.

  38. 38
    hoodie says:

    @👾 Martin:

    That’s short-term thinking. Even if that monopoly lasts a decade, then what? Go ask Nokia or RIM or Dell, because they really fucking need to know the answer to that question. The real job of the lottery winner is to take your victory and reinvest in the next thing faster than your competition can do. This notion of sitting on your thumbs in the interest of ‘shareholder value’ is the most fucked up idea to ever take hold in the US economy. Fuck the shareholders. You’ve won the fucking lottery – you don’t need their investment to fund the next thing, your own successful product can do that, so take that money and run with it and build something great. Microsoft never did that.

    This is a good point. Protecting shareholder value makes companies risk averse. Apple didn’t do that, Jobs won the lottery multiple times by pouring resources into risks at a level that made it possible for them to succeed — original iMac, iPod, IPhone, IPad. Microsoft was always too late or too cheap. But the fault isn’t Ballmer’s, it’s the board that picked him to succeed Gates. He was a soap salesman, and he’s pretty good at selling Microsoft’s version of Tide. Maybe Gates wanted someone who would preserve and, more importantly, wouldn’t overshadow his legacy.

  39. 39
    Felonius Monk says:

    And exactly why should anyone give a Flyin’ Fck that Ballmer’s fee-fees might be hurt because he has severe critics?

    Microsoft will roll on with or without Steve Ballmer and continue to turn out mediocre product that many can’t do without. So be it. There are far more important things to be concerned about.

  40. 40
    Mark B. says:

    @Anoniminous: The Apple Newton was a huge financial failure. It’s a little hard for a company to do something that’s new to it successfully on the first attempt.

    The Surface hardware is great, but they just don’t have the app infrastructure to compete with apple. Why buy a tablet that doesn’t run anything you want to run? I think MS is working hard on that aspect of it, by trying to build a developer community, but it’s going to take them a long time to catch up,if they ever do.

  41. 41
    srv says:

    @danielx:

    a pro forma model, or doing statistical analysis, or for that matter writing a novel on a smart phone.

    You are, uh, the 1%. And that’s being generous.

    Absolutist geeks are as obnoxious as Libertarian ones.

  42. 42
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Mark B.: Hyper-V is biting chunks out of VMWare’s marketshare for virtualisation tools on servers, especially in Server 2012R2 instances. the FY2013 financial report for MSFT says their server product earnings are up 9%, quite remarkable given their major competitor in the server biz is (nominally) Linux freeware.

  43. 43
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @danielx: Yup, this. I’m not ready to write off full-size computers just yet.

  44. 44
    efgoldman says:

    @Keith P.:

    That’s an aspect of MS that people rarely mention – they own an entire ecosystem from the phone to the server to the enterprise to the cloud.

    Right. My company (approx 28,000 people worldwide, most in the US) has at least one desktop for each of us, all running MS OS and apps, all paying site licenses. All of our proprietary software, while some is web-based, runs on these machines.

  45. 45
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @srv: You are, uh, the 1%. And that’s being generous.

    Unemployment is bad, but it’s not yet that bad – other than the novel writing, these are things people do at work.

  46. 46
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Mark B.: The hardware wasn’t there for Windows-on-lightweight-tablet in 2012, basically. Intel were a complete tick-tock away from delivering Bay Trail, an iPad competitor chip that will run x86 code and apps on limited battery capacity so they sprung for a cut-down version of full-fat Windows 8 that would run on the existing ARM family and derivatives that power phones and tablets today and called it RT. It didn’t succeed. The Surface Pro, although it costs a lot more is selling reasonably well but it runs everything that regular Windows does, no fenced-in apps store required as it’s basically an ultrabook in tablet form with a kickass pen digitiser.

  47. 47
    BGinCHI says:

    If he had worked at Apple they could have called the company Ballmer & Jobs.

    If computers didn’t work out they would have had the best Pr0n law firm name ever.

  48. 48
    Roger Moore says:

    @mike with a mic:

    I’m still waiting for the epic linux revolution that keeps being promised, but it’s not there.

    The Linux revolution looks more and more as if it’s going to be called Android and ChromeOS. The Unix/X11 derived desktops just aren’t getting it done, but Android is making it work.

  49. 49
    Ken J. says:

    @👾 Martin:

    When Jobs came back to Apple and made all those visionary dice rolls, the thing is, Apple didn’t have a monopoly to defend. Most pundits thought the company was dying and done for.

    Also, I don’t know how many companies have had sequential visionaries. Probably not too many.

  50. 50
    jeffreyw says:

    @Robert Sneddon: End of the year for the 4.5 watt chips to come out in a surface pro?

  51. 51
    Keith P. says:

    @Robert Sneddon: As bad as Surface RT did, the Surface chassis (Pro included) *is* a very well-designed product. Good attempt by MS to emulate the vaunted Apple build quality.
    The RT OS (which I don’t like much at all, although 8.1 looks to do better in terms of melding the two) is the problem.
    And for whomever said a $900 million loss on RT should get those responsible fired, that’s supposedly what happened to Ballmer. The board wanted the top dog out after such a bad goof, and Gates didn’t try to save him.

  52. 52
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Mark B.:

    The Surface hardware is great, but they just don’t have the app infrastructure to compete with apple.

    THIS.

    Also this is a problem with the “Modern UI(Metro)” interface in Win8, there’s just not enough applications that will keep you from using the desktop. Widows8 also suffers from a “one size fits all” problem. Thinking you can run EXACTLY the same interface on a 4″ phone to multiple 27″ displays is lunacy. Win8 on a PC needs to have few things added, some which have been addressed in 8.1. Tile nesting on the start screen and a status bar or whatever on any app you’re in.

    Win8 did bring a few extra features to the traditional desktop, such as a better file manager, task manager and multimonitor support.

  53. 53
    Schlemizel says:

    @mike with a mic:

    Jobs is in the same boat as Gates. I am not in the ‘saint Steve’ camp. In some ways Jobs is worse. He even fucked over loyal employees in his drive to the top. Woz had to give some of his Apple shares to deserving people because Jobs would not cut them in. Woz was the genius behind the company, Jobs was just the bastard that drove everyone else to do his bidding

  54. 54
    nalbar says:

    Ballmer’s goal was never to have a successful MS, or to continue any type of market monopolies. His goal, probably since he was in high school, was to become fabulously, incredibly rich. He went to MS to become rich, to have important people return his phone calls, to travel in the highest social circles, to have books written about him. He succeeded in that beyond all imaginations. The stock price of MS is almost certainly irrelevant to him, because he gets options. He has probably never actually purchased a single share. Neither Ballmer nor Gates have ever struck me as particularly smart. Not in a ‘survive in a wilderness way’. They just won the lottery.

  55. 55
    Ken J. says:

    @BruceJ:

    Microsoft had the first tablet and several of the first smartphones long before Apple did.

    One of the amazing things Steve Jobs did was lead the customers in baby steps over about a decade.

    The iPod got customers used to carrying a device, for portable music. iTunes got the customers used to making small music purchases.

    The iPod Touch rolled out the idea that the device could do more than music and video, and it gently started the app ball rolling.

    The iPhone then built on what the iPod Touch had introduced; finally when the iPad hit, the customers were ready for a multi-purpose portable device which thought in apps and which did not have a hard keyboard.

    Really, I find it an amazing set of small leaps. I think the music biz is furious over how Jobs used music as just one small step.

  56. 56
    Mark B. says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: @Keith P.: Agreed, forgot to say my experience was the Surface Pro product. The RT is pretty much useless for anything we wanted to do with it.

  57. 57
    Anoniminous says:

    @Mark B.:

    Newton was a failure that staggered along for 11 (?) years, wasting money, until Jobs killed it. There was no market for Newton and there never was going to be a market since there wasn’t anything Newton did that wasn’t already being adequately handled with standard devices. It’s not enough for a device to be techy-tech groovy-cool. It has to DO something – accomplish a user task – better than the alternatives. Add in a user and device learning curve and it has to be vastly better than the alternatives. The electronic device market has been littered with failures that were introduced by people who didn’t grasp that.

    @danielx:

    This.

    If you want to play Angry Birds, buy a smart (sic) phone. If you want to change the world, buy a desktop.

  58. 58
    matt says:

    @Keith P.: I work for a SAAS company that does all Java and PHP development. Every developer uses a Mac. Pretty much all of our production systems work on an open source stack, some mix of java and php, with mysql and mongo backends. Everything just works on a standard Macbook Pro, no special setup required.

  59. 59
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Keith P.: One factor often missed by the pundits is that RT integrates very well with corporate MS-based networks, not surprising really given who developed it. Stuff like authentication, group policies, shares, Active Directory, even printing (a great source of frustration for iPad users in the past) and of course Outlook. Joe Public wants Angry Birds and a Facebook button and an app store with forty-seven thousand eight hundred and twenty-three fart programs for download and RT isn’t that kind of tablet.

    $900 million is peanuts, like I said earlier MS wrote off a $6 billion dollar acquisition last year and nobody blinked. As for Ballmer leaving, it was always assumed he’d be going in maybe 2017 or so, he’s been at MS in a senior position since 1980. This way he gets to choose his successor over the next year or so, he’s not being booted out the door like most of the bungee bosses are in a desperate attempt to appease Wall Street when they crater the company — MS earnings are up even with the Surface writedown.

  60. 60
    Amir Khalid says:

    Here’s the thing with Steve Ballmer. He’s an extremely able king of Microsoft’s realm, ruthless when he feels the need; but not a conqueror of new tech lands. (Neither was Bill Gates, actually; his talent was to pounce upon other conquerors and seize their freshly-won conquests. You have to know whom to pounce upon. Ballmer isn’t savvy enough.) Microsoft needs both a king and a conqueror (or at least one who can work out which conquerors to mug). Ever since Bill quit, it has had only the former.

  61. 61
    dmsilev says:

    @Ken J.:

    The iPod Touch rolled out the idea that the device could do more than music and video, and it gently started the app ball rolling.

    The iPhone then built on what the iPod Touch had introduced; finally when the iPad hit, the customers were ready for a multi-purpose portable device which thought in apps and which did not have a hard keyboard.

    The iPhone actually predated the iPod Touch; pretty much as soon as Jobs showed off the original iPhone people started saying “wouldn’t that be cool as an iPod without the phone contract?”.

  62. 62
    jeffreyw says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: I like the “Storage Spaces” concept, I have a mini itx server box with Win 8 running on a core i3 using one drive slot for the OS on an SSD and the other three slots filled with 3TB NAS drives set up with a one drive failure tolerance. Something like 8TB as a shared folder on my home network.

  63. 63
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Schlemizel:
    I think every successful corporation has a Bastard-in-Chief somewhere on the org chart.

  64. 64
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Amir Khalid: True. Every corporation also has a Idiot-in-Chief, the secret is to keep him/her as far down the org chart as possible to be sucessful.

  65. 65
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: The “One Size Fits All” isn’t real, of course. Windows 8 introduced an extra touch-enabled UI, it didn’t replace the existing desktop. I’ve been using Win8 on a non-touch desktop ever since the first betas were released to the public about two years ago, I’m working on one right now in fact. It’s a classic windows/mouse/kbd GUI much like Windows 7. I almost never go into the Modern (formerly known as Metro) UI as I don’t need to, not on this machine.

    Trying to drive a desktop GUI like Win7 on a phone or a small-screen touch-equipped tablet would be a nightmare but Win8 has the touch-aware Modern UI as well for just those devices and situations. Dock a WinPhone or a Surface RT at a desk and you can get a desktop GUI via a decent-sized monitor with a keyboard and mouse, unsnap the device and the same OS and apps work with the Modern UI again. There’s even a text command window (cmd.exe) if you want to go old-school. It’s not something you can do with an iPad or (I think) an Android tablet or phone.

  66. 66
    Keith P. says:

    @matt: That’s nice that you have a company where you can dev on Macs, but the notion that “real” devs use this setup is laughable; but the, I got off the “real” devs use this while children use that wagon back when I abandoned C++/Java to use C# (well, not entirely…I gave VB.Net devs crap on that for a spell). Windows dev machines are *much* more common than that setup (Java/PHP on a Mac? I would wager that most devs using a Mac are doing Objective C simply because it’s hard to justify the extra cost over using a vanilla PC box running open source)

  67. 67
    Cain says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Doing open source/free software desktops is hard. I’ve been involved with GNOME for the past 15 years and progress is slow, and sometimes steady. It’ll happen once you have a decent enough code base that companies will be able to base products around it.

    Ultimately, that’s where things work. But IOS and Android is painful for a lot of third party folks as you cannot do product differentation with it.

  68. 68
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mark B.:

    The Surface hardware is great, but they just don’t have the app infrastructure to compete with apple

    And Android really got established in the tablet market because Apple made the tactical mistake of not releasing the iPad mini sooner. For quite a while, if you wanted a smaller form factor tablet than the iPad, your only choice was Android, which gave Google a development foothold. That space is now thoroughly filled, so there isn’t an empty niche for Microsoft to occupy. Not to mention that Android is a better choice for niche-filler hardware companies, because they can more easily customize it to take advantage of a market that Google hadn’t considered, e.g. cameras, watches, etc.

  69. 69
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Robert Sneddon: I agree with most of your comment. I also use the desktop most of the time and I really do like the enhancements to file explorer(fka window explorer) and task manager. I agree that using the traditional desktop on a phone wouldn’t work. I don’t disagree with using the same basic interface. I do think there should be allowances for the increased screen space as well as the fact that most desktop have more applications than a tablet or smart phone. Not having the status(time, etc) available withing Modern UI apps is a major shortcoming for me.

    I’m not sure about iOS, but on Android you can get a command prompt with a terminal emulator.

  70. 70
    giterdone says:

    @Mark B.: Enterprise cycles are a lot longer. The move away from M$ just hasn’t happened there yet. It’s starting in other countries. Many gov’ts are moving away from it.

    Plenty of alternatives to MSSQL that are every bit as stable, all the same features, and inexpensive or free.

  71. 71
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Roger Moore:

    cameras, watches, etc.

    Yup, Samsung has the Galaxy Camera, S4 Zoom Camera, Galaxy NX Camera. Next week they will announce the Galaxy Gear watch with a rumored flexible screen.

  72. 72
    Svensker says:

    May I just say that we got a new laptop loaded with Windows 8 and a more confusing, less user friendly, more annoying piece of crap I have not seen in years. It will tell me the time in Uzbekistan or load all kinds of apps for lousy music, but god forbid I should try to enable my microphone or remove a program — they’ve removed “my computer” from the Start menu.

    We have 3 email addresses that are quite similar. Windows 8 has decided to autocomplete each time to the same ONE address and won’t let us type in either of the other 2 addresses. Right now, in order to get on those e-mails we have to trick Windows by starting the address with the wrong letter then sneaking in the right letter after typing everything else. There may be a way to disable this “help” but so far we haven’t been able to find it.

    I HATE THIS PIECE OF CRAP.

  73. 73
    JGabriel says:

    mike with a mic:

    I’m still waiting for the epic linux revolution that keeps being promised, but it’s not there.

    There’s never going to be a Linux revolution. It’s a constantly developing OS & ecosphere which makes it an evolutionary rather revolutionary system. People will just drift into it when if fills their needs — often without even knowing that they’re using Linux.

    Case in point: how many people using Android know that it’s a Linux-based OS? Or that their home internet gateway/router probably has a Linux operating system?

    Linux is slowly becoming ubiquitous, with most people not even realizing that they’re using it.

    .

  74. 74
    Mark B. says:

    Plenty of alternatives to MSSQL that are every bit as stable, all the same features, and inexpensive or free.

    Such as? That’s not a rhetorical question. I’ll mention a few products I’m familiar with:

    Traditional relational databases:

    Oracle– Hugely complex and full-featured, but expensive as hell. Plus, Id rather give money to Satan than Larry Ellison
    MySQL–Not bad, but I believe they are now owned by Oracle See above
    PostGRES–Awesome Open Source DB with great features Spatial extensions are great, but kind of difficult to administer
    SQLite–works great for simple use cases that don’t involve concurrency

    plus a lot of minor players, like Firebird. I’m probably leaving out somebody major through brainfart.

    And then there are the new technology NOSQL DBs like Mongo and Raven, which make ORM layers unnecessary, since you pop your serialized objects directly into the DB. We’re actually actively investigating these and will be migrating some of our document storage to this kind of db is a couple of years. But the relational databases won’t go away completely.

  75. 75
    Keith P. says:

    @Roger Moore: That, and Google basically dumped an iOS clone that is a UI shell on top of a free OS from a company they bought out on the market so that it got saturated by 101 tablet vendors. Android overwhelmed iOS because after Apple did the original iPad, everyone else wanted in, and Google gave them a cheap way to do it. It seems like all Google is doing these days (with the exception of Glass) is taking other people’s ideas and pushing out cheap copies (Chromecast!) to try to saturate the market with their stuff, after which they’re going to attempt to make their money back by saturating their customers with ads.

  76. 76
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Do Android devices have a Windows/mouse/keyboard GUI? It’s the factor a lot of folks seem to have missed about what MS have been aiming for with Win 8, the RT tablet and WinPhone 8, the fact that all of them have both Modern and GUI interfaces available to them so that if they are docked or standalone they have something optimally usable. Touch works for all of them if the screen is touch-enabled but docking a Win8 device to a keyboard and mouse and a desktop display allows productive use of a windowing GUI rather than being limited to touch only. RT and WinPhone can’t do as much as full-fat Win 8 and they certainly can’t run classic Windows applications but they still have access to corporate utilities like shares, Active Directory, user accounts etc., a big win for business and with a lot of modern business apps being written to run in a browser the non-x86 limitations of RT and WinPhone are much reduced. From what I understand iOS doesn’t even have user accounts although I may be wrong. I THINK it can multitask properly now, I know it didn’t in the past.

  77. 77
    JGabriel says:

    Svensker:

    May I just say that we got a new laptop loaded with Windows 8 and a more confusing, less user friendly, more annoying piece of crap I have not seen in years.

    Go download Class Shell Start Button at Sourceforge NOW. It will turn your Windows 8 experience into just a faster Windows 7. It’s open source freeware.

    Seriously, I’m using Windows 8 too and had the same reaction. Classic Shell will make your life much more easy and pleasant. You’ll get back My Computer, Control Panel, the Start Menu and everything. It’s a lifesaver for anyone using Win 8.

    You can thank me later.

  78. 78
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Svensker: Get Start8 from Stardock, you’ll get a good start menu. It’s $5 but is much better than the free alternatives. As far as settings from the Modern UI start menu, it’s access via the charms, accessed either by pointing the mouse at the right corners of the screen or if touch enabled, swipe from the right edge of the screen to the left.

  79. 79
    JGabriel says:

    BillinGlendaleCA:

    Get Start8 from Stardock. It’s $5 but is much better than the free alternatives.

    I’m not having any problems with Classic Shell, which is free. Why do you think Start8 is better? I haven’t even tried it because I was satisfied with the freeware alternative, so I’m genuinely asking.

  80. 80
    dollared says:

    @👾 Martin: This. Tech companies are like oil companies. They can integrate vertically, expand into adjacent markets, etc., but they thrive or fail on only two real metrics: 1) their ability to exploit their existing reserves profitably; and 2) their ability to profitably find and exploit new fields.

    Ballmer was awesome at #1. Don’t underestimate that – he has built a private taxation engine that produces $80B/year from a world that hates to pay out money. But he has been an ungodly, miserable failure at #2. Witness his failure with smartphones and tablets. Completely inexcusable. And his unwillingness to try new businesses. Remember the company that helped found Expedia? That Microsoft is lonnnnngggg gone. It died when they sold their medical records company, which could have been a profitable $10B/year business, to GE.

  81. 81
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @JGabriel: I tried several, I think including Classic Shell, and just found Start8 more stable and configurable. I think you can download a 30 day trial.

  82. 82
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cain:

    Doing open source/free software desktops is hard. I’ve been involved with GNOME for the past 15 years and progress is slow, and sometimes steady. It’ll happen once you have a decent enough code base that companies will be able to base products around it.

    Thanks for your work; I’ve been a GNOME user for just about as long; I started using it on RedHat 6.0 and have been a regular user since. I think a huge part of the problem is that the FLOSS desktops have been chasing taillights for a long time. GNOME 3 is definitely better than the 1.0.4 I started with, but newer versions of the Windows desktop are also better than Windows 98 was. I’m mildly excited about GNOME 3, because it really feels like the first time an Open Source desktop I’ve used has been coming up with its own good ideas instead of trying to copy what the other guys are doing. I hope it does get established on the desktop, but I’m not counting on it.

  83. 83
    JGabriel says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Okay. Although maybe it’s improved since you last tried it? I found it configurable enough for my purposes, and I’m pretty far from the set it at the defaults and forget it type. Nor have I had any stability issues.

    Anyway, Svensker, the upshot is that a start button replacement utility will drastically improve your Win 8 desktop experience. Give Classic Shell or Start8 a try.

    .

  84. 84
    Keith P. says:

    @Mark B.: Based on reads from the comments on Slashdot, it seems like MySQL is largely dead and has been superceded by PostGRES as the go-to open sourceDB. SQLite is no replacement for SQL Server. The feature list of SQL Server is massive (multiple forms of replication, row locking, internal CLR for running .Net code, multi CPU, threads plus fibers, server farms, live updates of said farms, geographic data, auditing, data recovery, triggers, AD integration). I think people tend to lump all server software together, but really there are 3 levels – basic server (small businesses), enterprise level (large businesses), and datacenter. There’s lots of free software targeting basic server level, but once you hit enterprise and above, you start seeing much more sophisticated features, and they tend to cost money. But companies have rightly deduced that the large cost is worth it for what they are getting – data is king.

  85. 85
    Mark B. says:

    @Keith P.: yeah I lumped SQLite in there because its great for very small applications where you need a one-user database, like an internal datastore for an application. In fact, that’s its most common use. Sometimes, the small and simple solution is the best approach if your problem is small and simple.

    For enterprise level, there’s SQL and there’s Oracle. The only open source relational DB I’ve had much success with is PostGres, and although I think it’s great, it’s nowhere near these guys in enterprise readiness. I would use PostGRES for a geographic database if I didn’t have the money to buy an ESRI ArcGisServer spatial server and had to work with open source products for a map server (this is the exact use case where I’ve used PGSQL). The open source products work fine but the administration is much more involved and time consuming. I’d still much rather work with the MS and ESRI products.

  86. 86
    different-church-lady says:

    @the Conster: You are aware that Microsoft makes phones and tablets, yes?

  87. 87
    RSA says:

    Interesting article. I can’t comment on most tech industry issues, but this…

    The job of the lottery entrants, such as Zuckerberg when he launched Facebook, in 2004, and Karp when he launched Tumblr, in 2007, is to come up with innovative and exciting products that the judges—investors and the public—are likely to award first prize. (The contest is a lottery because there are often many competing products, with little to distinguish them save that one has first-mover advantage.)

    …may imply that Facebook had a first-mover advantage, which you’ll sometimes also hear about Microsoft (DOS in particular) and Google’s search engine. But none of these were first (cf. Myspace; CP/M, etc.; WebCrawler and a dozen or more pre-Google Web search engines). I can’t think of a lottery, as above, that a first-mover has actually won.

  88. 88
    Pococurante says:

    @giterdone:

    … there are other ways to make money besides selling software licenses.

    That is the most elegant succinct summary of Microsoft’s MO we’ll ever see.

    CALs were MS death rattle these past ten years.

    Fortunately, for MS, Apple was by sheer magnitudes even more blinkered than Bill’s House. Only IBM’s investors of the time begin to come close to such short term thinking as Apple. At least IBM then was still struggling to believe that corporate performance could be measured in years of strategy. Apple investors (“Greed Is Good”) took it to the extreme. Now, not later.

    Open license Mactel desktops in the late 1980s would have wiped MS off the map. No one would know who Gates is, and Balmer would long ago have gone back to selling half-wit advertising copy.

    But… Apple has given completely up on the corporate market. An act of the most sheer stupidity that will generate more dissertations for the next few decades than much else.

    And that’s what you get when Wall Street, financial quarter by quarter, drives human “ingenuity”.

    Our job makers. In inaction.

  89. 89
    Pococurante says:

    @mike with a mic:

    The same could be said about Jobs who openly advocated stealing. This happens all the time, it’s not worth getting upset over it.

    That’s how Bennie Franklin made his money. Well that and making a lot of widows very happy past the inner door of their salons.

  90. 90
    Pococurante says:

    @BruceJ:

    They could never get away from the mindset that “Windows on the PC” is the King, who must protected at all times.

    This is at best wrongly interpreted.

    At the time tablets were new and scary, They still are. So the idea that one’s tablet would play friendly with backoffice IT is actually quite wise.

    As with so many things, execution not conception is the real problem. Few agree we want to toss babies out with used bath water. But strangely we still bathe, and babies still get hugging and loving.

  91. 91
    Pococurante says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    The first PC tablets weighed about 2kg and had the runtime of a mayfly because the tech wasn’t up to making better within their limitations.

    You’d have a point if we didn’t actually have field data. I was successfully selling Windows tablets in the 20th/21st century because we delivered apps on them that brought real value to doctors and nurses.

    The idea wasn’t wrong. The technology wasn’t wrong.

    What was wrong, as has already been noted, was execution and marketing while accepting that Dell might sell fewer desktops… and that could not be allowed.

    For reasons already mentioned.

    “The Invisible Hand” is the enemy of creative destruction.

    The market is not run by patient visionaries.

    @Keith P.: Agreed.

  92. 92
    MDB says:

    @Keith P.:
    All of you devs claiming that Visual Studio some how is superior w/r to ease of developing software than Xcode or the the Android SDK, really need to:
    1. Include the caveat that you primarily develop for and have experience in using Visual Studio, with little next to no real experience with XCode or Eclipse/IntelliJ/Android SDK; otherwise you would not be posting such nonsense.
    2.Unfortunately I am developing for Microsoft System Center/Azure suite coming from dev on *nix background….and I can attest to the utter nightmare it is developing within the MS stack coming from a *nix stack point of view.

    NOTHING that you would actually need beyond the basics is documented, and Microsoft has the nasty habit of not fixing pressing issues, fully supporting APIs for products outside of Windows/Office, and suddenly dropping technologies and giving the finger to tech MVPs that where stupid enough to buy the typical M$ line of crap and invest YEARS in becoming experts in said technologies…just ask all those XNA/.NET developers out there….

  93. 93
    Mark B. says:

    @MDB: If someone could develope a plug-in for XCode that worked like ReSharper, I’d be much more positive about it.

  94. 94
    Tripod says:

    What’s happening with Yahoo!?
    What’s happening with AOL?
    I want to know
    What’s happening with Intel?
    What’s happening with Amazon?
    I want to know

  95. 95
    Cain says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Thank you! Yeah, it’s hard to cut your own path. Geeks are the biggest emo folks around and they really hate when things that they are feel are part of the Unix culture are changing.

    We have a lot of pitched battles. I’ve had for instance a lot of arguments with Linus Torvalds on G+ because his arguments get a lot of press. :/ So one has to soothe the emo beasts a lot before it turns into a major cluster fuck.

  96. 96
    Mark B. says:

    @MDB: If you’re new to Visual Studio, you really should install the ReSharper add-in, if you haven’t already. It really transforms the experience and does a lot of common tasks. like method stubbing, automatically. It also does a lot of real time code analysis and catches a lot of problems before you try to build the code.

  97. 97
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Pococurante: There were plenty of vertical markets handhelds and tablets supplied a need for five years before the iPad, like the medical applications you describe. I worked with and sold similar machines into ticketing operations for outdoor events and such but they cost four times as much as an iPad, weighed twice as much and more (being ruggedised) with a B/W low-resolution screen and could run one or two limited apps and no more because they had a 286 and 4MB of RAM inside them. They were not general-purpose gaming and media consumption devices, they didn’t have WiFi or 3G connectivity, GPS etc., there was no app store and so on. The hardware got better and a lot cheaper, the power management got a LOT better and the screens became affordable while maintaining the quality needed to sell to Joe Public, not just to the bosses of meter readers and warehouse stock control workers for whom $2000 was a good price to pay for a handheld.

  98. 98
    JVader says:

    You guys are complete simpletons. The article has Microsoft pegged perfectly. I’ve been deep in the tech world since 1986 and it cracks me up to read some of the comments… especially of one of the first posters up above. Open source? Really? 85% of the feaking planet uses a Microsoft OS at home and corporate government is probably 90% of people. On the planet. Oh, and 90% of the planet uses Office, and Exchange/Outlook, and SQL, and Sharepoint, etc., etc. Anyone could see that things changed for Microsoft after the court ruling that forced them to decouple IE from the OS (bullshit ruling btw… its their f’n OS, they can tether it to whatever the F they want to). BTW, MS is sitting on top of 53b (billion) in cash.

    Yes, Microsoft has lost some bets. Unlike most of you, they can afford to be wrong because of how much cash they have. Oh, all of you Facebook lovers out there, get back to me when some more “cool” comes along and Zuckerberg is sucking hind tit to get back up to 200m users.

  99. 99
    Mark B. says:

    You guys are complete simpletons.

    I think you’ve mastered the art of internet argument, J. It’s time for you to leave the dojo.

  100. 100
    JVader says:

    @Mark B.: I’ve been on the board for a long time (back when Cole was a rethug) and this board is full of simpletons (less than most sites). Most people don’t know shit about tech but think they do. Sound like a bunch of people on here?

  101. 101
    Mark B. says:

    @JVader: Yeah, a lot of people are blowhards who don’t know much and think that they do. C’est la vie. It’s an internet message board. Just like all of the other ones.

  102. 102
    MDB says:

    @Mark B.:
    “Time for you to leave the dojo”
    (ms.crabapple)HA!(/ms.crabapple)

  103. 103
    MDB says:

    @Mark B.:
    Edit: Sorry Mark, meant this for somebody else….

    …erm…so I take it you are an IT engineer/software dev? They probably do know something about technology, it just may be they know less than you however….it takes very little…even for “experts” to be labled newbs outside of their expertise….how much you wanna bet I know fuck tons more about mapreduce, concurrency, and high performance software development than you do…does that make you an idiot?

  104. 104
    MDB says:

    @JVader:

    …erm…so I take it you are an IT engineer/software dev? They probably do know something about technology, it just may be they know less than you however….it takes very little…even for “experts” to be labled newbs outside of their expertise….how much you wanna bet I know fuck tons more about mapreduce, concurrency, and high performance software development than you do…does that make you an idiot?

  105. 105
    MDB says:

    @JVader:
    90% of the planet uses Office and Exchange…except for the fact that they don’t.
    I suggest you do some research on what the Majority of Asia, South America and Europe is using, because it ain’t MS products. The only major governments, corporations/orgs that insist on paying for, and using a demonstrably unstable , inherently insecure, and unreliable platform are North American. MS started circling the drain(albeit very slowly) once they lost control of the API which stared with the advent of Linux, Java, and web standards.

    The fact that Valve publicly declared that they though Ubuntu was a better choice for there deployment of Steam as opposed to Windows 8 pretty much sums it up.

  106. 106
    Mark B. says:

    @MDB: I don’t know what your competence level is, so it would be difficult to compare. But I know quite a bit about about building medium to large scale systems, performance tuning, and concurrency. I’ve been in the business a long time.

    Edit: bleh .. I didn’t understand your edit until I read the post below. Never mind./Litella

  107. 107
    Mark B. says:

    @MDB:

    The fact that Valve publicly declared that they though Ubuntu was a better choice for there deployment of Steam as opposed to Windows 8 pretty much sums it up.

    Well, Windows 8 is a desktop OS, so pretty much anything designed for server use is better for enterprise than Windows 8. They probably meant one of the Window Server OS products. They made the right decision for their business process, but I doubt their reasoning would hold to be universally true.

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