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Some top investors and former employees are calling for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's resignation.   (Source: Reuters)

IBM on Tuesday past Microsoft in market cap for the first time in decades. Some perceive Microsoft as a "dying" brand.  (Source: Silicon Angle)
No more "Developers, developers, developers"? Top investors demand Ballmer step down

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Chief Executive Steve Ballmer has always had his critics.  His hard-nosed style of management offended some, as did his colorful personality.  But criticism of the CEO, who replaced Bill Gates in 2000 for the position, has been mounting of late as the company has struggled in certain sectors -- like smartphones and tablets -- and made questionable decisions, as well -- like purchasing video messaging service Skype at nearly twice its market valuation.

At a financial summit -- the Ira Sohn Investment Research Conference -- in New York on Wednesday, David Einhorn, an influential hedge fund star and manager of a fund at Greenlight Capital, delivered harsh words for Microsoft's boisterous chief.

He commented, "[G]ive someone else a chance.   His [Ballmer's] continued presence is the biggest overhang on Microsoft's stock."

Mr. Einhorn has vested interest in the company's success.  He recently executed a large purchase of the company's stock.  His firm now owns 9 million shares, or about 0.11 percent of the company's total shares.

While some properties like the Xbox console and the Windows 7 operating system have been well received and sold great, investors have largely focused on the company's misses.  CNN Money last year carried a scathing editorial in which it suggested that Microsoft was "dying".

With stock worth under 10 times the company's earnings, Microsoft shares are considered undervalued.  But not everyone is purchasing due to the cloud of doubts hanging over the company.

Last year Microsoft was notably passed in market cap by a familiar old foe -- Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  While many jeered at this news, Apple has since somewhat silenced critics by passing Microsoft on quarterly profits.  On Tuesday further concerns were raised when lumbering old giant International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) passed Microsoft in market cap for the first time in decades.

After years on top of the tech industry in stock, revenue, and profits, Microsoft is finding itself fading from the race.  Does that require a major leadership shift?  Some argue that it does.



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By fhaddad78 on 5/26/2011 11:26:00 AM , Rating: 3
To sit here and claim that Microsoft has no vision or that the company is somehow approaching its doom (because of it's CEO) goes far beyond silly, ignorant, and is just plain nonsense. The companies stock is down, not because of the CEO, simply because the company is not growing. Just like GE for example. People want to invest in companies that have the potential to grow, increase market share, etc. Many companies like Coca-cola, GE, Microsoft, aren't growing like they once did. This is the nature of the beast. Should the CEO of GE and Coke also resign?

The fact stands Microsoft will remain the main desktop OS for many years to come. Whether it's a monopoly or not. As it stands there are 3 major operating systems: Linux, OSX, and Windows. As long as they have been around, software companies choose to develop primarily for Microsoft. Some will argue because most people use Windows, therefore, the most financially effective platform to develop for is Windows. While this is true, I would also add that Microsoft develops some of the best SDKs, APIs, and provides the most intuitive support to developers and that goes beyond innovation.

Microsoft, who was once just a developer of DOS/Windows/Office now successfully has their hands in many other areas such as XBOX, SQL, Visual Studio, Windows Mobile, Skype, Bing, etc. Many of their more recent ventures (such as Windows Mobile and Bing) have the potential to become huge successes for the company and shareholders. These evolutions take time.

Maybe Microsoft was a little slow at getting into these markets, but look how late into the game XBOX came and now look at its position in the Market. Nothing monopolistic, greedy, dirty, slimy, or anything else was used to get there either.

Steve Ballmer is probably the best replacement for Bill Gates because he has been with Microsoft for so long. What the shareholder and the public is seeing might just be part of the transition of shifting from the direction of Gates to the Ballmers.

At the end of the day, Microsoft will be strong and will eventually see huge growth in many emerging markets. It's just a matter of time.




By Arsynic on 5/26/2011 11:34:00 AM , Rating: 1
You're wrong. Microsoft cannot rely on the PC market anymore because that market will shrink due to smartphones, tablets and then Converged Computing devices. Windows dominance in the consumer PC market is a moot point in view of this.


By Da W on 5/26/2011 12:00:19 PM , Rating: 5
While all the complaints about Ballmer are true about the past 10 years, Microsoft is looking to have taken a hold of themselves and the future looks briter.

The Mango update showed great promises.
Overpaid for Skype (nobody knows how much Google wanted to throw at it), but they will integrate a "facetime" thing on their phone that will work with every PC out there. Not bad.
Xbox does well and kinnect sells way more than iPads. Kinnect-like sensor will move to the PCs.
They will throw Windows 8 on PCs AND tablets and new apps/software coded in the .net framework will run on both ARM and x86 hardware.

PCs aren't going anywhere. the PC has always been a testbed for future technologies. It's always more powerful/smarter/more capable than smaller form factors. As phone become more powerful, PCs will be even more. The world doesn't end there ya know, a PC is not only office work and sending e-mails. There will be new functionnalities that will come as PCs get stronger, that will then be incorporated into smaller devices and new functionalities will appear on PCs.


By SirKronan on 5/27/2011 1:28:16 AM , Rating: 2
You, sir, are my current hero with this quote. You are absolutely right on the money, and I can easily see all of those things you mentioned happening in the near future.

The PC is here to stay. Right now I am building an HTPC for a family member, and a desktop PC for a friend of mine to use for school work. Desktops continue to have a place in the home and demand on the market. Tablets are great companion devices, and may replace some laptop functions due to their pricing and portability, but desktops are still the value king and the reliability king, and the upgradability king, and the repairability king, should something happen to go wrong.

And don't forget they are STILL the gaming king. What will raise the bar on console development if their aren't PC's with cutting edge tech to push the graphics envelope?


By smackababy on 5/26/2011 12:52:51 PM , Rating: 5
You're right! PCs are out the door and all software and apps for those smartphones and consoles will be developed on iPads and smart phones... Seriously? The majority of the world does more than check their email and Facebook on a computer.

And as far as the Skype purchase, it was a great idea. iPhones already have Facetime which only works with iPhones. People want that on Windows Phones. Skype allows it to work on EVERY phone and work on Windows PCs as well. The name is already trusted and isn't another Microsoft "product". It doesn't have the (largely false) negative image of MS products and millions (well maybe thousands) of users already.


By Boze on 5/26/2011 2:22:45 PM , Rating: 2
Uh, where have you been for the past 8 years?

Skype has many... many millions of users.


By Taft12 on 5/26/2011 2:35:48 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
The majority of the world does more than check their email and Facebook on a computer.


Add Youtube to the list and that's *exactly* what a majority of the world does on their computer.


By Da W on 5/26/2011 4:06:16 PM , Rating: 5
Add gaming (why don't we call this playing?) better games than on consoles, or flash games that you can't play on most phone/pads.
Add work - like text / excel /powerpoint presentations.
Add watch DVD/Blue ray movies.
Add downloading music / movies / pirated stuff.
Add browsing the internet on a FAST browser with a FAST connection.
Add recording TV shows on a HTPC.
Add: creating stuff, editing photos, videos, coverting music/movies formats to put on your IPOD/IPAD/useless apple toy.
Add: wasting your time posting trash on Daily Tech.


By omnicronx on 5/26/2011 10:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
At home...

I just never understand the theory that limited consumer devices are going to take over the business market (the majority of PC sales) anytime soon (if ever).

Taking this further, its crazy if they think people are going to vastly diverge from what they use at home, to what they use at work.

Until some kind of compromise is made, devices like tablets, smartphones etc will only complement the PC, and will not replace it.


By ddh on 5/27/2011 4:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Text


Well Said sir. In addition to Skype's integration in the Windows OS products i believe you sill see an version of it aggressively integrated into every MS appliance. such as the XBox, Tablets and other such devices. Skype for business is huge and growing rapidly as more and more business world wide utilize this technology to leverage operational costs. I see MS improving Skype and building a better Windows 2008 or cloud based PBX server for Skype business clients. Watch out Telco's here comes MS Screaming into your markets.


By Reclaimer77 on 5/26/2011 7:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
....

They rolled out the worlds first true Internet capable console and revolutionized online gaming with X-Box live. But I guess that's all because of a "marketing campaign"?

Established markets are hard to get into, especially when there is a high entry cost. So MS could meet that cost, big deal. "Throwing money" around won't automatically make you a winner. Sorry but the X-Box was a quality product with a GREAT game library and a revolutionary online service. You can try to discredit this all you want, but you come off as being extremely biased.

quote:
not microsoft's maligned product-quality with regards to hardware.


You seem pretty confused. Yes, the 360 had some pretty major quality control issues. But the original X-Box was freaking bullet proof. Hell mine still works to this day.

I still remember those way early days of Halo online play. Sorry but NOTHING on the market at the time could come even close to delivering that kind of gaming experience. That wasn't "marketing" man, get a clue.


By Paj on 5/27/2011 8:27:48 AM , Rating: 2
Yep. Lets not forget that it was a lot more feature rich than PS2 as well. Graphically more powerful.

The PS2 was marketed extremely heavily too. Who remember those wacky 'third place' ads? WTF? They made no sense. Trying to be all 80s apple.


By robinthakur on 5/31/2011 12:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
I beg to differ. The first console was not 'Internet capable', there was no web browser, just as there isn't one for the 360. The Dreamcast was actually the first broadband capable console long before the Xbox and it had a Web browser!

The Xbox might have been a quality Product with a "GREAT" game library (this is open to opinion) but MS themselves cared not a jot when they killed it overnight and released the 360 because the hard disks were too expensive to manufacture and they wanted to steal a lead in the next generation, which did not exactly endear them to gamers or developers at the time in the slightest.

The 360 did have Major quality issues, and this vast one-off reparative cost together with the marketing and R&D on both consoles meant that MS only started making a modest profit only from 2008.

Re: Halo online play being 'revolutionary', this kind of thing had been out on the PC dating back to Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake and Unreal Tournament on PC. Halo was unremarkable in terms of experience and its generic graphics and characters, even for the time (way before the OTT marketing came into play and the supposed 'Legendary' status) with the most notable thing being that it allowed 16 player system link play (Live was not available at the time it launched) which had not been done on console before. Apart from being the only fairly good game on the Xbox at launch, nobody actually accorded it that much attention at the time. What was the great experience exactly? Playing a cut down developed-for-Mac game on a console? I think you are letting marketing rewrite the past whilst looking back through your rose-tinted spectacles...


Problem
By dagamer34 on 5/26/2011 10:21:19 AM , Rating: 3
The problem isn't getting rid of Ballmer, that's the easy part. It's finding someone to replace him with. It's because people think replacing a person like Bill Gates is "easy" to do. His two titles back in 2000 (CEO and Chief Software Architect) would have basically had replacements that needed to be "let go" and he did BOTH jobs when he was at Microsoft.

No, as much as everyone wants Ballmer gone, they need to find a worthwhile replacement for him first. Having an interm CEO while they do a search for weeks-months would be even worse for moral, plus the fact that Interm CEOs aren't really allowed to change the direction of the company. It would just be wasted time.




RE: Problem
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 5/26/2011 10:25:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The problem isn't getting rid of Ballmer, that's the easy part. It's finding someone to replace him with.


Exactly!! Hasn't Microsoft lost like a dozen or so key execs in the past two or three years? There's nobody left!

About the best thing they could do would be to bring someone from the outside, and with a company so big like MS, that would likely be a disaster.


RE: Problem
By DanNeely on 5/26/2011 10:29:58 AM , Rating: 4
Yup. Ballmer sacked or drove off every plausible internal successor.


RE: Problem
By dani31 on 5/26/2011 10:33:16 AM , Rating: 1
They need better management and a clearer vision. For this they can safely get someone from the outside, it's not like replacing their key software designers.

No manager is irreplaceable.


RE: Problem
By robinthakur on 5/26/2011 12:43:10 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed. It's a very depressing situation actually because MS's workforce are generally incredibly bright people and they make some great products, whilst Ballmer intimidates them all. This is one very good example where the person leading the strategy at a company was completely out of sync with the market and where it was heading.

In a way I feel for Ballmer though. Microsoft's range of products is now vast, and how can one focus adequately over such a diverse catalogue and still ensure quality is kept high? Critically, once the financial markets lose respect for you, it is nearly impossible to bring it back, and I get the impression that this Hedge Funder is merely articulating in public what many have been saying in private going back a long way. If he decides to go, watch MSFT rocket upwards...

Ballmer is bullish and will never shy from a fight, even if it isn't in MS's interests in the longer term. He is a brilliant attack dog, but does not have the vision to be leading a top technology company. The 2 things which lost MS the biggest cachet of respect were Vista, and crucially people seeing Apple and Google as competitors.

Next to Microsoft's lumbering giant of a company, both of the other companies seem more agile even if neither of them really compete tangibly on any other front other than public mindshare. Microsoft is a software company, Google is in advertising and Apple is a branded ecosystem of hardware and software. Even if you may hate Apple, their direction and determination are peerless because they are strongly led by Steve Jobs and it is unsurprising that this zeal extends to their customers. As much as I love Windows 7, SharePoint or Visual Studio they do not excite me as products.

Critically, MS has left failing products on the market just long enough for people to remember them (Kin, Zune, Vista, Wimo, Windows Live) and allowed it to taint their brand, not to mention juicing up more cash to keep them going. Those that remain such as the Xbox, which started out very shakily, are not exactly gold mines.

I think MS is too tolerant within their management structure of failure and is too vertical to be managed effectively. To say that Ballmer cannot be replaced is erroneous, but in terms of who would be qualified to replace him, alot of Senior execs would either view this as a tremendous opportunity or a poisoned chalice. It can be done, as HP's new CEO seems to be getting off to a decent start. I think personally, Bill Gates is the obvious choice and inspires considerably more respect within MS and the wider industry than Ballmer ever has.


RE: Problem
By Samus on 5/26/2011 1:00:57 PM , Rating: 2
Right, but Google, Apple, Intel, and Oracle have the bright kids now. I had a friend out of engineering school (Rose-Hulman) trying to get a job at MS for years, he even volunteered relocating from Kirkland to Redmond with his girlfriend (she brought him out to Kirkland after they graduated). MS gave him two interviews with no follow ups. Now he works at Intel and lives in Portland, Oregon.

Microsoft is sucking the talent.

And damn this coffee is delicous! I'm going to smack that new intern on the ass next time she toots by.


RE: Problem
By omnicronx on 5/26/2011 10:42:45 PM , Rating: 2
Please for the love of god stop making blind statements based on the experience of a friend.

MS has and still poaches the best of the best computer engineering students (and foreign workers) each year. Not saying others don't either, but you are kidding youreslf if you think 'Google, Apple, Intel, and Oracle have the bright kids now'

Furthermore, when you combine hardware companies and software companies together in the same blanket statement, you lose all credibility.

Microsoft is unmatched in terms of software development. While others such as Google are catching up, MS has no shortage of bright individuals, that's for sure.. (To give you an idea how much bigger MS is, they have over 90 thousand employees, while Google has around 1/4 that number)


RE: Problem
By robinthakur on 5/31/2011 11:32:04 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft's Server products are fantastic and rightfully sell by the truck load. If you look at the Windows Phone 7 development suite, it is likewise brilliantly executed, so the problem is that MS is not properly communicating this to their target market or their target market has already stopped listening.

What MS really falls down on is the consumer market or anything where they market direct to the consumer. Even the Xbox (a rare hit) is more its own brand than a bona-fide MS brand. The danger is that the brand becomes toxic to consumers due to too many failures and the feeling that MS is not innovating anymore, they are following and that other companies can do the same things better and more appealingly.

Again, the true problem here is not today, it is 5 years in the future as their market share is eroded, most probably because the vast majority of their public traditional customers transition to devices which don't run windows/office etc. Microsoft desperately need a clear vision in this arena or they are simply acting defensively and burning money for no return. The first thing they should do is develop Office (and SharePoint integration) for other Operating Systems or market their own OS's with that integration far more persuasively. Whining that "people like the OS once they use it" does not explain the poor sales or the fact that so few people are even willing to try it.


RE: Problem
By Smilin on 5/27/2011 10:38:22 AM , Rating: 2
I could not disagree more.

Kevin Turner would be an awesome replacement. He is a business guy first and foremost. He also has a great ear for his geeks and for customers.

He was brought in during the Vista fumbling was ending. Want to tell me what happened next?

The guy drives crisp execution. MS has plenty of innovation but crap gets bogged down in big corporation style (don't worry fanboys its already happening to google and Apple was mired and will be again after jobs leaves). Turner has shown repeatedly that he cuts through the crap and gets things out the door. He also does things like kill the Kin when it's obvious it's dead.

I know everyone wants the days of Bill back but remember this: Having a geek drive a company only works until running the business gets in the way of growing the idea. Most of the business (not innovation) success that Gates had was the result of really vicious business tactics. Ballmer took over after Gates already tarnished the brand.


RE: Problem
By SL4P on 5/30/2011 4:03:59 AM , Rating: 2
To start with, apart from parking Ballmer... ensure that 50% of the board do NOT have MBAs, are not lawyers, and are not relatives of major shareholders.

Hire some visionary risk takers to balance the corporate BS and legalities.

Heck, if M$ do it and succeed, then maybe we can convince the other tech corporations and even the government to go with progress instead of profits.

I'm sure Bill would be suppoortive of this - it's how they started.


Not sure it matters...
By Motoman on 5/26/2011 10:44:36 AM , Rating: 5
...all that much who's in charge there. The ultimate issue that I see is that people use Microsoft products because it's difficult not to - Windows and Office being the obvious examples.

Despite what the mouth-foaming Macolytes like Tony Swash would have you believe, there aren't really any Microsoft "fanboys" that I think you could correlate to the fanbase of Apple. No one runs up and down the aisles claiming that MS is teh greatest blah blah like Apple fans do. People use Windows because it's the only rational choice...there's not a reasonable alternative if you actually want to participate in the computing world. People use Office because MS abused their OS monopoly position to make Office the defacto standard for office suites. Anyone in the world would otherwise be just fine using pretty much any other office suite - but MS Office took over...so it's the path of least resistance.

Ultimately, MS is generally seen as, at best, the "safe choice" or the "rational choice." At worst, they're a necessary evil. It doesn't really get any better than that...they're never the "fun choice" or the "stylish choice" or the "man-oh-man I can't wait to get my hands on that new gadget" choice.

That's something I don't think you're going to change. And only Apple can ever defeat Apple. Apple will never be a company that competes on the merits of it's products unless it manages to do something so remarkably stupid as to snap it's consumer base out of their comas. And as time as proven again and again, it seems that not even the most stupid actions ever seen in the tech world can seem to do that.

So forget Apple. You're no more likely to take marketshare from Apple than Nazis are to recruit Jews into their ranks. The first step for MS is going to be to change it's market perception from a "necessary evil" to "attractive provider of useful products" first. And while that might sound like a small step...it will be nearly insurmountable for MS to achieve.




RE: Not sure it matters...
By StanO360 on 5/26/2011 12:30:13 PM , Rating: 1
MS abused their monopoly position to make Office the defacto standard. You are either young or stupid or both.

I remember buying MS Word, because it was cheaper and it was not the "safe" choice, but I was worried that it wouldn't be WordPerfect compatible. Office is an example of disciplined business on MS's part (that don't always do that).

They brought Word and Excel into an office environment completely dominated by WordPerfect and Lotus. They made a better product at a better price and took the market over.


RE: Not sure it matters...
By Motoman on 5/26/2011 1:14:16 PM , Rating: 3
Nope. I was completing a college degree in IT at the time that Word was first coming out.

Any claim that MS didn't leverage their OS monopoly to push Office into businesses worldwide is pure morony.

Neither Word nor Excel were better than WordPerfect or Quattro Pro or Lotus 123. They were, however, aggressively pushed into the business world on the backs of Windows OS contracts, and therefore took over.

For you to assert otherwise indicates that you are either too young to have been there at the time (and are therefore lying), or stupid. Or both. Your failure is comedic in scope.


RE: Not sure it matters...
By Reclaimer77 on 5/26/2011 6:51:46 PM , Rating: 1
Remember, on Daily Tech, everything you do to improve your company or make more profits is "abusing your market position".


Needs to resign
By shompa on 5/26/2011 10:23:56 AM , Rating: 1
Microsoft with Balle-mer has been an epic fail. The shares have failed sharply since he took over. Microsoft has had minimum of innovation.

The only brilliant move was to infiltrate Nokia. Now with Nokia shares driven down over 50% Microsoft can buy Nokia.




RE: Needs to resign
By Belard on 5/26/11, Rating: 0
RE: Needs to resign
By Mitch101 on 5/26/2011 10:34:27 AM , Rating: 2
Since he took over or since Bill Gates retired? Most stocks fall when the main character of the company leaves.

Microsoft's biggest fail is their advertising department. They let Windows take flack and never fire back. The only time they did was the buying a computer under $1000.00 ads. The commercials are clean but not memorable. The only thing anyone talked about beyond the sub $1000.00 pc is the girl in the nighty on the windows phone commercial. We should be talking about the phone not the girl.


RE: Needs to resign
By enlil242 on 5/26/2011 2:13:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The only thing anyone talked about beyond the sub $1000.00 pc is the girl in the nighty on the windows phone commercial. We should be talking about the phone not the girl.


She's pretty hot though... Wait. what was the question again?


RE: Needs to resign
By Smilin on 5/27/2011 10:43:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Microsoft's biggest fail is their advertising department. They let Windows take flack and never fire back.


This.

They also let superior products just go completely unnoticed. Zune beats iTunes, OneNote doesn't exist, Live Messenger did video before skype and integrated with facebook/xbox, Virtual Earth was running before Google earth, etc. Just one big fail after another. When they get the whip cracked and are handed a wad of cash they hire Jerry Seinfeld.


IBM
By Pessimism on 5/26/2011 1:16:55 PM , Rating: 2
IBM may be called slow and lumbering, but they know how to survive. They see when a business unit is going south, dump it, and diversify into another market. They don't waste money swallowing other companies that may or may not benefit them. There will always be a need for consulting due to the human race's unrivalled ability to screw up and get themselves into a bind.




RE: IBM
By KoolAidMan1 on 5/26/2011 2:50:00 PM , Rating: 2
Nailed it. Selling off business units with ever declining profit margins, hardware divisions like laptops to Lenovo for example, was a great move.

They're basically doing what Apple is, but in a completely different market. Cut out as much fat as possible and focus on excelling in your areas of expertise, instead of focusing your energy everywhere and releasing many products of wildly different quality into the wild. This only seems to dilute the power of a brand.

Keep It Simple.

On a side note, I don't understand how Microsoft with their massive R&D budget that far exceeds both the R&D and marketing budgets of behemoths like Apple and HP results in so little ROI. The structure of Microsoft seems to get in the way of all of these amazing ideas finding their way into products that actually get made.


RE: IBM
By SL4P on 5/30/2011 4:07:55 AM , Rating: 2
Whoa there Nellie...

Microsoft buys successful innovators, misunderstands their product and the matket - and crashes the newly acquired division.

This not survival, it's a long protracted suicide - taking down the community with you.


Bring back James Allard
By pixelslave on 5/26/2011 11:01:54 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft needs James Allard, not Ballmer.




RE: Bring back James Allard
By Arsynic on 5/26/2011 11:38:18 AM , Rating: 3
I agree. His name is Jeremie Allard, though.

Allard is a visionary and would have been a great candidate.


Poor tech vision VS business vision
By Ramstark on 5/26/2011 10:29:53 AM , Rating: 2
One of the main problems with Ballmer is the stubborness with which he keeps trying to roll the biggest tech company with a "good" "strategic" business vision.
Not all companies can be run "Wall Street style"...




By Arsynic on 5/26/2011 11:42:03 AM , Rating: 1
"Strategic" is Wall Street for "safe". "Safe" companies usually don't innovate, they just imitate a product once it's successful and then throw a shitload of money at it.

This describes Microsoft under Ballmer to the T.


Pick their fights
By farsawoos on 5/26/2011 11:47:39 AM , Rating: 1
I'm not sure how this relates to Balmer or not, but one thing that I've noticed MS doesn't seem terribly good at is picking those few winning products out of the huge heaps of "rational choice" products (to use an earlier comment's terms) and really driving those home. They eventually get it right, but it seems like it takes them an inordinately long time to get there. Look at the XBox ecosystem. They were smart to move the 360 toward the center of the home theater experience, rather than simply leaving it as a game console, especially since competition from Sony, Nintendo, and the PC realm were still so strong. But how long did that take? Several years, as I recall, and how much did they lose in that time to Sony? Backing HD-DVD (as much asI agreed with that) was a failed move, too, that set them back considerably once BluRay took off.

WinPhone7 is another example. It's potentially great product. I'm an Android user, but I'm keeping my eyes fixed very heavily on MS's new mobile OS. But already we see how long it's taking them to address some of the issues, plug some of the holes that, honestly, shouldn't have been there in the first place (multitasking? copy/paste? REALLY, guys?). I'm still waiting on them to bring tighter integration with their Server products, so that they can take some of RIM's market share. They have the ability to do it, it's just a matter of drive and direction.

What a mess!




RE: Pick their fights
By Jalek on 5/26/2011 11:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft's missed the boat several times, the internet "fad" seems to have lasted a while, but when Netscape was posting billions in revenues, the fad became a market they wanted into, and that created IE (for better or worse).

They were hugely successful playing catchup while using their market position and incentives to gain market share.

Their strength seemed to be in their small-group development structures allowing them to rapidly change direction when the tide direction became clear, while more traditional organizations would flounder and take significantly longer to redirect their efforts.

When I held the stock, you knew the market directions coming for every public appearance. Ballmer would talk, stock would dip, then Gates would talk, and it'd climb. Made a bit of money banking on that.


Ballmer is a a liability as CEO
By randomly on 5/26/2011 11:06:53 AM , Rating: 2
I've never been impressed with Ballmer. He's aggressive, but he consistently fails to understand products and misjudges the marketplace. I would have to agree that he is not a benefit to Microsoft as a CEO.
Shear force of will is not a replacement for being able to see where you are going.




By Arsynic on 5/26/2011 11:28:08 AM , Rating: 2
The consumer personal computer as we know it is fading. The personal computer used to have a monopoly on consumer computing. That's no longer true in the world of smartphones and tablets. Microsoft's business model is still mostly based on people buying PC's and the over-priced software for them.

The consumer personal computer will be mostly absorbed by Converged Computing devices (smartphones that dock into tablets that dock into desktop pcs). The majority of these devices in their current form, smartphones, DO NOT RUN WINDOWS. Ballmer is setting Microsoft up to be selling OS and software to devices that will not sell in the numbers that they used to.

The Microsoft of tomorrow will basically be an Entertainment (Xbox ecosystem) and Enterprise (Windows Server ecosystem) company if Ballmer stays. Because at the trajectory they're heading, their consumer software business is drying up.




It's still the economy stupid!
By Roffles on 5/26/2011 4:25:14 PM , Rating: 2
When companies start taking the advise of their greedy investors, you know the end is near.

Many, many, MANY people out there are stuck inside a consumer bubble reality. They foolishly think the world revolves around their shiny cell phones and tablets. Unfortunately, many of the gadget reviewers out there are also stuck inside this consumer bubble reality...and they push the "death of the PC" rhetoric onto the masses.

There are lots of people out there who need powerful computers to do real work in design, drafting, engineering, editing, entertainment, health, modeling, database, etcetera. Our economy is still very fragile and businesses are not spending money on technology. That's why Microsoft is relatively stagnant compared to the more consumer and government oriented business.

If and when the economy regains it's momentum, executives aren't going to rebuild their networks with iOS, ChromOS or whatever else may be popular in the consumer space. It's no secret that the latest versions of Windows Desktop and Server are the best option for a typical business that hasn't pulled the upgrade trigger in the last 3-5 years.




investor?
By ddvil on 5/27/2011 2:56:30 AM , Rating: 2
by the way doesnt the article say the investor einhorn has only 0.11% of m$ share? he probably owns a lot less than what balmer owns on m$




Microsoft is gonna do real good
By DerekZ06 on 5/27/2011 9:51:29 AM , Rating: 2
I would personally be investing in Microsoft especially around the time the next xbox comes out. After the Song fiasco how many people are going to buy a PS4? The PS4's market will not turn to Nintendo that's for sure.




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