Window 7 is a huge hit, passing
its predecessor Windows Vista and soaring towards passing
Windows XP. Microsoft's Xbox 360 is finally yielding a net
profit (unlike the first Xbox, which lost Microsoft billions), and is
currently in second place behind only the Nintendo Wii. The
outlook for the Xbox 360 looks only to improve with the launch
Natal, a slick 3D camera-controlled system.However, for
some of Microsoft's other divisions, the picture is looking
increasingly grim. Sales of Windows Mobile 6.5 phones are
plunging amid tough competition from Google's Android, the
iPhone, and RIM's Blackberry smartphones. And Windows Phone 7
reportedly will have a number of key features missing at launch
and paste (which will reportedly only be available within
the mobile version of Office), multi-tasking,
and home screen customization.The Zune has also struggled.
It saw sales drop off in 2008 and 2009 after initial enthusiasm.
Despite nice hardware and a promising music subscription service,
Microsoft has been largely unable to successfully market the
product.As a result of these problems Microsoft is reportedly
planning a major shakeup of its Entertainment & Devices
Wall Street Journal.
This division covers the Xbox, Zune, and Windows Phone businesses and
made $1.67B USD in the first quarter of this year, or roughly 11
percent of Microsoft's total revenue.Among the current
departures that are broadly thought to occur is the departure of J
Allard, the chief experience officer and chief technology officer.
Allard was reportedly leading Microsoft's Courier tablet project.
Despite a relatively positive reaction from the public, Microsoft
curiously decided to scrap
plans of bringing the device to market. The Courier
could have proved a key competitor to Apple's iPad, which may
move 8 million units this year, according to at least one
analyst.Allard was reportedly angry
that Microsoft scrapped the project, which seemed so promising.
He threatened to quit, and reportedly was subsequently shown the door
CEO Steve Ballmer.Robbie Bach, a 22-year Microsoft
veteran and the division's president, may be another target.
Otherwise, a broad shakeup is expected across the middle level
management ranks.The question becomes whether Microsoft will
execute a similar shakeup of its internet division. Despite
scoring a big partnership with Yahoo in 2009, which made Microsoft's
Bing power Yahoo's search, the pair have since floundered. According
to market research firm Net Applications, Bing has
fluctuated around 3 percent, but failed to produce significant
growth. Yahoo, meanwhile has continued to plunge, dropping from
7.16 percent in July 2009 to 5.30 percent in April 2010.No
such shakeups of the internet division have been hinted at, but
Microsoft obviously needs some sort of new direction in this division
as well. The Entertainment & Devices changes are expected
to be announced within the upcoming week.
quote: How many people laughed at Microsoft when they said they were entering the game console market? Microsoft eventually gets it right.
quote: Seriously, anyone ever actually see a Zune advertisement?
quote: Xbox 360 connectivity will not win this fight.
quote: It's easy to see the root cause of Microsoft's woes. Ballmer is a buffoon, a doofus, that will have a legacy equal to HP's former CEO, Carly Fiorina.
quote: J Allard, the chief experience officer and chief technology officer.