Microsoft stranded

  • Posted: 21 January 2011 01:44 PM #31

    The mind truly reels at the intransigence of the leadership at Microsoft. They seem to have actually built the start of a viable mobile platform with Windows Phone 7; initial reviews of the user experience, at least, are overall quite positive. Most people would sensibly use that as a basis for an entire mobile platform strategy. Not Microsoft: it’s Windows (the real, desktop-derived version) or nothing.

         
  • Posted: 21 January 2011 07:45 PM #32

    Mace - 21 January 2011 04:43 PM

    (It’s) Excel that most folks couldn’t leave.

    But here’s the thing - they don’t have to leave Excel. Most of the people who are working on the kinds of problems that require Excel are also working on notebook/desktops - as they should be. Excel can live on the desktop forever - but it’s never going to be successfully transferred to the tablet.

    Because the tablet is new and because people often substitute knee-jerk reactions for reasoned arguments, I think we often view tablets and notebook/desktops from the wrong point of view. It’s not which one is better. It’s which one is better for the task at hand. Little spreadsheets can easily be done on a tablet, but big spreadsheets probably require big computers.

    Microsoft can make money for a long, long time. But they’ve go nowhere to grow. And eventually, 80% of the people are going to realize that they can get by with much smaller, much cheaper, much easier to learn and use word processing and spreadsheet programs that run on their phones, their tablets and desktops.

         
  • Posted: 22 January 2011 02:52 PM #33

    1) Their two largest selling products - Office and Windows - are stranded on mouse driven operating systems.

    the same could be said about OSX pre iphone/ipad.  Look how quickly things can change.

    2) Apple, with their 160 million iOS devices, owns the all important touch and mobile space. Microsoft has virtually no presence or much promise of having a presence any time soon.

    Windows 7 Phone has promise.  MSFT has shown the ability to iterate.

    3)  Apple’s Macs are enjoying a huge halo effect from iPads.

    This is irrelevant to whether MSFT can innovate.

    4) the Mac app store…has the potential to demolish what remains of Microsoft’s “desktop app” monopoly

    I bet MSFT will turn on the MSFT App Store at some point.  When 97% of the world has a MSFT App Store, you don’t think it will be a *MASSIVE* revenue generator?

    i can’t agree with this thread’s line of thinking.

    first off, i’ve been apple evangelizing for 27 years.  in general, no greater fan boy than me.

    i absolutely love this forum.  it’s great to hear ra ra cheer leading about apple.

    sure i want to believe and see the $1T market cap too.

    but in a finance board, all the time 100% cheer leading can be dangerous.  i’d like to see some objectivity to know we’re all not drinking the kool-aid 100% of the time.

    so to discount MSFT altogether?

    i think thats crazy talk.

    sure, MSFT has been bumbling along.  but they have that luxury, they have the market share.  and further, have they truly been bumbling along?  and will they always continue to?

    think about it.  they released the XBOX out of nowhere.  they had no OS lockin or application suite lockin, they won that spot against Sony playstation fair and square.  tremendous success.

    now what about Windows 7?  its good.  still overly complex.  but pretty damn good.

    finally, and this is the big one for me…

    take a look at their Windows 7 phones.

    they like *NICE*.

    i dont say that lightly.

    they look *GOOD*

    and *SLICK*

    or at least…. *GOOD ENOUGH*

    it has facebook integration, blah blah blah.

    even *GRUBER* likes it.

    point it, MSFT is not or is no longer resting on their laurels.

    in fact, i think it might be a good time to pick up some MSFT leaps…. 

    while all you MSFT bashers are in force…. wasnt that the best time to buy AAPL?

    i’m new here and i truly love what i’ve seen of AFB forums….

    i’ve drank the AAPL koolaid since 1984 and the ][.

    but i just want to find out which ones of you haven’t *OVERDOSED* on the kool-aid because on a financial forum i want to be able to trust your advice. 

    Just a dose of healthy realism.

    Long Live AAPL and Steve.

    [ Edited: 22 January 2011 03:18 PM by steves ]
         
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    Posted: 22 January 2011 03:30 PM #34

    Steves

    As much as you rave about Windows 7, consumers are the final jury.  All evidence still points to Android and iOS kicking their butt.  I Like Android over Windows 7 after seeing them in action.

         
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    Posted: 22 January 2011 03:30 PM #35

    A lot of this discussion focuses on the consumer side which is one market but a huge market that MS currently controls is the enterprise. Apple is now starting to eat into that which it never had a competing chance in the past, with the iPad. More and more businesses are finding ways to adopt the iPad into their environments which is great.

    Apple still has a long ways to go though. For anyone that is in control of IT budgets they will tell you MS has license contracts with so many companies that MS is paid hundreds of millions each year for the priviledge to use their software. I agree many companies are looking for ways to cut this out of their budget but many have yet to start. Google is currently working on getting into this market on their side, I hope Apple see’s the opportunity as well.

    If Apple could find a way to tap into that piece of the pie, which I think it is starting to, then they are poised to really take off.

         
  • Posted: 22 January 2011 04:35 PM #36

    omacvi - 22 January 2011 07:30 PM

    Steves

    As much as you rave about Windows 7, consumers are the final jury.  All evidence still points to Android and iOS kicking their butt.  I Like Android over Windows 7 after seeing them in action.

    Please do not miscategorize what I said.  Nothing I wrote above is me “raving” about Windows 7. 

    I said it was slick and might be “good enough”.  Good enough certainly, for the masses, who still think Windows XP is good enough.

    Please have the long view.  It is probably 5 years too early to see if Windows 7 Phone or Android will win or dare I say it—if Apple iPhone will win.  AAPL certainly has the first mover advantage this time.

    That said,  I love Android, have an Android phone as well as iPhone.  But I can point out all the flaws on both Android and iPhone.  I don’t have a Win7 phone to play with, so I can’t speculate on its flaws.

    However I am a perfectionist and a technologist.  I like to pick these devices apart and critique their UIs. 

    The average Windows XP user doesn’t care as long as its good enough.

    Clearly Windows CE / Windows Mobile was NOT good enough, but MSFT is good at iterating and copying, and its now obvious to me Windows 7 Phone is much better than any previous Windows Mobile device.

    With Windows 97% or what not desktop market share, I speculate plenty of people who have never tried iPhone would gladly take a Windows 8, or Windows 9 phone in 5 years since it will presumably play well with their OS and be “good enough”.

    MSFT has time and money to iterate and make a phone “good enough” to dominate market share, just like XP was good enough although clearly inferior in a large number of ways to OS X.

    I am rooting for iPhone and a $1T AAPL market cap although I am probably crazy rooting for it out of 27 years of irrationality probably much like those on AFB.  AAPL does as much vendor lock these days as the old MSFT and far too little contributing back to its open source roots.

    Sorry, Rant over.

    TL;DR:  Not “raving” about Windows.  Too early to call for MSFT.

    [ Edited: 22 January 2011 04:48 PM by steves ]
         
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    Posted: 22 January 2011 05:24 PM #37

    Good post Steves

         
  • Posted: 22 January 2011 06:43 PM #38

    omacvi - 22 January 2011 09:24 PM

    Good post Steves

    Steve, love your post.

    I often post theories that are extreme in order to explore “the edges” of my knowledge. Nonetheless, I often find that I’m not extreme enough. There’s no way I would have predicted that WinCE would be virtually extinct by 2009. And there was no way that I would have predicted that Apple would make the most profit of any mobile phone maker by 2010. Tech moves so fast. I feel like we’re screaming down the highway at about 150 miles per hour, just barely in control of the vehicle and it we don’t keep a watch out miles and miles ahead of our exit, we’ll miss it altogether.

    I revel in the opportunity to explore your views. I had intended to do that with this post, but I don’t have the mental wherewithal right now. I’ll have to take a break and come back to this later.

    And when I say “explore your views” I don’t really mean “tell you why you’re wrong”. I’m not at all sure that Microsoft is at an end, but I’m starting to pick up clues. If you can pull my head out of the clouds and set me on the straight and narrow I’ll be very grateful. For me, it’s all about the learning.

    Looking forward to getting back to you on this later. Hope you have the interest and time to pursue this. Should be fun.

         
  • Posted: 22 January 2011 09:39 PM #39

    omacvi - 22 January 2011 09:24 PM

    Good post Steves

    wow, omacvi—thank you, your response shows integrity and makes me feel like I’ll have good conversations here and made the right decision joining AFB.

    FalKirk - 22 January 2011 10:43 PM

    I revel in the opportunity to explore your views. I had intended to do that with this post, but I don’t have the mental wherewithal right now. I’ll have to take a break and come back to this later…Looking forward to getting back to you on this later. Hope you have the interest and time to pursue this. Should be fun.

    hi FalKirk.  I’m happy you loved my post.  Makes me feel good.  I have a wide and deep knowledge of technology and yes, I’d be happy to share.

    Please ask any questions you like, I’d be happy to give you my opinion. 

    Keep in mind its just that—an opinion.  Although with my sometimes less-than-humble ego I will tell you when I think I know am absolutely right, and I’ll also tell you when it’s more just a guess or feeling.    No one here knows me, but I feel very qualified to talk about the tech world, or more specifically, call me crazy, but I feel like I know how sjobs thinks.  OTOH, I have a feeling that many on AFB have a wide and deep technology background also.  And I think many of them also have a better financial background than I do.  Or at least have spent far more time understanding AAPL’s numbers than I have.

    In any case, like you I can’t write any more right now, but I’ll come back to this thread to continue AAPL competitors, or more specifically I suppose why MSFT should not be counted out. 

    BTW, if it is not obvious to everyone, I am the furthest thing from a MSFT analyst and have have never done any serious research into their future earnings, nor am i a MSFT fanboy.  It just seems pretty obvious to me that they are not down for the count.

    Cheers

    [ Edited: 22 January 2011 09:43 PM by steves ]
         
  • Posted: 23 January 2011 01:16 AM #40

    steves - 22 January 2011 08:35 PM

    The average Windows XP user doesn’t care as long as its good enough.

    TL;DR:  Not “raving” about Windows.  Too early to call for MSFT.

    With the burgeoning installed base of iOS devices the definition of good enough has been re-written.  The average everyday consumer now has something with an Apple on it.  Their iPods, iPhones and iPads just work so sooner or later they wander into the Apple Store and pick up a Mac to take home.  It just works too.  Slowly but surely they begin to connect the dots and ask the tech at the office why they should be willing to put up with all this nonsense on their desktop? 

    Too early to call for MSFT

    Is it?

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  • Posted: 23 January 2011 02:28 AM #41

    Fascinating discussion. Wish I had more time. Quick thoughts (strictly my own):

    1) Apple and MS have not been in direct competition since at least 23 OCT 2001, when Apple launched the iPod. Since then the companies have been on markedly divergent evolutionary tracks, very disparate business models, and very different trajectories. Any thought that these two are different varieties of the same business (e.g. Coke vs Pepsi), which was rooted in the battle for the desktop space (the only definition of computer in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s), is a holdover from the past, was flawed at its birth, and is currently delusional. Sadly, that appears to be the thinking at MS. Therein lies the problem (more on that below).

    2) MS has a strong core business, with sufficiently substantial market inertia to see it through the next 3 - 5 years in profitability if it made no new gains

    3) MS simply needs new leadership and new direction. Simply put, the sooner it realises that it is not, nor has it been in over a decade, in competition with Apple, and redirects its attention to its core strengths, and in a page torn from Apple’s post-1997 playbook, starts with those core competencies and rebuilds/redefines itself from there (enterprise desktop and server solutions, office, search engines). Only with a realistic reevaluation of its core capacities does it stand a hope/prayer of redirecting itself towards a profitable longterm future.

    4) Having done the latter, it can exploit opportunities for new partnerships with erstwhile competitors (e.g. Apple). As an example, it could make a mint simply developing software solutions for the iOS, not to mention the potential for gaming partnerships.

    There are other elements to this, but this would suffice for a start, and underscores the nature of the task that, at least in my view, lies ahead of MS. I do not think that the company is by any means dead or irrelevant, not by a long shot; nor do I believe its investors and/or board will stand idly by and watch it descend to non-recoverable oblivion. They would need to be not only asleep, but innately stupid, neither of which I think they are. I anticipate changes at MS sooner rather than later.

    Gotta run.

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  • Posted: 23 January 2011 02:45 AM #42

    BillH - 23 January 2011 05:16 AM
    steves - 22 January 2011 08:35 PM

    The average Windows XP user doesn’t care as long as its good enough.

    TL;DR:  Not “raving” about Windows.  Too early to call for MSFT.

    With the burgeoning installed base of iOS devices the definition of good enough has been re-written.  The average everyday consumer now has something with an Apple on it.  Their iPods, iPhones and iPads just work so sooner or later they wander into the Apple Store and pick up a Mac to take home.  It just works too.  Slowly but surely they begin to connect the dots and ask the tech at the office why they should be willing to put up with all this nonsense on their desktop? 

    Too early to call for MSFT

    Is it?


    Hilarious cartoon, BTW.

    Still, concur with the sentiment that calling MS’s irreversible slide into oblivion premature (for which relegation to ‘niche player’ is a near equivalent, given the company’s past and current status). Would say ‘yes’ to that only if it does not reverse course. The nature of entities is to survive. MS still has sufficiently intelligent support systems to make it pull up before impact with the future.

    I would not discount BG asserting his own clout behind the scenes to ensure that the company not merely survives but is a major force.

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  • Posted: 23 January 2011 02:59 AM #43

    One more thought before I go.

    Implicit in all that I argue above is that MS is no longer the tech world’s centre of mass, nor has it been since the launch of the iPhone, in my view.

    Whether that torch is passed to Apple is a separate issue. I am not sure that Apple would necessarily want that distinction. It already owns that of the pace and trend setter. It is the current industry and market leader. Being a centre of mass can put constraints on freedom of movement and innovation. Hence the plight of MS.

    The future may well belong more to a cluster (not unlike a galaxy cluster) of tech companies, each captured in a mutual orbit whose centre is not necessarily the combined mass of the companies, but the products, services and projected innovations around which they all revolve.

    Now I do have to run.

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  • Posted: 23 January 2011 03:15 AM #44

    Maybe MS can respond to the mobile computing challenge. We all agree that all their $billions can do something. Here’s hoping it’s a better effort than the Zune.

         
  • Posted: 23 January 2011 03:22 AM #45

    wab95 - 23 January 2011 06:45 AM
    BillH - 23 January 2011 05:16 AM
    steves - 22 January 2011 08:35 PM

    The average Windows XP user doesn’t care as long as its good enough.

    TL;DR:  Not “raving” about Windows.  Too early to call for MSFT.

    With the burgeoning installed base of iOS devices the definition of good enough has been re-written.  The average everyday consumer now has something with an Apple on it.  Their iPods, iPhones and iPads just work so sooner or later they wander into the Apple Store and pick up a Mac to take home.  It just works too.  Slowly but surely they begin to connect the dots and ask the tech at the office why they should be willing to put up with all this nonsense on their desktop? 

    Too early to call for MSFT

    Is it?


    Hilarious cartoon, BTW.

    Still, concur with the sentiment that calling MS’s irreversible slide into oblivion premature (for which relegation to ‘niche player’ is a near equivalent, given the company’s past and current status). Would say ‘yes’ to that only if it does not reverse course. The nature of entities is to survive. MS still has sufficiently intelligent support systems to make it pull up before impact with the future.

    I would not discount BG asserting his own clout behind the scenes to ensure that the company not merely survives but is a major force.

    The niche player part is premature I concur but hey, it’s a cartoon.  wink  I think that Newton’s laws apply to business as well as physics so it’s going to take an equal and opposite force just to stabilize it.  BG was a brilliant businessman but a mediocre technologist at best.  He’s not the answer they need and it isn’t clear that an inspirational leader will be available to Microsoft any more than he/she will be available to Apple should the need arise.  The difference being the angle of momentum.

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    I don’t mind being wrong…,I just hate being wrong so FAST!