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Dick Brass tried to develop a tablet like the Kindle or iPad starting in 1997. However, his designs were ultimately undermined by a lack of creativity and in-fighting he says. Now he says those same problems are killing Microsoft slowly from the inside.  (Source: The Kincaid School)
Executive blames lack of creativity for the supposed problems at Microsoft, points to RIM, Apple, and Amazon as innovators

Windows 7 may be immensely popular, but not everyone is impressed with Microsoft's performance.  Just days after Microsoft took 10 percent of the market with Windows 7 in only 4 months -- a feat that took Windows Vista 16 months to accomplish -- a former Microsoft vice president, Dick Brass, delivered a scathing review on the company's lack of "creative spark" which he published in The New York Times.

He writes:

The company’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, has continued to deliver huge profits. They totaled well over $100 billion in the past 10 years alone and help sustain the economies of Seattle, Washington State and the nation as a whole.... And yet it is failing, even as it reports record earnings. As the fellow who tried (and largely failed) to make tablet PCs and e-books happen at Microsoft a decade ago, I could say this is because the company placed too much faith in people like me. But the decline is so broad and so striking that it would be presumptuous of me to take responsibility for it.
Microsoft has become a clumsy, uncompetitive innovator. Its products are lampooned, often unfairly but sometimes with good reason. Its image has never recovered from the antitrust prosecution of the 1990s. Its marketing has been inept for years; remember the 2008 ad in which Bill Gates was somehow persuaded to literally wiggle his behind at the camera?

Mr. Brass was already a millionaire when he first came to work at Microsoft, hailing from Oracle Corp. and being one of the first investors in tremendously successful wireless company Omnipoint.  At Oracle, Mr. Brass had worked as a speech writer for the at times contentious chairman Lawrence Ellison.  Before that he had worked as a New York Daily News reporter.

At Microsoft -- between 1997 and 2004 – Mr. Brass led a team of almost 100 designers and tried to flesh out a tablet PC/electronic book reader device.  Ultimately Microsoft failed to advance in the arena and it wasn't until 2007 that a successful e-book reader hit the market (the Amazon Kindle); and now Apple is hoping that its iPad will being tablets to an even wider audience.

Mr. Brass touches on that device in the entry point of his op-ed entitled "Microsoft’s Creative Destruction".  In the beginning, he provokes, "As they marvel at Apple’s new iPad tablet computer, the technorati seem to be focusing on where this leaves Amazon’s popular e-book business. But the much more important question is why Microsoft, America’s most famous and prosperous technology company, no longer brings us the future, whether it’s tablet computers like the iPad, e-books like Amazon’s Kindle, smartphones like the BlackBerry and iPhone, search engines like Google, digital music systems like iPod and iTunes or popular Web services like Facebook and Twitter."

Maligning Microsoft, while building up Google, Amazon, RIM, and Apple seems like a tired old wheel, but Mr. Brass does hit on some of Microsoft biggest weaknesses.  He comments, "While Apple continues to gain market share in many products, Microsoft has lost share in Web browsers, high-end laptops and smartphones. Despite billions in investment, its Xbox line is still at best an equal contender in the game console business. It first ignored and then stumbled in personal music players until that business was locked up by Apple."

He says that much of Microsoft's problems have been the result of "internecine warfare" -- backstabbing between Microsoft's divisions.  He relates stories about how Microsoft group leaders blocked the adoption of ClearType and how his own tablet project was damaged when the head of the Office group refused to modify the software to work efficiently on tablet (because he "preferred keyboards to pens and thought our efforts doomed", writes Mr. Brass).

But he also says Microsoft is now so big that it becomes difficult to take the risks necessary to produce truly innovative hardware.

Amid the criticism, Mr. Brass also delivers praise for the company's accomplishments.  He writes "More than any other firm, it made using computers both ubiquitous and affordable" and "Its founder, Bill Gates, is not only the most generous philanthropist in history, but has also inspired thousands of his employees to give generously themselves. No one in his right mind should wish Microsoft failure."

The former VP insists that the iPad, iPhone, Blackberries, Kindles, and their ilk representative Microsoft's doom.  If Microsoft doesn't turn the ship around creatively, he concludes, its headed for a decline into mediocrity, shrinkage, and obscurity.  

Whether or not such claims are true, they certainly provoke an interesting discussion.  Mr. Brass does overlook some of Microsoft's recent innovations and successes -- the unprecedented beta test program for Windows 7.  And he tends to look at the glass half empty in some cases (Bing, Xbox 360).  And yet, despite these oversights, it's hard to dismiss entirely the concerns of someone with such deep knowledge of the company and who obviously still cares about it.

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Key word "former"...
By jonmcc33 on 2/4/2010 11:22:50 AM , Rating: 1
Last worked for Microsoft 6 years ago? His input on any current product that Microsoft releases is rather irrelevant now.

RE: Key word "former"...
By bighairycamel on 2/4/10, Rating: -1
RE: Key word "former"...
By Iaiken on 2/4/2010 1:28:29 PM , Rating: 5
Really now?

Bitter that he retired with an executive pension to top of the millions of dollars he made during his stay at Microsoft?

To my recollection, he left the company on good terms and is speaking candidly of his experience at the company. Without a concerted effort to change it, the business culture at MS is likely largely unchanged.

Problems like these are wide spread at large companies including the one I work at. It's ironic that inter-department warfare is common because they feel threatened by each others successes. If they didn't invent it, they denigrate it or refuse to help further it.

Look, if you exaggerate and the project fails, your career is likely ruined at the company. But you can easily denigration serves to ruin ideas before it can be proven that the denigrator is lying.

There are entire papers written on the subject:

RE: Key word "former"...
By jonmcc33 on 2/4/2010 4:19:18 PM , Rating: 3
How do you know he retired? I read that he "left". Usually there is a difference between retiring and leaving.

Oh, here is Microsoft's response to Mr Brass:

RE: Key word "former"...
By djc208 on 2/4/2010 6:05:22 PM , Rating: 2
He didn't really do a good job of debunking Mr. Brass' comments. His biggest argument is project Natal for the X-box. My understanding is that was not a Microsoft design, it was the brain child of a company Microsoft purchased a few years ago. So Microsoft didn't innovate game control, they were just smart and rich enought to buy the company that did.

RE: Key word "former"...
By lightfoot on 2/4/2010 7:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
But by that standard Apple is not "innovative" either. They did not invent the MP3 player. They did not invent the GUI. They did not invent the smartphone, or multi-touch. They didn't even invent the tablet or slate PC. In any case people still consider Apple to be a leading "innovator."

RE: Key word "former"...
By Jalek on 2/4/2010 10:29:52 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft's had that treatment as well.

I remember during the "Windows Everywhere" campaign around 1995 Gates was still calling the internet a fad not worth investing in. It was a year later that they spent many millions starting from NCSA Mosaic and hired Netscape engineers away to produce IE. There were endless articles about Gates' internet vision, even if it started in hindsight. Bing already appears to be far better received than any of the MSN efforts.

Microsoft hasn't come out with anything actually new to the market in a very long time. Their marketing was strong, if unusual being driven by executive presentations. Even today, if Gates decides to give a talk, people will listen.

The iPad presentation was just sad.

RE: Key word "former"...
By FaaR on 2/5/2010 7:34:54 AM , Rating: 2
You can still be an innovator even if you did not invent that which you're innovating. You do this for example by doing things right where previous attempts were not so successful (iPhone is a good example here.)

Microsoft only got into motion control when it became bleedingly obvious that Nintendo was laughing and pissing all over them with their Wii, where previously MS had lampooned motion controls and said HD graphics is what people REALLY want. Reality however proved things to turn out otherwise, so now they're hustling to get on the me-too-train, just like MS always does when some competitor one-ups them.

Microsoft me-too'd (after previously ignoring the market segment completely) with:

* Internet email (hotmail; bought it lock stock and barrel)
* Internet chat programs (after ICQ appeared)
* Mobile phone OSes (Palm; who actually managed to obsolete themselves before MS could do it for them...)
* Music players (as already mentioned)
* Games consoles (after seeing Sony's meteoric rise to success)
* Search engines (wanting their fingers in Google's pie)
* Word processors (who remembers Word Perfect these days? lol)
* Cell phones (not quite there yet but it's coming, mark my words)
* Undoubtedly many other things as well.

Only rarely has MS been an actual innovator. Usually they just throw pile after pile of money at their software until the competitor either bows out of the market, goes under or gets bought up by MS (at which point MS's own effort sees a marked increase in quality and functionality, after source codes have been merged or the competitor's product simply renamed to MICROSOFT whatever...)

If you people recall back in the early 2000s, Hotmail and MS Messenger kept becoming more and more complex with every release, with buttons and tabs and graphics and gadgets and thingamajigs kludged on wherever they would fit. Along comes gtalk and gmail with streamlined interfaces that work like 10x better than MS's crap. Immediately MS me-toos this concept as well, proving once again that plagiarism is the most sincere form of flattery.

RE: Key word "former"...
By jonmcc33 on 2/5/2010 8:50:16 AM , Rating: 3
Games consoles (after seeing Sony's meteoric rise to success)

The difference is that Microsoft introduced online game play for consoles. Sony and Nintendo had neither. So while they didn't invent the gaming console they did make it better. That's innovation.

The bottom line is that Mr Brass is full of garbage. He's upset because his e-book dreamchild never came to be. The only thing his team ever developed was ClearType. He feels that Microsoft has failed to innovate because Apple came out with something that he had been dreaming of. Of course what Apple came out with is nothing more than a large iPod with a touchscreen. Where was Mr Brass when Amazon came out with the Kindle over 2 YEARS ago?

RE: Key word "former"...
By FITCamaro on 2/5/2010 9:18:48 AM , Rating: 2
I find it funny that people are calling the iPad an innovation. Its a freakin iPod touch with a huge screen. You can't install OSX applications on it, only use whats on the Apple store. So while it offers certain PC functionality, its really nothing more than a glorified iPod which will do the same thing. And $500 for it? You can get a netbook with more functionality and similar battery life for that kind of money. And actually upgrade it a little if you want to boot.

Apple doesn't innovate. They come up with crap that has a shiny case and a cool logo that others have already done. Sure they add a good UI, but in the end its a platform/device thats more restrictive, less upgradable, and more expensive than the competition.

RE: Key word "former"...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/4/2010 7:35:12 PM , Rating: 2
Look people have been predicting or accusing Microsoft of "failing" for over 20 years now. It's really old.

They aren't going anywhere. Not even the Federal Government could kill them.

RE: Key word "former"...
By NA1NSXR on 2/4/2010 8:39:09 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, thats what they said about American car companies.

RE: Key word "former"...
By RjBass on 2/4/2010 11:05:37 PM , Rating: 2
Last I checked, most of the car company's including the oldest in the USA, are still there.

RE: Key word "former"...
By FITCamaro on 2/5/2010 9:19:46 AM , Rating: 2
And 2 of the 3 are owned by the federal government.

RE: Key word "former"...
By rburnham on 2/9/2010 7:14:20 PM , Rating: 2
Who said American car companies couldn't go away?

RE: Key word "former"...
By Moishe on 2/5/2010 9:19:12 AM , Rating: 2
They may not be going anywhere, but they are certainly not innovating very much.

Microsoft products are reactions to the innovations from other companies.

RE: Key word "former"...
By sebmel on 2/5/2010 7:48:19 AM , Rating: 2
Here's an example at Microsoft:

The Windows Shutdown crapfest.

I worked at Microsoft for about 7 years total, from 1994 to 1998, and from 2002 to 2006.
The most frustrating year of those seven was the year I spent working on Windows Vista...

Follow the link to read the rest.

RE: Key word "former"...
By dark matter on 2/4/2010 11:32:31 AM , Rating: 5
He is more entitled to speak about Microsoft then you shall ever be sir.

RE: Key word "former"...
By DarkElfa on 2/4/10, Rating: -1
RE: Key word "former"...
By wushuktl on 2/4/2010 11:53:56 AM , Rating: 2
I have always been a supporter of Microsoft because I think they do come out with good products. And I'll certainly defend Microsoft in any apple debate but even so I can't really disagree with what this guy is saying. Mp3 players, search engines, social networking, etc... you can't deny that areas like these get the most attention despite Windows being the background of most of this activity in most people's houses. So for a company as big and successful as Microsoft why shouldn't they lead on all fronts instead of just operating systems and office applications?

RE: Key word "former"...
By PrezWeezy on 2/4/2010 1:03:40 PM , Rating: 5
I'm the opposite, I think MS should get OUT of all of the other business and focus on what they do very, very well. Software. Make Windows and Office. Make Communication Server even, make the products they are known for. Stay out of the Ad business (Bing) even though they seem to do a great job in their search. Stop trying to make hardware devices. Part of me would love to see a full Microsoft computer that they design from the ground up, just to compare with Apple, but the truth is that is not where MS' strength lies. Make Windows better. Spin off another company for Zune, another company for Bing, another company for Mobile. MS can always own 51% of its stock even. But let MS focus on Windows and Office.

RE: Key word "former"...
By FaaR on 2/5/2010 7:47:34 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Just becuase someone else is making money out of some aspect of computing isn't a good enough reason for MS to suddenly start throwing around their weight in that segment as well.

Usually this just turns out badly, like when MS crushed Netscape Navigator by sinking millions upon millions into their own Internet Explorer, and then once Navigator had been quashed didn't update their product for half a decade, leading to today's mess with botnets, security vulnerabilities and browser exploits out the wazoo...

This is MS's modus operandi, crush the competitor(s) to corner the market, then stop updating the product until it's well past the point of absolute neccessity - and typically only prompted by a new competitor emerging. Only then do they act.

RE: Key word "former"...
By cochy on 2/4/2010 11:57:33 AM , Rating: 3
I don't see bias. In fact I think most of his observations are bang on. Microsoft isn't innovating. It doesn't take a genius to see that. They are not bringing the future to us anymore. They are lagacy, it's hard to argue against that point now.

They play catch up and don't do very well at it (Search, Zune, Xbox, Web 2.0). In other areas besides OS, and Office they are super vulnerable. Windows Mobile is a striking example of a once strong MS market now completely on the run in no time flat.

However there is not much argument against the fact that Microsoft is the most profitable technology company. Due completely to their Windows, Office and business fortresses. Mr. Brass here sees the writing on the wall though. If all the previously mentioned business units are vulnerable then it only stands to reason that one day their core-competencies might be as well.

RE: Key word "former"...
By Orpheus333 on 2/4/2010 12:16:04 PM , Rating: 2
You are correct, but your examples are that of Microsofts Hardware ambitions. They are a software company. Furthermore I doubt MS is "marveling at apples ipad," only time will tell, but if the ipad internet reception is any indication of future sales I think most will agree a failure is at hand.

I do think you are correct, that MS needs to become more hardware competitive. They seem to lack sticktoitiveness with regard to things like the Zune. Everyone who touches one loves the Zune-HD, seemingly a lot of people are waiting/expecting a Zune phone...why not a Zune tablet that reflects what people were expecting out of the ipad.

RE: Key word "former"...
By jonmcc33 on 2/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: Key word "former"...
By ihova01 on 2/4/2010 1:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
Please google these words and do some research first before posting (I just pretty much randomly picked from the top of my head):

OpenGL, OpenOffice, Evolution, SAMBA, Canonical, Fedora, Sun Microsystems, Java, and so on and so forth.

Please name just one innovation.

RE: Key word "former"...
By lightfoot on 2/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: Key word "former"...
By sprockkets on 2/4/2010 2:41:46 PM , Rating: 1
AJAX is one

XBOX Live? Why?

Project Natal is vaporware until further notice

And watching them fail at every piece of hardware they've ever made, save for mice and keyboards, is proof enough. I'm waiting to see a FULL report on how their entertainment division did. Microsoft making money off of Windows and Office? Whoopdy do, they always make money off that.

RE: Key word "former"...
By lightfoot on 2/4/2010 2:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
If Natal is vaporware, then so too is the iPad. The research has been done. The innovation has been done. There is nothing like it. Their advancements in machine learning and machine vision are major steps forward.

And what about Sync and Courier? Just because you are unwilling to acknowledge innovation doesn't mean it hasn't happened.

RE: Key word "former"...
By sprockkets on 2/4/2010 4:37:40 PM , Rating: 2
One actually had people use it. The other has a fake promo video with no hands on demos (Courier).

RE: Key word "former"...
By lightfoot on 2/4/2010 7:01:44 PM , Rating: 2

Sync is a production system so of course people have used it.

You are right that nobody (outside of Microsoft) has used Courier, but I never compared Courier to the iPad. I compared Project Natal with the iPad. And both Natal and iPad are in exactly the same boat.

RE: Key word "former"...
By porkpie on 2/4/2010 3:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
"watching them fail at every piece of hardware they've ever made, save for mice and keyboards, is proof enough"

Since MS is primarily a software company, what exactly is this proof of?

RE: Key word "former"...
By sprockkets on 2/4/2010 4:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm the opposite, I think MS should get OUT of all of the other business and focus on what they do very, very well. Software. Make Windows and Office. Make Communication Server even, make the products they are known for. Stay out of the Ad business (Bing) even though they seem to do a great job in their search. Stop trying to make hardware devices. Part of me would love to see a full Microsoft computer that they design from the ground up, just to compare with Apple, but the truth is that is not where MS' strength lies. Make Windows better. Spin off another company for Zune, another company for Bing, another company for Mobile. MS can always own 51% of its stock even. But let MS focus on Windows and Office.


RE: Key word "former"...
By porkpie on 2/4/2010 4:48:56 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, ok. I misunderstood you then. Point taken.

RE: Key word "former"...
By sprockkets on 2/4/2010 4:59:52 PM , Rating: 3
Consider this even from an investor's viewpoint: Look at the reports of how many billions Microsoft lost on their entertainment division, and on the "other" category (lawsuits, some for anti-trust some from patent trolls).

If you saw your company wasting billions on worthless ventures as they try to copy other companies instead of focusing on what makes them money, wouldn't you be angry with them?

Thankfully the Xbox turned a profit last quarter or two ago, and it looks like Natal is actually going to make it.
But seriously, Microsoft can't afford to get things right on the third time, as in the Zune, security software, Vista (Vista to Vista SP1 to Win7), etc.

RE: Key word "former"...
By porkpie on 2/4/2010 5:57:19 PM , Rating: 4
With all due respect, you're missing some of the picture here. Xbox wasn't just a money-making side venture for MS. It was designed to cement Windows position in the PC market as well. Every game that gets developed for Xbox, gets developed for DirectX. Indirectly, that helps ensure Windows dominance.

The same with a lot of their other hardware escapades. They're not trying to sell gadgets as much as they are trying to extend Windows (or core Windows technologies) into other areas.

RE: Key word "former"...
By sdsdv10 on 2/5/2010 4:54:37 PM , Rating: 2
With all due respect, you're missing some of the picture here. Xbox wasn't just a money-making side venture for MS.

With all due respect, you also missing some of the picture. Look back at the Xbox division's finanicals. It hasn't been a "money-making" side venture, it's been a "money-losing" side venture. They may have finally turned a profit in the last few quarters, but in the previous 7-8 years the Xbox portion of the entertainment group has lost billions and billions of dollars. It will be many years until the Xbox group totally pays off those loses and generates a net profit for MS.

RE: Key word "former"...
By porkpie on 2/8/2010 11:09:56 PM , Rating: 2
"Look back at the Xbox division's finanicals. It hasn't been a "money-making" side venture, it's been a "money-losing" side venture. "

Again, you're still missing the point. Whether or not XBox EVER shows a profit or not, it will still be a net positive for Microsoft...for the reasons I outlined above.

RE: Key word "former"...
By luseferous on 2/6/2010 3:18:13 PM , Rating: 3
Every game that gets developed for Xbox, gets developed for DirectX. Indirectly, that helps ensure Windows dominance.

I take issue with this. Microsofts Xbox division has done more to kill off Windows based gaming than Sony and Nintendo combined.

RE: Key word "former"...
By bobvodka on 2/5/2010 8:38:06 AM , Rating: 2

Project Natal is vaporware until further notice

Really? Huh.. I guess I should probably go and tell the guys two floors below me who are working with some Natal kit they should stop as clearly it doesn't exist..

RE: Key word "former"...
By ihova01 on 2/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: Key word "former"...
By jonmcc33 on 2/4/2010 3:25:27 PM , Rating: 4
Even Windows 7 which is actually Windows 6.1

No, Windows 7 is Windows 7. It is NT version 6.1. There is a difference.

They packed Windows XP in a fancy box, called it Vista, told us to keep buying it...

Windows Vista was not a "fancy" version of Windows XP. I doubt that you even used it for an extended period of time to say something like that.

Amazingly, people continue to spend money on something that should be free..

Ah, your comment bleeds Linux blood. That's unrelated to this conversation (aka trolling) but I will just say that I had no qualms paying for my Windows 7 license.

RE: Key word "former"...
By ihova01 on 2/4/10, Rating: -1
RE: Key word "former"...
By omnicronx on 2/4/2010 4:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter -- Linux or not Linux. It should be free. You read news -- you don't pay for it. You search for something -- you don't pay for it. You watch video on YouTube -- you don't pay for it. Others do on your belalf. Operating system should be no different. Pay for the media it's shipped on? Sure. But no more.
Where do you people come up with this BS? Even the most successful Linux distros are hardly free, they are free to the consumer, but they make their money from selling support. Without this revenue, the OS in question would likely be sub par and in no way or form would it directly compete with Windows. No support = no business.

People seem to forget that as far as linux and Apple have come, they have yet to touch MS's core business in the slightest. MS dominates the business market, and while some say MS is a legacy vendor, if they were not, they would not be in the position they are in today. To this day I still find it amazing that Windows is able to support such a vast array of hardware, and many pieces of software written 10+ years ago will still work.

RE: Key word "former"...
By porkpie on 2/4/2010 4:06:05 PM , Rating: 3
"You read news -- you don't pay for it. "

You're right. No one ever buys a subscription to a newspaper, magazine, or paid online content. No one ever pays indirectly for news by watching the ads that pay to support it.


"Well, what's so new and good about [Vista] then?"

Are you intentionally trying to embarrass yourself? Whether Vista was good or bad, it was VERY different from XP. Several million man-hours of development went into it, and in fact nearly all the complaints about Vista was that it was TOO different from XP, in ways that annoyed many users.

Vista introduced a new driver model, a new security model, a new GUI, a new level of DirectX, new 2D acceleration (something XP never had in any form), and a thousand other new things. Was Vista better? That's an opinion. Was it NEW, though? Unquestionably.

In fact, why the hell am I even being stupid enough to reply to someone who obviously hasn't got two functioning grey cells to rub together. It's obviously a waste of time.

RE: Key word "former"...
By ihova01 on 2/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: Key word "former"...
By FaaR on 2/5/2010 8:04:42 AM , Rating: 2
I see a lot of words in your post, but when reading them most come out as "Wawawawawawawa!"

The original argument was that Win Vista was not new, Porky's reply proved that it was in fact new in many ways. You then proceed to try and prove him wrong by arguing that Vista simply wasn't any damn GOOD.

However, that's a separate issue to wether it's NEW or not. You're using a moving goalposts fallacy to try and make a point, and it just doesn't work.

Incidentally, I used Vista x64 for about two years and never had any issues with it, it ran like clockwork (still runs actually, on what is now my backup PC) and the new Aqua windowing engine's slick as snot to boot. That's win-win in my book.

RE: Key word "former"...
By ihova01 on 2/5/2010 11:08:27 AM , Rating: 1
You have to learn to read between the lines then. Then you'd probably get that I don't care about the original argument :)

Most people use Windows, and they are very happy with it. Press the Start button, launch IE, and there you go. Unfortunately, I have to deal with the MS technology very deeply (touching pretty much every aspect, from the lower networking level to the higher transaction level) on a daily/hourly basis. I'm sick to see the same shit happening over and over for years. And it's only getting worse. They have 50K+ employees, and there has been no improvement for years.

But when I go home, I turn my Linux on and relaxing literally. And it's getting better and better!

RE: Key word "former"...
By jonmcc33 on 2/5/2010 9:19:03 AM , Rating: 1
I'll pretty much skip everything else you said (because it is mental throw up troll bait) except for this below.

It doesn't matter -- Linux or not Linux. It should be free. You read news -- you don't pay for it. You search for something -- you don't pay for it. You watch video on YouTube -- you don't pay for it. Others do on your belalf. Operating system should be no different. Pay for the media it's shipped on? Sure. But no more.

How about the electricity that powers your PC? I bet it's free to, right? The food that you eat every day? Is that free? Or how about the gas you put in your car? You just fill up and drive away without paying a dime, right?

The money that you pay for the Windows license goes towards the thousands of developers that Microsoft employs or the companies that the purchase to make their software better. That money then goes to the families of these developers to feed their families and put roofs over their heads. They of course spend money on things at local stores which helps drive our economy.

You see, without PAYING for anything there's no incentive for anyone to hire any employees. So you would rather we go back to the stone ages where people just worked farms or were blacksmiths, right?

Heck, because of Microsoft I am a Windows sytem admin and it pays MY paycheck too so I can feed my kid and put clothes on her back. I know a lot of UNIX admins that use Linux but they get paid for their UNIX support and not from anything based upon Linux.

RE: Key word "former"...
By ihova01 on 2/5/2010 11:31:55 AM , Rating: 2
I'll pretty much skip everything you said as you don't get the point.

The operating system is just a media -- like a blank DVD. It's supposed to provide a very basic functionality.

Just imagine that a few of those thousands IT people working on the system were updating and testing the Minesweeper. They are paid thousands of dollars every month. WTF? At the same time we see the Notepad with miserable functionality that was out there for years. You have to buy a program from a third-party that would compensate the crap.

What are you paying for?

RE: Key word "former"...
By rburnham on 2/9/2010 7:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong, wrong and... oh yeah, wrong.

RE: Key word "former"...
By ihova01 on 2/10/2010 3:36:12 PM , Rating: 2
Whatcha talking 'bout, burnspam?

RE: Key word "former"...
By jonmcc33 on 2/4/2010 3:15:04 PM , Rating: 2
But you are right in pointing out that Sony doesn't use DirectX.

Sony might not but there's no holding back that DX9 based GPU in the PS3. It's based upon the G70 which used DirectX 9.0c with SM3.0. Without DX9 there wouldn't have been the G70 and there wouldn't have been the GPU that powers the PS3. Cause and effect caused by Microsoft's innovation.

RE: Key word "former"...
By bobvodka on 2/5/2010 8:36:52 AM , Rating: 2

But you are right in pointing out that Sony doesn't use DirectX

Total side matter I guess, but they don't use OpenGL either. Sure, the console does have OpenGL|ES but no one in their right mind uses it over the native library which Sony provide.

RE: Key word "former"...
By bobvodka on 2/5/2010 8:42:02 AM , Rating: 2

While MS may not have invented the concept of the graphics API they have certainly pushed the state of the art forward with updates to both the hardware and the software used to produce it.

By contrast the ARB couldn't find their own arses with 3 tries and a detailed map and still trail D3D11 on feature set (something which wont change until NV get a D3D11 card out their with their own extensions... so around May time) and API quality.

(for the record I used OpenGL for ~8 years until the OpenGL3.0 farce which finally made me give up on the ARB and wander to MS; at least they get things done)

RE: Key word "former"...
By adiposity on 2/4/2010 1:44:57 PM , Rating: 2
DX9 on PS3. News to me...

RE: Key word "former"...
By Solandri on 2/4/2010 3:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see bias. In fact I think most of his observations are bang on. Microsoft isn't innovating. It doesn't take a genius to see that. They are not bringing the future to us anymore. They are lagacy, it's hard to argue against that point now.

There's your problem. Microsoft has never been an innovator. They see what others have innovated, and make a version which is better, or more marketable, or worse (but good enough) with a better marketing campaign, and use that to capture the biggest market share. Most end users just think they're an innovator because their first (and often only) exposure to the innovation is via a Microsoft product.

- DOS? Bought it from another company.
- BASIC? A true Microsoft (Gates) innovation, now widely forgotten and panned for teaching bad programming habits.
- GUI? Apple did it first (actually Apple got it from Xerox but I digress).
- Multitasking? Unix had it first.
- Word? WordPerfect clone for Windows.
- Excel? Lotus 123 clone for Windows.
- Optical mouse? Some other company made it, Microsoft bought them.
- Internet? Gates refused to put a TCP/IP stack in Windows until Windows 95, a year after the web went mainstream and I saw the first URL advertised on TV.
- DirectX? Silicon Graphics came up with the idea of a cross-platform graphics API, which later became OpenGL.

They play catch up and don't do very well at it (Search, Zune, Xbox, Web 2.0). In other areas besides OS, and Office they are super vulnerable. Windows Mobile is a striking example of a once strong MS market now completely on the run in no time flat.

This is where Microsoft is stumbling. They used to be really, really good at picking apart things other companies innovated, figuring out what the best parts were, and making their own version which in many cases was better than the original. Or if not better, was good enough that combined with the massive marketshare of Windows they could capture the market.

But their latest forays haven't been as successful. Zune is (for Microsoft) a flop. PlaysforSure, their attempt to subsume the DRM media market iTunes was dominating, failed. The XBox owes its success more to Sony mis-steps and an exclusive deal with Bungie (Halo). They let IE stagnate once they eliminated the competition (Netscape), thus opening up an opportunity for Firefox to jump ahead and slowly erode their market share. Silverlight is superior to Flash, but was too little, too late to stop Flash from becoming ubiquitous.

About the only place I see them holding their own is with Bing. It's got some features which are clearly improvements over what Google does. But their marketing branch has too much influence over its development, and Microsoft-associated sites are disproportionately overrepresented in the search results. Hence I do not trust its search results as much as I do Google's, so I usually end up using Google. But overall, Bing has been gaining in marketshare (mostly at Yahoo's expense).

My personal take is that (1) the Internet has leveled the playing field enough that a smaller company which comes up with an innovation cannot so easily be dominated by a larger, established company, and (2) Ballmer does not drive his people are hard as Gates used to.

RE: Key word "former"...
By croc on 2/4/2010 9:08:11 PM , Rating: 2
"- DOS? Bought it from another company."

I will have to disagree with this point... Stole, modified, ripped off but not BOUGHT. Blatent re-write of BSD, but modified for 16 bit processors. Now THAT's a nice bit of innovation, for which IBM paid them handsomely...

RE: Key word "former"...
By sebmel on 2/5/2010 7:53:43 AM , Rating: 2
If you want to be reminded of what Microsoft were up to it's here:

A History of Anticompetitive Behavior

RE: Key word "former"...
By porkpie on 2/4/2010 12:04:25 PM , Rating: 2
"No, he isn't. He's a man who lost his job there and is obviously biased. "

I swear to God, why is it that people seem to have lost the ability to think for themselves? Stop trying to judge this man's comments on his personal background. Instead, listen to the facts and logical arguments he presents, then judge for yourself.

Then for bonus points, look up the logical fallacy known as the "appeal to authority", and its evil kid brother, "guilt by association".

RE: Key word "former"...
By nafhan on 2/4/2010 12:40:35 PM , Rating: 2
Judging by the quote here at dailytech (and common sense) it sounds like his observations are based on what happened to the team he lead, which incidentally failed to produce a viable product. I would imagine the inside view from someone on the Xbox or Windows 7 teams would be VERY different.
That doesn't mean he's wrong or "obviously biased", but it does mean this his statements need to be taken with a huge grain of salt.

RE: Key word "former"...
By porkpie on 2/4/2010 1:44:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with his remarks. I'm criticizing the views that some people here have taken, one of these two:

- we should take his word as gospel because he's an ex employee, or:
- we should discount anything he says, because he's a disgruntled ex-employee.

Facts are facts. He's right or wrong based on what he says, not who he is.

RE: Key word "former"...
By Parhel on 2/4/2010 1:57:49 PM , Rating: 2
I'd agree with that assessment. Some of what he says is true, but he seems to only be considering Microsoft's consumer products, and even then he's significantly downplaying the continued success of Windows and the XBox. Not false, but certainly a very one-sided view.

RE: Key word "former"...
By jonmcc33 on 2/4/2010 12:01:49 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, no. I am a consumer, a user and customer of Microsoft products. The rule, "The customer is always right," applies more than, "The former employee is always right."

Then we have Dick Brass admitting himself, "As the fellow who tried (and largely failed) to make tablet PCs and e-books happen at Microsoft a decade ago, I could say this is because the company placed too much faith in people like me."

So he tried to make a tablet 10 years ago, obviously the technology (small microchips, touch screens, etc) wasn't viable then. Because Microsoft hasn't made one now the company has failed? No. Their Windows and Office software is used around the world and in disturbing numbers. Their gaming console is among the world's most used and sustains massive profits for Microsoft.

Just because Microsoft hasn't made a stupid tablet like the iPad doesn't mean there is anything wrong with Microsoft today.

RE: Key word "former"...
By dark matter on 2/5/2010 7:08:58 AM , Rating: 3
A bit of news for you. He is also a consumer of MS products, considering he hasn't worked there for a while. So he equals you on that.

He also knows the inner workings of Microsoft, seeing has he has worked for them in the past. Therefore he trumps you on that.

Given those two facts care to explain why I should favour your opinion higher than his? After all he is vastly more knowledgable aabout Microsoft than you shall ever be.

By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 2/4/2010 11:50:55 AM , Rating: 3
If MS is big, slow and unresponsive as he says, then yeah, he probably DID work on MS's current products.

RE: Key word "former"...
By kattanna on 2/4/2010 12:04:39 PM , Rating: 4
hmm.. he was a newspaper reporter, then a speech writer at oracle, then at MS he lead a team to design a tablet?

while it is certainly possible he had the ability, its just an odd career path.

By inperfectdarkness on 2/4/2010 1:26:09 PM , Rating: 2
this just in...

former employee also works for apple.

RE: Key word "former"...
By stmok on 2/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: Key word "former"...
By jonmcc33 on 2/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: Key word "former"...
By Redback on 2/4/2010 6:42:01 PM , Rating: 3
I can't help but agree.

I worked for Microsoft for 14 years and as someone with first hand experience of its internal environment I have to say Brass is correct, - sort of…

There have been many instances at Microsoft where genuine innovations have sat on the shelf or been half-heartedly brought to market. While numerous examples of this exist, one in particular, sticks in my mind.

I recall visiting MSResearch back in 2002 and playing with a prototype smartphone that had (essentially) all the useability features of an iPhone, including a trick interface, accelerometer and multi-touch. It was cobbled together and not very pretty, but as a proof of concept, it worked. Yet it never saw the light of day. Why?

Brass’s tablet project was well advanced in the labs too, but somehow never got the traction it deserved internally.

I think it comes down to two reasons, one of which Brass didn’t really understand during his time there:

Microsoft has a Darwinian internal structure. Each business unit has to fight for scarce resources, - they compete with each other and only the strong survive. Succeeding in that environment involves more than just having a good (or even great) product or project. Unless you’re Office or Windows, you have to build symbiotic relationships with other business units (preferably the big guys) just to ensure your survival. You have to make their success (at least partially) dependent on yours.

Brass didn’t do that and as a relative newcomer, didn’t have the personal relationships to circumvent the “process”.

The second reason is HR.

In its youth, Microsoft could afford to hire only the best and the brightest. Smart people are flexible and innovative in their approach and this reflects in the company’s culture.

As the enormous growth of the late 90s took hold, we couldn’t keep up with the demand for more employees and as a consequence, the quality bar dropped. We started employing people who were merely good, not outstanding.

These new people were less flexible, less able to handle organisational ambiguity and less passionate about what they were doing. They started to build bureaucracy as a safety-net and as a structure in which they were comfortable operating. Goodbye to dynamic decision-making and rapid market responses.

This buffer of bureaucracy then insulated the senior management from the field and to an extent, from the real market dynamics.

The result is what we have seen in the last decade. A potentially great company shackled by its own success and constrained by its (externally invisible) failings.

You're right. In hindsight (though I didn’t think so at the time) the best thing that could have happened to Microsoft would have been for the Government to break us up into smaller companies. Sure, some of the product leverage, economies of scale and (short-term) market influence would have been lost, but in the long run, it would have facilitated more innovation, flexibility and responsiveness.

Personally, I think Microsoft will come back. They may have lurched from an awkward puberty to a premature mid-life crisis, but if they can reinvigorate their internal culture, they still have the potential to do great things…

...and yes, a new CEO and complete restructure would help.

RE: Key word "former"...
By killerb255 on 2/5/2010 5:31:12 PM , Rating: 1
tl;definitely read, though! :)

tl;dr version for those that dr'd:

Early MS had geniuses with creativity. They settled for "good enough" and the "good enoughs" created their own cliques that don't work well enough together.

RE: Key word "former"...
By retrospooty on 2/4/2010 7:09:48 PM , Rating: 1
LOL... record profits = failing.

Just like our govt. is succeeding with its record deficits.

newsflash!!! - The world is full of s$%t

RE: Key word "former"...
By atlmann10 on 2/5/2010 2:39:19 AM , Rating: 1
I remember when I did it first was a big thing for me to Dick. While I do not work for Microsoft his comments seem either juvenile in nature at least on the basis and uninformed. He has not worked there in quite some time. I am not trying to defend big M here either. I think the Xbox should be upgraded on the hardware end. I think they should have put out a tablet type device. I also think they need to widen there thought path as well as creativity. With the Tablet units hitting the market this year I really think that in the long run it will change a lot of things. For some reason Dick seems kind of bitter to me for no reason, maybe it's not juvenile it's senility.

RE: Key word "former"...
By Moishe on 2/5/2010 9:02:58 AM , Rating: 2
You're wrong.
"Former" has no bearing on whether or not he is right or wrong.

The decline that Microsoft is on is not impossible to avoid, but it is typical and natural. Microsoft has a lot of clout and potential, but they are not leading any charge when it comes to innovation. Almost everything it does is reactionary. This is because management supports the maintenance of the existing and proven products over all else. Management at Microsoft doesn't really support the small teams that innovate. If they did, they would take innovation like "Surface" and put their weight behind making it cheap to manufacture, market, and sell.

I wouldn't say they're DOOMED...
By Doormat on 2/4/2010 12:04:48 PM , Rating: 2
But I'm expecting that this upcoming Christmas quarter (Oct-Dec 2010) Apple will record higher revenues than MS for the first time in the modern computer age (1995 onward). This past Christmas, Apple recorded 15B, MS recorded 19B, 2B of which was deferred revenue from Q3 from Windows 7 sales to OEMs that they couldn't book until the product officially launched.

RE: I wouldn't say they're DOOMED...
By Leper Messiah on 2/4/2010 1:08:42 PM , Rating: 2
You mean a company that sells a bunch of high margin PC hardware along with their software is going to out revenue a company that is primarily software based?! Say it aint so Joe!

By Smilin on 2/4/2010 1:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
It ain't so.

See below :P

RE: I wouldn't say they're DOOMED...
By Smilin on 2/4/2010 1:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
They might match revenue within the next year but profit will be a different story. MSFT is still pulling about double the profit of AAPL.

2009 Revenue: ~58.4 Billion for MSFT, ~42.9 Billion AAPL
2009 Net Income: ~14.6 billion for MSFT, ~8.2 billion for AAPL

By lightfoot on 2/4/2010 2:47:58 PM , Rating: 2
Not only that, but in order for Apple to truly compete in the mass market (not just high end) they will have to squeeze their margins in order to be competitive. Their market share would have to sky rocket without sacrificing quality - possible, but not very likely (we are already seeing more problems and defects emerging from Apple.) Healthy competition between Apple and Microsoft will be good for the consumer, but it won't be good for Apple's profits.

RE: I wouldn't say they're DOOMED...
By Doormat on 2/4/2010 4:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
Given that Apple is a hardware+software company I would expect their margins to be smaller than a software company that has mostly fixed costs (cost of developers).

That said, Apple still has more cash on hand (~39.5B) that MS (~20B or so the last time I checked, could be off now).

By Smilin on 2/5/2010 10:59:45 AM , Rating: 2
MS had a larger cash pile than Apple but chose to give it to investors as dividends and initiate a stock buyback program that has been going on for several years now.

Apple is still a "baseball card stock"'s worth as much as someone is willing to pay you for it. MS stock actually pays dividends so it's value could drop to pennies and you would still be making fat cash with it.

Who is Microsoft's real customer?
By scmody on 2/4/2010 11:48:02 AM , Rating: 4
Read this article at,2817,2357628,

John C. Dvorak:
The software giant has been a hindrance to progress ever since it transformed from a subversive company to a kind of IBM-clone to a lackey for big business. There's no connection between the company and the end-user anymore.

iPad is an Apple Product. To get a MS tablet you have to go through the hardware vendors (HP, Lenovo, etc.). MS gets paid by these vendors (their customer), not by us. As long as these vendors don't pressure MS to innovate, progress will be slow.

RE: Who is Microsoft's real customer?
By weskurtz0081 on 2/4/2010 11:51:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well, isn't Apple a hardware company and Microsoft primarily a software company? At least, that's what all the Apple fans tell me. Why would a software company make a tablet?

By Doormat on 2/4/2010 11:59:27 AM , Rating: 2
Because they need to. MS needs to take the uncomfortable step of making hardware that might compete with their partners. The problem there is that MS's hardware record is spotty (ZuneHD? great!, Xbox 360 RRODs a plenty).

By cochy on 2/4/2010 12:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
Why? Well they made a music player. A video console.

So, maybe they are suffering from an identity crisis? What do you think?

By jonmcc33 on 2/4/2010 12:43:53 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair, Microsoft already provides software for them:

They just don't make the tablets themselves.

2004 - 2010
By hiscross on 2/4/10, Rating: 0
RE: 2004 - 2010
By Smilin on 2/4/2010 3:20:03 PM , Rating: 3
Good stuff:
Zune (go try one)
Exploits bouncing off of Vista and Win7 without harm
Layoffs (it was healthy)
XBox making loads of cash
Mesh (my favorite Azure app)
Unified Communications products are making competitors (Cisco, Lotus/IBM) look like two cups and a string
Office is still crushing and 2010 looks unstoppable
SQL is crushing oracle and everyone else
Exchange is crushing everyone, joining with UC, and joining with the cloud
Windows 7 f'n rocks.
Tablets (The T91 laughs at the iPad)

The bad:
Winmobile - gawd almighty it's the worst OS they've ever made. Windows ME laughs at this thing.

People have been foretelling the fall of MS since the late 90s. A decade later and what happens? They post a RECORD profit this past quarter. Suck it.

RE: 2004 - 2010
By hiscross on 2/4/2010 5:42:51 PM , Rating: 2
Berry tells us that 10.3% unemployed is better than 10.4%. I will say BING isn't bad, so missed that one. You must be kidding on the Zune, right? X Box has never made Microsoft a profit. MS SQL is a lite version on Oracle. Only DB2 can be considered a close competitor. Linux and UNIX will win the SAAS - Cloud war. Exchange is pre-2004 so it doesn't count. Heck, Microsoft doesn't even have a tablet team anymore. I do hope they fix their ways since Linux is fractured like UNIX has been and Apple wants no-part in the desktop wars.

RE: 2004 - 2010
By bobvodka on 2/5/2010 8:47:55 AM , Rating: 2
Also file under good;
Visual Studio : hands down the best dev enviroment out there, with VS2010 about to push it further beyond other setups

RE: 2004 - 2010
By hiscross on 2/5/2010 12:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
Hum, can't rule out Eclipse or X Code. 144,000 iPhone apps can't be wrong. Plus, VS came out in the 900's so it doesn't apply to 2004 - Now.

Here's a fun challenge
By UNCjigga on 2/4/2010 12:48:33 PM , Rating: 2
I dare you to make a list of innovations/technologies pioneered in-house at Microsoft that have become cross-platform standards for the Internet, Web, client/server networking or content delivery still in use today.

Second challenge: Make a list of technology standards *not* developed by Microsoft where MS has made significant contributions to make it better while keeping it open.

RE: Here's a fun challenge
By UNCjigga on 2/4/2010 12:50:03 PM , Rating: 2
Forgot to include content creation (not just content delivery) in the first challenge.

RE: Here's a fun challenge
By ZachDontScare on 2/4/2010 2:53:06 PM , Rating: 2
Well, xmlHttpRequest, later termed 'AJAX', is one 'web technology' thats widely used now, and was invented by MS.

RE: Here's a fun challenge
By hiscross on 2/5/2010 8:09:27 PM , Rating: 2
AJAX was around way before it was called AJAX. It used to be Javascript made popular by Netscape. Now I will say Microsoft played a huge role in making SOAP useful. I'll give them credit for that one.

Proof? Zune
By chmilz on 2/4/2010 1:07:17 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft took an amazing device with the ability to compete head to head with the iPod, and gave it a half-hearted push. Had they done a massive media campaign, negotiated stronger retailer support, and - seriously - actually launched the product to more than just one or two countries, it would have sold like hotcakes.

A perfectly awesome device came and went because it lacked a real marketing strategy and retailer support, both problems Microsoft has the clout to solve.

This guy is right, outside of a PC operating system, Microsoft hasn't innovated much.

RE: Proof? Zune
By Uncle on 2/4/2010 2:58:20 PM , Rating: 2
Your right, as this ex employee states Microsoft techs are so caught up in the software side of things, they won't or can't see the hardware side and how the two can work together. MS techs thoughts are let someone create the hardware and we'll supply the software to run it. Problem is the competition such as Google can also do both. Its still not to late if someone can smack some heads together.

By p05esto on 2/5/2010 10:14:28 AM , Rating: 2
What a crybaby, because his little e-reader didn't make it? Umm, Win7 and XBOX are both pretty darn good. Visual Studio and SQL Server are industry leaders as Office, Exchange and SharePoint are as well. IE8 is just as good as the other browsers and has the top market share. We could go on and on. One idiot ex-MS appostate is all I see.

RE: Idiot
By Xenoterranos on 2/8/2010 11:07:38 AM , Rating: 2
No kidding. Considering that there where tablets in 1997, and they all sucked, probably didn't come into it right? And how was he going to make something "like the ipad or kindle" even six years ago without eInk, advanced Lithium battery tech, or nanometer scale production processes? I think he's just bitter.

Bitter much...
By theArchMichael on 2/4/2010 11:49:40 AM , Rating: 3
It has got to be hard to see the brilliant success of a product that is extremely similar to one that you were developing and failed to bring to market.
I don't necessarily disagree fully with what he is saying but you can't compare the kindle to this guy's A&D almost 15 years ago. The kindle represents a convergence of a series of advancements that just weren't available at that time. There are so many ancillary technologies that have made advances since then... I think that is the primary reason that his project wasn't produced. There is e-paper now, GHz ultra-mobile processors (like the snapdragon), immense solid state storage options, faster memory, not to mention E-paper, the OLED tech for brighter crisper displays, improved batteries, etc..

Now I'm not saying that his project was doomed from the start because of his initial challenges in 1997, what I am saying is that even for a company like Microsoft, creating an e-book reader that people would actually WANT to use would most likely have required parallel development in so many areas that they found the task to be too daunting.

Since when does MS need 'creativity'?
By chromal on 2/4/2010 11:54:11 AM , Rating: 1
I thought they cynically followed trends, bought what they needed by acquiring other, creative, firms, and then bought the rest and shut it down to quell competition...

By FaceMaster on 2/4/2010 8:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
I thought they cynically followed trends, bought what they needed by acquiring other, creative, firms, and then bought the rest and shut it down to quell competition...

You are mistaken. With out Microsoft the computer world would be fragmented and incompatible. I pity Microsoft, they get an awful lot of flak for a company that's done the world a great service.

How to spot a Jason Mick article.
By SavagePotato on 2/4/2010 4:31:08 PM , Rating: 1
The sensationalist title.

I already read this article at another site.

I did not at any point come away thinking "this guy says Microsoft is failing"

I came away thinking this guy is giving his personal opinion that Microsoft isn't much of an innovator anymore and based on that opinion thinks they will lose influence.

Is this necessarily a bad thing as a consumer? not at all, competition in the marketplace is good.

As usual Jason Mick slaps a title designed to draw trolling and fill the comments section.

By UncleRufus on 2/5/2010 4:04:02 PM , Rating: 2

Microsoft is failing faster than even they know.

Windows will be obsolete in a few years. Chrome OS, this year on netbooks, next year on desktops. Bye Windows, you are no longer required for 90 percent of computer users, who just want to check email and facebook, and can barely find the power button. Though it's not ready yet, Google Apps will eventually make Office obsolete.

Bing? Only reason it's getting any market share is because they are spending more money on TV ads than it is producing for them. Any innovation it may present is easily reproduced in weeks by Google.

Meanwhile now that corporations can spend on political campaigns, expect Google to make insane amounts of money this fall. One major reason that Scott Brown won in Massachusetts is that he spent a LOT more money online than Coakley.

Microsoft is going the way of the carrier pigeon unless they make fast and very serious changes, but they can't. They are enormous and cumbersome.

On top of ALL of this. The MOST important that most people, when given the choice, would choose Google over MSFT or Apple for the simple reason that MSFT has the reputation of being a bunch of pricks led by a hapless Steve Ballmer, and Apple has the reputation of being a bunch of brainwashed zombie-snobs following an egomaniacal Steve Jobs. These things are not true, but they have that REPUTATION.

Just look at Jobs recent comments on Google's 'reputation'...the whole "Do no evil is a bunch of crap" comment. Hell, it may be true, but why would you say such a thing as a man in his position? Pay someone ELSE to say it. It just makes him look like an out of control jackass. Poor judgement, which if you think back a very short while, is something which has plagued Apple all along, with the major exceptions of the Ipod, Itunes, and the Iphone, which are now irrelevant as they have all been functionally duplicated.

By PontifexMaximus on 2/4/2010 12:18:32 PM , Rating: 2
Embrace, extend, and extinguish was Microsoft's old mantra. In many cases, it is their current mantra today such as with their inferior Hyper-V product to compete with VMware. Right now they're competing based on lower price, but as they extend their technology with more features comparable to VMware, they ultimately hope to extinguish VMware. It's their age-old model they successfully implemented against Netscape, Lotus, Novell, etc. Time will tell if the same model will work with their war against VMware on 1 front and Google on another, not to mention many other competitors like Sony, Nintendo, Oracle, etc.
Microsoft, like other large companies such as EMC and Symantec is less about innovating on their own merits (though they spend billions on research) and more about adopting/consuming the innovators.

By sapiens74 on 2/4/2010 12:58:59 PM , Rating: 2
The list of their half baked ideas goes on and on, with the exception of Server series and Office, and the Xbox 360 software, their lines are uninspiring

By bigboxes on 2/4/2010 3:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
If Microsoft was any more successful they'd rule the world. Sometimes when you get so big it's hard to stay focused on the little things that would give you complete domination. They've been sued/legislated against to keep them in their current location. As far as operating systems go they've almost gotten Windows as synonymous to OS as Kleenex is to tissue. Ballmer and Gates make "snow angels" daily in their piles of money and this joker thinks they are failing. LOL

Given half a chance I'll bash M$. Just not today and in this DT article. Love Windows 7!

By zodiacfml on 2/4/2010 11:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
one thing I totally agree with is Microsoft really being huge. it is difficult for a big entity to be agile in a very competitive environment.
it would take excellent leadership and inspiration to bring back the spirit and innovation similar to Google at present.

By T2k on 2/5/2010 10:24:31 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously: he's an intelligent man and based on my fairly irregular exchanges with MS divisions (dev support, partner etc.) I concur: it's a giant, slow-moving animal with almost ZERO innovation going on, it's all rehashing old, tired ideas, there's very-very little thinking outside of the box.
Sorry but it's true - W7 is a decent OS but it's rather pathetic it took them almost a decade... onto Apple: when did Apple INVENT ANYTHING? It's a company most famous about COPYING others than anyone else - all the idiotic legends, spread by APple itself, are FALSE: they did not invent Firewire, CD, ethernet, mp3, music players, online stores, NOTHING.

ALl they do is redesign and re-sell stuff others invented with a huge, think marketing layer on top of it.

THeir strong point is to make it super-stupid-friendly, I give them props for that: translating advanced tasks into single ones are not always opbvious. It's not invention of anything but important.

But to name them as innovators is downright hilarious.

Oh, really?
By really on 2/8/2010 2:21:26 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, this guy seems like he is missing some key information. I believe he is kind of egotistical in thinking he is right and everyone else is wrong. The reason his tablet/ebook reader failed is because it would have anyway. The right materials where not out then and the cost would have been too high to provide a device that ultimately would have been too limited in functionality. The kindle allows you to hold hundreds if not thousands of titles on the device and wireless connect from anywhere to get new ones. It took 10 years until 2007 for Amazon to come out with the kindle not because they just thought of the idea but because that was when technology was just beginning to provide the architecture to make a functional cost effective device. While $500 dollars is a little steep for most it is low enough that many people would buy it and help move the market along. An ebook reader in 2004 or earlier would have flopped hard.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

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