Print 63 comment(s) - last by erikstarcher.. on Oct 11 at 5:25 PM

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  He insists that the image that Microsoft lacks creativity is badly out of date.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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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.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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