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.

Vacation!

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I will post and tweet a lot less the next few days as I enjoy a week off. No time for normal news, but if something truly unusual happens (e.g., Google actually does something “open”, Adobe goes a week without whining, Microsoft introduces a product or strategy that makes sense), by all means let me know.

Thurrot caught being honest about Microsoft. Film at 11.

E&D, of course, has been anything but successful. It sat on Windows Mobile while Apple ran away with the consumer smart phone market and then eventually had to cancel that product, which dated back 15 years, to start again with Windows Phone. It copied the Apple playbook with its Zune MP3 players, which failed dramatically in the marketplace. And even its most successful product, the Xbox 360, is something of a disaster: It will never recoup the billions in R&D investments it incurred, was the subject of the worst-ever consumer electronics recall in history because of rampant reliability issues, and despite being in the market for a year longer than the competition, it has been dramatically outsold by the less sophisticated Nintendo Wii.

Careful, Paul. One or two more posts like this and Ballmer will have to fire you.

Google should realize it cuts both ways.

It says a lot about Microsoft’s approach to customer lock-in that the company touts its proprietary document formats, which only Microsoft software can render with true fidelity, as the reason to avoid using other products,” a Google spokesperson said in an e-mail.

via crn.in

Maybe. But it says a lot about Google Docs that Google’s own spokesperson admits it can’t open Office documents with “true fidelity”. Since Office compatability is supposed to be part of the pitch, that’s a staggeringly dumb statement to make.

Google admits Microsoft’s Bing was right [U]

The search giant is adding a new left-handed navigation panel to most results pages, adding some visual clutter at the expense of offering users tools to help focus their query.

Good for Google, though it was obvious search ceased to be a mere numbers game years ago. Bing understood this, and helped you deal with thousands (or millions) of hits. Google’s late to the game, and I’m not switching from Bing as my default, but it’s good to see.

UPDATE: I should make it clear the biggest reason I’m glad to see this is because of Google’s acknowledgement that simply providing a list of hits is no longer enough. Microsoft was right, and now both sides can compete. Google may have upped the ante with today’s changes (e.g., the smart date ranges), and that’s good. Microsoft will need to respond.

iPad killers take a time-out

Looking back, I guess I gave the competition too much credit. It was a silly thing to do, and I promise it won’t happen again.

I haven’t seen HP confirm that the Slate is dead, but it makes no difference for this article. A decade of failure means the Slate will be dead out of the gate anyway.

I’m impressed that HP is taking action to truly get in the tablet game. Now that they have webOS, they should definitely kill the Slate. They need to focus on getting a tablet with webOS ready, and that’s likely to take a year. They don’t need the distraction of a failure in the marketplace to slow them down and tarnish their webOS offering.

Why Steve Jobs Loves Adobe Flash

What better curse could one wish upon one’s mobile platform competitors than a bunch of performance and security problems, poor battery life, a mess of user interface inconsistencies, and a malignant boil upon their efforts to develop their own third party development platforms?

Interesting conjecture that Steve Jobs “loves” Flash because his competitors are driven to use it, and it will just weigh them down.