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12/26/2013
09:06 AM
Michael Endler
Michael Endler
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Microsoft In 2013: 7 Lessons Learned

If a key to success is learning from your mistakes, Microsoft should be well positioned for 2014.
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Ballmer Had To Go
In some ways, Steve Ballmer might never get the credit he deserves. Though Microsoft's stock price hasn't moved much during his tenure, the CEO oversaw years of revenue growth that made the company what it is today. Nevertheless, he's also placed some terrible bets, such as infamously dismissing the potential of devices such as the iPhone and iPad.
Microsoft's board appears to believe in the One Microsoft vision, but both the CEO and his co-directors know that someone else needs to take the helm. Under his leadership, the company executed the rollout of Windows 8 and the Surface line with the nuance of a bull in a china shop. The company has corrected much of this in recent months with Windows 8.1, but some of the missteps, such as initially forcing Win 8 users to boot to the Modern UI, were foreseeably wrong-headed.
Ballmer represents an era of PC monopolies, stack-ranking employee evaluations, and siloed management. By his own admission, he realized the company needed new blood to lead it into an era of collaborative, multidevice, cross-platform workplaces. The Microsoft board reportedly accepted his decision without debate -- lesson learned.
Any additional lessons derived from Ballmer's departure will become clear in 2014, when the company will announce its next CEO. Will he or she be an insider? Someone with a technical background? Will the next CEO share Ballmer's desire to reach consumers?

In some ways, Steve Ballmer might never get the credit he deserves. Though Microsoft's stock price hasn't moved much during his tenure, the CEO oversaw years of revenue growth that made the company what it is today. Nevertheless, he's also placed some terrible bets, such as infamously dismissing the potential of devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

Microsoft's board appears to believe in the One Microsoft vision, but both the CEO and his co-directors know that someone else needs to take the helm. Under his leadership, the company executed the rollout of Windows 8 and the Surface line with the nuance of a bull in a china shop. The company has corrected much of this in recent months with Windows 8.1, but some of the missteps, such as initially forcing Win 8 users to boot to the Modern UI, were foreseeably wrong-headed.

Ballmer represents an era of PC monopolies, stack-ranking employee evaluations, and siloed management. By his own admission, he realized the company needed new blood to lead it into an era of collaborative, multidevice, cross-platform workplaces. The Microsoft board reportedly accepted his decision without debate -- lesson learned.

Any additional lessons derived from Ballmer's departure will become clear in 2014, when the company will announce its next CEO. Will he or she be an insider? Someone with a technical background? Will the next CEO share Ballmer's desire to reach consumers?

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robzilla
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robzilla,
User Rank: Strategist
12/26/2013 | 12:35:09 PM
Surface 2 overpriced still!
Microsoft always seems to make mistakes that would ruin another company and then work them out.  Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows 8 were failures then Win XP, Win 7 and now Win 8.1 seem to fix those huge blunders. Windows 7 is still the best desktop OS Redmond ever produced. Making the os lighter and touch friendly was long over due and done in a way that lacked any respect of its usrt base. The failure of Windows 8 was simply how it was done.  More steps between 7 and shoild have occured to allow z migration and forcing people to use tiles on a desktop was a disaster that alienated most users. Also the cost of ot its surface tablets was a joke. Considering MS was a huge underdog in this market they should have dumped these tabs near cost. $500-$600 and up for a tablet is just way too much. What if the Surface RT had a pricr of under $200 and pro started @$300? You would have had a huge adoption of the technology and complaints woild mot have been as wide spread then as successive versions come out ramp up the price and features and grow your app ecosystem.  Add value and charge for it but at first you need to take a loss or at least not expect to make a huge profit right from the start. I would like to buy a surface butvfor the cost I can get a nexus 7 that will do most of what the rt can for half the price. Microsoft needs to be aggressive at first to push adoption and then as with all their failures and successes once they have a large enough user base can push out updates to fix issues and make a great product. Have an hp fire sale and see what happens.  Microsoft can afford to make mistakes because of their user base and usually they come around.  
J_Brandt
100%
0%
J_Brandt,
User Rank: Ninja
12/26/2013 | 10:42:15 AM
Win7 vs Win8 & Tablets vs PCs
I had no desire to move from Windows 7 to Windows 8 but a crashed laptop forced my hand.  Even without 8.1 I have managed to reach a coexistence/avoidance zone with Metro.  And I have been pleasantly surprised that for most things, Windows 8 works for me like a faster Windows 7.  I have not invested in a MS tablet, I have an Android-powered Nexus.  I love it  - but as an auxiliary device, as a consumption device.  I still don't see how anyone can live with the compromises of a tablet to do daily production work.  Maybe I'm old school (or just old), maybe it's the three large monitors on my laptop, maybe it's generational, who knows. :)
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