Microsoft has no innovator’s dillema?

Oh, boy, Don Dodge says that Microsoft will not fall into innovator’s dillema.

Hmmm, someday I’ll post an email to me from a top Microsoft executive that had the words “business value” repeated 13 times (I asked them to buy a variety of things, including Flickr (this email was written three weeks before Yahoo bought Flickr). The executive was running a business with billions in revenue and didn’t see the business value in what I was proposing Microsoft do. Truth is, Microsoft is run by people who aren’t taking risks and don’t see the value in Web stuff. Why can I say that? Name a single Microsoft Internet product/service that made you say “wow” in the past three years. I can’t name one and I’ve been looking.

But, in this trip to Seattle I had a few meetings with MSFTies that I didn’t talk about cause they don’t want to be quoted on my blog. In them I was reminded once again that Microsoft has a far deeper problem: it isn’t shipping cool stuff THAT IT ALREADY HAS BUILT. I can’t tell more. I heard the story of yet another team that had a killer service that was killed. Funny enough several members of that team have left because they were demoralized about building something cool, getting close enough to ship that they had already sent the technology outside of Microsoft to partners, and then getting reorged and getting the product killed.

It isn’t the first time I’ve heard this story, either. I remember when Mark Lucovsky said “Microsoft has forgotten how to ship software.”
I stuck up at that time for Microsoft. Kevin Schofield, who works in MS Research, defended Microsoft too. But, yet again, another developer left Microsoft (this time Chandu Thota, on the Virtual Earth team, who is starting up his own company). Just remember, happy workers don’t leave. And the continual flow of smart developers leaving Microsoft tells me that Microsoft has deep managerial problems that are going to prove challenging to overcome.

But, I’ve learned never to bet against companies with billions of dollars in its pocket and tons of smart people still working there.

If Microsoft gets the marketing teams, the executives who are constantly reorging teams, the bean counters who don’t want to spend money to acquire interesting companies, out of the way, watch out.

Then what Don Dodge says will really have some truth behind it. Until then, Microsoft is sure getting boring to watch lately.

Can’t wait to hear what Ray Ozzie is working on. The silence gets worse for Microsoft with every passing day. I wonder how many companies are looking into Amazon’s S3 service yesterday. Last night I met Jeff Barr, Amazon’s Web Services evangelist, he told me that I wouldn’t believe how many customers are adopting that service and how big Amazon’s data centers are getting because of it.

214 thoughts on “Microsoft has no innovator’s dillema?

  1. Old men moaning…that’s what I see …having some pointless discussion about who is hot and who is not- pointless as talking about the weather…go and have some friends, or make some babies…or stop your president from ruining you country! That would be innovative for a change….ha ha ha… no…you rather whine the “GooglevsMSvsLinuxvsApplevsFirefoxvsVSvsEcliplsevsJavavsvsVistavsXPvsC#vsFlahvsBlavsBlablablablabla” pattern – as probably the least innovative of all time…

  2. KFSone: I stopped reading when you said Microsoft’s games are laughable. Halo 2.0 sold the most games in history. The most. What part of that don’t you understand? People waited in lines for hours to buy them.

    Microsoft makes billions of dollars off of advertising on the Internet. It’s an Internet company.

    They make billions of dollars off of SQL Server. That isn’t an OS.

    They make billions of dollars off of Office. That isn’t an OS.

    I’d rather go read feeds from someone who at least makes a decent argument. Sigh.

  3. KFSone: I stopped reading when you said Microsoft’s games are laughable. Halo 2.0 sold the most games in history. The most. What part of that don’t you understand? People waited in lines for hours to buy them.

    Microsoft makes billions of dollars off of advertising on the Internet. It’s an Internet company.

    They make billions of dollars off of SQL Server. That isn’t an OS.

    They make billions of dollars off of Office. That isn’t an OS.

    I’d rather go read feeds from someone who at least makes a decent argument. Sigh.

  4. All I can say is: Kudos to the exec who chose not to buy Flickr. That would have been a bad move for MS. People are tired of seeing innovations swallowed by MS and then vomited out again years later by the MS-hype machine.

    And there’s no real, long-term stability for Microsoft to gain in buying itself into a market that is too fast and dynamic for the behemoth to stay in tune with.

    Some of you think Microsoft is a software company. It isn’t. It’s an operating system developer. Microsoft’s field of excellence is long-term, mature staples: operating systems, stock-business services (excel, word, powerpoint, visual studio).

    Where Microsoft struggles is where people have convinced the giant that it can do all things. It can’t. Microsoft games are just outright laughable. How many Xbox 1s sold last quarter? 10,000 units? Compared to how many prev-gen PS2s?

    When Microsoft design a keyboard, they wind up with a wireless keyboard that has a state that enables/disables function keys, with no hard default toggle – the only way a user can get a keyboard which has working function keys is to buy a different model…

    If MS had bought Flickr, they wouldn’t have known what to do with it. If you think otherwise, you really need to take a step back and recover your sanity, because you’ve become part of Microsoft’s disease. And note the use of the posessive – I didn’t say Microsoft is a disease; but it has one. Maybe it’s caught it from wearing IBM’s old panties.

    Vista is the worst tragedy to happen to Microsoft. It’s a collection of cool with no real raison de etra. Exactly what the OpenSource/Linux community has been giving that us for years. Exactly what kept Linux off desktops. Now Vista is full of the same annoying, trashy featurettes, fluff, bloat and frippery that Gnome or KDE are. Because Apple lovers “helped shape” Windows XP into a new operating system, worrying less about the real issues that Windows had, technically as an operating system, and more about nuances that, frankly, Microsoft had already mastered and outclassed anything anyone else is going to offer for years to come.

    But that expertise has been slowly drowning in the derth of buy-ups Microsoft has gobbled up. So I’m never the least bit surprized that Microsoft can’t ship software. You’ve forgotten that software isn’t all made the same.

    Years ago I inspired a group of guys to take their product to Microsoft. Someone at MS saw great potential in their product and in short order their product was part of Windows. I was thrilled something I’d been a part of would now be a standard feature of Windows.

    But MS had no natural grasp of this new aquisition, no real understanding other than that it ‘had potential’ and, slashdots inferences aside, MS lacked the ability to assimilate everything about the little company that had brewed up that product.

    Transfered from the rich stew of entrepreneurial startup to the watery, piss-like broth of MS’s development stagnation, it died a pointless death while simultaneously setting back that market sector by years. Rod Toll/ShadowFactor’s GameVoice product.

    Microsoft needs to climb out of some of the beds it has climbed into. You said yourself, “Growth comes from startups, not Microsoft partners”. Well then quit buying stuff up, because everybody else knows what happens if you go through the pains of creating an MS-derived startup and actually look like turning a profit.

    It’s not a technology issue, Windows (well, XP, not Vista) is perfectly capable of turning out successful startups, but the process is so insidious and so costly with Windows that the kinds of individuals and teams you need to innovate something are more likely to turn elsewhere or skip the process entirely.

    Over the years I’ve known several teams who’ve given up on a concept in the early funding stages because they know that if they take the Windows route, that their investors are going to be looking to get an MS-buyout before they break even and can secure their own independence.

    Hell – this is exactly what we’re seeing Microsoft, intentionally or not, try to do to its gaming sector. MS has done appallingly in that market – but it doesn’t have the good sense to give up and focus on what it used to do really well – provisioning – instead it’s trying to choke the independence out of the market so it can snatch up anything seems to make money. An abject failure to understand how money is made in that sector.

    The whole Dx10/Vista Games concept is blatant thumb sucking by people who can’t make games insisting that the people who can not only accept MS have a hand round their throat but that they smile for the camera too.

    “Microsoft is run by people who … don’t see the value in Web stuff”

    If you want to work for a web company, please do so. Microsoft is not a web company, and it is too huge to try and become one.

    “If Microsoft gets the marketing teams, the executives who are constantly reorging teams, the bean counters who don’t want to spend money to acquire interesting companies, out of the way, watch out.”

    Yes – because it might actually grow in a positively received fashion if it were actually to do what it does best instead of turning out backwards, arm-twisting-required still-borns like Vista.

    If you like what Amazon is doing, go work for them or buy shares in them.

    They’re pulling in customers because they specialize in what they’re doing. They’re good at it, and they deliver a great product.

    None of that will be true if those technologies are bought up by Microsoft.

    They are doing it and doing it well because its something they do; Microsoft aren’t doing it because its not something Microsoft do, and buying it wouldn’t change that fact.

    But if you can’t desist in buying stuff your corporation isn’t competent to build/innovate in the first place, then please do all of us – and your stock values – a huge favor and separate out the part of the company that creates Windows. Its the single biggest favor you could do the universe and protect that precious investment so that whatever whimsies and fads you persuade the software company into, our computers will be protected from it.

  5. All I can say is: Kudos to the exec who chose not to buy Flickr. That would have been a bad move for MS. People are tired of seeing innovations swallowed by MS and then vomited out again years later by the MS-hype machine.

    And there’s no real, long-term stability for Microsoft to gain in buying itself into a market that is too fast and dynamic for the behemoth to stay in tune with.

    Some of you think Microsoft is a software company. It isn’t. It’s an operating system developer. Microsoft’s field of excellence is long-term, mature staples: operating systems, stock-business services (excel, word, powerpoint, visual studio).

    Where Microsoft struggles is where people have convinced the giant that it can do all things. It can’t. Microsoft games are just outright laughable. How many Xbox 1s sold last quarter? 10,000 units? Compared to how many prev-gen PS2s?

    When Microsoft design a keyboard, they wind up with a wireless keyboard that has a state that enables/disables function keys, with no hard default toggle – the only way a user can get a keyboard which has working function keys is to buy a different model…

    If MS had bought Flickr, they wouldn’t have known what to do with it. If you think otherwise, you really need to take a step back and recover your sanity, because you’ve become part of Microsoft’s disease. And note the use of the posessive – I didn’t say Microsoft is a disease; but it has one. Maybe it’s caught it from wearing IBM’s old panties.

    Vista is the worst tragedy to happen to Microsoft. It’s a collection of cool with no real raison de etra. Exactly what the OpenSource/Linux community has been giving that us for years. Exactly what kept Linux off desktops. Now Vista is full of the same annoying, trashy featurettes, fluff, bloat and frippery that Gnome or KDE are. Because Apple lovers “helped shape” Windows XP into a new operating system, worrying less about the real issues that Windows had, technically as an operating system, and more about nuances that, frankly, Microsoft had already mastered and outclassed anything anyone else is going to offer for years to come.

    But that expertise has been slowly drowning in the derth of buy-ups Microsoft has gobbled up. So I’m never the least bit surprized that Microsoft can’t ship software. You’ve forgotten that software isn’t all made the same.

    Years ago I inspired a group of guys to take their product to Microsoft. Someone at MS saw great potential in their product and in short order their product was part of Windows. I was thrilled something I’d been a part of would now be a standard feature of Windows.

    But MS had no natural grasp of this new aquisition, no real understanding other than that it ‘had potential’ and, slashdots inferences aside, MS lacked the ability to assimilate everything about the little company that had brewed up that product.

    Transfered from the rich stew of entrepreneurial startup to the watery, piss-like broth of MS’s development stagnation, it died a pointless death while simultaneously setting back that market sector by years. Rod Toll/ShadowFactor’s GameVoice product.

    Microsoft needs to climb out of some of the beds it has climbed into. You said yourself, “Growth comes from startups, not Microsoft partners”. Well then quit buying stuff up, because everybody else knows what happens if you go through the pains of creating an MS-derived startup and actually look like turning a profit.

    It’s not a technology issue, Windows (well, XP, not Vista) is perfectly capable of turning out successful startups, but the process is so insidious and so costly with Windows that the kinds of individuals and teams you need to innovate something are more likely to turn elsewhere or skip the process entirely.

    Over the years I’ve known several teams who’ve given up on a concept in the early funding stages because they know that if they take the Windows route, that their investors are going to be looking to get an MS-buyout before they break even and can secure their own independence.

    Hell – this is exactly what we’re seeing Microsoft, intentionally or not, try to do to its gaming sector. MS has done appallingly in that market – but it doesn’t have the good sense to give up and focus on what it used to do really well – provisioning – instead it’s trying to choke the independence out of the market so it can snatch up anything seems to make money. An abject failure to understand how money is made in that sector.

    The whole Dx10/Vista Games concept is blatant thumb sucking by people who can’t make games insisting that the people who can not only accept MS have a hand round their throat but that they smile for the camera too.

    “Microsoft is run by people who … don’t see the value in Web stuff”

    If you want to work for a web company, please do so. Microsoft is not a web company, and it is too huge to try and become one.

    “If Microsoft gets the marketing teams, the executives who are constantly reorging teams, the bean counters who don’t want to spend money to acquire interesting companies, out of the way, watch out.”

    Yes – because it might actually grow in a positively received fashion if it were actually to do what it does best instead of turning out backwards, arm-twisting-required still-borns like Vista.

    If you like what Amazon is doing, go work for them or buy shares in them.

    They’re pulling in customers because they specialize in what they’re doing. They’re good at it, and they deliver a great product.

    None of that will be true if those technologies are bought up by Microsoft.

    They are doing it and doing it well because its something they do; Microsoft aren’t doing it because its not something Microsoft do, and buying it wouldn’t change that fact.

    But if you can’t desist in buying stuff your corporation isn’t competent to build/innovate in the first place, then please do all of us – and your stock values – a huge favor and separate out the part of the company that creates Windows. Its the single biggest favor you could do the universe and protect that precious investment so that whatever whimsies and fads you persuade the software company into, our computers will be protected from it.

  6. This is an old product but perhaps a new application of it. I’ve been using PowerPoint and Excel with VBA (on both sides) to build interactive prototypes of user interfaces and use them for portable usability testing. People are amazed that PowerPoint can be so fully interactive, and even more so when they see that user inputs can be captured automatically and recorded to Excel with time tags. I started developing these little prototypes to resolve design issues on interfaces I’m working on, and I’m more amazed by how flexible and powerful the environment is for this application the more I learn about it.

    On the corporate culture question, I think MSFT’s biggest problem is Steve Balmer’s apparent belief that any problem can be overcome by grit and determination. It seems to me that in tech, creativity and flexibility will beat shear determination any day, and that saying you innovate all the time doesn’t necessarily mean that you do.

  7. This is an old product but perhaps a new application of it. I’ve been using PowerPoint and Excel with VBA (on both sides) to build interactive prototypes of user interfaces and use them for portable usability testing. People are amazed that PowerPoint can be so fully interactive, and even more so when they see that user inputs can be captured automatically and recorded to Excel with time tags. I started developing these little prototypes to resolve design issues on interfaces I’m working on, and I’m more amazed by how flexible and powerful the environment is for this application the more I learn about it.

    On the corporate culture question, I think MSFT’s biggest problem is Steve Balmer’s apparent belief that any problem can be overcome by grit and determination. It seems to me that in tech, creativity and flexibility will beat shear determination any day, and that saying you innovate all the time doesn’t necessarily mean that you do.

  8. Rob: tomorrow I’ll be at Adobe. They have a much better cross-platform story. Their stuff is being used by the world’s biggest sites where WPF is mostly being ignored. I’ll report more from Adobe tomorrow.

  9. Rob: tomorrow I’ll be at Adobe. They have a much better cross-platform story. Their stuff is being used by the world’s biggest sites where WPF is mostly being ignored. I’ll report more from Adobe tomorrow.

  10. Colby: you must have missed where last week I talked about Amazon. :-)

    XNA is cool, but it’s not aimed at the Internet. Unless you know something I don’t.

    Google isn’t into gaming, so I wouldn’t expect to hear about Google at that conference.

    YouTube won Visionary of the Year there. Hint: that’s now a Google property.

    They also won best Video on Demand Service. So, Google won two prizes there.

    Which is more likely to make billions of dollars to contribute to the bottom lines? XNA or YouTube?

    I’ll take YouTube every day of the week, sorry.

    Interesting that Wii didn’t win, even though I know tons of people who are trading in their Xbox 360s (I’m not, I still don’t like the Wii) for the Wii.

    Even more fun, two Microsoft employees are on the advisory board. That raises questions in my head. http://www.demmx.com/demmx/partners/advisory_board.jsp

  11. Colby: you must have missed where last week I talked about Amazon. :-)

    XNA is cool, but it’s not aimed at the Internet. Unless you know something I don’t.

    Google isn’t into gaming, so I wouldn’t expect to hear about Google at that conference.

    YouTube won Visionary of the Year there. Hint: that’s now a Google property.

    They also won best Video on Demand Service. So, Google won two prizes there.

    Which is more likely to make billions of dollars to contribute to the bottom lines? XNA or YouTube?

    I’ll take YouTube every day of the week, sorry.

    Interesting that Wii didn’t win, even though I know tons of people who are trading in their Xbox 360s (I’m not, I still don’t like the Wii) for the Wii.

    Even more fun, two Microsoft employees are on the advisory board. That raises questions in my head. http://www.demmx.com/demmx/partners/advisory_board.jsp

  12. This blog has way too many topics on Google and Microsoft (and, to a lesser extent, Apple). Talk about something besides these for a nice change of pace! :)

    As for some software inducing a “Wow” out of me, I’m not easily wowible, but this XNA Channel9 video made we “wow”
    http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=261254

    And I think that’s far cooler than anything Google, Apple, or other Microsoft projects in years.
    And I’m not alone, as Microsoft won the “Innovator of the Year” and “Game Innovation of the Year” awards at the 2006 DEMMX awards, both for XNA.
    http://www.demmx.com/demmx/awards/2006.jsp

    As a reference, note that Apple won the “Television Technology of the Year” for the Video iPod, and Google won nothing (though they were nominated for “brand of the year”).

    Office 2007 is pretty wowable too. But that’s me. Internet services, Robert’s passion, bore me to tears.

  13. This blog has way too many topics on Google and Microsoft (and, to a lesser extent, Apple). Talk about something besides these for a nice change of pace! :)

    As for some software inducing a “Wow” out of me, I’m not easily wowible, but this XNA Channel9 video made we “wow”
    http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=261254

    And I think that’s far cooler than anything Google, Apple, or other Microsoft projects in years.
    And I’m not alone, as Microsoft won the “Innovator of the Year” and “Game Innovation of the Year” awards at the 2006 DEMMX awards, both for XNA.
    http://www.demmx.com/demmx/awards/2006.jsp

    As a reference, note that Apple won the “Television Technology of the Year” for the Video iPod, and Google won nothing (though they were nominated for “brand of the year”).

    Office 2007 is pretty wowable too. But that’s me. Internet services, Robert’s passion, bore me to tears.

  14. John, why would Microsoft integrate CVS/Subversion into Visual Studio? They already have 2 competing products (SourceSafe and Team Foundation), AND they allow for 3rd party source control to plug-in.
    The sell a competitive product and they put hooks in for others to integrate with their environment, so they’ve done all they need to in good faith in that area, IMO

  15. John, why would Microsoft integrate CVS/Subversion into Visual Studio? They already have 2 competing products (SourceSafe and Team Foundation), AND they allow for 3rd party source control to plug-in.
    The sell a competitive product and they put hooks in for others to integrate with their environment, so they’ve done all they need to in good faith in that area, IMO

  16. Local.live.com did make me wow – but I’m away from home using a mac with a 3G mobile internet connection.

    local.live doesn’t work with safari, so I have to use firefox but it won’t load at all over this connection.

    maps.google.co.uk wins – works perfectly and impressively fast considering the connection speed.

  17. Local.live.com did make me wow – but I’m away from home using a mac with a 3G mobile internet connection.

    local.live doesn’t work with safari, so I have to use firefox but it won’t load at all over this connection.

    maps.google.co.uk wins – works perfectly and impressively fast considering the connection speed.

  18. John, I am ignoring your angry language. Instead responding to the content of your comments.

    When Microsoft stops doing stupid shit that makes my job suck, I’ll be less angry at them.

    First, you are a bit inconsistent from your previous comment to this. In the previous comment you tried to say that our voice is not included in Ballmer’s voice because what really mattered is one person’s opinion. Now you are saying is that okay, our voice is included in Ballmer’s voice but that’s our internal matter.

    No, i’m saying that internally, people hear and pay attention to what you say, including contradictions between teams. Externally, the only voice that matters is Ballmer’s. Everyone else can have an interop polka party, but when Ballmer starts talking the stupid, then his voice wins. Always. So, your love or lack thereof of interop is meaningless. Ballmer hates Linux, ergo, Microsoft hates Linux. Don’t like it? Quit, or get a new voice for your company.

    You need to realize that Ballmer’s voice is often not his personal voice only but a collective voice of the Microsoft, in the interest of Microsoft’s customers, partners, employees, and share-holders.

    You need to realize that voice makes Microsoft look like it hasn’t learned a damned thing since 1997.

  19. John, I am ignoring your angry language. Instead responding to the content of your comments.

    When Microsoft stops doing stupid shit that makes my job suck, I’ll be less angry at them.

    First, you are a bit inconsistent from your previous comment to this. In the previous comment you tried to say that our voice is not included in Ballmer’s voice because what really mattered is one person’s opinion. Now you are saying is that okay, our voice is included in Ballmer’s voice but that’s our internal matter.

    No, i’m saying that internally, people hear and pay attention to what you say, including contradictions between teams. Externally, the only voice that matters is Ballmer’s. Everyone else can have an interop polka party, but when Ballmer starts talking the stupid, then his voice wins. Always. So, your love or lack thereof of interop is meaningless. Ballmer hates Linux, ergo, Microsoft hates Linux. Don’t like it? Quit, or get a new voice for your company.

    You need to realize that Ballmer’s voice is often not his personal voice only but a collective voice of the Microsoft, in the interest of Microsoft’s customers, partners, employees, and share-holders.

    You need to realize that voice makes Microsoft look like it hasn’t learned a damned thing since 1997.

  20. This thread is not about Linux vs Microsoft. You should refrain from bringing in topics of independent interest.

    It applies, because it has a great deal to do with how the outside world sees you, and it’s still not good, esp. if you manage heterogenous networks, and get hit with the Microsoft “pain tax” for not being 100% windows.

    But I should point out that briefly that Microsoft on a daily basis fight with fear, uncertainty, and doubt of patent infringements.

    Speaking as someone who has been the recipient of the full on MS FUD campaign targeted at IT for years, please, let me say this:

    Wah.

    We ourselves license technologies, fight in courts, make settlements, pay penalties in case we lose. This is all in addition to creating our own technologies (90% of the time!).

    Yes, again, the IT field is well aware of Microsoft’s growing addiction to the NIH crack. It’s yet another way Microsoft causes you pain in a heterogenous network.

    All this cost is built in the licencing fee of our software.

    Oh, we know that. We see it every time we look at the what, 6 versions of Vista (dude, the only purpose for that is to vacuum money) and the what, 8, 9 versions of Office 2007, the complete dilution of both the Office and Windows branding, (what’s next, Windows MSN Office Live for Workgroups?), the licensing schemes that make you seriously doubt your sanity, etc.

    We know what we’re paying for. However, we also realize that in many cases, we don’t have to face Redmond for everything we need, and now, instead of HAVING to use Microsoft products, we use them when they best fit the needs. You guys don’t do so well when that comes up.

    All those years of arrogance and running roughshod over IT? That’s what you’re paying for now.

  21. This thread is not about Linux vs Microsoft. You should refrain from bringing in topics of independent interest.

    It applies, because it has a great deal to do with how the outside world sees you, and it’s still not good, esp. if you manage heterogenous networks, and get hit with the Microsoft “pain tax” for not being 100% windows.

    But I should point out that briefly that Microsoft on a daily basis fight with fear, uncertainty, and doubt of patent infringements.

    Speaking as someone who has been the recipient of the full on MS FUD campaign targeted at IT for years, please, let me say this:

    Wah.

    We ourselves license technologies, fight in courts, make settlements, pay penalties in case we lose. This is all in addition to creating our own technologies (90% of the time!).

    Yes, again, the IT field is well aware of Microsoft’s growing addiction to the NIH crack. It’s yet another way Microsoft causes you pain in a heterogenous network.

    All this cost is built in the licencing fee of our software.

    Oh, we know that. We see it every time we look at the what, 6 versions of Vista (dude, the only purpose for that is to vacuum money) and the what, 8, 9 versions of Office 2007, the complete dilution of both the Office and Windows branding, (what’s next, Windows MSN Office Live for Workgroups?), the licensing schemes that make you seriously doubt your sanity, etc.

    We know what we’re paying for. However, we also realize that in many cases, we don’t have to face Redmond for everything we need, and now, instead of HAVING to use Microsoft products, we use them when they best fit the needs. You guys don’t do so well when that comes up.

    All those years of arrogance and running roughshod over IT? That’s what you’re paying for now.

  22. “Name a single Microsoft Internet product/service that made you say “wow” in the past three years”

    Name a single custom web business application made using a MS product/service that made you say wow in the past three years?

    I lost count.

  23. “Name a single Microsoft Internet product/service that made you say “wow” in the past three years”

    Name a single custom web business application made using a MS product/service that made you say wow in the past three years?

    I lost count.

  24. “You guys don’t decide shit”
    John, when you say this Are you refering to the decisions that affect the products/services or the public statement that Ballmer makes?

    If it is the former – its simply impossible to have that kind of control. There are close to 40000 employees in product development. Roughly 3-4 employees correspond to a single feature. We are talking about 8000-10000 individual features across all Microsoft products. INclude a error margin of 10%. Thats atleast 7200-9000 features. OUt of which let’s assume 90% are simple not so important features. That still leaves us with 700 things. It’s physically impossible for Ballmer or even bill gates to exert any meaningful control these things. Things like interoperability and cross platform would belong to this category too. So if OWA doesn’t work on non-IE browser it’s not because Ballmer asked them not to do it or that the OWA team doesn’t like FIrefox. The team has a release target to meet. A schedule to adhere to. They try to prioritize things and put in as many features as possible. May be when firefox based access to an exchange server hits a reasonable amount they *would* do it.

    Microsoft has done more for Linux interop than Apple has done for non-iTunes interop with iPod. (I normally hate to say ‘they did it too’. I am just trying to make the point that nobody is going to do something just because it makes them feel good. It has to make economic sense and justify the cost involved)

    Going back to the initial paragraph – if you are refering to how an individual softie doesn’t affect what Ballmer says : I agree. CEOs are CEOs. They have to dance to the shareholders tunes. I would take issue with a statment that Bill Gates would make rather than one from SteveB.

  25. “You guys don’t decide shit”
    John, when you say this Are you refering to the decisions that affect the products/services or the public statement that Ballmer makes?

    If it is the former – its simply impossible to have that kind of control. There are close to 40000 employees in product development. Roughly 3-4 employees correspond to a single feature. We are talking about 8000-10000 individual features across all Microsoft products. INclude a error margin of 10%. Thats atleast 7200-9000 features. OUt of which let’s assume 90% are simple not so important features. That still leaves us with 700 things. It’s physically impossible for Ballmer or even bill gates to exert any meaningful control these things. Things like interoperability and cross platform would belong to this category too. So if OWA doesn’t work on non-IE browser it’s not because Ballmer asked them not to do it or that the OWA team doesn’t like FIrefox. The team has a release target to meet. A schedule to adhere to. They try to prioritize things and put in as many features as possible. May be when firefox based access to an exchange server hits a reasonable amount they *would* do it.

    Microsoft has done more for Linux interop than Apple has done for non-iTunes interop with iPod. (I normally hate to say ‘they did it too’. I am just trying to make the point that nobody is going to do something just because it makes them feel good. It has to make economic sense and justify the cost involved)

    Going back to the initial paragraph – if you are refering to how an individual softie doesn’t affect what Ballmer says : I agree. CEOs are CEOs. They have to dance to the shareholders tunes. I would take issue with a statment that Bill Gates would make rather than one from SteveB.

  26. “But, it took a kicking from Google Maps to get the resources to do Virtual Earth.”

    Exactly! A lot of the wow associated with MS is when people say stuff like.. “Wow! Microsoft has done a Google Maps”, or “Wow! Microsoft’s Soapbox is a YouTube competitor”. All sarcastic of course. ;)

    Or… “Wow! Microsoft finally released Longhorn, um Vista.”

    Microsoft has no “Wow”.

  27. “But, it took a kicking from Google Maps to get the resources to do Virtual Earth.”

    Exactly! A lot of the wow associated with MS is when people say stuff like.. “Wow! Microsoft has done a Google Maps”, or “Wow! Microsoft’s Soapbox is a YouTube competitor”. All sarcastic of course. ;)

    Or… “Wow! Microsoft finally released Longhorn, um Vista.”

    Microsoft has no “Wow”.

  28. John, I am ignoring your angry language. Instead responding to the content of your comments.

    First, you are a bit inconsistent from your previous comment to this. In the previous comment you tried to say that our voice is not included in Ballmer’s voice because what really mattered is one person’s opinion. Now you are saying is that okay, our voice is included in Ballmer’s voice but that’s our internal matter.

    You need to realize that Ballmer’s voice is often not his personal voice only but a collective voice of the Microsoft, in the interest of Microsoft’s customers, partners, employees, and share-holders.

    This thread is not about Linux vs Microsoft. You should refrain from bringing in topics of independent interest. But I should point out that briefly that Microsoft on a daily basis fight with fear, uncertainty, and doubt of patent infringements. We ourselves license technologies, fight in courts, make settlements, pay penalties in case we lose. This is all in addition to creating our own technologies (90% of the time!). All this cost is built in the licencing fee of our software.

  29. John, I am ignoring your angry language. Instead responding to the content of your comments.

    First, you are a bit inconsistent from your previous comment to this. In the previous comment you tried to say that our voice is not included in Ballmer’s voice because what really mattered is one person’s opinion. Now you are saying is that okay, our voice is included in Ballmer’s voice but that’s our internal matter.

    You need to realize that Ballmer’s voice is often not his personal voice only but a collective voice of the Microsoft, in the interest of Microsoft’s customers, partners, employees, and share-holders.

    This thread is not about Linux vs Microsoft. You should refrain from bringing in topics of independent interest. But I should point out that briefly that Microsoft on a daily basis fight with fear, uncertainty, and doubt of patent infringements. We ourselves license technologies, fight in courts, make settlements, pay penalties in case we lose. This is all in addition to creating our own technologies (90% of the time!). All this cost is built in the licencing fee of our software.

  30. Leadership 101.

    The underlings only matter internally. When it comes to the outside world, the only voice that counts is the one from the top. Rob and you and everyone else at Microsoft can hold hands and have a big linux lovefest on top of the building with Ballmer’s office, and it won’t matter when compared with Ballmer (and gates to a lesser extent) saying they’re thinking about suing linux users.

    You can talk all you want internally. All that does is make you feel good. It’s what people hear externally, and externally, there’s one voice that matters, and if your name ain’t ballmer, then it ain’t yours.

    The fact is, what has Microsoft actually *done* for linux interop?

    Not much. They announce a lot, (Sun announcement from a few years ago anyone?), but when it comes to DOING much for interop, well, once you get outside of the Mac BU, it falls down.

    Hell, OWA still requires IE on Windows, or you’re still stuck in OWA Lite.

    When you see all the statements from Microsoft showing that they haven’t learned a damned thing, who’s making them?

    Why, it’s ballmer:

    http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9005171&pageNumber=2

    All linux steals Microsoft IP? Ballmer
    Linux is a cancer? Ballmer

    But right. Of course, Ballmer never says any of that. it’s just my personal bias.

  31. Leadership 101.

    The underlings only matter internally. When it comes to the outside world, the only voice that counts is the one from the top. Rob and you and everyone else at Microsoft can hold hands and have a big linux lovefest on top of the building with Ballmer’s office, and it won’t matter when compared with Ballmer (and gates to a lesser extent) saying they’re thinking about suing linux users.

    You can talk all you want internally. All that does is make you feel good. It’s what people hear externally, and externally, there’s one voice that matters, and if your name ain’t ballmer, then it ain’t yours.

    The fact is, what has Microsoft actually *done* for linux interop?

    Not much. They announce a lot, (Sun announcement from a few years ago anyone?), but when it comes to DOING much for interop, well, once you get outside of the Mac BU, it falls down.

    Hell, OWA still requires IE on Windows, or you’re still stuck in OWA Lite.

    When you see all the statements from Microsoft showing that they haven’t learned a damned thing, who’s making them?

    Why, it’s ballmer:

    http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9005171&pageNumber=2

    All linux steals Microsoft IP? Ballmer
    Linux is a cancer? Ballmer

    But right. Of course, Ballmer never says any of that. it’s just my personal bias.

  32. “You guys don’t decide shit”
    Very untrue. I dont know what you base this opinion of yours on.

  33. “You guys don’t decide shit”
    Very untrue. I dont know what you base this opinion of yours on.

  34. Thanks Rob. This is a good perspective to have. And I agree with most of what you said.

    John, I am not sure what you mean. Both Rob and I matter in the Microsoft. Executives here have big ears. They listen to us and make their own opinion based on what we say.

    (I am completely ignoring your personal bias against Ballmer. You are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to ignore it:) )

  35. Thanks Rob. This is a good perspective to have. And I agree with most of what you said.

    John, I am not sure what you mean. Both Rob and I matter in the Microsoft. Executives here have big ears. They listen to us and make their own opinion based on what we say.

    (I am completely ignoring your personal bias against Ballmer. You are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to ignore it:) )

  36. Rob, don’t take this the wrong way, but you don’t matter. You’re not in charge, Ballmer is. Until Ballmer either stops acting like he should be in charge of the only software company in the world by fiat, or the rest of the board gets tired of his lame shit and fires him, who CARES what the rank and file think?

    You guys don’t decide shit. Sorry truth, but it’s the fact of life. Ballmer’s in charge, his is the attitude that counts, and right now, he has the “If we can’t beat Linux, we’ll sue the users” attitude.

    Screw that.

  37. Rob, don’t take this the wrong way, but you don’t matter. You’re not in charge, Ballmer is. Until Ballmer either stops acting like he should be in charge of the only software company in the world by fiat, or the rest of the board gets tired of his lame shit and fires him, who CARES what the rank and file think?

    You guys don’t decide shit. Sorry truth, but it’s the fact of life. Ballmer’s in charge, his is the attitude that counts, and right now, he has the “If we can’t beat Linux, we’ll sue the users” attitude.

    Screw that.

  38. fifthdecade – You bring up a great point and a relevant one in this “innovator” thread. MS is one of few companies that even attempt to bridge the gap between “consumer” and “corporate” customers. When was the last time you saw Oracle or IBM pitch something to a consumer? Apple is primarily consumer and doesn’t have to deal with corporate IT requirements (or their software would look very different indeed!) Google is probably more aligned with MS than anyone, especially with their foray into the enterprise apps space last week.

    It’s not an easy place to operate, which may explain your “customer friendly, user unfriendly” remark. Then again, I joined MS via acquistion a couple of years ago, and have used lots of non-MS operating systems and software over the years, some of it good and some bad. Everyone has a preference based on their experience, and the great news is that there is more choice now than ever before.

    It would be nice if people would vote with their wallets and compete on their technical merits, rather than continuing the mud-slinging from the 90s.

    The MS Live initiative is just getting started, and while it has some speedbumps (both technical and branding), it also has a very broad view of user scenarios over the next decade. You’ll still have plenty of choice as both a consumer or corporate customer to run simple web-centric applications that Robert erroneously believes is the reason Microsoft “doesn’t get it”. Yes, there is a lot of uptake in web-only apps, but as Matt Cutts pointed out last week when jumping on a plane for a 10 hour trip back to San Francisco, he was hopeful for ubiquitous WiFi in the “next couple of years” because all of his apps rely on a net connection and was going to be very unproductive for those 10 hours.

    Web 2.0 is so yesterday. The next generation, for so many reasons, is “hybrid” – online/offline, always available, from any device, authenticated and secure. That’s the new MS, and I believe it speaks to all “people” – not just consumers or corporate users.

    Stay tuned and stay active – I for one enjoy constuctive dialogue. Yes, here’s one Microsoftie listening to YOU.

  39. fifthdecade – You bring up a great point and a relevant one in this “innovator” thread. MS is one of few companies that even attempt to bridge the gap between “consumer” and “corporate” customers. When was the last time you saw Oracle or IBM pitch something to a consumer? Apple is primarily consumer and doesn’t have to deal with corporate IT requirements (or their software would look very different indeed!) Google is probably more aligned with MS than anyone, especially with their foray into the enterprise apps space last week.

    It’s not an easy place to operate, which may explain your “customer friendly, user unfriendly” remark. Then again, I joined MS via acquistion a couple of years ago, and have used lots of non-MS operating systems and software over the years, some of it good and some bad. Everyone has a preference based on their experience, and the great news is that there is more choice now than ever before.

    It would be nice if people would vote with their wallets and compete on their technical merits, rather than continuing the mud-slinging from the 90s.

    The MS Live initiative is just getting started, and while it has some speedbumps (both technical and branding), it also has a very broad view of user scenarios over the next decade. You’ll still have plenty of choice as both a consumer or corporate customer to run simple web-centric applications that Robert erroneously believes is the reason Microsoft “doesn’t get it”. Yes, there is a lot of uptake in web-only apps, but as Matt Cutts pointed out last week when jumping on a plane for a 10 hour trip back to San Francisco, he was hopeful for ubiquitous WiFi in the “next couple of years” because all of his apps rely on a net connection and was going to be very unproductive for those 10 hours.

    Web 2.0 is so yesterday. The next generation, for so many reasons, is “hybrid” – online/offline, always available, from any device, authenticated and secure. That’s the new MS, and I believe it speaks to all “people” – not just consumers or corporate users.

    Stay tuned and stay active – I for one enjoy constuctive dialogue. Yes, here’s one Microsoftie listening to YOU.

  40. Rob, what you and Microsoft call a customer is not the same as what the rest of the world calls a customer! What you are saying would more closely represent a customer as one of the corporations who load MS products onto PCs; for the rest of us it’s the end users who sit at the keyboard and has to fight all the “customer friendly, user unfriendly” features, holes and instabilities.

  41. Rob, what you and Microsoft call a customer is not the same as what the rest of the world calls a customer! What you are saying would more closely represent a customer as one of the corporations who load MS products onto PCs; for the rest of us it’s the end users who sit at the keyboard and has to fight all the “customer friendly, user unfriendly” features, holes and instabilities.

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