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How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
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Mike_Acker
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Mike_Acker,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/20/2012 | 2:36:02 PM
re: How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
MSFT was built on the 5150 and the pent-up demand for computing created by the infamous corporate glass house

the "glass house" was secured (physically) for good reasons. and it created horrible log-jams of things folks wanted to do -- but couldn't get access/time for on the glass house system.

the 5150 allowed folks computing on their desks -- where they -- and their computers -- escaped from that glass house

but the new environment that was thus created featured -- and fed upon -- freedom of access and freedom of programming ...

but this success has proven to be its own worst enemy as sensitive tasks have moved into the unsecured environment without enough thought and planning . and this has resulted in the plague of malware that infests the internet today

XP/SP2 started to address this, and Vista/Windows 7 have helped

but what has become clear is that computer customers need two classes of machines: secured and experimental. MSFT doesn't have the secured type. Windows is beyond help: Linux is now 20 years ahead.

Game over.
pkohler01
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pkohler01,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/19/2012 | 6:30:51 PM
re: How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
Terrific article!
Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/19/2012 | 3:09:19 AM
re: How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
I think the biggest things that Microsoft can do to get back in the good graces of all involved is to split up and focus more on what's important to each of the newly formed components.

An infrastructure related group with all of the server/server app/cloud related products; a services/hosted services group that encompasses things like Office 365, Bing and Skype; a consumer related group - consumer OSes, gaming systems, mobile devices.

I think the idea would be to embrace the fact that Microsoft is not going to run every bit of people's daily technology lives and concentrate on doing the things that it does VERY well. Make products more interoperable, secure and just plain work without turning end-users into techno-wizards. That's Apple's draw, why can't Microsoft do it?

And finally, they need to re-make the image of the company - which includes getting rid of Ballmer. One of the more radical moves that I'd consider to replace Ballmer... Scott McNealy.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
AustinIT
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AustinIT,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/18/2012 | 2:25:42 PM
re: How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
Sorry, but I think you are the one losing focus here.

Look, Microsoft was way too early to the mobile game. Microsoft is not a hardware company and (for whatever reasons) the early mobile devices could not support what is needed to provide a good user experience. Even today, mobile has yet to live up to its potential... but it is gaining fast.

Anyone not embracing mobile is doomed to irrelevance. That is why you are wrong about MS and Win8. This is why Howard is wrong as well. Microsoft has recognized the power of mobile and the cloud and is rapidly re-inventing themselves. In fact, Win8 one ups iOS and OS X because it converges the OS across all platforms which is better for users, better for developers, and better for hardware OEMs.

Every technology ages and a company must continue to innovate. For instance, Apple is falling victim to their own success because they are no longer innovating. They are coasting at this point while their competitors are running right by them in terms of shear functions and features. Without Jobs, they are afraid to mess with success. Long term success dictates that you must recognize when these lulls become dangerous to your survival and then act upon it.
moarsauce123
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moarsauce123,
User Rank: Ninja
9/17/2012 | 11:37:50 PM
re: How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
Change does not equal innovation and WinRT isn't mature at all. Yes, Microsoft has over a decade of experience in the mobile arena, but everything Microsoft ever put on a mobile device eventually flopped big time - and not because the world wasn't ready, but because it was just mediocre product that did not address user needs.
Microsoft wants to do everything and everywhere and compete against everyone. This causes them to lose focus as can be seen with Win 8. Other than 'Metro' there is nothing groundbreaking new in Win8 and Metro is already years behind the competition. Microsoft should get out of the mobile and Internet business and instead focus on true OS innovation (so that we don't have use the same clunky two decades old NTFS on all our Windoze boxes) and making absolutely fantastic development tools. VS is still excellent, but it ages with .NET and already left Silverlight behind. And within a few years Microsoft will have to kill off .NET the same way as they did with VB6 and for exactly the same reasons. But then it will be not enough to just change or have one new gimmick, because everyone else already does that and is much faster and better at it.
So, in order to achieve that major shift, Microsoft has to do two things first: fire Ballmer and stop naming everything "Windows".
FransRe
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FransRe,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/17/2012 | 9:23:58 PM
re: How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
On the surface it looks like a good article. Deeper down it just provide a glance of the issues any large company has. In which area to expand my business, and with what software technology should I continue. The company needs to establish a knowledgeable management team to streamline its operations. Steve may not have the interest any more in doing this, but it looks like Bill still cares for his baby. Technology wise MS is still a powerhouse.
ANON1237925156805
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ANON1237925156805,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/17/2012 | 8:52:02 PM
re: How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
Excellent!!! On the money. One hopes that Redmond will read this because it would be very sad indeed to see them slide down the slow path to irrelevance.

It's been evident for years that Mr. Ballmer is part of the problem, not part of the solution. At this point perhaps the wisest thing that Microsoft can do is to open his golden parachute and look for a visionary executive, whether that person be a technologist or no, who can bring together the right expertise within the company to articulate a new roadmap for Microsoft with ruthless objectivity.

In a universe where everyone is articulating the same converged strategy overall, what will differentiate Microsoft from Google say in a way that makes them relevant? If they can't answer that, then move gracefully to the second tier so that at least they don't tank altogether.
mblanchetv3j
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mblanchetv3j,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/17/2012 | 7:37:20 PM
re: How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
What amazes me is that people who should know better complain constantly about Microsoft's lack of innovation - and now these same people complain because Microsoft is changing things too much. Windows 8 is a transformative technology, I don't think this fits your mold of a company that is sitting back watching the world go by Mr. Anderson. I have been in the technology business for many years and worked with everything from IBM operating systems, through early Unix, SCO Unix, Sun and NT. I am constantly amazed by the quality and innovation that comes out of Microsoft. They have made their mistakes; people and companies that take risks often do. .Net,.C#, WPF and now WinRT are mature, comprehensive and very productive technologies. So it appears Mr. Anderson has simply jumped on the bandwagon of tearing apart Apple competitors just because Apple is doing phenomenally well. I would have expected something more from somebody with your credentials.
rjones2818
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rjones2818,
User Rank: Strategist
9/17/2012 | 6:51:35 PM
re: How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
A 'great software' company??? The 'world's best software'???

Geesh...talk about fighting religions.

Let's actually get them to be a good software company for once, and not just a giant one. It would help them if they were nimble, obviously. On the other hand, just shedding jobs for the sake of it hasn't really helped the US economy in over 30 years since it became the mantra of the corporate types (sure, it helps you make money, but doesn't really add anything to your company).

Best yet...go as an open source company. :)
jries921
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jries921,
User Rank: Ninja
9/17/2012 | 6:25:24 PM
re: How Middle-Aged Microsoft Can Save Itself
Thank you for putting your finger on what's turning Darth Vader into Dark Helmet. And yes, Ballmer needs to go (should have gone in 2006, if not before), as he's fixated on restoring the glory days of the 1990s, undoing the antitrust cases, and manipulating the markets and legal system, instead of making the world's best software (which MS is still capable of doing).
Unfortunately, I don't think Bill's all that interested any more, and even if he was, the policies that no longer work are his (but if he can't fix MS, it's unlikely that anyone else will be able to either).
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