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Microsoft Windows Technology

The Empire In Decline? 488

Posted by Soulskill
from the blame-the-colonials dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Pundits continue to weigh in on Steve Sinofsky's sudden exit from Microsoft (as executive head of Windows Division, he oversaw the development and release of Windows 7 and 8). SemiAccurate's Charlie Demerjian sees Microsoft headed for a steep decline, with their habit of creating walled gardens deliberately incompatible with competitors' platforms finally catching up to them. Few PC users are upgrading to Windows 8 with its unwanted Touch UI, sales of the Surface tablet are disappointing, and few are buying Windows Phones. On the Sinofsky front, Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley is willing to take the Redmond insiders' word that the departure was more about Sinofsky's communication style and deficiencies as a team player than on unfavorable market prospects for Windows 8 and Surface. Meanwhile, anonymous blogger Mini-Microsoft had suspiciously little to say."
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The Empire In Decline?

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  • After I read the summary and all the links, they could have just put up http://semiaccurate.com/2012/11/14/microsoft-has-failed/ [semiaccurate.com] and a period!
  • by Animats (122034)

    with their habit of creating walled gardens deliberately incompatible with competitors' platforms finally catching up to them.

    Everybody from Apple to Comcast has a "walled garden" now. Even Canonical has an "app store". The New York times is thriving behind its paywall.

    • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:22PM (#41986105) Homepage
      Canonical offers an app store which just a package manager prettied up. if you think that's a walled garden then all Linux distros are a walled garden.
      • Desktop Linux is a garden without a wall. The easiest and safest way to install a program is the official repo, but i can add third party repos easily, or compile packages for source myself. You see, it's the wall that makes the walled garden a problem.
    • That phrase you keep using, "walled garden", I don't think it means what you think it means.
    • by Sloppy (14984)

      Canonical's "garden" has no "walls." The use of "technical measures to limit access" (if I may borrow some DMCA-speak) against the user is the main distinguishing features of walled gardens. If you let the user do whatever they want, it doesn't make any sense to call it a walled garden. It's just a garden.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:16PM (#41986021)

    From what I can find around the web, he was asked to leave due to his way of working with people, not the products he created, which frankly are good. Windows 7 is good. Windows 8 is better (not perfect but better).

    Now that may mean he gets the job done but they didnt like his methods, or they didnt like the job he did, and the methods. but whatever. NEXT

    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      or, it was something to do with the successes he had.... which reminds me, why did Bob Muglia leave... was it:

      a) because he was useless, only taking Server and Tools from a cost to a billion-dollar sales engine?
      b) Because of his communication style?
      c) because of his inability to plan for the future?
      d) because he was a shoe-in as Ballmer's replacement when the shareholders kick him out.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:51PM (#41986375)

      He was asked to leave due to politics. Metro was the brain-child of the bitch succeeding him. He wanted to ditch it after the feedback came in and the suits told him "No" in no uncertain terms. He tried to spell it out for them what a disaster it would be and was asked to leave because they have already pulled the trigger on the project, and put too many dollars into it.

      At a company like M$ once a decision is made to go with something you back it until it's well and truly failed.

      I think uptake of windows 8 is going to be so fucking horrid that they're going to issue a patch to remove metro, add the windows store as a regular program, and quietly fire their new Melinda. Unfortuantely for the new bitch her lover(Ballmer presumably) isn't as rich as the last Melindas and could lose nearly everything if he pisses the board off too much.

      • I don't know why this was modded troll. This woman was also responsible for introducing the ribbon in Office, which is nearly universally despised.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:18PM (#41986053)

    Apple still does well with walled gardens all over the fucking place. Not that I approve of that, but lets not rip MS apart when the competition is fucking worse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Microsoft was trying to lock in people long before Apple and it's caused more problems for everyone. Hell even MS wants to get people off IE6 as an example.

      IOS is Apple's only walled garden and quite frankly, it makes more sense and as a result their app store is a far better experience than the Google store. If you don't like it then jail break it. No one will stop you. But Macs aren't in a walled garden. You're free to do what you want with them including putting another OS on it and, unlike iOS their
    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      Apple still does well with walled gardens all over the fucking place.

      No Apple is in pretty much the same status quo it was on the Desktop since forever...and its influence in mobile has dropped to under 15%. Android is doing pretty well...Apple not so much.

      • by cupantae (1304123) <maroneill@ g m a i l.com> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @07:46PM (#41986959)

        Only on slashdot can you get a comment that Apple is not doing well in the mobile market. You are absolutely out of your mind.

        Apple sells expensive products. It has become the most valuable company in the world by paying attention to detail and selling at a high price. Now, I don't mean to call you a stupid person, but your comment is extremely stupid. There is absolutely no way that Apple could conduct its business in the way it does and capture a majority of the mobile market. Most people can't afford such luxuries, and it would be a poor idea for Apple to cater to those who can't. They are doing more than well enough, and the fact that several other companies produce lots of handsets using the same operating system is neither here nor there.

        Likewise, they make a lot of money from Macs, and the fact that most people use Windows does not spoil this. The goal of a business is to maximise profits, not to maximise market share. The reason we hear about market share as if it were the true goal is that it's always good to have more. That doesn't mean that a company should go head over heels to gain more of it. They might lose a lot of money in the process.

        This is coming from someone who has little time for Apple. Please think before you speak.

  • I have two thoughts on this issue.

    The first is:

    Pies.

    Microsoft has stock in a lot of corporations. Lots of pies they have their fingers in. Don't count them out.

    The second is:

    Innovation.

    That's dead there.

  • Citation Needed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Grey (463613) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:22PM (#41986103)

    ... sales of the Surface tablet are disappointing ...

    I'm not fan of Microsoft. It's a huge bureaucracy that stifles the innovation of a lot of very bright people who work there. I would not be surprised at all to learn that their late-to-the-party tablet isn't selling well.

    However, I've not seen any concrete evidence that Surface tablet sales are "disappointing." There were some vaguely-worded comments by Ballmer in a French magazine or something, and something about a few people returning the table after discovering that they couldn't run their existing apps, but that's about it. From what I've read, Surface seems to be selling. Does anyone have any concrete numbers?

  • I can say this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:27PM (#41986165)

    Disclaimer: I am a nobody. A simple techie. I left Microsft last year because I felt they were in turmoil internally. Managment where I worked was heinous and ineffective.

    MS has long seemed like it's playing catch up with the IT world. They don't seem to grok what people want. People WANT to move to the "cloud" -- as amorphous as that term is. When I met with customers I was expected to use Bing to look things up in the MS universe and say that I was "binging" this or that. I was asked to also bring up Office 365 at every opportunity.

    What keeps MS alive is the corporate sector. What with Google and Apple eating MS's lunch at every turn in the consumer space, it doesn't matter why Sinofsky left. MS is an also ran in the Internet/device/OS world. They are becoming like RIM... irrelevant. Nobody cares anymore.

    People want devices and software that are "now" and hip, that are scalable and easy to use. Win 8 is a point and click nightmare. I "lived" with the RP for a few months and was constantly going back to Linux to get real work done. No thanks, MS. I'm done with you. I've embraced better solutions for me and mine.

    • by dch24 (904899)
      What Linux distro do you prefer?

      Not trying to flame here, just would love another data point.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      People WANT to move to the "cloud"

      No they don't! A subset of self-proclaimed "geeks" who spend their time guffawing away on social media, "cloud providers" and Orwellian security services want it.

      We've had fuse drivers for a long time, I use the openssh command line tools. We've had rsync for a long time, I use removable drives (before USB it was IDE caddies). We've had network capable versioning for years, my personal stuff was in RCS before I switched to local git repositories.

      I don't want "the cloud"

  • by NinjaTekNeeks (817385) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:30PM (#41986183)
    Come on now, what kind of crappy article is this. MSFT releases a ton of new stuff and has successful products and products that fail, for example:

    Zune
    Bing
    Surface
    Windows Phones
    Windows 98, ME, Vista, 8
    Tons of Server products that suck

    But for each that sucks there are a ton that are great :
    Windows 95, NT, XP, 7, Server 2003, 2008, 2012
    Exchange Server, SQL Server, Sharepoint, ISA Server
    XBox, Xbox 360

    It's important to test new business models and related fields they may be able to compete in (search, mobile, etc.) but they won't win them all, they can't, else they will be balls deep in Anti-Trust suits again. Declaring the decline of the "empire" is horse shit.
    • XBox's success comes from Microsoft plowing billions into it. It's like bragging about your car being worth $50,000 when you've spent $1,000,000 to get it there.

    • Windows 98 was way better than 95. It wasn't XP but nothing was lost from 95, only improved. Also throw Visual Studio on the "great" side. At least 2005 and 2010.
    • Surface hasnt failed, and I dont think it will fail.

      The problem is Windows RT. No one wants windows RT because theres no application support. However, I'll gladly take a Surface pro tablet with Windows 8 Pro that can run all of my regular desktop apps.

  • Time for professional MS watchers to find another company to watch. I am tired of hearing about their decline. It has already happend and will eventually show in their balance sheet. Until then watchers will still watcher and haters gotta hate:)
  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:39PM (#41986267)
    I have read that this guy was fired for leaving the stupidest sounding conference I have ever heard of. Two solid days of watching each others' powerpoints. That is pure MBA masturbation. From the sound of it he basically got up, said, "All you need to know is on my blog" and then left the conference. Then he was labeled abrasive and not a team player. Well it sounds like he didn't follow their petty rules (the guy who successfully runs windows development). I suspect that he also sent some shock waves with other free thinkers saying, "Hey I am wasting my time here too."

    By saying that all they needed to know was on his blog it seems he was basically saying, Microsoft join the 21st century and get out of the 19th century.

    I have seen teams that would appear to be dysfunctional people yelling and stomping out. But these teams produced wonders. I have seen other teams that were quiet and respectful of each other and were nothing but deadweight. I am willing to bet that there is an inverse ratio to the time showing people powerpoints and the genuine productivity of that team. The worst is when someone puts up a powerpoint and then starts reading it to you. Icing on the powerpoint cake is when you have a central item with other items surrounding it with arrows pointing to the central item. A perfect example would be a powerpoint slide saying "Team Player" in the center with items around it that are things that make a good team player.

    So assuming this guy wasn't throwing feces at people I suspect that MBA types who had everything to lose spent the rest of this conference making sure that this guy was gone. My suggestion to him is to sell his MS stock sooner than later.

    On a whole other page it could be that Windows 8 is a giant turd and this is one of the first heads to role. Either way I just don't see a bright future for MS. Unless they have a world beater about to come out of their R&D people nothing they have catches my fancy. In every category of product I prefer something else. MySQL to SQL, Linux to MS Server, Bean to Word, MacOSX to Windows, Sublime or XCode to Visual Studio, PHP to ASPX, C++ or Python or java to .net anything, iPhone or Android to MS phones. iPad or a Macbook Air to Surface. Anything to Zune. VLC to MS Media. OpenGL to DirectX. I do like the XBox and my MS Mouse.

    If MS simply stopped selling products I would not be greatly inconvenienced. This is a massive sea change from say 1998. If they had vanished in 1998 I would have cried myself to sleep.
    • by PickyH3D (680158)

      From the second-to-last paragraph, it sounds like they really had a chance to pull you into their ecosystem with Windows 8. I bet you gave a really serious shake too.

  • It's pretty obvious (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:44PM (#41986309) Homepage Journal

    Ballmer needed to blame someone and started throwing him under the bus. Being a smart guy, he left before the bus arrived.

    The board should have fired Ballmer and given Steve a huge bonus to return and run the place.

  • Pundits continue to weigh in on Steve Sinofsky's sudden exit from Microsoft (as executive head of Windows Division, he oversaw the development and release of Windows 7 and 8).

    followed by

    Few PC users are upgrading to Windows 8 with its unwanted Touch UI, sales of the Surface tablet are disappointing, and few are buying Windows Phones.

    If the second statement is to be believed, then why should anyone be worried that the person behind it leaving the company?

    Alternatively, if you choose not to believe the second

  • by billrp (1530055) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:57PM (#41986429)
    There's really no alternative to Windows for most desktop and laptop usage, and there are "apps" to hide or disable the silly touch UI in Win so that the reasonable Win 7 UI can be used. Trying to use Linux on a laptop or desktop in a real work environment is a deadend, and Macs are a niche - so what's left?
  • by tuppe666 (904118) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @06:59PM (#41986451)

    Apple shares are now priced at 535 from 700 just a couple of months ago. Its market share in tablets has dropped to 50.4%, and its smartphones down from 23.1 to 14.9% in a couple of quarters. Its saving grace [as a company, not so good for its consumers] are its massive mark-ups on it products, but even those proving difficult to maintain, as its cost of producing devices has increased, driving its gross profits down. Its now announced that Apple themselves in a new step is letting 3rd Party retailers take a large profit in its "me too" device the ipad mini, in the hope it will gain traction in the saturated with great devices "small tablet" [or as Jobs says "Tweener"] market. Apple did awfully well under Jobs bringing in all the early adopter money, but now these markets are mature, and its arguably behind the opposition [Android] in both hardware and software; Apple are undeniably in decline.

    In context of this article Microsoft is a "never was" in mobile, and still has a monopoly in Desktop, the fact that they are taking a safe [and lets be honest profitable] gamble on making Windows 8 a hybrid!? OS that fails in all areas. Following Apple into an established market with the same bullshit and bullying tactics [lol and Office] it always has, using New Apples [Old Apple would have tried to reinvent...or find a new market] playbook, taking everything people don't like about Apple [whatever the fanatics say] and pretend those are the things that made Apple successful, rather that being more Open; Standard orientated...and hell being innovative, and Cheaper...like say Android...Oh!

  • /. this is Charlie Demerjian, one of the biggest tech trolls out there. He has a personal vendetta against Nvidia, Microsoft, and Intel. Ignore the troll. They're called SEMIAccurate for a reason.

  • by micron (164661)

    I see a lot of criticism of Windows 8, but I don't see a lot of folks that have actually tried to use it with a touch screen device.
    I have played with the all in ones and touch screen tablets at the Microsoft store. As much as a cringe when a co-worker touches my monitor, I think there is something to this adaption of the tablet interface. I actually like the live data features of the icons, I get information without going into the apps. I get that this is a new take on the old widget concept.

    I would not co

    • by knorthern knight (513660) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:20PM (#41987243)

      > I see a lot of criticism of Windows 8, but I don't see a lot of folks
      > that have actually tried to use it with a touch screen device.

      If you think students are going to write 10,000-word-essays, or corporate types will do large spreadsheets or reports, or programmers will code 10,000-line-programs with a touchscreen device, you are totally out of it. And no, I'm not going to pay twice as much for a Surface as for a real PC, and then go out and buy a bluetooth keyboard plus mouse.

      In the mid-1980's, the MS-DOS PC walked all over VT100 terminals as far as getting serious work done was concerned. That's why it was adopted so fast. Touchscreens are so-so for 140-character tweets, or short Fecesbook updates. They suck for real work in the corporate world. Windows 8 is going nowhere, fast. MS better release a "back to the future" Windows 9, or simply start charging for Windows 7 service packs.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @07:43PM (#41986925)

    If Sinofsky had been around for over 2 decades with 'team player deficiencies', what does that say about Microsoft's management methods.

  • Metro (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:21PM (#41987251)
    Metro is a piece of shit. It's a tablet interface, and Microsoft is attempting to shove it up the asses of desktop users. Every time I point that out I get modded down as a troll or flamebaiting. Here we go again...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bmo (77928)

      Some of us know you're right.

      It's the Microsoft shills that have invaded over the past couple of years that this "downmodding of MSFT dissenters" has happened.

      Also note the vast number of newly minted accounts when an article critical of Windows 8 comes out. You never hear from these again, they are used and abandoned for new accounts created when a new Microsoft article comes out.

      Slashdot should rangeban Microsoft.

      --
      BMO

      • It's not likely the shillfest is coming directly from Microsoft, it's probably contracted out by some other group(s). I noticed it on most the major sites that I read not long before release that the number of blatantly obvious shill posts skyrocketed. It would be interesting if all the sites could get together and build data metrics on the shillyness of each user, there IPs, how long the accounts had been created and so forth to see if it points to a shill group, or how many of the shills are just blind Mi

  • MIcrosoft on /. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr Max (1696200) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @08:55PM (#41987503)
    Really what is the point in reading about Microsoft on slashdot. You only ever get the most negative side of the story and all there accomplishments never make it to the site. How many people know that Microsoft just demonstrated real time voice to voice translation using the original speakers own voice and the translated speech is in the correct order for the new language? (that is news for nerds as far as i'm concerned) But instead we have had six stories about how Microsoft is evil and forcing everyone to use a new version of windows that's completely broken and no one any where will ever be able to use it. Reddit is kicking your ass in journalism /.
  • by asmkm22 (1902712) on Wednesday November 14, 2012 @09:12PM (#41987639)

    It doesn't matter how horribly Microsoft fails because there are no competitors trying to take over. Microsoft wins by default.

    This is why companies like Canonical are making a big mistake by trying to chase after the Apple crowd, when they should be going after the enterprise.

  • by xigxag (167441) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @12:03AM (#41988659)

    I understand what this was all about. Microsoft's plan was to quickly force the RT environment on people so they would automatically be members of the new ecosystem and feel naturally inclined to buy the phones and tablets, especially once they realized you could do more with RT than with iOS. But as things stand now, every time someone is forced to use the RT interface against their will, they are reminded of how their options have been restricted. No matter how good RT is, if it serves as a reminder of a bad feeling, it will be tainted by that. Instead of bringing people into the fold, RTs involuntary start screen drives people away.

    Even so, I think Microsoft can still rescue Windows 8 if it just does a few things.

    1) Issue an apology and bring back the start button as an optional item, and allow people to boot directly to the desktop. (Yes I know... just like Start8 / Classic Shell) It seems to me that a huge percentage of gripes have been about those two things, starting long before RTM. Why fight against what your customers want?

    2) Buy up a couple of good RT games and release them as free gifts to upgraders. $45 in free software! The OS pays for itself!!

    3) Reposition Windows 8 as an improved desktop environment PLUS free games PLUS a Windows Phone 8 compatible OS skin which people can use or not use.

    Yes, the restoration of the start button and starting desktop means RT use will grow more slowly, only at the pace that people want to try it out. But in the long run, it will make for a better user experience, one that people will want to return to.

    The marketing of Windows 8 has been horribly arrogant. By pissing off geeks, MS has alienated its proselytizers and enthusiasts. By pissing off businesses, it has affected its own bottom line. Every day that this debacle continues is one less opportunity that MS has to set things right.

One possible reason that things aren't going according to plan is that there never was a plan in the first place.

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