Microsoft Has a Death Wish

Microsoft seems to be making the same mistakes that other companies left behind long ago. Now, the new obsession with Apple will be the end of Microsoft.


Steve BallmerThis company seems lost and utterly bewildered. To make matters worse, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer has publicly committed to a renewed duel with Apple. Why? Because, presumably, if you engage a winner, you, yourself, will be propelled to do great things. Right. That works if your company already has greatness built-in and you stop opting for losing strategies.

The last reference below in this week’s tech news debris tells the story about how even a former Microsoft employee sees the coming debacle. Brooke Crothers, no stranger to the world of Microsoft, opines: “Microsoft is in a hard place.”

It seems Microsoft is clueless to the business opportunities afforded by Android and is electing to drive all its OEM partners into the arms of Android while it tilts at windmills and goes toe-to-toe with Apple. An act of hubris. This change of business model is also addressed by Jean-Louis Gassée in another link below.

We’ll see how all this goes.

Tech News Debris

Recently, I have not been happy with the available selection of e-mail clients for the Mac. Perhaps Eudora spoiled me for good. (I was a Eudora beta tester for a decade.) Alas, email has fallen out of favor just enough that, while it’s still essential, there’s no money to be made selling a great email client. Another writer shares my pain. “First Thunderbird, now Sparrow? We need e-mail clients, please.

Here’s a very short survey of our options. Oddly, it omits mention of MailForge, an app that inherits the legacy of Eudora. “Email client alternatives to Sparrow for the Mac.” I reviewed a very early version of MailForge back in 2009. I think I should pay it a revisit, now that it’s up to version 3.x.

“I am not really surprised that Apple hasn’t figured out the cloud because Apple has never understood that to really be a web player you have to free the data from the device.” So says David Sobotta, a 20+ year ex-Apple executive in his interesting missive that includes stinging comments about photo management: “Will Apple Ever Figure Out the Cloud?

Jean-Louis Gassée starts off this essay with tongue in cheek, so watch out. What he’s really onto is the peril of capriciously changing your business model. “Why launch a new Apple iPhone?” A good read from Mr. Gassée, as always.

Here are two pretty good articles for the science and computational people. “Your Laptop Can Now Analyze Big Data.” The next one is specifically about using Macs in astronomy. Even though Apple doesn’t formally and explicitly market to scientists anymore, scientists still love the beauty, refinement, and elegance of a UNIX-based Macintosh. Here’s how astronomer Richard Massey uses his Mac. “Understanding Dark Matter with the help of Apple.” By the way, Apple still hasn’t updated I guess the company has forgotten the pages even exist.

Ane while were on the subject of science, one of my favorite small companies, Southern Stars, is planning a satellite launch, SkyCube, with the help of Kickstarter. You know what to do.


Track SkyCube and send messages.

We’ve been talking a lot lately about how the iPad will eventually become a more complete content creation device. So, this article caught my eye, more for the humor value. Actually, the premise is good. A MacBook Air might actually be better than an iPad for many college students. But this isn’t the salient list. Submitted more for comic relief than sober analysis: “10 Reasons Not to Buy an iPad Instead of a Laptop for a College Student.

Apple builds closed systems. That’s because Apple feels that what you can do with their devices shouldn’t be dragged down by endless tinkering inside. Google, on the other hand, according to the New York Times, is positioning itself as the conspicuous alternative. “How a Cellphone’s Case Can Imitate Its Maker.” A nice piece by Randall Stross.

I didn’t see this mentioned much anywhere else. So far as this author can tell, Safari is dead on Windows. I can see how Apple might feel that way. After all, Apple doesn’t need Safari on Windows anymore to showcase what they’re doing with the Mac.

From the “Let’s shoot ourselves in the foot department”: Microsoft writes in its annual report “… our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform.” Brooke Crothers, in the next link, wrote, “… that’s a prickly statement when it’s coming directly from Microsoft.” For more rib tickling fun, read: “Windows 8 fear and uncertainty kicks in.

So let it be written, so let it be done.