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Ray Ozzie's Departing Memo a Warning To Microsoft 345

Posted by Soulskill
from the so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-bsods dept.
itwbennett writes "In a parting memo to Microsoft, Ray Ozzie urges Microsoft to 'really, truly, seriously start thinking beyond the PC,' writes blogger Chris Nurney. Nurney suspects that 'Ozzie has been making these points internally for some time,' and that the memo 'could be his way of putting it in the public record.' Some of the memo's juicy bits: 'It's important that all of us do precisely what our competitors and customers will ultimately do: close our eyes and form a realistic picture of what a post-PC world might actually look like, if it were to ever truly occur. ... Today's PCs, phones & pads are just the very beginning; we'll see decades to come of incredible innovation from which will emerge all sorts of "connected companions" that we'll wear, we'll carry, we'll use on our desks & walls and the environment all around us.'"
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Ray Ozzie's Departing Memo a Warning To Microsoft

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  • MS is doing that (Score:2, Insightful)

    by weachiod (1928554)
    I think someone has missed Windows Phone 7 and the tablets Microsoft will be releasing shortly. Hell, Microsoft Courier looked like the only tablet I wanted. Screw iPad, Courier was cool.

    But the truth also is that Microsoft has a huge dominance on computer market and that isn't going anywhere. They are truly dominating it. I don't think it's a warning as such to Microsoft, just a suggestion for if they want to grow. And interestingly, that is what Microsoft is and has been doing for many years already. Xb
    • Re:MS is doing that (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Xtravar (725372) on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:28PM (#34017146) Homepage Journal

      Do you remember.. Windows Mobile 6? Pocket PC? Yeah, I developed for those platforms, and I can tell you that Microsoft seriously didn't give a shit. I doubt they have changed much since then. When your core product is for PCs, it's hard changing your company's thinking.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        The phrase "survival of the fittest" actually came from a mistake that was made when Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" was translated into German. The correct phrase, and concept, is "Survival of the most adaptable".

        It's just as true in the business world as it is in nature.

        • Re:MS is doing that (Score:5, Informative)

          by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:47PM (#34017444) Homepage

          The phrase "survival of the fittest" actually came from a mistake that was made when Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" was translated into German. The correct phrase, and concept, is "Survival of the most adaptable".

          Since the phrase was first used by Herbert Spencer in 1864, writing in English, I don't think so. Darwin himself used the phrase "natural selection" and not "survival of the fittest," but in 1869 he did quote the "survival of the fittest" phrase (correctly attributing the quote to Spencer); and did it in English (not translating it into German).

          http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/340400.html [phrases.org.uk]
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest [wikipedia.org]

        • by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:49PM (#34017466) Homepage Journal

          So what Darwin was saying is... the transformers will outlive humans?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by EdIII (1114411)

          Dude, you are so full of shit man.

          Think about this way. High School. The jocks, which you could arguably say are the fittest physically, are getting all the pussy. Are they adapting? No. They never change their game and remain the same all throughout high school. They walk around, and if by some sort of unknown gravitational effect, pussy just flies around corners to them.

          Now take all the nerds, geeks, loners, etc. Do they adapt? Hell yes. It's a constant churn of adaptation, trial and error, failur

          • Re:MS is doing that (Score:5, Informative)

            by bonch (38532) on Monday October 25, 2010 @06:31PM (#34018792)

            Fitness in the context of evolution doesn't refer to physical fitness.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by haruharaharu (443975)

            The Jocks get the pussy, so yes they are the fittest, and so long as they continue getting laid, why change? The nerds and geeks around here (seattle) do pretty well for them selves, but the secret is this: own yourself and don't take any shit and be attractive - you will get some too. You don't have to be a jock or a meathead, but it helps to be in decent shape and have some physical skill (unless you like disappointing your sackmates).

            All that pretend crap you're talking about is just getting in the way

    • by Squidnut (1905196) on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:28PM (#34017150)
      Smartphones and tablets are a step in the right direction, but they're nowhere near the ideal of ubiquitous computing that Ozzie is suggesting. Much like Microsoft, you're not looking far enough ahead.
      • by Pojut (1027544)

        They do retain a (very slowly loosening) iron grip on the enterprise market though...a big money maker (and future) to be sure.

        Granted, that has nothing to do with the kind of stuff TFA is talking about, but having a hand in the infrastructure that will make all that cool stuff actually useful is nothing to sneeze at.

        • Re:MS is doing that (Score:5, Interesting)

          by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:35PM (#34017268) Homepage Journal

          Frankly I am starting to wonder if Microsoft is going to be the next Curtis Wright.
          In 1954 just about every airliner on the planet used their engines. The president of the company said that they could keep making that one engine until the end of time and people would still be buying them.
          By 1960 they where no longer a major producer of aircraft engines.
          Today they make valves for hydraulic systems.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            To say that Curtiss Wright "[makes] valves for hydraulic systems" is a gross over simplification of their current product line. While I agree that they could be much more than they are, I also knew you were going to downplay them unfairly when I had seen you couldn't even be bothered to spell their name correctly.
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by LWATCDR (28044)

              Okay the make control systems. But that company was a merger of The Curtiss company as in Glen Curtiss and the Wright Engine company an in the Wright Brothers.
              The company that made the P-40 fighter plane and the Engines that powered a good percentage of US aircraft in WWII including but not limited too the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-25, and the B-29!. After the war they produced the engine for long range aircraft.
              Until the Jet came along.
              They failed to make the leap and are now a relatively small company c

          • by BobMcD (601576)

            What's most interesting about this to me is the technology changes themselves. From a few minutes' worth of research I see that Curtiss Wright failed to make the best jet engines. Even their own aircraft wound up getting refit with Westinghouse models. That's not good.

            Microsoft could be thus, but there needs to be a jet engine to come along and displace their prop. I'm not seeing what that might be.

            Bear in mind, also, that this isn't in any way uncommon. Look at the 1906 caliber change from high power/

            • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

              by LWATCDR (28044)

              Actually they failed to produce a any good aircraft after the P-40. Even the P-40 was looked down on as an also ran. I feel rather unfairly. I was mainly speaking of the Engine division which built several of the best piston aircraft engines in history.
              But they failed to invest in jets until it was too late. They believed that piston engines would always be more fuel efficient and would always be the better choice for long range aircraft.
              They where wrong and lost the market. Pratt and Whitney on the other h

          • Steve the plumber!
      • by symbolset (646467) on Monday October 25, 2010 @09:38PM (#34020336) Journal

        Compare and contrast [gizmodo.com] Ray Ozzie's farewell with that of another recent high-level departure, J. Allard. These men, at the heart of technology for all their adult lives, were in positions of the highest influence at Microsoft. They're obviously both brilliant, and not needing to cash a paycheck. They see a change coming - a huge change - and they want to be a part of it. They don't see that happening while they work in Redmond. So they go. But on the way out they look back at the poor souls they leave behind and they tell them in their farewell: "You too can be a part of this new world. You just have to think different." The door swings shut with a click and the obvious conclusion remains unsaid: "but you won't."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Was was thinking the same thing.

      Windows Mobile has seriously SUCKED the life out of me, like my life sucks because of it. (I could have won concert tickets but my phone couldn't even preform a simple speed dial in under 10 seconds).

      I don't know anyone who actually owns a zune, but lets just say my only run-in with it has been the zune apps on the Xbox - which is actually worse at managing my media than the original Xbox way of just navigating a filestructure. Thanks!

      I could name a handful of other Non-PC pr

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SpryGuy (206254)

        I own a Zune (I bought the Zune80 when it came out).

        The Zune software was fantastic (on the PC). The Zune UI ran rings around the iPod (on the Device). The sound quality was better.

        Zune deserved better. It was superior to the iPod Classic line in every way. I've seen (but do not own) the Zune HD, and it's good as well, though it pales in comparison to the iPod Touch because of the ecosystem and apps available.

        I'm actively looking forward to being able to ditch my iPhone for a Windows Phone in a year or

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TedTschopp (244839)
          The problem with the Zune was that Microsoft was fighting yesterday's battle with it. This is the same problem with the Windows Phone. The Smart Phone market is almost run its course and Microsoft has taken too long to respond. Microsoft needs to be fighting today's battles, not fighting yesterdays wars.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Microsoft was fighting yesterday's battle

            You've nailed it! Everything Microsoft is doing is reacting to the changing market, change introduced by others. Microsoft isn't able or willing to disrupt their own business. Maybe they shouldn't. There's nothing wrong with being boring and mature (Oracle and IBM make billions being boring).

            What has Microsoft being doing the last couple of years? They showed some vision by investing in Facebook, but then spent months trying to buy Yahoo!? It's just bizarre.

          • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday October 25, 2010 @06:15PM (#34018622)

            "LOL WUT?" The smartphone market has run its course? You are kidding, right? Smart phones are going to continue to sell strong as ever. While they may not grow a ton, people have to stop pretending like growth is all that matters. It smacks of wet behind the ears stock investors who have no sense of scale or history.

            Smart phones are going to be a huge market until, well, someone figures out something to replace the phone. I haven't even heard of any ideas along those lines much less products. So I think it is safe to say the market has decades, or more, of life.

            Also you might notice that in terms of OS the battle has not been won, nor may it ever be won. Symbian didn't win (it was by far the largest), BlackBerry OS didn't win, iOS hasn't won, Android hasn't won. The fight is on going, and it may well go on forever. Given the locked down nature of phones and carriers, there may not be the push for a single platform like there was with PCs. There people wanted software portability, but you don't get that on phones anyhow.

            Also you might note that MS is and was in the mobile market. Windows CE smart phones have been around for a long time and while not huge weren't trivial either. This is a (needed) revamp/update, not a new entrance in to a market.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > like my life sucks because of it. (I could have won concert tickets but my phone couldn't even preform a simple speed dial in under 10 seconds).

        Seriously. Your life sucks because a toy telephone prevented you from winning concert tickets?

        > Was was thinking the same thing.

        How on god's green earth is this comment marked "insightful"? I see slashdot is still the festering circlejerk it always was. Makes me long for the days of goatse and beowulf clusters and first post. At least that was entertaining.

        • Re:MS is doing that (Score:4, Interesting)

          by mikestew (1483105) on Monday October 25, 2010 @05:36PM (#34018058) Homepage

          Granted, one's quality of life shouldn't depend on winning concert tickets. But the point stands: Windows Mobile phones (and I've got a pile of them on my shelf) sucked as phones. Even on the speedy-for-its-time HTC Advantage, the phone keyboard lagged. Punch a key, wait, key is highlighted and tone is heard. Repeat. IIRC, every WinMo phone I had did this to some extent.

          I don't care if MSFT promises a pony with every Windows Phone 7, crap like that made me swear off WinMo for good.

    • I think someone has missed Windows Phone 7 and the tablets Microsoft will be releasing shortly.

      If WP7 doesn't run Lotus Notes, it might be dead to Ray Ozzie. . .

    • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:37PM (#34017288) Journal

      When Ray says "Beyond the PC" what he's really saying is "beyond Windows OS".

      This has been Microsoft's greatest nemesis, is their own myopia. They view everything with the tinged glasses of Windows. You can see this with Windows Mobile 7, even if it isn't "Windows" is trying to leverage "Windows 7" branding.

      Specifically addressing what you're saying, the problem with Courier was that it was Kindle wannabe. They kept the book format when quite frankly it shouldn't have. Try turning the page with one hand. The KindleApp for iPad is even better than Kindle. And it is more useful than any standalone ebook reader.

      Which brings me to tablets: If Microsoft makes a tablet that isn't some bastardized copy of Windows, I'll take a look. Until then, no thank you. Buying an overpriced one use computing device to me seem silly, and trying to shoehorn Windows into a tablet type device is just as pointless.

      Apple gets all of this. Apple is no longer just a "computer company" and is branching out and fixing all the other related edges of technology that has been hamstrung by companies like Microsoft and their limited thinking. Apple is not just Macs any more, and that is a big reason they are the new Microsoft, and #2 in Market Cap, possibly getting to #1 next year sometime.

      • Which brings me to tablets: If Microsoft makes a tablet that isn't some bastardized copy of Windows, I'll take a look. Until then, no thank you. Buying an overpriced one use computing device to me seem silly, and trying to shoehorn Windows into a tablet type device is just as pointless.

        But isn't Android just a bastardized Linux?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You aren't really listening. iOS is designed fro the ground up to be a touch-based OS. It sits on top of a specialized OSX platform. Android is similar, but is made by Google and sits on top of Linux. The reason why Blackberry touch smartphones have sucked is that the retro-fitted their old apps, and aren't all optimized for touch. Windows mobile seems to suffer from similar problems. You need to think of it from the user paradigm rather than making it "A pc on a phone, or a PC on a tablet." Apple and

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by SpryGuy (206254)

            iOS is designed fro the ground up to be a touch-based OS. It sits on top of a specialized OSX platform. Android is similar, but is made by Google and sits on top of Linux. The reason why Blackberry touch smartphones have sucked is that the retro-fitted their old apps, and aren't all optimized for touch. Windows mobile seems to suffer from similar problems. You need to think of it from the user paradigm rather than making it "A pc on a phone, or a PC on a tablet." Apple and Google have done a much better job

            • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

              by h4rr4r (612664)

              Name any of that "Interesting Innovation".

              Would not happen to be no multitasking or no copy-paste would it?

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by clang_jangle (975789)

              And they're doing so with a log of interesting innovation.

              At least we can agree it's a "log".

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by MichaelSmith (789609)

              The iPhone is not called a "Mac Phone". And for good reason.

              • The iPhone is not called a "Mac Phone". And for good reason.

                And yet it shares the "i..." branding with various Apple's desktop products (iWork, iLife,...).

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            You aren't really listening. iOS is designed fro the ground up to be a touch-based OS. It sits on top of a specialized OSX platform. Android is similar, but is made by Google and sits on top of Linux.

            Windows Phone 7 is also designed from ground up to be a touch-based OS (unlike WinMo, which was more pen-oriented). So? What does branding have to do with it all?

        • Re:MS is doing that (Score:4, Informative)

          by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday October 25, 2010 @05:00PM (#34017610) Journal

          Linux is a kernel, not a complete OS. The bits on top of the Kernel are Android OS. Lots of devices run the kernel, but have limited OS capabilities because it is easy to do and highly modularized. Android is more like Gnome or KDE (not exact though)

          Windows is much much more monolithic.

          • Re:MS is doing that (Score:4, Informative)

            by alc6379 (832389) on Monday October 25, 2010 @06:47PM (#34018968)
            Have you really been paying attention to the latest Windows OS's? Server 2008 isn't "monolithic"-- if you look at Server Core, there's not even an "explorer" to run. There's just a command shell, sitting on top of the Windows kernel.

            I'm not a fanboi, but I do give credit where credit is due-- It's been a long time since Windows was as monolithic as you are suggesting. It is just as modular as any other OS now-- they just don't provide the users the opportunity to change the shell or other components. In this sense, it's perfectly reasonable to say that there's a modified Windows kernel, and WP7 just has a different interface to that kernel, same as iOS, or Android.
        • by jonbryce (703250)

          In the same way that iOS is a bastardised BSD.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The other problem with the Courier is that it never existed... It was nothing more than a photoshop mockup or rendered 3D model. Their next tablet will be "no thicker than a sheet of glass" [slashdot.org]
      • by BobMcD (601576) on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:59PM (#34017590)

        Apple gets all of this. Apple is no longer just a "computer company" and is branching out and fixing all the other related edges of technology that has been hamstrung by companies like Microsoft and their limited thinking. Apple is not just Macs any more, and that is a big reason they are the new Microsoft, and #2 in Market Cap, possibly getting to #1 next year sometime.

        Close, but no. In all seriousness, Apple does not 'get all of this' in the manner that you suggest. They're not looking for 'superior' so much as they are looking to lock users into their App stores. So to claim that Apple doesn't possess limited thinking is, in my view, patently false. They are just as single minded, but towards a different end. They don't care about the technology in the least (iphone that doesn't work well as a phone, anyone?), but they ARE indeed all about the platform and the vehicle to future sales that it represents.

        • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Monday October 25, 2010 @05:11PM (#34017758) Journal

          Apple is not Mac, the same way Microsoft is Windows.

          What you said may be true, or may simply be a way of monetizing the marketplace in a way you don't like, but that is not my point. Apple is not a "computer company" the way Microsoft is a "Windows" company.

          There is nothing at Microsoft that isn't either "Windows" or "Me too" device (XBOX, ZUNE).

          And even if you think iPod, iPad, and iPhone are in the "me too" category, they revolutionized industries that weren't "computer" related. And frankly, the iPod, iPhone and iPad make anything before them look ... "PC". Those devices transcend computing.

          I don't have iPad or Mac or iPhone. I have an iPod full of music, and haven't bought a single thing from ITMS. I prefer buying tunes on CD and ripping them, because they can go on ANY device I want. I'm not locked into anything Apple.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by BobMcD (601576)

            Okay, you missed it. One more try, then.

            Apple is not a "computer company" the way Microsoft is a "Windows" company.

            In that light, Apple is an "iTunes company". Period, the end.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by bonch (38532)

              In case you forgot, Apple is a hardware company. You can't compare Apple and Microsoft on the software level because Apple is also making the hardware. iTunes is just the centralized app they use to sync media across those devices and is not a valid comparison to an OS. You don't even have to use iTunes to purchase apps anymore.

              The point is that Microsoft wants to put Windows on everything. Apple wants to sell hardware devices. That gives Apple an advantage in product flexibility, from workstations to pock

          • by node 3 (115640)

            I have an iPod full of music, and haven't bought a single thing from ITMS. I prefer buying tunes on CD and ripping them, because they can go on ANY device I want. I'm not locked into anything Apple.

            Just a point of interest, all music on the iTMS is DRM-free. It is AAC, which may not be as universal as MP3, but it's still common enough to not locking you into "anything Apple".

        • Not quite (Score:3, Informative)

          by acomj (20611)

          > they're not looking for 'superior' so much as they are looking to lock users into their
          > App stores.
          Actually not quite right.

          This would make sense if....
          the app store was launched with the iphone. But it was in fact an afterthought.

          Originally Apple wanted everyone to get "Apps" which were web based (javascript/ html) things online. Developers wanted to write more persistant application that would run without an internet connection, thus one year later the App Store and the SDK.

          Sometimes you make a

        • by node 3 (115640)

          They're not looking for 'superior' so much as they are looking to lock users into their App stores.

          People say this as though the App Store is some sort of cash cow for Apple. They run their digital stores at mostly break-even. They aren't trying to lock their users into their App Stores (especially since you used the plural. they are absolutely *not* going to lock Mac OS X into their Mac App Store the way iOS is locked into the current App Store).

          What you're missing is that they are going for superior, and the App Stores are part of that. Apple makes their money from hardware sales. App Stores make their

      • Re:MS is doing that (Score:4, Informative)

        by s4m7 (519684) on Monday October 25, 2010 @05:11PM (#34017748) Homepage

        Apple is not just Macs any more, and that is a big reason they are the new Microsoft, and #2 in Market Cap, possibly getting to #1 next year sometime.

        Apple surpassed Microsoft's market cap in May, and remains second highest mcap in the S&P 500 to exxonmobil. MS is third. There is a pretty big gap between exxonmobil and apple, still. Unlikely to close in the next year. But I'm guessing you weren't taking petro companies into consideration in your rankings.

      • State (Score:5, Interesting)

        by copponex (13876) on Monday October 25, 2010 @05:27PM (#34017962) Homepage

        As wireless internet access becomes even more robust, the first company that can deliver a solution to keep a user's "state" consistent across all of their devices is going to be the winner. It's a problem that the industry has been working on since the dark days of syncing your contacts up through a USB1 connection to a palm pilot. I imagine it's why Apple is building their enormous data center - they are about to make manual data management a thing of the past. A slick interface could yield some badass results for stepping your data to a network volume if it's unusually large, and then streaming backups during off-peak hours to iBackup or whatever you want to call it. Otherwise, every time you start to edit a doc, the filesystem is intelligently streaming the backup directly to their data center. If your laptop gets nicked, then you log in to your me.com account, destroy the encrypted volume if they connect it to the internet, and grab another laptop and a few hours later you are back up and running.

        Computers are going to disappear - your information will be always available from any device with an internet connection. You'll just have a variety of interfaces to it, from your phone, to your media viewer (iPad) to your netbook (I mean MacBook Air, Steve!) and your desktop. They will all sync intelligently, and store larger, non-streamable information locally on SSD drives. Only video creators will be forced to continue managing physical volumes until 4g goes nationwide and uncapped.

        It's a good idea, and a fucking bummer that Apple is the only company doing it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by icebraining (1313345)

          That's the whole point of ChromeOS (but not limited, it can be used in any OS), combined with Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calendar, Picasa Web (photos and videos) and Google Reader.

          Personally, it's not my cup of tea (I've moved to my email and photo hosting to my home server recently), but saying Apple is the only one pushing for a web based OS is ridiculous.

        • Computers are going to disappear - your information will be always available from any device with an internet connection ... It's a good idea, and a fucking bummer that Apple is the only company doing it.

          I absolutely agree with most of what you say here -- the company that does transparent "cloud" sync/storage best will win the game. Unlike you, my take is that Apple is actually way behind in this area, while Google has a convincing, if not insurmountable lead. This isn't about Android, though you can s

      • by swb (14022) on Monday October 25, 2010 @05:29PM (#34017992)

        Or all of the above?

        I sometimes wonder if MS senior management isn't full of guys making good money, looking at how much time they have until retirement is a real option and thinking "If we can just string this Windows/PC model along for a couple more years, I'll be set. Retire in my late 50s. Second home (or boat or ....) paid for. Enough savings to live off until 401k money kicks in."

        I can see where it could almost become a cultural mindset, coupled with a financial analysis that says the "real money" comes from Windows, Office, Exchange & SQL. Everything else (phone, tables, hardware, software, etc) is a half-assed feint to keep Wall St. quiet, keep key industry experts locked into long employment contracts and out of the hands of competitors, and occasionally hit the lottery when something sticks to the wall.

        Or is it the actual management model? Keep the Windows/Office core profit engine running, fuck around on the margin and assume you can manipulate the market enough to keep your dominance forever?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      The Xbox 360 is a fantastic product? So you've never owned one have you?

      RROD pops to mind and the overall 16.1% failure rate over 6 to 10 months use.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360_technical_problems [wikipedia.org]
      http://www.tgdaily.com/games-and-entertainment-features/36070-report-xbox-360-failure-rate-above-15 [tgdaily.com]

      Plus the fact that it didn't support an HD format for games, no Blu-ray support now, no Bluetooth support, it's not that fantastic of a device.

      • Among video game consoles sold in North America, Xbox 360 is the only one that officially allows game development by prosumers [wikipedia.org]. It's not perfect [pineight.com], but it's better than what Sony and Nintendo offer.
      • The failure rate is much much better now. No one will deny there were problems on release and for some time afterwords.

        The HD format thing kind of sucks. But you know what? If you want to game, the 360 is great. In fact, I would say that it's fantastic. If you enjoy the game selection, then you'll enjoy a 360. Cause it works. It's a goddamn console. It plays games before anything else.
      • by js3 (319268)

        Yes it is. I bought a Xbox 360 and PS3, while I love both I spend more time and money playing games bought for the Xbox than the ps3. I'm not saying PS3 sucks, on the contrary, the hardware feels better and it has a snazzy blueray player.. some of the truely epic games have been on the ps3.

        I would rank the 360 and ps3 to be equals.. just diferent, and mine certainly hasn't died yet but if it did that's fine. Damn thing has been used 5x more than my ps3 in 3 years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think someone has missed Windows Phone 7 and the tablets Microsoft will be releasing shortly.

      Windows Phone is already out in Europe. We'll see how well it fares. Personally, I'm not impressed by the many restrictions (more than in iPhone!), but then I'm a geek. If I were buying a phone as a present for my mom, I'd look into it alongside iPhone.

      HP Slate 500 (running Windows 7) is also out. It's rather telling that they've put it into business laptops and PCs [hp.com] section of their website, though. The reviews so far have not been all that positive, from what I've seen - it certainly does some things great

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Are you for real?

      Xbox360 great?
      Freely develop software?

      These are the folks that turned vendor lockin into an art, they are the folks that bought their way into the console market.

      MS is not dominating outside the PC space. The PC is dieing.

      • by tepples (727027)

        Xbox360 great?
        Freely develop software?

        I have a feeling that weachiod is referring to XNA Creators Club. Nintendo and Sony offer nothing comparable.

        they are the folks that bought their way into the console market.

        How did Sony get in during the PS1 era, and how was that not "buying"?

        MS is not dominating outside the PC space.

        I agree that Xbox 360 isn't entirely dominating the high-definition console market. But it's still noticeably ahead of PS3, especially in North America.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          XNA Creators Club is not suitable for making anything beyond little toy games is my understanding. At that point you might as well make an Android or iPhone app and get yourself a much larger customer base.

          How did Sony get in during the PS1 era, and how was that not "buying"?
          They sold the PS1 and it made money. Even the 360 will not pay off the losses on the xbox, last I heard. In this way sony made a new console family and Microsoft bought their way into a market.

          I agree that Xbox 360 isn't entirely domina

          • XNA Creators Club is not suitable for making anything beyond little toy games is my understanding.

            Define "little toy games". I certainly haven't drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid about XNA, but can you think of any significant limitations other than what I already list on my page [pineight.com]?

            At that point you might as well make an Android or iPhone app and get yourself a much larger customer base.

            Android and iPhone are counterparts to the DS/PSP/DSi/3DS, not a set-top multiplayer gaming device like 360/PS3/Wii that just needs extra gamepads. On a smartphone, four players mean four $70/mo voice and data plans. The last time I checked, a "family plan" at a U.S. cell phone carrier covered one smartphone and one to three "featu

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              So you agree there are significant limitations?

              There is an "android touch" samsung makes it.

              I have two smartphones on a family plan with verizon, runs about $130month.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      This just happens to be your only comment?
      It reads like MS PR copy.

      ASTROTURF!

    • Re:MS is doing that (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ProppaT (557551) on Monday October 25, 2010 @05:13PM (#34017784) Homepage

      It's not the same, though. The point that Ray Ozzie is trying to make is that, at some point, Microsoft needs to stop following the industry and become the one the industry follows again.

      Windows Phone 7 is great, but Apple was the one who popularized smart phones as we currently know them. Tablets are coming to the market with Microsoft software on them, but Apple was the one who popularized tablets. For years, before the iPod changed Apple, Apple made ends meet because they had a fervent fan base and catered to them. It didn't hurt Apple that they were always playing catch up because they had total control over their environment. They made money on software and hardware. Microsoft is in the unique position of being a primarily software based company. If sales of Windows plummet, they don't have that kind of closed system like Apple has to keep them chugging along. Additionally, Microsoft is such a huge company at this point, they have to be an industry innovator again or face crumbling apart.

      I agree that Microsoft is making waves to change their image. They're the "cool" company (in the US) when it comes to videogame consoles and no one EVER saw that coming. Zune has its diehards (and rightfully so, the Zune HD is terrific hardware). Windows Phone 7 might get its following, that's yet to be seen. And Windows 7 is just a pleasure to use, IMO. But the PC market is shrinking at a rapid pace and the only other market that MS is #1 in right now is videogame consoles...and that's not the cash cow that Windows and Office are.

      Microsoft is literally sleeping on the chance to expand the xbox brand and make it the only box you need in your house for entertainment. Xbox SHOULD be the industry leader in iptv right now, but they're not. And that's a crying shame...because our other two players are Google (who's going to eventually throw something free on the table and leave it to a hundred vendors to shape it into a usable product) or Sony (who's going to try to tie everything into purchases and season passes, not true iptv) and I think that Microsoft, as a company that's not tied to advertisement (Google) or owns huge assets of media (Sony) could shape this market in a way that's good for consumers and runs off of hardware that's already existing. It would also secure Microsoft's spot as console leader for generations to come.

      Microsoft is sleeping on all sorts of opportunities now. Ray Ozzie, stating this as an insider, is really a doom and gloom statement from an investors standpoint.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Apple was the one who popularized smart phones as we currently know them. Tablets are coming to the market with Microsoft software on them, but Apple was the one who popularized tablets.

        The problem that Microsoft runs up against again and again is that they're a software vendor, not a hardware vendor. Sure they sell xboxes, mice and the odd webcam and zune, but for real hardware they depend on the hardware manufacturers, and it's very very hard to get the likes of HP or Dell to innovate on Microsoft's beh

    • It was cool. So was Knowledge Navigator [google.com]. But vapor is vapor, and products people can actually buy are the only tangible indicator of what's important at a company. The fate of Courier shows that advocates of a radical, post-Windows approach lost a big internal fight. Microsoft continues to clearly demonstrate that Windows is their anchor.

      Anchors keep you from getting blown away when a storm comes. They also keep you from moving forward.

    • by node 3 (115640) on Monday October 25, 2010 @05:39PM (#34018102)

      You, along with many others, liked Courier because it was a fantasy. It was never a real product, just a fake rendering of a very interesting idea. Its main purpose was to distract interest away from Apple's tablet, and it appears to have done its job for some (although not nearly well enough to keep the iPad from becoming a huge success).

      But the truth also is that Microsoft has a huge dominance on computer market and that isn't going anywhere.

      That's true, but not the point. The point is post-PC. MS is extremely weak on that front, and just like Sony losing their lead from the Walkman to the iPod, MS's huge lead in the PC world won't amount to much in the non-PC world.

      Just bring me something that Courier was supposed to be. I want it, I need it!

      It's not going to happen. I'd suggest you give up on it, at least for the time being. Otherwise you'll be in perpetual frustration. It's like wishing expectantly for wizard powers. By focussing too much on the non-real, you pass up on the real. MS teased you with the Courier, but what they gave you, later than promised, was a shitty Windows 7 slate from HP.

      Say what you will about Apple, but at least they promote real products that they actually deliver. You say screw iPad, you want Courier. Well, sure, but iPad has the supremely important feature of actually existing.

    • Re:MS is doing that (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gilesjuk (604902) <.giles.jones. .at. .zen.co.uk.> on Monday October 25, 2010 @06:12PM (#34018580)

      WP7 about 2-3 years behind the competition. It's only saving grace is it's different and the OS upgrades are supplied by Microsoft.

      Courier was concept art, just an idea. The fact it was seen to be cool and got killed just shows how badly run Microsoft are. They're almost as bad as car companies who draw up amazing looking concept cars only to have them made ugly by consulting the great unwashed on what they want.

      Forget the imminent Microsoft tablets, they're just PCs in a small form factor running an OS with a small veneer of touch usability. Instant on? nope, fast bootup? nope, long standby time? nope. They've been around since 2001 and there's been as many sold as Apple has sold iPads (which were only released this year).

      iPad works because all of the applications it runs have been designed for a touch screen OS. There is no windows or icons to drag, no start menu, no filemanager, no double tapping the screen, no reset button and best of all, no silly plastic stylus to lose.

      If you want a touch screen computer, at least buy one that an OS designed for touch screen. Even the former head of the tablet project at Microsoft couldn't get people on side for the project, it's why there's no touch screen version of Office.

      HP and Microsoft shares fell following their tablet announcement, which shows how (un)impressive it was:

      http://www.pcworld.com/article/186172/why_the_microsofthp_tablet_is_a_big_disappointment.html [pcworld.com]

      There's only so many times you can rehash the same old rubbish.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:26PM (#34017104)

    "Sent from my iPad"

  • A tip. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eepok (545733) on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:30PM (#34017170) Homepage

    The future of the PC is not immediately viewable from the window. One must step out and look around.

  • close our eyes and form a realistic picture

    That sounds great!

  • by Captain Spam (66120) on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:34PM (#34017260) Homepage

    For the love of all that is good, I sincerely hope Ray Ozzie's choice of the term "Connected Companions" was solely so that this message could be interpreted by the buzzword-based PHBs at Microsoft, and not a hint that he wants to turn the next company he goes to into the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation.

  • we'll see decades to come of incredible innovation from which will emerge all sorts of "connected companions" that we'll wear, we'll carry, we'll use on our desks & walls and the environment all around us.'"

    As soon as they can mix that companion thing with life-size holographic projections and make them look like anime characters, sales will go through the roof.

    Viewing of "Don't Date a Robot!" required before buying.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Monday October 25, 2010 @04:51PM (#34017484)
    A lot further ahead! Better computer security, fewer viral plagues, faster software, more open standards, better interoperability, cheaper software and support. Microsoft is just a drain on the economy that we can't afford in this economic climate, just ask the London Stock Exchange.
    • by CSMatt (1175471)

      Actually I think the market for home computers would be more like the market for game consoles were it not for IBM and Microsoft.

    • A lot further ahead! Better computer security, fewer viral plagues, faster software, more open standards, better interoperability, cheaper software and support.

      "Open standards" and "better interoperability", really? Did you forget what Apple - Microsoft's primary competitor was like in the 80s?

      Ironically, you can thank IBM and MS for providing the platform that made Linux development possible. Even if that was an unintended (and probably undesired, to either of those) side effect.

  • This would have been great advice 10 years ago, when MSFT might have had a chance to carve out a foothold in device computing, but not now.

    It's like the Zune. An okay product but late to market and no evolution.

    MSFT is what you get when your grandpa runs a tech company.

  • That's a memo? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday October 25, 2010 @05:01PM (#34017622)

    That "memo" runs more than 3500 words. If that counts as a typical memo over at Microsoft, I think they've got another problem beyond the one Ozzie's term paper discusses.

  • To: Executive Staff and direct reports
    Date: October 28, 2010
    From: Ray Ozzie

  • What are those wires coming out of the back of his head?
  • Gadgets are gadgets. Gadgets may resemble tools but tools are specifically designed for their purpose(s).
    Nothing will replace a workstation's keyboard, local storage and large displays for professionals, they may be plugged into a smaller case/form-factor but it will still need a functional environment, applications for tasks and data back-ups. MS is driving hard to sign-up the masses for streaming services in the "cloud" so they can sell dumb(er) products and meter all the utility however they deem fit(fit

  • by eikonos (779343) on Monday October 25, 2010 @06:41PM (#34018916) Homepage Journal
    I haven't finished reading Ray Ozzie's memo yet, but it's written in the same sort of tortured English I've seen from a lot of people at Microsoft. I don't know why they can't write clearly, or why they need to include the word "innovation" so many times, but I suspect it reflects the corporate culture. One particular sentence jumped out at me. This sentence includes the word "innovation" and is full of big words, and yet nearly empty of meaning.

    "We’ve seen agile innovation playing out before a backdrop in which many dramatic changes have occurred across all aspects of our industry’s core infrastructure."

    It's a boring sentence trapped in a boring, verbose memo, so I found it a new home in a Philip K Dick story:

    "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. I watched agile innovation playing out before a backdrop in which many dramatic changes have occurred. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. [pause] Time to die."

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