Book publisher asks about Microsoft

Joe Wikert, who works at Wiley (he’s an executive there) which is one of the world’s oldest (and biggest) book publishing companies asks some harsh questions about Microsoft’s search strategy.

In response to one of the questions, I answer that one reason that Microsoft talks about products before they are ready to ship is because we are continuing to ask Microsoft what is it doing in the Internet space. Ray Ozzie is smart to ignore us noisy bloggers and keep quiet until he and his team actually have shipping code.

Microsoft needs less talk and more action.

But, seriously, I’m hearing from all sorts of MSFTies that there are tons of reorgs going on and lots of blockages to shipping stuff. When I met with the six heads of Microsoft’s research labs around the world yesterday my first question was how they were going to ship the cool things they showed us yesterday (and there were some really cool demos and prototypes, more when I get my videos up, or read my link blog for some of the best coverage).

Comments

  1. “Ray Ozzie is smart to ignore us noisy bloggers”
    “Microsoft needs less talk and more action.”

    FINALLY!

    The hypocrisy is out in the open. He bitches about AAPL for not blogging for so long, inventing all sorts of reasons why they must. MSFT talks and talks, while AAPL ships and leads. Ya’ll wanna read blogs or be delighted by shipping products?

  2. “Ray Ozzie is smart to ignore us noisy bloggers”
    “Microsoft needs less talk and more action.”

    FINALLY!

    The hypocrisy is out in the open. He bitches about AAPL for not blogging for so long, inventing all sorts of reasons why they must. MSFT talks and talks, while AAPL ships and leads. Ya’ll wanna read blogs or be delighted by shipping products?

  3. “Microsoft needs less talk and more action.” Amen, brother!

    I’ve been in this business long enough to know how they play the game. But it used to be so much more interesting when Microsoft would demo truly new and innovative products “before their time.” Now it just seems like a lot of me-too and catch-up products, tools and services. Where has all the innovation gone? Just as importantly, with that huge stack of cash Microsoft has had (for many years now), why in the heck aren’t they out there doing more interesting acquisitions? What’s the last truly exciting company/technology Microsoft has bought? Anyone?…

    Yes, I know some of the companies that are available for purchase are way over-priced, but still…with the amount of cash and clout Microsoft has, you’d think they could have made a few big splashes over the years.

    End of rant!

  4. “Microsoft needs less talk and more action.” Amen, brother!

    I’ve been in this business long enough to know how they play the game. But it used to be so much more interesting when Microsoft would demo truly new and innovative products “before their time.” Now it just seems like a lot of me-too and catch-up products, tools and services. Where has all the innovation gone? Just as importantly, with that huge stack of cash Microsoft has had (for many years now), why in the heck aren’t they out there doing more interesting acquisitions? What’s the last truly exciting company/technology Microsoft has bought? Anyone?…

    Yes, I know some of the companies that are available for purchase are way over-priced, but still…with the amount of cash and clout Microsoft has, you’d think they could have made a few big splashes over the years.

    End of rant!

  5. “Microsoft would demo truly new and innovative products ‘before their time.’”

    They would? Like what?

  6. “Microsoft would demo truly new and innovative products ‘before their time.’”

    They would? Like what?

  7. Microsoft can keep pretty tight lipped when it wants to. Last November I visited Redmond and played with one web-based product they are working on. It looked pretty close to completion but I’ve not seen nor heard about it outside of their development office. I can only imagine how many similar projects they are hiding within their high security halls.

  8. Microsoft can keep pretty tight lipped when it wants to. Last November I visited Redmond and played with one web-based product they are working on. It looked pretty close to completion but I’ve not seen nor heard about it outside of their development office. I can only imagine how many similar projects they are hiding within their high security halls.

  9. Anona, the original Visual Basic release is a great example. I remember when I first saw a demo of that, long before commercial release; it was one of those “aha!” moments.

    Btw, here’s an acquisition suggestion for the folks in Redmond: Joost. Why not swoop in now, before the service becomes publicly available, and stake a claim to the next generation of TV? They’d get platform, viewership and advertising all rolled into one. Expensive? Sure, it wouldn’t be cheap…but the price will only go up if this service takes off.

    Ahh, who am I kidding?! They’ll probably take their typical route: Wait for it to be a huge hit and then try to create their own me-too offering that’s only half as good as the original.

  10. Anona, the original Visual Basic release is a great example. I remember when I first saw a demo of that, long before commercial release; it was one of those “aha!” moments.

    Btw, here’s an acquisition suggestion for the folks in Redmond: Joost. Why not swoop in now, before the service becomes publicly available, and stake a claim to the next generation of TV? They’d get platform, viewership and advertising all rolled into one. Expensive? Sure, it wouldn’t be cheap…but the price will only go up if this service takes off.

    Ahh, who am I kidding?! They’ll probably take their typical route: Wait for it to be a huge hit and then try to create their own me-too offering that’s only half as good as the original.

  11. “the original Visual Basic release”

    Surely, you know better than to claim that VB was somehow ‘original’ or ‘before its time.’ To MSFT maybe but not to the rest of the universe.

    “Joost. Why not swoop in now”

    Because MSFT is heavily invested in IPTV all over the world, in case you haven’t noticed.

  12. “the original Visual Basic release”

    Surely, you know better than to claim that VB was somehow ‘original’ or ‘before its time.’ To MSFT maybe but not to the rest of the universe.

    “Joost. Why not swoop in now”

    Because MSFT is heavily invested in IPTV all over the world, in case you haven’t noticed.

  13. 2: “Where has all the innovation gone?”

    Never existed. Hardly anyway.

    Now at the risk of being too nuanced, there is nothing wrong with *acquiring* innovation, and Microsoft has done that many times. On the other hand to acquire an innovative company simply so you can shelve all of their upcoming product enhancements (Visio comes to mind for me) stinks to high heaven.

    But MS has demonstrated over and over that they are not first and foremost a technology company. They’ve skimmed the cream off the top of technology more than once, which is why they have no appetite for the hardware business (whcih is a HARD business to be in), and when (not if) they are eventually forced to rely more and more on XBox and Zune-like devices (as opposed to relying on Dell and HP to loose money on palmtops) we’ll see just how powerful their management team thinks they are then.

    “Less talk and more action”: Yes indeedy. But particularly less promising things that they don’t know they can deliver. Their search failure is amplified by early implications that search was easy and they were going to crush Google any day now. Vista was hurt not as much by the delays as by all the bold promises 6 (was it?) years ago, followed by one feature after another being withdrawn.

    And HOW many times do we have to hear that “our next version of X” will run well on today’s hardware, only to find that we have to (yet again) double or quadruple the amount of memory we have? This gave every appearance of being a back room deal with the hardware companies, but lately it’s starting to look like pure incompetence.

    It’s not the early announcements, it’s the broken promises that for many of us have rendered the company a laughing stock. If my own attitude is any indication of others (I think it is) it is going to take more than one success story from Microsoft to even START changing attitudes (aka mindshare) about them. They are like the used car salesman who has already sold me two lemons and is asking me to trust them just one more time. Ain’t gonna happen.

    P.T. Barnum died a long time ago and the circus business isn’t doing too well I hear.

  14. 2: “Where has all the innovation gone?”

    Never existed. Hardly anyway.

    Now at the risk of being too nuanced, there is nothing wrong with *acquiring* innovation, and Microsoft has done that many times. On the other hand to acquire an innovative company simply so you can shelve all of their upcoming product enhancements (Visio comes to mind for me) stinks to high heaven.

    But MS has demonstrated over and over that they are not first and foremost a technology company. They’ve skimmed the cream off the top of technology more than once, which is why they have no appetite for the hardware business (whcih is a HARD business to be in), and when (not if) they are eventually forced to rely more and more on XBox and Zune-like devices (as opposed to relying on Dell and HP to loose money on palmtops) we’ll see just how powerful their management team thinks they are then.

    “Less talk and more action”: Yes indeedy. But particularly less promising things that they don’t know they can deliver. Their search failure is amplified by early implications that search was easy and they were going to crush Google any day now. Vista was hurt not as much by the delays as by all the bold promises 6 (was it?) years ago, followed by one feature after another being withdrawn.

    And HOW many times do we have to hear that “our next version of X” will run well on today’s hardware, only to find that we have to (yet again) double or quadruple the amount of memory we have? This gave every appearance of being a back room deal with the hardware companies, but lately it’s starting to look like pure incompetence.

    It’s not the early announcements, it’s the broken promises that for many of us have rendered the company a laughing stock. If my own attitude is any indication of others (I think it is) it is going to take more than one success story from Microsoft to even START changing attitudes (aka mindshare) about them. They are like the used car salesman who has already sold me two lemons and is asking me to trust them just one more time. Ain’t gonna happen.

    P.T. Barnum died a long time ago and the circus business isn’t doing too well I hear.

  15. Oh and…

    “When I met with the six heads of Microsoft’s research labs around the world yesterday my first question was how they were going to ship the cool things they showed us yesterday”

    … care to tell us what they said? Since you are no longer with the company I assume it was not confidential.

  16. Oh and…

    “When I met with the six heads of Microsoft’s research labs around the world yesterday my first question was how they were going to ship the cool things they showed us yesterday”

    … care to tell us what they said? Since you are no longer with the company I assume it was not confidential.

  17. Anona, I must have somehow missed all the VB-like tools that were out before Visual Basic 1.0 shipped. What were the names of those products?…

    Come on now! I’m generally the first to bash Microsoft when I feel they’ve done something wrong and even *I* can acknowledge that VB was an innovative tool! Yes, it was developed outside of Microsoft, but at least they had the good sense to acquire it.

  18. Anona, I must have somehow missed all the VB-like tools that were out before Visual Basic 1.0 shipped. What were the names of those products?…

    Come on now! I’m generally the first to bash Microsoft when I feel they’ve done something wrong and even *I* can acknowledge that VB was an innovative tool! Yes, it was developed outside of Microsoft, but at least they had the good sense to acquire it.