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How Does Microsoft Avoid Being the Next IBM? (arstechnica.com) 223

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: For fans of the platform, the official confirmation that Windows on phones isn't under active development any longer -- security bugs will be fixed, but new features and new hardware aren't on the cards -- isn't a big surprise. This is merely a sad acknowledgement of what we already knew. Last week, Microsoft also announced that it was getting out of the music business, signaling another small retreat from the consumer space. It's tempting to shrug and dismiss each of these instances, pointing to Microsoft's continued enterprise strength as evidence that the company's position remains strong. And certainly, sticking to the enterprise space is a thing that Microsoft could do. Become the next IBM: a stable, dull, multibillion dollar business. But IBM probably doesn't want to be IBM right now -- it has had five straight years of falling revenue amid declining relevance of its legacy businesses -- and Microsoft probably shouldn't want to be the next IBM, either. Today, Microsoft is facing similar pressures -- Windows, though still critical, isn't as essential to people's lives as it was a decade ago -- and risks a similar fate. Dropping consumer ambitions and retreating to the enterprise is a mistake. Microsoft's failure in smartphones is bad for Windows, and it's bad for Microsoft's position in the enterprise as a whole.
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How Does Microsoft Avoid Being the Next IBM?

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  • First let me state I am anything but a Windows fanboy. I have a school-aged son and the first thing he ever knew about Microsoft was "crash". However I know that I can't escape the claws of Microsoft in much of my existence.

    official confirmation that Windows on phones isn't under active development any longer -- security bugs will be fixed, but new features and new hardware aren't on the cards -- isn't a big surprise

    So they tried something, and it didn't work out for them. What's the big deal? I don't see people lining up to bash Apple over the Newton.

    Last week, Microsoft also announced that it was getting out of the music business, signaling another small retreat from the consumer space

    How many people even knew Microsoft was in the music business? The top companies for purchasing music are Apple, Google, and Amazon. It's highly unlikely there could have been space for a fourth.

    pointing to Microsoft's continued enterprise strength as evidence that the company's position remains strong

    Good job, you found where the money is. They make more money in a month selling licenses for Windows Server than they likely ever made in music.

    Windows, though still critical, isn't as essential to people's lives as it was a decade ago -- and risks a similar fate.

    You're simply wrong on the notion of it not being as essential. The vast overwhelming majority of all PCs sold at retail come with Windows on them. The vast overwhelming majority of PCs sold to businesses do as well. It is as relevant to the average person as a refrigerator, only with a vastly shorter life span. As long as they get vendors of relevant software to keep pushing users to newer versions of Windows, they're set for the rest of nearly forever.

    Dropping consumer ambitions and retreating to the enterprise is a mistake.

    This is also ignoring one enormous cash cow for Microsoft - Office. Yeah, for the majority of consumers the free office suites are more than sufficient, but you cannot convince them of that. And now Microsoft, for all intents and purposes, only sells consumer subscriptions to Office, that users have to renew every year. This is absolutely not abandoning consumer for enterprise.

    This also is ignoring all the efforts that go in to XBox development. The Microsoft - Sony duopoly has all but killed Nintendo from the most profitable segments of the gaming market. Why would Microsoft retreat from that - especially when they keep telling us how great the next (strangely-named) XBox console will be?

    • by 605dave ( 722736 )

      The Newton was ahead of its time, and Apple did come back to eventually completely dominate the mobile handheld market. This wasn't a tiny market that they were just "trying", it was the market the has come to dwarf the PC market and has devalued their overall business.

      • I was a Newton developer, and I remember those days well. Developing for the Newton was awesome, one of my favorite platforms!

        Perhaps what the younger set might not know is that Apple got quite a lot of heat for killing the Newton. The only reason you don't still hear complaining from old-timers like myself is because of what you pointed out: Apple didn't abandon the product so much as they reinvented it later.

        I still miss the Newton, though. I have a box of them in storage. I should pull one out and play w

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What? The Nintendo Wii absolutely destroyed the XBOX and PS competition in total sales. Sony straight up stopped making handhelds because Nintendo was so dominant.

      Now the Nintendo Switch is so popular the supply can't even meet demand. Combine its sales with the WiiU and Nintendo is right there with PS4 and XBONE in total sales.

    • i like windows. it pays me 6 figures a year. i prefer linux but it does not pay. microsoft cant avoid being the next ibm because there is too much money at stake for both companies.
    • With XBox and Windows, Microsoft has a significant share of the consumer gaming market.

      The Hololens shows that they can move into VR and AR effectively. It's easy to forget about this product since they're priced outside the consumer market---around $3K.

      And let's not forget that Microsoft has its own Store now. That could become an enormous revenue stream if they can convince developers to use it. Given the success of Apple and Google in that arena, it may be worth suffering some large upfront losses to est

      • And let's not forget that Microsoft has its own Store now. That could become an enormous revenue stream if they can convince developers to use it.

        I don't really see that happening, for a whole bunch of reasons. But you are correct, if the Windows store ever becomes popular, then it would become profitable.

      • You are a bit behind. MS is set to launch Windows Mixed Reality (VR) headsets with inside-out tracking in a few days beginning at $300 for various OEM partners. They are moving deep into VR quickly.
        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          This as VR collapses yet again. M$ screwed the pooch, they had a chance and missed it. Should have split into M$ and MSN years ago, leaving M$ to focus on enterprise and MSN to focus on the internet, gaming and content distribution. Better for the investors and much better in a management sense. One divisions focuses on economics and the other focuses on creativity and yes, mutually exclusive, straight up fact, the people do not mix well and will fuck each other up, on purpose to push their own faction and

    • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @05:05PM (#55345745)

      Looking at your responses what I take is that Microsoft isn't going to be the next IBM, they're just not going to see the kinds of growth that they enjoyed in the years when consumers were having to buy computers for the first time in order to get on the Internet.

      Think about it, there was a period from the mid-nineties to the mid noughties where we went from little consumer Internet use to a large majority of households having consumer Internet access, even faster-than-modem access. Being the dominant PC operating system meant that Windows itself was overwhelmingly profitable and expanded Microsoft's profits more than ever before, and likely without costing the company all that much in development to do so.

      Once the vast majority of households have PCs though, sales growth will tail-off. Sure there will still be lots of sales, but those sales will come in the form of replacing existing PCs with new ones preloaded with Windows, not whole new markets getting in on top of replacement PCs. Microsoft will be profitable, but not stupid-profitable like they were for about a decade.

      Microsoft has since made a push to get PCs into all workplaces for as many workers as possible, whether those workers really need their own PCs or not. Where they got a bit blindsided is with tablets and smartphones, where proprietary applications like workorder and dispatch systems can run on operating systems other than Windows. I partially blame Microsoft's UI, anyone that worked with older Windows CE would agree that "WinCE" was an accurate way of describing the experience on a PDA, and they never really got it truly right, while both Google with Android and Apple with iOS learned from watching Palm and designed OSes with the best features from the PalmOS GUI but now with automatic cloud connectivity for the default applications. Microsoft never got over trying to shoehorn a desktop OS into a phone, and thought being Windows on the desktop to applications on Windows on the phone would be worth more than it proved to be, as developers seem happy to write Android and iOS versions of their packages.

      • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @05:49PM (#55345969) Homepage

        However, a PC is a geek toy - they have always been unsuitable for end users, and endless malware infections are the end result. The average user is simply not qualified to operate a full blown PC running a general purpose OS.
        Most users have no need for such a device anyway, when the only way to browse the internet was to purchase a complex general purpose computer that's what people did, but now other alternatives are available which are better suited. You can access facebook and write email etc from an ipad, and you're far less likely to become a spam sending zombie or have your personal information stolen.

    • The vast overwhelming majority of all PCs sold at retail come with Windows on them.

      And if you want to share Word or Excel files with other people (and a disturbing number of people who should know better use Excel as a standard numeric platform), the only way to be bug-for-bug compatible is to run the Windows version.
    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      just a personal observation, we used to have desktops and laptops as late as 4 years ago, first all the desktops were replaced by thin clients (still connecting to a MS session) then all the laptops are replaced by ipad pro's. still offer a MS virtualized enviornment for them but most people can accomplish their tasks (email/ erp app) via non MS apps without going into the virtual desktop. this trend will continue... at least in our environment.
      i can see one day soon where majority of the work is handled by

      • by sd4f ( 1891894 )

        I think your comment goes to where the problem for MS is. Smartphones didn't dominate the enterprise sector, they dominated the consumer space, and from there, enterprise followed.

        This is an important difference because I think it really comes to show that where previously, enterprise tended to determine who the big players were, it definitely hasn't been the case with smartphones. Where a lot of people would have been introduced to tech such as a computer at work, in decades past, smartphones and tablets h

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )

      How many people even knew Microsoft was in the music business? The top companies for purchasing music are Apple, Google, and Amazon. It's highly unlikely there could have been space for a fourth.

      Microsoft was in the business before Google and Amazon, their music pass was one of the earliest 10-years ago. Isn't the very fact you're asking who knew MS was in the business indicative of the problem?

      Had Microsoft decided to put their music & video software on Android early, there is a good chance they could have had some market share before Google was able to secure its own agreements. Heck, video is still not available.

      You're simply wrong on the notion of it not being as essential. The vast overwhelming majority of all PCs sold at retail come with Windows on them. The vast overwhelming majority of PCs sold to businesses do as well. It is as relevant to the average person as a refrigerator, only with a vastly shorter life span. As long as they get vendors of relevant software to keep pushing users to newer versions of Windows, they're set for the rest of nearly forever.

      This is a straw man argument, there is a huge difference between PCs being sold

    • > So they tried something, and it didn't work out for them.

      They tried mobile and failed and tried again and failed again and tried again and failed again for 21 years before giving up.

      Why have they kept trying to get into mobile? Because most computing devices sold today are mobile, the market for corded computers has been falling for several years, and is expected to continue to fall.

      > The vast overwhelming majority of all PCs sold at retail come with Windows on them.

      In 2011, 365 million PCs were so

    • Microsoft's lifeline is Exchange and with that Outlook and with that Office. Windows comes second, but Microsoft's management tries really hard to make people hate Windows so much that they look for alternatives (that currently are not better or even worse, such as OS X). Yes, Microsoft sunk a lot of money into XBox development and they have yet to turn a profit on that product line. It is not as bad as Windows Phone, but not great either. Any decent Windows gaming PC outperforms the XBox. The only area whe
    • Hardware is the thinnest of margins and Nintendo makes money on every piece, unlikr Sony and MS. Your analysis is lacking

      Not a nintendo fanboy here but facts are facts.

    • So they tried something, and it didn't work out for them. What's the big deal?... How many people even knew Microsoft was in the music business?

      I know what you're saying, and I agree in theory, but I think Microsoft does have a problem here. It's not just "they tried something and it didn't work out". It's more like, "They've tried a lot of things, and almost none of it has worked out". They've spent decades relying on Windows and Office licensing, but the dominance of Windows is flagging. The Xbox has made a nice place for itself in the console market, but game consoles aren't what they once were.

      They have Office 365 and Azure, but those serv

    • > So they tried something, and it didn't work out for them. What's the big deal?

      So when IBM introduced the 5100 and it didn't work out, they should have gone back to the mainframes and ignored the micro market forever?

      The *entire industry* is moving to mobile, and MS now has zero presence there. And unlike the IBM example, MS is not in a market with a bunch of kids running around thinking they knew how to sell things. MS is in the market with two Megalodons who are make MS's marketing efforts look childi

  • Uh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @04:33PM (#55345557)
    Microsoft is already the new IBM (old and staid). Apple is the new Microsoft (embrace and extend with proprietary stuff to ensure lock-in). Google is the new Apple.
    • Neat way to put it, but I think there are strong limits to the sorts of historical parallels you are drawing here. Though it makes for a nice pattern, I don't have any reason to believe that MS, Apple and Google will all follow the trajectory of IBM.
    • Huh ????

      Google is an advertising company. EVERYTHING they do is designed to capture more eyes for adverts.

      Google has a huge history of dumped/failed products.

      Go ask Google for their search algorithms and you will soon see how "open source" they are.
      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        "Huh ???? "

        I can understand your confusion - you simply don't have a clue. Google started with an innovative search concept, then came up with a way to monetize it. They put lots of money into various innovative projects (many of which fail, which is the nature of the beast - see Edison), and no one has claimed IBM, Microsoft, Apple or Google are open source companies.
        • So then how do you figure Google is the new Apple ???
          Googles foray into hardware is hardly a success , and better than 90% of their income comes just from advertising.
    • Google is the new Apple.

      That'd be nice, in your story. But Google is more on IBM's steps.

  • It doesn't. Thanks for playing.

  • why?
  • that's when Microsoft is in real trouble. My generation grew up on Windows/Mac/Linux OSs. Its what we are used to. The young generation that lives with a smartphone in one hand and a tablet computer in the other on the other hand may reject Windows completely. That generation may want to continue to use Android or iOS as their OS of choice, except on far more powerful hardware - laptops, desktops and even graphics workstations. That, in my opinion, is where it all falls apart for MS - when Windows simply is
    • that's when Microsoft is in real trouble. My generation grew up on Windows/Mac/Linux OSs. Its what we are used to. The young generation that lives with a smartphone in one hand and a tablet computer in the other on the other hand may reject Windows completely. That generation may want to continue to use Android or iOS as their OS of choice, except on far more powerful hardware - laptops, desktops and even graphics workstations. That, in my opinion, is where it all falls apart for MS - when Windows simply isn't the big desktop OS of choice anymore, not even in the workplace.

      You're assuming that they want a Desktop. My teenage kids have no interest in a laptop. They want a high power gaming system (Xbox/Playstation), they want an iphone, they want an ipad, they might want a keyboard for their ipad so they can take notes but they have no desire for a desktop or even a laptop.
      You're right that if they picked up a laptop, they would likely choose an android based one so it would have all their apps but they really have no desire for a powerful PC. Even for things like graphic d

      • The young generation's preferences may be meaningless. When I was a kid, the other kids wanted their own private land lines and phones in their bedrooms. Only nerds wanted computers and modems. Only yuppies wanted cell phones.
  • It doesn't (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @04:44PM (#55345627)

    Since the early '90s, I've been predicting Microsoft's future: it will follow the same trajectory as IBM -- meaning Microsoft will never go away, but will become increasingly less important until it can reasonably be ignored if you wish.

    My reasoning is that their corporate behavior pretty solidly mirrors that of IBM's through its various phases. There is nearly no chance that Microsoft (or any other company of its size) could pull off such a complete reinvention of themselves as to change that behavior.

    I see no reason to modify my prediction yet.

    • Since the early '90s, I've been predicting Microsoft's future: it will follow the same trajectory as IBM

      I'm not so sure. IBM seems to have a great deal of trouble catering to the individual developer or small development teams. Way back in the day IBM had an C++ IDE for OS/2. I tried to use it, but it was so broken the attempt was pointless. On the PC side, Borland and Microsoft tooling was running circles around IBM. Microsoft eventually hired Borland's top talent and added them to the language and IDE business. The result was Visual Studio.

      VS improved quite a bit over the years, but now it's a bit bloated

    • There is nearly no chance that Microsoft (or any other company of its size) could pull off such a complete reinvention of themselves as to change that behavior.,

      What size do you have in mind? IBM seems to have moved fine from counting employee hours, to mainframes, to consulting. Apple seems to have moved fine from computers to mobile devices. Nokia seems to have moved fine from wood pulp to phones - last decade Nokia was larger than Apple.

      I see no reason to modify my prediction yet.

      When a prediction is not falsifiable, there is never a reason to modify the prediction. Give a number along with a date to avoid sounding like the consultant leeches.

  • The anonymous coward that posted that summary seems to feel nostalgic about the time when MS was the 800 lbs gorilla bullying everybody.
    • "We didn't know how good we had it back then. In the 1980s IBM had its own troubles with Microsoft and lost its strategic way, receding from the hacker community's view. Then, in the 1990s, Microsoft became more noxious and omnipresent than IBM had ever been."

      -Jargon File: IBM [catb.org]

  • Too much money ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @04:50PM (#55345653)

    ... killed IBM and Microsoft and Mobil Oil.

    I worked for Mobil. They bought their own insurance company and became self-insured and got into the business/consumer insurance business. They also got into real estate. They built Reston, Va. from the ground up.

    They also bought Montgomery Ward and stuff.

    Now they are gone, absorbed by Exxon.

    --

    Too much money causes businesses to look for ways to spend the cash in pursuit of CEO and shareholder greed.

    Today's capitalism calls for asymptotic growth in periods measured in nanosecomds.

    In this regard, Apple is next.

    Apple has more ash than God and has no visionary (Jobs) to guide them as to how to spend it.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      But with Apple in particular and some others, isn't it already lesson learned? They're not really innovating with their cash. No (or at least few) failed products introduced, and most of that cash tucked away and guarded by a Leprechaun somewhere in Ireland.

       

      • by rl117 ( 110595 )
        Look at Apple's new headquarters. It's a monument to executive vanity and corporate largesse. They might have billions in the bank, but that's not necessarily a good thing. That hoarded loot pile comes at the detriment of the wider economy since it's been completely taken out of circulation. It also means they don't have a big incentive to push the boundaries and create new products, and while they slow down the pace, others will overtake them. It's not like Apple as a company are any different from th
        • by swb ( 14022 )

          I kind of agree on corporate cash hoards being out of circulation, although I think they do park the money in some kind of short term securities (like Treasuries or similar highly liquid short-term bonds) so it's doing something.

          In the case of Apple specifically, I wonder if part of the reason Apple gets such a good tax deal from Ireland is that there is a quiet agreement that Apple will park a certain portion of it for a longer period in Irish banks, thus enhancing the lending base of Irish banks and ultim

  • Who? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @04:53PM (#55345671) Homepage Journal

    (ducks)

    Look, the problem is how the market exists, and how it will change, not in how it used to be.

    IBM rolled into services, having initially come from services.

    MSFT started with OS and apps, but is fighting three different wars:

    1. Tiny tech. Stuff that is so small nobody will ever pay for an OS for it. It's in the background. Do you ever think "oh, my new fridge and toaster need a fancy Kenmore OS, not some Braun OS". Nope. Wearables don't care. Only Apple (which amounted to a large share of MSFT apps market share, originally) has managed to make people pay for that.

    2. Ubiquitous Linux blade servers. Nobody cares what your database and AI runs on. Oh, at trade shows they pretend they do, but IRL they don't. Cheap fast quick reliable wins every day.

    3. Cell/mobile vs Desktop/Server. MSFT has never grokked cell or mobile. Ever. Still don't. They keep trying to chrome it up, and they aren't Apple, so it never works.

    Thing is, you think MSFT gets most of their money from stuff and services they sell. They don't. They get it from all the bits and pieces of companies they own.

    (caveat: many of my friends got rich off of MSFT or Apple or IBM, and my first house was from selling MSFT stock I bought below book value on Black Friday stock crash)

  • Now by analogy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @05:04PM (#55345739) Homepage Journal

    Many years ago, when I was working for a large company dominant in the mobile business, I was discussing my ideas for a new mobile device with a potential venture capitalist. I explained that I could handle the design just fine, I just needed someone to go sell it to the large consumer electronics distributors. His reply floored me:

    "Yes, but I don't know any telecom guys..."

    Here was someone who, because I worked for a telecom, could not grasp that I could work in any other field. He had a degree in MIS, and had hired consultants, yet couldn't get it out of his head that I could/would work in any field other than the one I was currently employed. I had even done mobile device development for other companies, I just wasn't doing it now.

    I then realized that this is part of the reason why large companies ossify and die. The venture capitalists and business types honestly cannot even conceive of doing business in any way differently than they do today. For them, Microsoft will always be a PC company, and as the PC market goes, so goes Microsoft. It's a rule, XBOX notwithstanding.

    Even should the executives at Microsoft come up with a revolutionary new idea, the best they'll get from the finance guys is a blank stare when they try to get funding for it. Since they've been so successful with PC operating systems and office, why would they invest in anything else?

    • That sort of thing is an inherent part of scale:

      Small companies make it possible, big companies make it cheap.

      That is, a large corporation is not going to enter a new space unless it will generate a very large revenue stream very quickly. That's why large companies don't invent things as much as they buy smaller companies that have new things.

      Smaller companies don't need a very large revenue stream to thrive, so they are able to innovate very early when the revenue streams are too small to be of any interes

    • Huh? Companies constantly talk about re-inventing themselves. Software companies get into hardware get into TV shows. Google and Apple got into cars for Christ sakes. Your story is stupid (and has other possible explanations) and the moral is demonstrably untrue and you should feel bad.

  • by ratpick ( 649064 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @05:05PM (#55345749)
    Not sure this is a meaningful comparison. IBM is an extremely diverse company with very successful R&D that has generated many patents and new products, and they already staged a major comeback in the late 90s when many had written them off. My impression is that Microsoft's efforts to diversify in some fundamental, meaningful way have largely failed, keeping the vast majority of their eggs in one basket and making them far more susceptible to loss of relevance and revenue.
    • Basically. IBM, for all their faults, by and large had pretty decent products. A few blemishes on the record in that regard, but for the most part you could rely on IBM kit being good.

      But Microsoft... for the most part, they make crap. DOS, which basically got them the dominant position they have by being bundled with the IBM PC and also happily sold to everyone cloning it, they bought from someone else to begin with. Everything else, Windows, Office, etc was crap, and everyone I knew thought so through the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I used to work exclusively with WM on industrial (rugged) devices and it was huge in a lot of enterprise scale applications like mail service, warehousing, point of sale, etc. Everything was great until MS started flapping around trying to decide if they wanted to have Windows Embedded or Phone or Handheld or whatever the fuck. One thing enterprise customers DO NOT LIKE is uncertainty.

    So they started switching to Android because at least they know what they are getting and that it will be supported in the

    • So much this. Enterprise and line-of-business stuff was mostly Windows Mobile or CE, and it was a cut-down version of the Win32 API, mostly C++ code.

      Then Microsoft came out with Windows Phone, which had NO compatibility, NO migration path, no nothing. It's all very well to replace an obsolete system with something better, and to be fair, CE was pretty shit with its 32MB process limit. But the simple fact is that the supposed replacement was not fit for purpose. It was like trying to replace a tank with

      • WindowsCE SUCKED and Apple and Blackberry already killed it.

        WindowsPhone was actually good and stable and delightful to use as METRO was well tuned for a phone UI and had better cut and paste support than Android. It didn't have the strange quirks that WinCE had.

        Microsoft already started losing it with IE 6 in the early 2000's when Palm Pilot was defeated. Blackberry was so much better and of course we know Steve Jobs finally created the modern era of smart phones with IOS. Android barely won as a late come

        • WindowsCE SUCKED and Apple and Blackberry already killed it.

          CE certainly sucked, but many large companies did and still do depend on it. Plus it had the advantage of at least partial source code compatibility with Desktop windows. Simply saying it's shit and they should rewrite their 8+ year codebase for some fly-by-night replacement was not a viable solution.

          As for Blackberry and Apple replacing it? Sadly, that's a rose-tinted view. The Blackberry OS was even worse than CE, permanently stuck on Java 1.2 or somesuch and at once point incapable of allocating more

        • This is going back a while now, but IIRC WP8 only supported Managed C++, which was a restricted enough subset that it ruled out most of the existing codebase including the commercial AES version of SQLite which we needed to use for data protection reasons. For the bulk of the code we might have been able to port it but it would then have made it harder to compile on linux and android...

      • I ran those CE devices for development at a large monlithic ancient corporation kind of like these companies we're discussing.

        Its absolutely true what you say and it was my business case for shutting down the embedded device build lab where i work. Zero resistance. Devs just gave up on them

  • if apple opens mac os x to any pc and app store sand boxing is toned down then M$ is in deep shit.

    • If Apple had opened up IOS to all manufacturers (for a fee) they would own mobile and tablets and Android would not exist and Apple could charge an extra $200 for their IPhones because Samsung would need to pay Apple $200 for their IOS license.

      But they wont. It is against their DNA. They were born a hardware company, that is how they will die. Over time, iPhones will become a niche product. They had a huge lead technologically, but not any more, just expensive.

      Same with most companies. When the interne

  • First they need to invent time travel...

  • I don't even get the question. Microsoft is already—to a first and second approximation—Lotus Notes 2.0.

    Their primary lock on the enterprise is their proprietary document format, and its extensive integration ecosystem—the many of COBOL-grade regoliths of Jericho—extending from BASIC to Visual Basic to Visual Studio to .NET to SharePoint and beyond.

    Windows 10 these days is barely more than a cash register on a busy toll bridge (with a special, express lane for native DirectX 12).

    Asi

    • Windows is only a tiny part of who Microsoft is today. Back in 1998 it was the glue and foundation of the MS stack.

      Microsoft wants to keep making money doing what they did before DOS. Make great software development tools and business software. This is one area you have to admit MS does well. Their browsers and operating systems ... meh. But MS is good with things like inventing AJAX javascript and CSS development standards and making Visual Studio. PowerPoint and Excel won as they were just better than the

  • Come on guys who wants to go back to 1999 and have MSN, IE, Exchange, Office, Win32, MFC, and innovation like USB support being stunned due to what is best for Microsoft? Microsoft set the pace. Microsoft set the standards. Microsoft made life difficult for portability and tied everything into their stack.

    Guess what? IE and Edge actually follow W3C standards now and work like every other browser?! We have options like Google Docs and Libreoffice if 100% compability are not too critical. We can use Java, Pyt

  • by superwiz ( 655733 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @06:46PM (#55346331) Journal
    The troubling trend is not that Microsoft is abandoning the business it never had. It's that it is abandoning the business it still dominates in order to bet on the business in which they are a distant second. They are literally abandoning the desktop in order to benefit their cloud business. They are doing everything they can to make a Windows desktop just a heavy terminal to their cloud solutions. They overburden it with telemetry. They don't let desktop office caches to store templates downloaded from the net for more than a limited period. They are willing to give away MSVS as long as the help is only viewed online (the paid version has a local copy of help). They end of life systems which are less reliant on network and which are more local-media centered. It's all turning a Windows desktop into a Chromebook. Well, guess what? The market hates Chromebook. People like desktop as a self-contained autonomous serverless jack knife solution. If they use a Windows Desktop, they are not looking for an over performing client to the network. They are looking for a network-capable all-in-one solution. This is the niche which made Windows XP (and to a lesser extent Windows 7) the most successful consumer desktop operating system of all time. Windows XP survived for 15 years essentially unchanged. And that's an operating system used by end users. There is a golden middle between too much and too little and it can only be discovered through experimenting -- not through careful planning. Once you've discovered it, it is plainly arrogant to think you can outthink and out-plan the evolution.
  • by bravecanadian ( 638315 ) on Tuesday October 10, 2017 @07:05PM (#55346453)

    One pesky fact about this fading business...

    Quarterly Revenue:
    June 30, 2005 10.16B
    June 30, 2011 17.37B
    June 30, 2017 23.32B

    The idea that Microsoft is dependent on Windows revenue at this point is laughably out of date. They gave the last version away!

    Of course they still rely on the lock-in that comes from Windows huge software library.. but Microsoft is less dependent on the OS than at any time in its history since it got into the OS market. Unless you count Azure as an OS.. all the eggs are going in that basket now. Office 365 is hugely important as well.

    Microsoft has several billion dollar a year products now. Get with the times, people.

  • They have held back computing for decades now. They have mostly killed diversity in computing. They have created a boring mono-culture where when they have a bad idea, everybody suffers. While they likely will go the way of IBM, if they dies faster, that would be even more beneficial all around.

  • WTF? More for Morons with Bill Gates' balls in their mouths,

  • > "Microsoft's continued enterprise strength as evidence that the company's position remains strong"

    Is this still true? I work for a Fortune 150 company and the vast majority of the employees have Macs. We may be a bubble, but it is a bubble of 10,000+ people. Now that there are genuine alternatives to Office, Windows phone is dead, Edge and IE are no longer dominant browsers, Azure is not the only cloud platform in town by a long shot, xbox is not the only game system, far more servers use linux than a

  • IBM is a stable, successful company. Giving up their monopolistic ambitions made them a better company, and the same is happening to Microsoft.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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