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Meanwhile Ballmer looks to pump shareholders up with a letter emphasizing Microsoft's success

When a more mature Steve Jobs came back to Apple, Inc. (AAPL), he revitalized the company he co-founded as a rebellious youth.  Millions of iPods, iPhones, and iPhones later, Apple is the world's most valuable company in terms of market cap.  Meanwhile, Apple's perennial rival Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is struggle not for want of user, but for a faltering brand image.  Some say that Bill Gates -- the man who founded Microsoft and drove it to its initial success -- should return.

I. Bill Gates: No Comeback for me

But at his keynote at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2012 -- a leadership conference -- Bill Gates all but ruled out a return, saying his focus was on his philanthropic work, and it would remain that way.  He said:

Steve Jobs did a phenomenal piece of work. Apple, most people would have expected, were on their way going out of business. He had run Apple since it was a tiny company and then he came back in and made incredibly valuable. It’s a phenomenal business story and I thought Walter Isaacson did a good job catching that in the book. Steve and I were friends, competitors – we were a lot of different things. It was amazing what he did.

I’m now committed full time to my foundation work and I give about 15% of my time as Chairman of Microsoft. Microsoft is moving ahead with Windows 8 that combines the best of tablet with PC. This month the very first hardware based on that idea including Microsoft’s own Surface will ship. So there’s a lot of exciting stuff ahead in software and I didn’t retire from Microsoft because I thought things were getting boring. In fact a lot of best ideas- the vision of artificial intelligence and robots are still ahead but i did decide the philanthropic world was where my contribution would be more unique and so thats what I’ll work on full time for the rest of my life.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates says "no" to a Microsoft comeback. [Image Source: Flickr/Bill Gates]

Some people will be disappointed that Mr. Gates is resisting a comeback.

II. Steve Ballmer: Microsoft is Strong

But Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is convinced no comeback is necessary.  He insists that the image that Microsoft lacks creativity is badly out of date.  In a letter to shareholders, he brags that 1.3 billion people worldwide use Windows and that there are 8 million active Windows app developers.

The boisterous chief executive is bullish on Windows 8 tablets and Windows Phone 8, bringing a unified Windows experience across mobile and traditional computing devices.  

Microsoft has skeptics aplenty, particularly when it comes to Windows 8.  But as Mr. Ballmer puts it:

For fiscal year 2012, revenue grew to a record $73.7 billion. We also maintained strong cost discipline resulting in cash flow from operations of $31.6 billion, an increase of 17 percent from the prior year. In addition, we returned $10.7 billion to shareholders through stock buybacks and dividends.

In other words financially Microsoft shows little sign of being a "dying" brand as some opinion pieces have claims.

Windows 8 is a huge risk.  But Steve Ballmer is convinced it will pay off, even as Bill Gates watches -- permanently -- from the sidelines.

Sources: T-Break, Microsoft

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I admit it...
By Aenslead on 10/10/2012 1:19:10 PM , Rating: 5
I think I'm a Microsoft junkie. I like their stuff. I buy everything from them. I like Windows 8 (and liked Windows Vista when it first came out), I just dumped my iPhone for a Lumia 800 and eagerly waiting for Lumia 920 to appear, and I will purchase a Windows RT device, maybe a Surface. I cannot use anything that's not Office and I have tried several times to migrate some of my work to OS X and failed because, well, it sucks and I suck at it.

There. So yeah, I think and hope Win8 won't be the flop everyone thinks it will be because it's doing what Apple did (albeit at a much higher level) with their iStuff: device integration.

RE: I admit it...
By ShaolinSoccer on 10/10/2012 1:39:57 PM , Rating: 4
I've said it before and I'll say it again. There are tons of people still on Windows XP (including myself). Support will be ending very soon for that OS. I consider myself a gamer so upgrading to Windows 8 for $40 is the smart thing to do considering I'll be getting DirectX 10, 11 and longer OS support. I've used Windows 8 and learned enough about it to use it with ease with a mouse and keyboard. Not having a start menu doesn't bother me. Plus, you can download an app to add the start menu back in. No big deal...

RE: I admit it...
By andrewaggb on 10/10/2012 1:55:02 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 8 is fine. Metro/whatever needs some work, but it boots SO much faster than windows 7 and seems to run as good or better in every other way that I've been putting it on everything. Still runs all the same apps you used in windows 7/xp etc so to me metro doesn't matter much.

RE: I admit it...
By SlyNine on 10/10/2012 2:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
I don't agree. By taking the choice from the users they are hurting themselves. All they have to do is include a start (which is basically mini metro), and allow us to boot straight to explorer.Why oh why is that so out of reach.

The big issue I see is, how will the standard user approach not having standard close buttons? Getting stuck in apps and not knowing how to get back. I've let people try out Windows 8, its generally not pretty. Of the few I seen, most seem to prefer windows. Interested to see how the general public handles this.

I really hope they handle this fine, I love building and playing with PC's and PC gaming, and another badly perceived windows launch won't help PCs any.

RE: I admit it...
By Mitch101 on 10/10/2012 4:24:21 PM , Rating: 2
I have some great news you can have START again for $5.00

Stardock will sell you a Windows 8 Start Menu for $5

RE: I admit it...
By Pessimism on 10/11/2012 1:14:33 PM , Rating: 2
Classic Shell is 0$.

RE: I admit it...
By erikstarcher on 10/11/2012 5:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
Classic Shell is no where near as good as Start8. The $5.00 is well worth it.

RE: I admit it...
By Maiyr on 10/10/2012 5:05:31 PM , Rating: 2
I have Win8 on my laptop and it boots straight to the desktop, not metro. I did not do anything to make this happen it is just the way it works.

BTW, this is free....


RE: I admit it...
By Mitch101 on 10/10/2012 10:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
Ill have to check this out Id rate you up for this tip tks.

RE: I admit it...
By SoCalBoomer on 10/11/2012 12:24:56 PM , Rating: 2
Here's another - vistart ( - I've been using it on various Win8 betas and it works great. I get my little orb back!

RE: I admit it...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/10/12, Rating: 0
RE: I admit it...
By inighthawki on 10/10/2012 3:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
Or even just use sleep mode for an instant on + be right where you left off :). It's still good though for when you actually do need to shut down.

RE: I admit it...
By Mitch101 on 10/10/2012 4:26:09 PM , Rating: 2
SSD solves those slow boot times as well. Since I got one I actually shut down my machine every now and then.

RE: I admit it...
By Spuke on 10/10/2012 7:09:28 PM , Rating: 2
I read that you could drag the desktop tile to the upper left and that would boot you into desktop mode every time.

RE: I admit it...
By Master Kenobi on 10/10/2012 7:27:21 PM , Rating: 2
I'll have to fire up my vmware and download a copy from technet. I'll be more than happy to switch to Windows 8 if it boots into the desktop. I'm not a fan of a full screen start menu (which is all metro is) but I could probably deal with it until it gets fixed in SP1.

RE: I admit it...
By erikstarcher on 10/11/2012 5:17:06 PM , Rating: 2
Start8 from stardock gives windows 8 a start menu that looks just like 7, and lets you boot to the desktop. It is only $5.00, buy you can try it for 30 days for free.

RE: I admit it...
By Falacer on 10/10/2012 2:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't the general rule to skip every other Microsoft OS? So if you have Win7 on your home pc/laptop then one would not get Win8.

Microsoft has been trying for years and years to get Corporate America to upgrade from WinXP but I dont see that happening anytime soon.

RE: I admit it...
By FITCamaro on 10/10/2012 3:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
There are very few reasons I see to upgrade to Windows 8 over Windows 7.

The supposedly lower memory footprint is nice..

RE: I admit it...
By B3an on 10/10/2012 6:24:02 PM , Rating: 3
Theres loads of reasons... the main ones being faster speed, lower memory usage, better security + built-in AV (that actually works very well i've found). Then theres features like Storage Spaces which i personally would get Win 8 for alone. The better multi-monitor support is also nice, if late. I also like the new File Explorer and the simple things like finally being able to pause file copying. It's also fixed issues i've had with old and not well known games, which would crash on start on Win 7.

Theres more desktop improvements in 8 than there was with 7 compared to Vista. For $40 i dont see any reason not to just upgrade. If you're on Win 7 it will keep all your settings and files.

RE: I admit it...
By Master Kenobi on 10/10/2012 7:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
Windows "Upgrades" have kept settings and files since the Win2K era. It is generally considered a mortal sin to actually "upgrade" any version of windows. You load it fresh and then migrate the data over afterwards. In place upgrades only serve to cause weird shit to happen down the line that there is no explanation to other than "must be something carried over from the previous OS".

RE: I admit it...
By MadMan007 on 10/10/2012 4:18:32 PM , Rating: 3
You didn't mention that you had a Zune. MS junkie? pfft

RE: I admit it...
By Aenslead on 10/11/2012 2:19:52 PM , Rating: 2
It's the app used to sync my Lumia, so yeah, I use that too. Though, I confess, don't fancy it as much as I fancy iTunes...

RE: I admit it...
By tayb on 10/10/2012 5:38:16 PM , Rating: 2
The majority of people who think Windows 8 will be a flop have fundamental misunderstandings about the OS. A lot of these same people have never even used the OS and assume that Metro is the ONLY way to use the OS. They don't really even understand what Windows RT is and what makes it different from Windows 8.

I have two big complaints against Windows 8, both of which I believe will be fixed by MS post-launch.

1. You can't boot into the desktop. Windows+D isn't an annoying keyboard command but I would just rather have a setting option to boot into the desktop and control that setting on each device. I can guarantee you that this will be fixed via an update and/or a 3rd party program that does this for you.

2. Visual Studio 2012 Express (free edition) is restricted to Metro only apps. They want developers building Metro apps to boost their metro app catalog. Understandable. I think eventually they'll unlock this with VS12 SP1 but at launch developers will be stuck with VS10 (not bad but loses the newest compiler) or a paid version of VS12.

All in all I would say there is an incredible level of confusion and misunderstanding about Windows 8 and Windows RT. I blame Microsoft for most of this confusion as they haven't done even a 10% reasonable job of managing this confusion. Where are the ads and "tech talks" answering questions?

RE: I admit it...
By Ringold on 10/10/2012 6:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
2. Visual Studio 2012 Express (free edition) is restricted to Metro only apps. They want developers building Metro apps to boost their metro app catalog. Understandable. I think eventually they'll unlock this with VS12 SP1 but at launch developers will be stuck with VS10 (not bad but loses the newest compiler) or a paid version of VS12.

Thats my biggest issue; Metro's a shameless attempt to monetize apps on Windows machines. Next step is to cripple access to API's and whatnot to apps not installed via Metro, and the step after that? Platform lockdown, just like we see in cell phones and tablets, where installing anything third party might require cracking a boot loader, etc.

I'll end up using Win8, but if MS goes another step in that direction, I'll throw my lot in with the commies in linuxland just to spite them. The enemy of my enemy would become my friend.

RE: I admit it...
By Duraz0rz on 10/10/2012 9:26:06 PM , Rating: 2
For point #2, there's Visual Studio 2012 for Windows Desktop which lets you create desktop applications in C#, C++, or VB. Basically 2010's Express editions for those languages rolled into one suite.

Look on the Visual Studio download page for it:

RE: I admit it...
By Etsp on 10/11/2012 11:46:46 AM , Rating: 2
More specifically, that page lists "Visual Studio 2012 Express for Windows Desktop" AND "Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8" on that page.

So, yeah, the OP has old information.

By Bubbacub on 10/10/2012 3:23:05 PM , Rating: 3
i really hope winrt (and the associated walled garden that is mashed into win8) dies quickly.

microsofts simulation of the apple business model takes us back to a proprietary dark age.

tight integration of hardware and software with tyranical central control along with a bit of customer assrape works well for macolytes.

i dont want to see that happen to the win/x86 space.

I want MS to do two things:

1: get rid of the locked bootloader - this is f%^&ing outrageous, overly restritive and anticompetitive

2: allow sideloading of metro apps via competing app stores and direct downloads of installation files.

p.s. and i didnt once mention wanting a start menu (i deserve recognition for self restraint on that front)

RE: ms
By PsychoPif on 10/11/2012 8:21:24 AM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure I've read somewhere that the top Linux distro would get the certification needed to allow the dual boot under W8.

You have to take into account the added security it provide. For most ppl, it's a free bonus.

To those that do the dual boot, it's just a little more complicated, but surely not the end of the world.

RE: ms
By Bubbacub on 10/11/2012 4:28:41 PM , Rating: 2
not everyone is using ubuntu or fedora.

im using #! (crunchbang linux - very light and quick, debian base with openbox) - i dont think that this will install off a live cd on a new windows 8 laptop - if im worng please correct me.

overall i feel that the added security bonus can suck my balls

RE: ms
By erikstarcher on 10/11/2012 5:25:20 PM , Rating: 2
Then all you need to do is turn off the lock. Why complain about such trivial things? That's like saying MS can suck my balls because I don't want a blue back round, I like green ones. Or were you just complaining because you needed something to complain about?

Innovation in MS
By Ramstark on 10/10/2012 1:36:17 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure that the people that immediately decides that MS is a "bad" "non innovative" company are fanboys of some sort, antiCorp people that jut stuck in the time of "MS the world monopoly" slogan.
While I don't agree always with Ballmer's plans,his focus on developers isn't wrong. The core Windows ecosystem (call it Win7 or Win8) depends fully on two things business users and consumers. In the business department he is doing right, but in the consumer market (The target of "comeback Apple") MS is still struggling. The Xbox (full commercial/consumer product) is a hit, but one has to think, what other hardware/software has MS created for the consumer market? Windows 8 (in the "metro" ecosystem) IS that product and is going to be accompanied with his hardware partners Windows Phone and Surface. So, just like Apple has Macs, Macbooks and iStuff, now MS is aiming for the full consumer market with PCs, Ultrabooks and "8 Stuff" (thats patented you slogan stealers :P )Now the CONTENT for that ecosystem is what is going to be the difference.

We know that Mac has the upper hand in the tablet market,in great part due to the content apps that have been developed through the years. Now, if we integrate the full list of elements in each environment we could see that,in addition to the enlisted previously, we have Windows Servers, and Windows business software that could integrate in the consumer ecosystem. Managing to achieve a business/consumer environment. But, to get this to fully hit both client ( businesses and consumers) you have to offer very good and polished content, the OS doesn't matter much, the hardware neither, the CONTENT and CONTENT INTEGRATION is everything, so MS approach to the future of "post PC era" maybe just right...

My first rant on DT...xD

RE: Innovation in MS
By EnzoFX on 10/10/2012 2:22:12 PM , Rating: 2
I largely agree, but content and content integration is usually where they fall short. Then again, this is their real big test of that, I'm sure they'll put in that much stronger an effort.

Fire Balmer
By Reclaimer77 on 10/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: Fire Balmer
By nikon133 on 10/10/2012 4:18:37 PM , Rating: 5
Respectfully disagree.

MS decline started under Gates last years. Gap between XP and Vista? Gates years. Gap between Server 2003 and Server 2008? Gates years. Lacklustre Vista? Gates "child". Stagnating Windows mobile? Gates years.

I actually like Gates, but I think he got a bit too relaxed in his last years in MS. Maybe was already getting too involved in his charity. Or just getting tired from managing MS.

Balmer's years brought Windows 7, Server 2008 R2, new Windows Phone, Windows RT... among other things. MS woke up and came back to life under him. He might be a clown without grace, but he is clown aware of his shortcomings and capable of letting people below him to express their knowledge and talent. Under him, MS is finally - FINALLY! - on a right path to integrate their various products - mobile, tablet, desktop, gaming, services - into one big and well synced ecosystem, something that MS, as dominantly software company, should have beaten Apple a years ago.

Like him or not, I don't think one can ask for much more from CEO. Under him, MS moved from stale and invigorated their products across the whole range. But large companies have large inertia, ant time is needed for trend to change. But I'm really not worried about MS, not any more.

RE: Fire Balmer
By Reclaimer77 on 10/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/10/2012 4:31:14 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft has made more in recent years than it did during periods when the stock price was higher. The stock was by definition overvalued in years when it was making less. Its price multiple was up to 5 times higher during periods when the company was making far less in revenue.

RE: Fire Balmer
By OoklaTheMok on 10/10/2012 4:58:59 PM , Rating: 3
That chart is just about Market Value which is directly related to Stock Value. Stock value does not indicate anything related to the growth or performance of a company.

This chart doesn't indicate anything about the record income and profits, and overall business growth that has happened under Ballmer

RE: Fire Balmer
By Reclaimer77 on 10/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/10/2012 5:14:31 PM , Rating: 3
The stock chart supports your theory only if you have no idea what you're talking about.

Go back even farther and the stock is even more overvalued.

Microsoft has been doing great if you look at their revenue growth. Taking this information into account, the real story is that Wall Street put way too high a price tag on MSFT back in the day. It is making more money now than ever but its market value has also been made fair, that's all that's happened.

You know what's funny? For someone that puts so much value on greed and selfishness, you sure know nothing about finance.

If you want to talk about expanding outside of the Windows/Office markets then the argument holds, but I'm actually not convinced that Gates would have done much better. The failures of the Zune and Vista (way too many people skipped this upgrade at a time when they shouldn't have) were under his watch as well, as were falling asleep at the wheel with the smartphone and tablet revolutions.

RE: Fire Balmer
By Reclaimer77 on 10/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/10/2012 7:34:08 PM , Rating: 2
You keep trying to make Vista out to be some kind of failure, but I hate to tell you, it's one of the biggest hits Microsoft has ever had.

It wasn't as big as XP or 7. Compared to other versions of Windows it was an underperformer.

I personally liked Windows Vista, I thought it was fine after the first six months when it was patched up and third party drivers caught up. It is also clearly the basis of Windows 7, which is mostly a reskin of VIsta.

That's your opinion. Stock's cannot realistically be under or overvalued, since their worth is exclusively based ON the price of itself and no tangible good or resource.

No, there are actually hard metrics that are used to evaluate whether something is overvalued or undervalued.

You saying that what I am presenting as an "opinion" about Microsoft's stock price is like saying that it is my "opinion" that a Yonah Core 2 Duo is slower than an Ivy Bridge i7.

Stock price is partly the product of earnings and growth. Expectations are another factor, which factors into the earnings multiple (growth stocks have higher multiples, mature stocks have lower ones). Multiply earnings times the earnings multiple, currently 14.5, and that's the stock price.

If you bought Microsoft in 1999 when it had a PE of 75, that means that it would have had to grow profits at a rate of 75% every year for the next ten years it to make money on your return. That is impossible for a company of that size. Over the last decade the PE has dropped into a normal range as revenue has continued to grow. The stock has normalized and matured into a fair market value, despite the fact that their earnings have been on a constant upward trajectory.

A big reason why so many stocks flatlined over the last decade is because they were wildly overvalued around 2000. It has nothing to do with the inability to grow revenue, Microsoft has been doing a great job there. Microsoft is actually a solid buy right now, certainly more than it was back in 1999. Obviously they would have grown revenue even more if they could have broken through with phones and tablets like Apple or advertising like Google has, but those obviously don't play to Microsoft's core strengths.

In any case, your post is ridiculous. It is like saying that evolution is just a "theory" based on opinion, completely ignoring hard research and rigorous methods.

Don't use your personal ignorance as a basis for your arguments.

RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/10/2012 7:47:02 PM , Rating: 2
As for revenue, at its peak in 1999 Microsoft made $20 billion. Last year they made $70 billion.

Again, Microsoft's flatlined stock price isn't the victim of poor performance, it is the victim of being insanely overvalued and getting adjusted down (or sideways) from that.

RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/10/2012 8:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
*edit for clarification - "having been insanely overvalued", which it clearly was around 2000.

I think Microsoft has been a good value for a while. I myself picked up shares at 25 last year. Between that and a 3% dividend yield it is a solid and consistent investment.

RE: Fire Balmer
By paydirt on 10/11/2012 11:22:34 AM , Rating: 2
Ballmer has done a GREAT job with the core businesses of Microsoft; the acquisitions have been bad. He's doing just fine.

My hope is that they branch out Windows from here on out... Windows 8 for mobility (tablet phone), Windows 7 for desktop/laptop. Windows 7 is great for many people and I hope they keep some version of it going for a long time to come.

RE: Fire Balmer
By Reclaimer77 on 10/10/12, Rating: 0
RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/10/2012 9:56:06 PM , Rating: 5
No worries, I expect you to wallow in your own ignorance and consider that a plus

RE: Fire Balmer
By Pirks on 10/11/2012 3:00:48 AM , Rating: 5
Wasting time on such an unedicated obtuse idiot as Reclaimer is a mistake. Better spend your time somewhere else. Talking to a piece of wood is more effective. Even the Swashbuckler is way more fun :)

RE: Fire Balmer
By Reclaimer77 on 10/11/12, Rating: -1
RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/11/2012 4:11:31 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't about that, it is about improperly using a stock chart to try and prove a point. It is meaningless given that Microsoft had a completely bogus valuation when it was at its peak market cap due to the tech bubble.

They're making more money than ever, the only reason the stock has been flat is because it was just that insanely overpriced.

RE: Fire Balmer
By KoolAidMan1 on 10/11/2012 3:07:28 AM , Rating: 2
Takin dropped some serious knowledge here. Everything youve written is pathetic.

You got smashed, give it up

RE: Fire Balmer
By 0ldman on 10/11/2012 11:10:31 AM , Rating: 2
You keep trying to make Vista out to be some kind of failure, but I hate to tell you, it's one of the biggest hits Microsoft has ever had. They took Vista, and basically re-badged it as "Windows 7" fyi. There's literally no significant difference between the two.


I don't believe you own a PC. You must either be posting this from an Apple or an Android.

RE: Fire Balmer
By Reclaimer77 on 10/11/2012 12:52:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'm typing this from a Windows 7 machine, so yeah, "wow".

Instead of more ad-homenium attacks, can you please enlighten me and list the major differences between Vista and 7 that would disprove my statement? There are none. They are virtually the same OS.

That's been the consensus opinion of the IT industry for years now. I just love when I state something, and people act as if they've never heard it before. Give me a break, get a clue.

RE: Fire Balmer
By Mitch101 on 10/10/2012 5:15:40 PM , Rating: 2
It shows no real decline either.

The Majority of Microsoft is not consumer products like Apple and even Google is. Its with Server products like Server 2012, SQL 2012, Exchange 2013, Sharepoint 2013. Most people only really know of Windows and Office and No growth well a lot of people will upgrade/replace Windows with Windows newer versions on both the corporate and consumer world. When your 99% of the market some will go get an Apple and upgrades arent real growth so Microsoft needs to venture into new areas for real growth to occur.

And while people say what have you done lately?

How about being a major contentder in the gaming console market is one. I would dare say the Kinect was a way of winning the console market a second time around using the same console as it was one of the fastest selling products of all time. No disrespect to the PS3 but a lot of people I know are still miffed over having thier info lost by Sony.

Microsoft Sharepoint is also one of the fastest growing Microsoft business products of all time but how many consumers even know what it is?

Office 365 will gain ground it makes sense there are few areas where it needs improvement but its starting to gain traction.

What Microsoft didnt capitalize on was the consumer product market but thats about to change and this doesnt happen overnight and its not cheap to do either.

Microsoft Sync only if Ford can keep from screwing that up with Nuance and overcomplicating it.

Bing is gaining slightly on Google but not going to overtake it anytime soon. This is where Google can only lose ground.

Windows Phone will continue to gain ground its a great product weather you agree or not it has a high satisfaction rating and starting to pick up.

Windows Surface Tablets are coming and hopefully we will see some low prices on the RT versions of the product. Dont be surprised to see a Barnes and Noble $200.00 Windows version soon.

Microsoft Smartglass will win some people over as well in the entertainment market and area where the Apple TV and Google TV cant make traction. I think the X-Box 360 already won this war and there is a ton more coming here for Microsoft. That Gold membership is just that Microsoft Gold.

If Microsoft starts to win in the Tablet and Phone Market how much will that effect a company who's bottom line is a good 20% or more of thier revenue stream? Meanwhile its one product of the hundreds Microsoft produces.

Its almost like Netscape who said they were so Big Microsoft cant even compete eith them and where are they now?

RE: Fire Balmer
By Reclaimer77 on 10/10/2012 6:11:35 PM , Rating: 2
How about being a major contentder in the gaming console market is one.

Hmmm I thought it was Bill Gates who envisioned that and dumped billions of dollars into the Xbox and Xbox Live project while everyone was doubting him?

How about you have the courage to bring up that the decisions which lead to the Xbox 350 having a 50%+ failure rate happened under Balmer?

Bing is gaining slightly on Google but not going to overtake it anytime soon.

??? The only thing Bing has done is cost MS over a BILLION a year in losses, every year. Are you serious?

RE: Fire Balmer
By Mitch101 on 10/10/2012 10:05:40 PM , Rating: 2
The cost of admission on them is high if you want to compete. You cant limp in and expect to compete against and established product line or service. For anyone to compete in the search engine industry you have to go big or go home. Bing is really good when I remember to use it but Im so programmed to type google its hard to switch out. But I much prefer to use bing for airflight info and image searches.

I believe I read Google makes 3 Billion a month from search advertising so if Microsoft spends a Billion to grab 5% away from Google that translates to 1.8 Billion in search revenue for Microsoft. Thats a lot of incentive to get it right but your not going to do it spending a few thousand and limping in.

You cant tell me 36 Billion a year on search when you have tons of cash reserves your not going to take a stab at it especially when you have a good product.

Sure lets bring up the 360 RROD. Microsoft didnt back away from thier mistake they took responsibility and for that I have brand loyalty even though Im still on my first 360. Im sure some of those were victims of poor air flow placement but Microsoft put in a replacement program and stood by thier users. Sure they could have made more money if they didnt have a design issue but they didnt run from it. Ask those who got stuck with the similar issue from the NVIDIA chipsets that didnt get any coverage. There is a lot to be said about Brand Loyalty. Look at Sony sure the user base for linux was small but they didnt need to take it away and the same for backwards support. Im sure a lot of those people wont be trusting what Sony says. That might only be lets say a million people but thats a Million people telling others to buy the next X-Box instead because they were wronged by Sony. Who knows maybe more will defect to the next PS because of the RROD but maybe Microsoft saved them because they did make good on console replacement.

Every company can produce a dud the thing is Microsoft can afford to pee away a Billion. Eventually it pays off for them. Xbox 1 didnt sell compared to the PS2 but the 360 held its own.

Not all Android devices are winners ask most recently HTC's tablet and Apple has many duds in thier past too. Nobody is immune to it.

RE: Fire Balmer
By vol7ron on 10/11/2012 12:04:46 AM , Rating: 2
I actually like Gates, but I think he got a bit too relaxed in his last years in MS. Maybe was already getting too involved in his charity. Or just getting tired from managing MS.

Those gaps in product releases were due to solving security issues (e.g. the Blaster Worm), that demanded attention. Vista was supposed to be Windows 7, but because of the lack of programmers on the project, it became a halfway job between XP and 7 (similar to ME).

One of the big money makers for Microsoft is Sharepoint. Until recently, that product was crap, but has since gone some revision and made some huge improvements.

RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/10/2012 4:26:15 PM , Rating: 2
Only you would call the single greatest individual act of philanthropy "white guilt". Ugly.

As for the stock chart, it doesn't tell the whole story. Yes the stock has flatlined under Ballmer, but under Gates it was also during a period when techs were highly overvalued. In 1999, at the height of the dot-com bubble, Microsoft had a price-to-earnings multiple of 72. Nowhere near the current loony valuation of Amazon at 300, but still loony. Right now it carries a price multiple of 14.5, similar to other mature techs like IBM and AAPL.

It is normal for a large cap tech.

Microsoft eased into a fair market value given its earnings, end of story. It is why its stock price has remained flat while it has grown revenue. This is more about MSFT having been grossly overvalued ten years ago.

RE: Fire Balmer
By Reclaimer77 on 10/10/12, Rating: 0
RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/10/2012 5:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
Melinda Gates is probably the biggest motivator for his philanthropy, Warren Buffet being second.

And only you would call wiping out polio in India a bad thing. The man has more money than anyone, using that cash to help billions is bad? Ok, sure thing John Galt.

As for incompetence, innovating on new products has never been Microsoft's strength. The Zune came out under Gates' watch a month only before the iPhone was announced, that is a VERY late reaction to the iPod that came out six years prior.

Leveraging their position of existing market dominance has always been Microsoft's strength, and they've made more off the back of Windows and Office in the last few years than they have before. Profit growth isn't what it used to be, but the market for those products are much closer to a ceiling than other areas like smartphones and tablets. This doesn't mean that they still haven't grown in revenue year after year, they absolutely have.

The bottom line is that the stock price has flatlined while profits have increased, not decreased or been stagnant. Bringing out a stock chart, if you know what you're supposed to be looking at, mainly shows that Microsoft was grossly overvalued during its peak. You bringing it out in an argument shows that you have only the most superficial understanding of how to interpret these things.

RE: Fire Balmer
By OoklaTheMok on 10/10/2012 5:34:34 PM , Rating: 2
Do you have any idea what company has the most philanthropic employees? I'll give you a hint... It's the one that Bill Gates started. It's not really something a person at Microsoft just wakes up to one day. It's something that has existed since it's inception.

So just because you would feel at home playing the part of Scrooge with a billion dollars doesn't mean that someone else would.

With your anger directed at the notion of doing something noble and personally satisfying, maybe it's time to take an honest look at the type of life you want to lead.

RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/10/2012 7:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
The funny thing is that aside from being greedy, he has no grasp of financial concepts. His grasp on finance is about as bad as his grasp on tech. Greedy and stupid, amazing combo.

RE: Fire Balmer
By nikon133 on 10/11/2012 4:54:16 PM , Rating: 2
Zune was released in 2006. Gates retired in 2008.

By the time Balmer took over, it was already obvious that Zune is dead end. iPods were the Windows of music player market, and even they were scheduled for decline as smartphones were taking over.

To continue trying to keep Zune afloat would be as effective as trying to revive a week old cadaver found in the middle of nuclear blast zone; not only that it would not help the cadaver, it would hurt MS instead.

The real question was, why didn't MS have Zune and underlying services, say, back in 2002-ish?

iPhone was released in 2007. That was still under Gates' watch. Balmer was the one to ditch old WinMo and have Microsoft mobile solution to be redone from the scratch, also expanding it to tablets with Windows 8 RT. Gates' tablet vision was always about desktop OS on keyboardless laptop, and I wouldn't be surprised if his next step for smartphones - has he stayed on top of MS - wouldn't be something like Windows 7 on Atom based smartphone.

I'm working in IT from early '90. However you turn it, it is my strong belief that Gates last years at MS were marked by stall and tired, uninspiring products, while Balmer's first years are marked by invigorated, fresh and original products in pretty much every sphere of their existence.

RE: Fire Balmer
By TakinYourPoints on 10/11/2012 5:18:56 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with this. Gates is the greatest individual philanthropist in history and was a ruthless businessman who won the market partly through active coercion, but he was not a product guy or a technologist. Gates being back wouldn't really be any better than Ballmer, he didn't bring any market dominating products to the party outside of the already incumbent Windows and Office. Windows and Office are still the core of Microsoft's business, they pay for money losing ventures like Bing and XBox. How would things magically be any different under Gates?

As you said, under Ballmer's watch there has at least been actual shake-up and an attempt to try to integrate mobile and desktop. In the final years of Gates you had consumer products that were way too late to the punch. Even Samsung was all over copying the iPhone, why the hell was Microsoft six years late releasing the Zune?

Its no wonder why Gates left the company when he did, his time in tech was over. It is far better now that he's devoted to philanthropy, he has way more to contribute there than he does to technology.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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