Microsoft would not be better off with Bill Gates

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The article is a critique of Ballmer, and the critique is deserved. However, the stock chart would look this way even if Bill Gates had been calling the shots this decade.

See my previous posts about Gates’ failed tablet PC vision. Look at Gates’ speeches and “visions” from CES keynotes, see how late they were to the web, etc. (In fact, only their monopoly position pulled them out of the grave mistake they’d made ignoring the web for so long.)

They fumbled around for years, but Microsoft had (and still has) Windows and Office, that’s it. There was never anything in Gates’ head that was going to change this. Heck, most of his visions are embarrassing. You can plumb Steve Jobs quotes from 20 years ago for nuggets of wisdom, you plumb Gates’ quotes for punchlines. The writing was on the wall, so Gates left.

I’m not saying another CEO couldn’t do something better for Microsoft–clearly Ballmer is not the guy–but it’s ridiculous to think it would be Gates. If he came back it’d be like Michael Dell coming back to Dell. His one way of thinking, and reliance on non-changing conditions (which of course do change), would expose him as having been a good man at the right time back then, but nothing more.

Bill Gates: Still clinging to a failed vision

“We’re all trying to get to something that you just love to take to a meeting and use and [the iPad] is not quite there yet. You need to have input. You need to take notes and edit things.

[Gates wants a device] “where I can use the pen, where I can use voice.”

This is just proof that, on a visionary scale of 1 to 10, Gates is a -2. After nearly a decade of his “vision” of tablet PCs failing miserably in the market place—in large due to his insistence that no specialIzed OS was needed—he still thinks they need pen input. This for a generation of users who input via keyboard 90% of the time.

Oh, and voice input, because you’ll want that in a meeting when taking notes.

Pen input isn’t going mainstream, there’s little need. Voice will be big, but we’re nowhere near that as a practical input method for the masses, so we may as well be talking about flying cars.

Anyone who thinks Microsoft would be better off with this guy in charge is ascribing to him talents he does not possess. He left when he saw where Microsoft was headed. They’re a two-hit wonder. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s all they’ll ever be, and are now at the point where all they can do is milk that out.