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noatom

Steve Ballmer leaves Microsoft

84 posts in this topic

So it's official,sometime in the next 12 months Steve Ballmer will leave.A committee of people that includes both Gates and Ballmer will chose the new CEO.

 

What do you think about this? Personally,I think Ballmer's leadership was a failure,the microsoft surface was a failure,windows phone 8 was a failure,and Windows 8,even if it doesn't have bugs,it wasn't received very well by the public.

 

Not to mention the recent (almost) fiasco with the new xbox.I can't wait to see who they will chose.

Edited by noatom
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The fact that Microsoft's share price went up by nearly 9% on the announcement is very telling.
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Meh, I don't necessarily think anyone else would have done much better (aside from the direction they took with Windows 8, that is).  Windows phone was actually the best mobile device OS they've ever produced - of course that still doesn't mean it can compete with Android.

 

Microsoft and Sony both operate on the same flawed philosophy.  They insist on trying to shape the industry and force it in a direction that best serves their own interests, rather than taking its pulse and producing products that people want. 

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I think it's safe to say we can blame Ballmer for that,the CEO is the one that takes the final decisions.

 

And no one cares if you produce a phone that costs $100 and runs Battlefield 4,if there are no apps for it,no one will buy it.

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I think it's safe to say we can blame Ballmer for that,the CEO is the one that takes the final decisions.

 

And no one cares if you produce a phone that costs $100 and runs Battlefield 4,if there are no apps for it,no one will buy it.

 

There are apps for it now. And it is by far the easiest mobile platform to develop for. Way too late to market however.

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Good riddance. You could always either love or hate Microsoft and their products, but it was only after Ballmer took over that they started more and more to sell complete, utter shit. In particular, releasing alpha grade software as "final" product, such as has happened with Vista and Windows 8.

 

Of course you  don't know who comes next, but now there's hope... it can only get better.

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Meh, I don't necessarily think anyone else would have done much better (aside from the direction they took with Windows 8, that is).

 

 

I would advice them to rewrite windows into realtime os

 and quit .net and com and stay low level (I know that

 maybe it is controversial ; )

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The fact that Microsoft's share price went up by nearly 9% on the announcement is very telling.

 

"buy on the rumor, sell on the news."

 

this is just folks late to the party. profits on this move have already been taken, or will soon be taken, now that the price has risen.

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Of course you  don't know who comes next, but now there's hope... it can only get better.

 

yeah, right!  this is Microsoft were talking about here. i've been watching these guys since the days of dos 2.01. The head may change, but the monster remains the same.

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yeah, right!  this is Microsoft were talking about here. i've been watching these guys since the days of dos 2.01. The head may change, but the monster remains the same.

 

 

Because Microsoft hasn't made anything good since dos 2.01...

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Microsoft should tap John Sculley to be the next CEO. laugh.png

 

Good riddance. You could always either love or hate Microsoft and their products, but it was only after Ballmer took over that they started more and more to sell complete, utter shit.

Now now, the XBox ain't that bad. wink.png Win7 was great, and I actually liked Vista as well. Vista, Win8, and Xbox One have all failed to 'sell' their vision and goals to the media and the public. Microsoft (and certain other companies, like Nintendo) has a serious communication, marketing, and branding issue. Apple does fabulously in this area.

Ironically, Vista was a radical rebuild and step forward for the Windows OSes, but the public called it "XP with a sparkly GUI". Then Windows 7 came along, which was an incremental upgrade with a sparkly GUI, and the public called it majestic a leap forward.

 

Another major part of Microsoft's problem (and other companies, like the Xerox in the early days of Apple and Microsoft) is not being able to recognize innovation within its own departments and not giving the funding necessary to make those innovations into great products. I don't know whether Steve Jobs himself was a great innovator, but he certainly recognized great ideas when he saw it. Even Bill Gates did occasionally. Bill Gates recognized the same importance of GUIs that Jobs did; and Gates, slightly delayed but not too much so, understood the growing importance of the internet when someone brought it to his attention.

 

In particular, releasing alpha grade software as "final" product, such as has happened with Vista and Windows 8.

Microsoft releases some really top-notch software, but a third problem Microsoft has is that they aren't really-truly consumer focused. They make great software focused for people who are producers. I think that's why they scoffed at the smartphone and the tablets, and only in hindsight recognized the market size, because their response to the smartphone and tablets is: "lol, u cant maek stuf on dem!"

Microsoft doesn't seem to realize that the majority of consumers are, well, consumers.

 

You can count the major Microsoft consumption-focused products on one hand:

 - Windows Media player

 - XBox

 - Win Phone 7 (in response to iPhone success, years late)

 - Zune (in response to iPod success, years late)

 

The only reason why they do well in the XBox category, in my opinion, is because games are almost entirely consumption focused so they could hardly do otherwise, and it's its own division that probably has a bit more self-governance because others in the company don't understand it, and because it hasn't been around as long as the Office and Windows divisions, and because it's not as directly inter-tied with the other divisions (one of the few times the silo effect is working in Microsoft's favor - keeping them from sabotaging their own product).

 

As fun as it is to bash Microsoft, their producer-oriented software is very good. Most of their products do suffer from interface-shock IMO, which seems to be common with certain more mature types of applications like database software and word processors and spreadsheets.

 

If you want to talk about a company releasing alpha-grade software as final products, look at Google. For all the praise everyone gives it, I feel like I'm somehow using a different Google Docs than everyone else. It's only been slow, buggy, and feature-incomplete. Having to fight against it to make even simple formatting look correct tells me that it's just not production-quality yet. Google slapping 'beta' on most their publicly released products is just a way to tell consumers that it's okay for it to be buggy. Have you tried the new Google Maps? Buggy, slower, and with a few non-intuitive interface mistakes (properly, it's opt-in, so I can't fault them their). They'll fix it over time, and it'll be even better than the old one, but right now it's just not the same quality as the old one.

 

Microsoft engineers can make good producer-oriented software but aren't good at: Interfaces, branding, communication, or nurturing the real innovation that does happens inside Microsoft. Definitely a management issue, definitely something to blame the CEO for, but Microsoft as a whole isn't half the junky-software company the internet likes to make it out to be.

Edited by Servant of the Lord
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I don't care who they chose,but it should be a guy that actually knows how to write a line of code...

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There are apps for it now. And it is by far the easiest mobile platform to develop for. Way too late to market however.


While 'late' MS need to stay the course - while it doesn't have the numbers the growth rate is pretty good so if they stick with it (and with their focus change it makes sense to) then it could get the numbers and, for consumers, that's a good thing - a strong 3rd choice isn't a bad thing.

(I've had a Nokia 920 since release; WP8 is by far my favourite UI experience on mobile)
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There are apps for it now. And it is by far the easiest mobile platform to develop for. Way too late to market however.


While 'late' MS need to stay the course - while it doesn't have the numbers the growth rate is pretty good so if they stick with it (and with their focus change it makes sense to) then it could get the numbers and, for consumers, that's a good thing - a strong 3rd choice isn't a bad thing.

(I've had a Nokia 920 since release; WP8 is by far my favourite UI experience on mobile)

 

 

Don't have to convince me. I've owned 6 Windows Phone devices! I almost payed an ETF to T-Mobile so I could switch to AT&T and pick up the 1020, but my wife wouldn't have been too happy...

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I don't care who they chose,but it should be a guy that actually knows how to write a line of code...

 

Why? The CEO won't need to write code. You can get a good programmer, and promote him to a rank where you don't get any value out of his programming skills, but that doesn't make him a good manager of a billion-dollar company.

 

What's needed is someone who can gather together a group of strong-willed and independent individuals from different backgrounds and walks of life, and lead them to work together well, and to be aware of the work that each is doing, and listen to their input, and steer the entire company and the individual major divisions at a macro level, without micromanaging them, and without letting them isolate their division from the rest of the company.

 

The people over the programmers need to be able to understand programming very well, but the CEO shouldn't need to. The CEO needs to listen, understand, and consider the advice of the people who report to him - taking in and processing the collective wisdom, without automaticly doing what they say - and to make macro-level decisions. Yes, it'd be nice if he knew how to write a line or two, but it's really low on my list of what a CEO would actually need. I'd rather he didn't know any details of programming (but understood the concept well). If he was a brilliant programmer, I'd want him in the trenches putting those skills to use. If he was a bad programmer, I'd be worried that he'd make decisions based on his so-so knowledge, rather than leaning upon the knowledge of the experts hired to actually manage those divisions, and would pass down stupid requirements.

 

In sort, they need a group of Whiz kids executives, led by a Robert McNamara or similar. Ofcourse, these Whiz kids should be picked based on their experience and skill in the specific areas they'd manage. Further, some of them should be focused with small departments just on innovation (and have an equal voice with the other Whiz kid executives), and then also there should be a few focused with small departments figuring out long-term strategies and others working on figuring out the next big trends before they occur.

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Win7 was great, and I actually liked Vista as well. Vista, Win8, and Xbox One have all failed to 'sell' their vision and goals to the media and the public.

Windows 7 was a bugfix for Vista.

 

Win95 did have its issues, but Win98 (and Win98SE even more so) was actually quite usable at its time. Maybe not by today's standards, but at that time, it was kind of OK. Windows XP was just awesome, although a bit barebones here and there. I'm still using XP on one machine, and it works quite acceptably for a 12 year old OS.

 

Vista added a new, shiny, half-assed user interface to a lot of crap, and all in all delivered sub par while consuming three or four times the resources. So yes, Win7 was awesome again, as it fixed nearly all issues of Vista. It was the first (almost) painless operating system I've seen, and it was even shiny without being too annoying.

Win8 is yet another Vista. Everything new in Win7 is thrown over board in favour of something that is not only radically different (that alone wouldn't be a problem, though people would still need time to get used) but also doesn't work properly. It introduces another half-assed paradigm change and is unfinished and unpolished at every end. It isn't even consequent in its paradigm change, yet it breaks the existing paradigms. Metro does not work properly, and neither does desktop (although it did work perfectly well before). Touch is a nuisance and mouse is being sabotaged. It is total shit, in every respect. It doesn't even work properly for minor details like customizing the lock screen or for showing a desktop background, or for properly using the screen space for tiles, and it doesn't address and of the few annoying issues left in Win7 (such as connecting network shares at startup) either.
 


Microsoft releases some really top-notch software, but a third problem Microsoft has is that they aren't really-truly consumer focused. They make great software focused for people who are producers.

 


No. That used to be, and it is how Microsoft became the No.1 leading company that it is. They sold Excel and Word in millions because there were no competing products that were even nearly as good, for years. I used to have a Mac 20 years ago, and like all Mac users, I would tell everyone how superior it was. Truth is, it was only a super expensive toy, and in no way competitive to what Microsoft made back then (even thought their user interface was kind of bleh).

But this has not been true during the last couple of years. Every new incantation of Office is more bloated, harder to use, slower, and delivers worse. And if you look at Win8 or WinRT or Blue... bleh.
 

If you want to talk about a company releasing alpha-grade software as final products, look at Google. For all the praise everyone gives it, I feel like I'm somehow using a different Google Docs than everyone else.

 

Granted, but who cares. Google Docs doesn't cost anything (so you can't really expect it to work) and nobody uses it. It's not serious software. Google is not a serious company. You use Google to find porn sites on the WWW and if you need a free mail address, but that's it. If you want a cheap tablet toy that's just good enough to browse the WWW, you'll probably buy an Android device because it costs half of a Windows device, granted... but really, that's all.

You do not use Google as the "production software" in a corporation, very much opposed to Windows.
 

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Win7 was great, and I actually liked Vista as well. Vista, Win8, and Xbox One have all failed to 'sell' their vision and goals to the media and the public.

Windows 7 was a bugfix for Vista.

 

More a PR fix than anything.
Yes, XP was great, and still is fairly good. Windows Vista was an major technological upgrade that had too many user-interface mistakes. You called it Vista "a new, shiny, half-assed user interface to a lot of crap". I agree fully with the "half-assed user interface" part, but the "lot of crap" is the public perception because of the poor interface.

Windows 7 was a small refinement (not a backtracking) of Vista, but primarily was the better interface improvement. It would've been better if Windows Vista shipped with both a better OS and a better interface, so that was a mistake because it took them so long to develop, but to through out the entire Vista OS as junk because the interface was broken just is inaccurate. Yes, Vista needed the core non-interface refinements Windows 7 brought, but from what I understand (admittedly not much), those were incremental refinements. Windows 7 is practically Windows Vista v1.1 with an improved interface.

I also don't like the direction Windows 8 is going (and so haven't used it, and will wait and see how Win9 turns out), but if we're analyzing Ballmer's entire stay at Microsoft, we have to take Windows Vista and Windows 7 into account, and can't extrapolate that Microsoft is going downhill solely from Windows 8. Microsoft is late to the party in a number of major major shifts in computing, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are degrading, just lacking foresight.

I'm not saying Ballmer did a good job - I don't think he did. I'm saying Microsoft, in general, makes good software for producers, poor software for consumers, and has a number of management flaws that need to be resolved. The engineering quality of their work is not bad, aside from all the backwards compatibility they have to include. They have great engineers, bad organization and management and PR and visionaries.
 

 

Microsoft releases some really top-notch software, but a third problem Microsoft has is that they aren't really-truly consumer focused. They make great software focused for people who are producers.

No. That used to be, and it is how Microsoft became the No.1 leading company that it is. They sold Excel and Word in millions because there were no competing products that were even nearly as good, for years.

 


Unlike today, where we have... broken Google Docs (which I'm not allowed to compare to, apparently), and Open Office which is better than Google Docs but still a good many steps behind Microsoft Office.
 

I used to have a Mac 20 years ago, and like all Mac users, I would tell everyone how superior it was. Truth is, it was only a super expensive toy, and in no way competitive to what Microsoft made back then (even thought their user interface was kind of bleh).

Yeah, Apple has always trumped Microsoft when it comes to superior UI design (both stylistically and functionality-wise).
 

But this has not been true during the last couple of years. Every new incantation of Office is more bloated, harder to use, slower, and delivers worse.

And if you look at Win8 or WinRT or Blue... bleh.

Yeah, Win8/WinRT are Microsoft's attempt to try to make a good consumer-product. So they duck-taped their consumer-product on top of their existing producer-product, because hey, their consumers already like Windows! But not really, the consumers had no choice except for Windows because Windows was developer-focused, and the developers came to Windows and made the products the consumers wanted.

Because Windows 8 has a good deal of consumer-focus, and I consumer little and focus on producing, it doesn't offer me enough improvements over Win7 to upgrade - though it does offer a few. If I switched, I'm confident I'd adapt to it easily and be pleased with it, but I can wait for Win9. Looking at Win8, there's also the more surfacing signs of Microsoft's future strategies that I'm not liking and don't want to actively support until left with no other choice; but that's a philosophical aside.
 

 

If you want to talk about a company releasing alpha-grade software as final products, look at Google. For all the praise everyone gives it, I feel like I'm somehow using a different Google Docs than everyone else.

Granted, but who cares. Google Docs doesn't cost anything (so you can't really expect it to work) and nobody uses it.

 

I hear people praising it online every few months, which confuses me. There are high quality free products that work well - I like Qt Creator as an IDE, but even Microsoft's Visual Studios is free... are we not supposed to expect those to work?
 

It's not serious software. Google is not a serious company. You use Google to find porn sites on the WWW and if you need a free mail address, but that's it. If you want a cheap tablet toy that's just good enough to browse the WWW, you'll probably buy an Android device because it costs half of a Windows device, granted... but really, that's all.
You do not use Google as the "production software" in a corporation, very much opposed to Windows.

Which is kinda my point: Microsoft does the production-software side well - better than alot of their competitors. They don't do the consumer side too well.

Google is a serious company, but a consumer-focused company. So far, their production-focused software has been a miss with me.

Microsoft do have some great consumer successes, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. But their engineering has always been fairly good, and because of their success they have to deal with more handicaps (backwards compatibility and more government oversight), but their engineering is still good.

I know I'm saying, "The dog barks, growls, and bites alot, but he's just being friendly.". I'm not trying to say Microsoft doesn't need to change and adapt, but I'm trying to analyze in what ways they need to improve and what their strengths and weaknesses are and how that should factor in to the choice of a new CEO, rather than just sweepingly saying, 'Microsoft sucks, they've blown it, everything they make is junk' which alot on the internet do.

For the record, my experience with Microsoft products really only dates from XP forward (though I used 95 and 98 when I was younger, I don't remember them too much) - I'm a young whippersnapper, so maybe things were different 25 years ago. My statistical pulling pool of Microsoft OSes goes XP, Vista, Win7 - all of which I liked and thought were upgrades to their predecessors, so maybe I just haven't experienced enough other superior products by other companies, and by pre-XP Microsoft, to really get a good sample of how much Microsoft just makes bloated junk.
I've sampled Apple products here and there, and found them to be very superior in interface in most cases, and geared to consumers (and properly so). Apple makes quality products, there's no denying that. They give the same level of polish to the interface of their software that Nintendo gives to their games, and they definitely deserve kudos for that.

I'm trying to be balanced in how I analyze software (and videogame) companies, because the subject is one that I find entertaining to discuss and think about. smile.png

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What Microsoft need most is Bill Gates (or at least someone like him) back in command.  There, I've said it.

 

There's a story about Bill and a rich text control (about 2/3 down the page) that just epitomises what the guy was about - having the basic common-sense to see what needs to be done, and the corporate clout to force people to do it.  They lost that since he stepped down, and it's been showing in recent products.

 

For me, Microsoft's peak was in 2003, and since then it's been downhill all the way.  Sure, they've released good products since then, some have even been better in some ways than what they had back then, and the 2003 products certainly weren't perfect either, but that was the point in time at which everything just suddenly started clicking and they had a really strong lineup with huge hopes for the next versions.  The only way was up - or was it?  Since then they've seemed determined to throw away a lot of the good work they were doing up to that point.

 

Vista was bizarre (I remember going to a demo and asking the guy when the server version was out; he didn't know, so I asked him how could I control all of these new features on my network; he couldn't answer), Windows 7 showed that lessons had been learned, but 8 is now showing that they're determined to go back and do another Vista all over again.  The server products are horrible, there's been too much change for the sake of change rather than bringing anything new, useful or cool to the table, recent patches have shown that quality control has slipped badly (Gates would have never allowed that, the people responsible would have been roasted alive), the litany of cock-ups is chilling stuff.

 

If this reads like a rant it's probably because it is one.  I work with the consequences of this stuff every day, and believe me it's not pleasant.  Whatever's hapened during the Ballmer years has not been good and a rollback to the old high(er) standards is long overdue.

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I also don't like the direction Windows 8 is going (and so haven't used it, and will wait and see how Win9 turns out),

 

It's amazing the overlap between the number of people who don't like Windows 8 and those who haven't used it. 

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I also don't like the direction Windows 8 is going (and so haven't used it, and will wait and see how Win9 turns out),

 
It's amazing the overlap between the number of people who don't like Windows 8 and those who haven't used it.

Not really. If someone thinks a product is bad, why would they spend money on it on the off-chance they'd be surprised otherwise? "Hmm, based on what I hear, product X is not to my liking... But what the heck! Let's spend money on it anyway, instead of other stuff that I do think I'd enjoy."

 

Besides, if you read my whole (admittedly long) post, I didn't say I think Windows 8 is bad. I said:
"Because Windows 8 has a good deal of consumer-focus, and I consume little and focus on producing, it doesn't offer me enough improvements over Win7 to upgrade - though it does offer a few. If I switched, I'm confident I'd adapt to it easily and be pleased with it, but I can wait for Win9. Looking at Win8, there's also the more surfacing signs of Microsoft's future strategies that I'm not liking and don't want to actively support until left with no other choice; but that's a philosophical aside."

 

I think the parts of Windows 8 that I'd use (as someone more producer-focused) is an incremental upgrade over Windows 7, just as Windows 7 was over Windows Vista. I explicitly said think I'd easily get used to, and enjoy, Windows 8.

 

The line you quoted, I should clarify as: I don't like the direction of Microsoft's long-term business plans for consumers are going, from the direction I think I see they are going in what I've read of Windows 8 both online and from Microsoft's own information about their OS, but that this is a more philosophical reason for not immediately embracing Windows 8, and doesn't directly have to do with the quality of the software itself.

 

But we've discussed that in other Windows 8 focused threads back when the OS was released.

Edited by Servant of the Lord
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I also don't like the direction Windows 8 is going (and so haven't used it, and will wait and see how Win9 turns out),

 
It's amazing the overlap between the number of people who don't like Windows 8 and those who haven't used it.

Not really. If someone thinks a product is bad, why would they spend money on it on the off-chance they'd be surprised otherwise? "Hmm, based on what I hear, product X is not to my liking... But what the heck! Let's spend money on it anyway, instead of other stuff that I do think I'd enjoy."

 

You're right on the payment front. I forget sometimes that people pay for Microsoft software! There are so many ways to get free versions (legally) that I haven't purchased a Windows OS in years.

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You're right on the payment front. I forget sometimes that people pay for Microsoft software! There are so many ways to get free versions (legally) that I haven't purchased a Windows OS in years.

...? I'm interested.

The only way I know to get "free" Windows OSes is by buying an OEM machine (OS price included in the product) or being a Microsoft MSDN subscriber (>$700 a year).

How do you get free OSes and Office and such?
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I think it will be interesting to see how things shape out. I wonder how much influence he actually had with the products. I guess we will see what changes we see in Microsoft. I personally think Microsoft's biggest problem right now is marketing and PR. I own a windows phone and am quite happy with it. It has a great interface and is a very capable device. It just lacks the sales and apps. However, its market share is growing. I would agree that windows 8 isn't spectacular but there are things I like about it. I am actually typing this post on a surface pro with the tactile keyboard attachment. I think the surface pro is a great union of a laptop and a tablet. It is capable of running existing windows apps and games like StarCraft II, and can still be used for more tablet friendly functions like eBooks and touch screen apps. I definitely don't think the pro is right for everybody and frankly I enjoy developing software on my laptop more because it has a larger keyboard and a much better trackpad. So I wouldn't consider the products that Microsoft has produced to be failures. I think their failure to get better market penetration is due to shortcomings in marketing. That is my take on it anyway.

Back on the subject of Ballmer. He made great contributions to Microsoft. He will always be remembered
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