Editorial

What the hell is "Microsoft's lost decade"?

There has been a lot of conversation the past few weeks about "Microsoft's lost decade" and it really is a baffling thought when you actually take a look at Microsoft's history. The tagline, if you want to call it that, first made its debut over at Vanity Fair with quite a few damning quotes against the company and how it stifled innovation.  We were not there, we don't have our own quotes from an insider who wants to go on record and burn bridges or repair them, so we must take the article at face value.

The gist of that article did have one point that it hammered home, bureaucracy. Having never worked for Microsoft, I can't attest to their internal culture 10 years ago, what I can attest to is the fact that every single large corporation on planet Earth has a metric-ton of red tape (large being defined as top 50 Fortune 500 company) as I have been inside a handful of those companies. Get over it, that's how corporate America works, there is a reason "middle management' exists, they are the red tape. If we didn't have these barriers, every staff level employee would have a direct line of communication to the CEO and most companies would lose focus. It's the way corporations work, why this is surprising to some that Microsoft fell into this bucket, I can't figure that one out.

Also, Microsoft's employee rankings were bashed, but we all know how this goes. I have never met an individual who has loved how their company ranks their employees; each corporation has their own method and considering Microsoft has billions in the bank, 90K plus people working for them, and they have a dozen, yes a dozen, billion dollar companies under their umbrella, I think they might know what they are doing.

Moving on, another story popped up, which was the spur of this rebuttal-style editorial, that struck Microsoft down again. This time, TechCrunch cherry picked Microsoft's history to highlight the company's shortcomings over the last 10 years. To draw a comparison, let's judge Apple by the success of P!NG or the Hi-Fi or base Google's future off of Buzz and Wave, both are an absurd measuring stick.

Microsoft is far from perfect and Ballmer has had his fair share of struggles over ten years but you know what else also happened during those ten years, or "lost decade" revenue tripled, profits went through the roof and Microsoft gave back so much cash to shareholders they would need several boats to deliver it all.

In fact, Microsoft did strike back at this nonsense and it was none other than Frank Shaw that brought back the reality of Microsoft's success. His quote is posted below, in full, from the TechCrunch article:

The comment above could have been a post on it's own as Microsoft's Frank Shaw finally had enough of the noise that has been circling of late about Microsoft. The most ludicrous part about of this is that now is quite possibly the most exciting time to be following Microsoft.

Let's take a look at what Microsoft has coming over the next 12 months: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Office, Surface Tablet, a new Xbox announcement is likely, and a few other gems like Halo 4 are locked away in Microsoft's upcoming portfolio to drive revenue. Regardless of what you think of Windows 8 and Windows Phone, it shows that Microsoft has balls and that they are willing to defy marketplace norms to make an impact. If we all sat around and waited for the start button/orb to evolve, Microsoft would have slowly faded as they fell behind; so they did something about it.

What they are doing with Windows 8 is driving the future. If you think Windows 8 is an OS for yesterday, you are missing the picture. Windows 8 is the platform to build tablet/laptop hybrids that move us in the direction away from the "PC" as we know it without losing all the hardcore functionality that we need. Throw Windows 8 on a tablet, it works, it works pretty damn well actually. But I am not following Microsoft blindly, I know that it will be a hard sell. What you have to understand is that Microsoft has to establish a foundation for the future and we all know that Windows 7 is not going anywhere which gives Microsoft a window of opportunity. Microsoft has to make the move to transform Windows to be more touch friendly and now is that time; it's really not that hard to figure this out.

Besides taking time to write this article and proving that we too can photoshop children's novels, Microsoft did not "lose a decade". Microsoft had better than an okay decade, they had a tremendously positive decade. Maybe now we can put to bed that bashing Microsoft is still cool or should we all go back posting our Apple rumors to whore out the hits? Oh and by the way? Apple runs on Microsoft software.

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I have a gut feeling that Microsoft will eventually buy HP or Dell that is if PCs is here to stay like IBM's mainframes still are. Maybe this is what it will take to bury IBM to get it over with. Microsoft might look at Intel to make sure that X86 will stick around for a long time to come. or whatever in the plans Intel has in the future that will assure the future of PCS for decades to come.. I never buy the argument that hand held or arm held computers will eliminate PCs entirely. I wonder what will become of Oracle as a database company... Maybe Oracle will destroy Microsoft 's Access??? I would never underestimate Oracle..

The so called Lost Decade was spawned by massive anti trust charges by countless competitors like Netscape, and even Apple itself. Microsoft's back was riddled with arrows so numerous that Microsoft finally stumbled . Actually, I suspect that Google was spun off and went IPO by Microsoft. I am also positive that IBM also played a role in the anti trust beat up of Microsoft.. Microsoft continued to supply Office to Apple during its darkest years. Remember that Microsoft was very close to become the first trillion dollar stock back in 2000. Microsoft could have become a computer monopolist by now.. For better or worse, it never happened.. Billy Gates decided to give away his money to good causes... Good for him!

The article, aside from mixing fact with opinion, seems a bit far-fetched. Having consulted to MS for 6+ years, I can attest to the following facts in the high-tech industry.
From 2000 through 2010/2011, MS was operating under a DOJ "supervision". If anybody thinks the DOJ doesn't play hardball and it's better to be safe than sorry, please let us all know how nice the DOJ can be.
MS may have a peer-ranking system in place; let's asume that's a fact.
MS may or may not have lost creativity. I believe not, but that is my opinion. They had hits and misses, but looking back with 20-20 hindsight and announcing "how could they have missed this" is just dreaming. We seem to forget that when the smart phones came out in 2005-2006, their success was far from a sure thing. It may be obvious now, but it wasn't then.
MS may have a peer-ranking system in place. I know lots of high-tech companies who also have such a system in place, and they are very creative. There is no proven or known correlation between peer-ranking and creativity. To state there may be, is simply conjecture and opinion on the part of the writer.

neonspark said,
MSFT is doing great but they let android and iOS take root. BIG mistake. This is enough reason for Ballmer to go.

I suspect that Android was acutally a proxy of Microsoft through Google. Remember that Microsoft announced plans to setup shop in the Silicon Valley long before Google went iPO... I suspect that Microsoft was a silent investor in the Google startup. Microsoft had long talked baout monetizing the Internet through advertising long before Google came up. Microsoft thought it could smother Netscape and Yahoo as well as Excite and Alta Vista withotu stirring up much trouble . MIcrosoft was wrong so it set up Google as a puppet of Microsoft .

neonspark said,
MSFT is doing great but they let android and iOS take root. BIG mistake. This is enough reason for Ballmer to go.

How true. It is apparent that after Windows-7 and Office 2010, Microsoft seems to have lost its focus. Trying to be everything to everyone never works out well. Why they put their future with the consumer marketplace, rather than the business marketplace is a good question. Technology can easily from from business to consumer, but rarely the other way--two totally separate needs and requirements.

TsarNikky said,
How true. It is apparent that after Windows-7 and Office 2010, Microsoft seems to have lost its focus. Trying to be everything to everyone never works out well. Why they put their future with the consumer marketplace, rather than the business marketplace is a good question. Technology can easily from from business to consumer, but rarely the other way--two totally separate needs and requirements.

lol the same thing was said BEFORE windows 7 and office 2010 just for the record lol. in fact, with every product, the "pundits" claim MSFT lost its way and yet time after time, they outsell their doubters.

Time for a few home truths. Yes, the past decade has been a watershed for Microsoft. It's seen a change in CEO and a loss in marketshare in its operating system business. But lets put things in perspective.

Windows Phone 7 is one of the most innovative pieces of software ever produced. Microsoft along with Palm pioneered the SmartPhone a decade ago. Apple refreshed the category 5 years ago. Now Microsoft are hitting the ground running with their next generation. Yet all they get is criticism. Windows 8 won't run on last-generation Windows 7 hardware, and Microsoft takes flak. How many people recall that Apple totally abandoned their own customer hardware base too? Not once, but 4 times.

You couldn't run Mac software on an Apple II, so all those who bought Apple IIs were orphaned. Then Apple dumped the Mac's 68000 chip for the PowerPC. All those customers who bought 68000s were orphaned. Then, unbelievably, Apple dumped the PowerPC and moved to Intel. More orphans. Finally, to complete the flush, Apple dumped their MacOS operating system and replaced it with OSX. Yet, on the back of these flip-flops, Apple are perceived as being customer-friendly. Staggering.

Meanwhile, Mac has roughly the same market share in PCs as WP7 has in SmartPhones. Yet on these numbers, Apple's a success and WP7 is a failure.

There are somewhere around 75 million Macs in use in the world. That's all. There are roughly the same number as Xboxes. Is Xbox now the world's second most popular computing platform?

Apple's iPad is eating into PC sales. But is it? The most recent global sales figures showed that PC sales only grew by 0.1%. It's amazing that PCs grew at all in the face of the global economic crisis. Annual sales for PCs are currently running around 350 million per year - and all but 3% of them run Windows. Of the top selling PC companies, Apple didn't even make the list. They're included in "Other". The good news for Apple is that if they continue growing at this rate it will only be another 84 years before they're out of the Other category.

Now look at the debate that's raging. Should I keep Windows 7 or move to Windows 8. Or even stick with XP? Nobody is seriously suggesting moving to Mac - particularly for business use. And where's Google Chrome, that Windows-killing rascal, gone to these days? Dead on arrival.

What we're seeing is an old Microsoft strategy. Get people talking about which Microsoft product to use and squeeze the life out of the competition. Remember Lotus? Microsoft squeezed them between Excel at the top end and Works at the low end. They were the world's biggest software company in their day. Now they're an asterisk at the bottom of IBM's Balance Sheet.

It's the next decade that'll be interesting. Microsoft has finally found it it can do something that neither Apple nor Google can do well - it's called software. If this is the result of a lost decade, I'll have a dozen.

Major Plonquer said,
....

Well said.

I'm sad my company is a line item for IBM's balance sheet.
And to answer the $40 dollar question. Yes, upgrade to Win8.
Or from Microsoft's perspective, the $67.1B dollar question.....

Edited by deadonthefloor, Jul 22 2012, 2:01am :

Windows 8 is what is going to bring MS down.. They will lose billions on that crap.. Windows 8 will be one of the biggest fails the OS market has ever seen.

Jason_Coffey said,
Windows 8 is what is going to bring MS down.. They will lose billions on that crap.. Windows 8 will be one of the biggest fails the OS market has ever seen.

Why?

Jason_Coffey said,
Windows 8 is what is going to bring MS down.. They will lose billions on that crap.. Windows 8 will be one of the biggest fails the OS market has ever seen.

I'l wager right now that Windows 8 will sell hundreds of millions of copies and make billions of dollars for Microsoft. But I could be wrong.

Nick K said,

I'l wager right now that Windows 8 will sell hundreds of millions of copies and make billions of dollars for Microsoft. But I could be wrong.

so wrong.

Jason_Coffey said,
Windows 8 is what is going to bring MS down.. They will lose billions on that crap.. Windows 8 will be one of the biggest fails the OS market has ever seen.

Careful. You risk deletion on this site if you dare say anything negative about Windows 8.

"The only thing you're interested in is telling us how "in the know" you are because you worked for Microsoft. Congrats on your past work experience. Would you like a biscuit?"

Actually, I'm interested in refuting people who try to talk about how way off base the Vanity Fair article is who have never worked at Microsoft and who have never spoken to anyone involved directly -- those of you on the outside are only capable of speculation. Those of us who worked there can actually have a meaningful conversation about Microsoft's culture.

RSoames said,
"The only thing you're interested in is telling us how "in the know" you are because you worked for Microsoft. Congrats on your past work experience. Would you like a biscuit?"

Actually, I'm interested in refuting people who try to talk about how way off base the Vanity Fair article is who have never worked at Microsoft and who have never spoken to anyone involved directly -- those of you on the outside are only capable of speculation. Those of us who worked there can actually have a meaningful conversation about Microsoft's culture.

Those of us on the outside have a greater perspective on what really matters. I'm sorry that your stock options ended up being worth **** as you watched with green-eyed envy what AAPL did. Boo ****ing hoo. You had a good job and probably a decent salary. Go cry me a river. All the people that once worked for companies that went out of business in the last 10 years aren't buying any bull**** about Microsoft's "lost decade". If this lost decade was a failure, I only wished Microsoft was a greater failure this past decade and hope for the worse for Apple, Google, and Microsoft in the coming decade.

Rather than criticizing Microsoft for falling behind Apple, I want people to look at Microsoft and say "My god, how could we been so stupid to have allowed a single company to make so much ****ing money?" and then in turn look at Apple and Google and say "My god, how could we have been so stupid to have allowed 2 more Microsofts to come into existence?"

When people pay $500 for a phone and decide to forego seeing a doctor because they can no longer afford to do so, then we all pay the price in the end for that stupid decision. We need to question whether or not so many god damn people clamoring to buy a $500 phone is a good thing rather than question why Microsoft can't sell just as many $500 phones as Apple does.

bj55555 said,

Those of us on the outside have a greater perspective on what really matters. I'm sorry that your stock options ended up being worth **** as you watched with green-eyed envy what AAPL did. Boo ****ing hoo. You had a good job and probably a decent salary. Go cry me a river. All the people that once worked for companies that went out of business in the last 10 years aren't buying any bull**** about Microsoft's "lost decade". If this lost decade was a failure, I only wished Microsoft was a greater failure this past decade and hope for the worse for Apple, Google, and Microsoft in the coming decade.

Rather than criticizing Microsoft for falling behind Apple, I want people to look at Microsoft and say "My god, how could we been so stupid to have allowed a single company to make so much ****ing money?" and then in turn look at Apple and Google and say "My god, how could we have been so stupid to have allowed 2 more Microsofts to come into existence?"

When people pay $500 for a phone and decide to forego seeing a doctor because they can no longer afford to do so, then we all pay the price in the end for that stupid decision. We need to question whether or not so many god damn people clamoring to buy a $500 phone is a good thing rather than question why Microsoft can't sell just as many $500 phones as Apple does.

You seem to be upset about the state of consumer behavior moreso than anything else. I don't understand what you're even advocating other than a hope that people will somehow one day realize that commodity fetishism is dumb and that there are other things in life than buying a popular brand. Well... that's kind of outside the scope of a technology discussion.

You also don't seem to understand my position at all -- I left Microsoft after many years a happy and very comfortable person, having made a nice sum of money over the years, and we parted on good terms because I just didn't like what the culture had become. I have another job that's very nice now, and the transition was smooth. You keep saying things like "I'm sorry that your stock options ended up being worth **** as you watched with green-eyed envy what AAPL did. Boo ****ing hoo. You had a good job and probably a decent salary. Go cry me a river." Uh... go talk to someone who thinks they had a bad deal and try that line of attack. I had a fine deal with Microsoft and can't complain about anything.

You're a champion for the small company and you seem to be anti-big company -- which is great. You'd like to change consumer behavior so that everyone wants to give the little guy a chance and so everyone will rally to prevent any one company from dominating a market -- good luck with that, Captain.

It's really stunning how Microsoft executives continue year after year after year to think that bashing, belittling and otherwise trash talking the competition is going to somehow convince people that their products are superior.

Frank Shaw said, "[we have] social integration in Bing that makes Google's SPY world look as cheesy as it really is..."

After everything that's happened over the years, after example upon example of Ballmer saying similar things that not only came back to bite him (e.g. nobody will ever buy the iPhone), why on *earth* would you not learn that one of your biggest problems in the industry is that people perceive you to be totally blind about the strengths and weaknesses of your own products as they relate to the competitive landscape?

I recently left Microsoft after more than 15 years specifically because this attitude pervades senior management -- it's the attitude Ballmer demands in his leadership team, and it's the attitude that has made Microsoft appear ridiculous to most of the industry... not to mention the attitude that allowed Apple to not just leapfrog Microsoft on innovation, but on revenue.

The Microsoft bluster should have retired many years ago, it's destructive, childish and ineffective. Comments like Frank's are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

RSoames said,
It's really stunning how Microsoft executives continue year after year after year to think that bashing, belittling and otherwise trash talking the competition is going to somehow convince people that their products are superior.

Frank Shaw said, "[we have] social integration in Bing that makes Google's SPY world look as cheesy as it really is..."

After everything that's happened over the years, after example upon example of Ballmer saying similar things that not only came back to bite him (e.g. nobody will ever buy the iPhone), why on *earth* would you not learn that one of your biggest problems in the industry is that people perceive you to be totally blind about the strengths and weaknesses of your own products as they relate to the competitive landscape?

I recently left Microsoft after more than 15 years specifically because this attitude pervades senior management -- it's the attitude Ballmer demands in his leadership team, and it's the attitude that has made Microsoft appear ridiculous to most of the industry... not to mention the attitude that allowed Apple to not just leapfrog Microsoft on innovation, but on revenue.

The Microsoft bluster should have retired many years ago, it's destructive, childish and ineffective. Comments like Frank's are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

No, articles like the one in VF and people lapping that up like it's the absolute truth is the problem.

It is absolutely ridiculous that people would pay $500 for a phone. The only thing Ballmer was wrong about was underestimating the stupidity of consumers.

Edited by bj55555, Jul 21 2012, 5:26pm :

bj55555 said,

No, articles like the one in VF and people lapping that up like it's the absolute truth is the problem.

It is absolutely ridiculous that people would pay $500 for a phone. The only thing Ballmer was wrong about was underestimating the stupidity of consumers.

Listen to yourself. No, seriously: take a step back and listen to yourself, and then try to deconstruct the content of what you're saying.

First of all, there's more than a little truth to the Vanity Fair article: I started at the company in 1996 and worked in a number of divisions, and those threads were present throughout. I left the company on good terms, so I have no sour grapes... but this is not the time for reflexive throat-punching on the part of Microsoft's defenders, it's the time for objective strategy for how to get back on top. Comments like yours will not help that effort.

As far as what you said about the iPhone: I certainly hope your job doesn't involve setting consumer product strategy. Consumers being stupid or not isn't the issue -- the issue is where they spend their money. And bj55555, a majority of my coworkers at Microsoft had iPhones -- Windows Phones were the minority. This has always infuriated Steve, but eventually he gave-up trying to block employees from using iPhones because he knew it was futile.

The issue isn't people "lapping up" the VF article like it was the absolute truth -- the issue is that Microsoft refuses to see *any* truth in the VF article. And until Microsoft acknowledges that this is a problem, the problem won't go away.

RSoames said,

Listen to yourself. No, seriously: take a step back and listen to yourself, and then try to deconstruct the content of what you're saying.

First of all, there's more than a little truth to the Vanity Fair article: I started at the company in 1996 and worked in a number of divisions, and those threads were present throughout. I left the company on good terms, so I have no sour grapes... but this is not the time for reflexive throat-punching on the part of Microsoft's defenders, it's the time for objective strategy for how to get back on top. Comments like yours will not help that effort.

As far as what you said about the iPhone: I certainly hope your job doesn't involve setting consumer product strategy. Consumers being stupid or not isn't the issue -- the issue is where they spend their money. And bj55555, a majority of my coworkers at Microsoft had iPhones -- Windows Phones were the minority. This has always infuriated Steve, but eventually he gave-up trying to block employees from using iPhones because he knew it was futile.

The issue isn't people "lapping up" the VF article like it was the absolute truth -- the issue is that Microsoft refuses to see *any* truth in the VF article. And until Microsoft acknowledges that this is a problem, the problem won't go away.

I don't give a flying **** if Microsoft ends up on top. The last thing I want is for Microsoft to be able to sock away another $10, $20 billion to top Apple.

What I want is for people to stop deifying companies like Apple, Google, and, yes, Microsoft and enriching them to the detriment of other companies. It's absolutely unhealthy. To characterize Microsoft as having failed in a period in which it stockpiled almost as much as the US Treasury currently holds is ludicrous. Articles like this cause these companies to engage in a "my dick is bigger than yours" battle, and that is not good for anybody.

So let me say this in the most honest way possible. I don't give a **** who you worked for or what insight you have. The original VF article is misguided, and there are far more important things to be critical of.

bj55555 said,

I don't give a flying **** if Microsoft ends up on top. The last thing I want is for Microsoft to be able to sock away another $10, $20 billion to top Apple.

What I want is for people to stop deifying companies like Apple, Google, and, yes, Microsoft and enriching them to the detriment of other companies. It's absolutely unhealthy. To characterize Microsoft as having failed in a period in which it stockpiled almost as much as the US Treasury currently holds is ludicrous. Articles like this cause these companies to engage in a "my dick is bigger than yours" battle, and that is not good for anybody.

So let me say this in the most honest way possible. I don't give a **** who you worked for or what insight you have. The original VF article is misguided, and there are far more important things to be critical of.

Sorry, I didn't realize you weren't interested in the actual topic at hand. Do feel free to carry on with the off-topic rant you're pursuing.

RSoames said,

Sorry, I didn't realize you weren't interested in the actual topic at hand. Do feel free to carry on with the off-topic rant you're pursuing.

No, it's highly related to the topic. The point is that the standard by which a company is considered a success has reached ludicrous levels.

The only thing you're interested in is telling us how "in the know" you are because you worked for Microsoft. Congrats on your past work experience. Would you like a biscuit?

bj55555 said,

No, articles like the one in VF and people lapping that up like it's the absolute truth is the problem.

It is absolutely ridiculous that people would pay $500 for a phone. The only thing Ballmer was wrong about was underestimating the stupidity of consumers.

Ballmer was right about the iPhone. After selling to a few hardcore customers, Apple had to slash price and issue store credits along with an apology from Steve Jobs to the few suckers who went out and bought the overpriced iPhone at launch.

http://www.apple.com/hotnews/openiphoneletter/

Why do Microsoft haters have such a selective memory about iPhone and Ballmer? Ballmer was right when he said nobody would buy a $600 phone.

To all iPhone customers:

I have received hundreds of emails from iPhone customers who are upset about Apple dropping the price of iPhone by $200 two months after it went on sale. After reading every one of these emails, I have some observations and conclusions.

First, I am sure that we are making the correct decision to lower the price of the 8GB iPhone from $599 to $399, and that now is the right time to do it.
...
We want to do the right thing for our valued iPhone customers. We apologize for disappointing some of you, and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple.

Steve Jobs
Apple CEO

Why does it seems like some people's memory goes SERVPRO every time Apple screws up?

Edited by Avatar Roku, Jul 22 2012, 7:07am :

Not sure about a decade, but I'd say the time between Longhorn and Windows 7 was completely lost IMO compaired to what they aimed for.

Vista was nothing compaired to what we were promised in LH and only parts of it came into WIndows 7. So to me it seems that from 2003 till Now was mostly MS trying to catch up with what it's own vision/promise to us that 2005 would be.

@mac said,
Not sure about a decade, but I'd say the time between Longhorn and Windows 7 was completely lost IMO compaired to what they aimed for.

Vista was nothing compaired to what we were promised in LH and only parts of it came into WIndows 7. So to me it seems that from 2003 till Now was mostly MS trying to catch up with what it's own vision/promise to us that 2005 would be.

That was, in fact, entirely due to the codebase changeover (from XP to Server 2003), then they were under a time pressure to get product out the door because it *had* been five years. The codebase change actually made sense - however, it's only realizable in hindsight (which is always 20/20). Also, despite Vista's underdelivery, that wasn't why Vista didn't outsell XP - and you know it. Vista had a poor reputation for other reasons - most of which were the fault of IHVs - not Microsoft. Throw in a conservative to the point of chicken business market and you have the first comparative bomb. (Vista was, in fact, only a bomb compared to XP at the time, and both XP and 7 today - it still outsold any other OS Microsoft ever published for desktops - even Windows 95. All that shows is how far XP moved the needle - an OS that outsells Windows 95 can be called a bomb because XP beat it.)

I'm aware of that, but XP and server 2003 were not completely different. 2003 was just an updated XP code base. I'm sure much of it could have been ported over with out a lot of extra trouble, They should have waited till Win7 to change out the code base though. If they had already put years into it, then they should have realized that changing the base at that point would just add even more time to an already late system.

It doesn't matter if it outside Windows 95. There was also a much smaller PC market then. You have to look more at the percentages of PC's that ran 95 vs the percentage that ran Vista.

EXAMPLE: If Windows 95 sold 4million copies, that may be only 2% of all PC's today, and 80% when it was released. So while Vista may sell 6million, it's still only 3% of PC's which, yes is a failure compared to the market for it.

@mac said,

EXAMPLE: If Windows 95 sold 4million copies, that may be only 2% of all PC's today, and 80% when it was released. So while Vista may sell 6million, it's still only 3% of PC's which, yes is a failure compared to the market for it.

Bad example. If we used what you said, what can be said for OSX? It came out the same time when XP came out and Vista sold more than it and all the os's that Apple made before it combine. I bet any company wish they could sell over 200 million of anything in 3 years and be called a failure!

@mac said,
I'm aware of that, but XP and server 2003 were not completely different. 2003 was just an updated XP code base. I'm sure much of it could have been ported over with out a lot of extra trouble, They should have waited till Win7 to change out the code base though. If they had already put years into it, then they should have realized that changing the base at that point would just add even more time to an already late system.

It doesn't matter if it outside Windows 95. There was also a much smaller PC market then. You have to look more at the percentages of PC's that ran 95 vs the percentage that ran Vista.

EXAMPLE: If Windows 95 sold 4million copies, that may be only 2% of all PC's today, and 80% when it was released. So while Vista may sell 6million, it's still only 3% of PC's which, yes is a failure compared to the market for it.

Vista sold more like 400 million copies in 3 years. If that's a failure I wonder what a success looks like. Not as good as 7 though, which has sold more than 600 million copies in 3 years.

Nick K said,

Vista sold more like 400 million copies in 3 years. If that's a failure I wonder what a success looks like. Not as good as 7 though, which has sold more than 600 million copies in 3 years.

Hence why I said "EXAMPLE" in huge letters.

@mac said,
Not sure about a decade, but I'd say the time between Longhorn and Windows 7 was completely lost IMO compaired to what they aimed for.

Vista was nothing compaired to what we were promised in LH and only parts of it came into WIndows 7. So to me it seems that from 2003 till Now was mostly MS trying to catch up with what it's own vision/promise to us that 2005 would be.

Long time in Microsoft cycle, yes, in traditional development and OS cycles, no.


As for Vista being nothing compared to Longhorn... Wow, you have NOT A CLUE do you? Read more than the idiots trying to get clicks, seriously.

Heck go read the technical documentation, or even go over to Channel9 on MSDN and watch interviews with the people that made Vista during that time frame.

People complained cause it wasn't all WPF/Managed code at the explorer level, yet instead Microsoft found a way with the PCA to offer realtime monitoring that mimicked a lot of managed code for ALL software instead.

People complained it didn't have WinFS. Yet it included the same set of features an principles as far as the user was concerned, and did it lighter and easier than WinFS. Using NTFS and metadata and journalling along with search engine and database technology from MSSQL, all the base functionality of WinFS was in Vista. (Sad thing, people still don't use it like they should. From search folders to even the SQL syntax that can be used by both users and applications. Heck even application developers could hook into it and use the engine, but they saw it wasn't WinFS and didn't freaking realize they could.

What else was missing? The WDDM/WDM technology was there, which was FAR BEYOND what Longhorn was attempting, because of the XBox 360 development advanced the NT driver and GPU model forward to a new level adding in GPU scheduling, VRAM sharing, virtualization, and on and on...

There was a new network stack that was IPv6 first and IPv4 second, and was far faster than XP's network stack.

There was a new sound stack with super low level latency and high speed conversion and resampling. In Windows 7 this was enhanced and was measurably several times faster and 'cleaner' than OS X core audio, and is why you see muscians, especially ones that do realtime work will NOT FREAKING TOUCH WinXP or a Mac.

A full new graphics language, XAML, that is what draws the screen and even handles printing, replacing the GDI or converting GDI on the fly seamlessly. (Software looks the same, but is running on a new engine and is running faster with GPU 3D acceleration of font rendering, GDI+ features, and texture decompression/codecs etc. ) Drawing the words on the screen in Vista and Win7 is using the GPU, even opening a JPeg in Vista or Win7 will use the GPU as it can decode the image faster than the CPU.

So we did get the features of Longhorn, and we got a lot of things we were not expecting.

With Windows 7 refining out the memory consumption and priority flags (another new feature introduced in Vista) - proves that the OS was taken in the right direction.

Vista was a stepping stone, but had a huge amount of technology in it, and it was testament to Microsoft that more people don't realize how different everything was from XP in just how applications ran and worked over the network and made sound and rendered on the screen.

stm24 said,

Bad example. If we used what you said, what can be said for OSX? It came out the same time when XP came out and Vista sold more than it and all the os's that Apple made before it combine. I bet any company wish they could sell over 200 million of anything in 3 years and be called a failure!

Macs have a much smaller market, so it takes much less sales for a new Mac OS to be a success than a PC does. As I said, it's relative to percentage. Selling to 2% of Mac users or 2% of PC users are both considered a failure for that OS release when the goal is obviously a much higher percentage. Apples goal for a new OS is not for it to be sold to every computer user, but to every Mac user.

EXAMPLE: Selling 10.8 to 80% of Mac users is a success
Selling Windows 8 to 80% of PC users is a success
If you look at sales thats not an apples to apples comparison, so you have to look at it as: The percentage of the market that you are selling to. As a market grows then inherently more people will buy your OS. so it sonly natural that eventually even a "failure" of an OS will still out do Windows 95 in pure sale number.

In the future Windows 12 could sell to only 1% of users, but that 1% could still be enough people to outsell Windows 95 ten times over. That wouldn't make Windows 12 a success.

thenetavenger said,
To long to quote

thenetavenger said,
To much to quote

I did, in fact i was even the tester for it all through the betas and even used some Alpha builds in my company. The LH builds up till (forget the number) ran great on a machine that had a dedicated GPU and even OK on a few integrated ones. but once it started to move closer to what Vista became it started to feel heavier and slower.

Also where was all the handy gadgets on the sidebar that we were promised?
Yes there was a lot of back end work, but it took up to SP2 just to get it almost as quick in benchmarks as Windows 7, and it was slower than XP on release. Back end work can mean little to nothing when the majority of users see "we are promised a cool new interface" and they get "glass, a start orb and a weird name" thats what sells an OS, what the general public thinks, not what IT and technology groups are looking for in an OS.

Also, there is the very fact that Microsoft *is* a Fortune 50 company - name a single Fortune 50 company that *isn't* big and ponderous. (Yes - that includes Apple; the only reason that it doesn't include Google *yet* is that they don't meet the metrics to make the Fortune 50 - however, Google is no longer exactly small.)
Smaller companies (or companies that are smaller than their competitors) are like David to their Goliath - and are media darlings because of that.
Also, it's not really an *identity crisis* - it's that some brands have an identity outside the identity of their parent. A famous case is in the coffee market - and I'm not talking Starbucks; how many folks know that Maxwell House has actually changed ownership twice? (It actually started out as an independent company, ala Starbucks - then was acquired by General Foods, which was itself acquired by Kraft Foods. You have no idea who owns MH until you read the frigging packaging - the ads don't mention a thing.)

Also, there *was* that five-year gap between XP and Vista, and the four year gap between Office 2003 and 2007 on the PC side, and Office 2004 and 2008 on the OS X side - these two products are what defines Microsoft in the eyes of the media (all the media - even Fortune and Forbes, not to mention the Wall Street Journal.) Let's go behind those gaps - all of which occurred during the *lost decade*:

1. There was a massive code change within what would become Windows Vista - all for reasons of both increased security and increased *stability* - the move was from the XP code base to the Windows Server 2003 code base. That meant that the entire OS had to be rebuilt pretty much from scratch. There was, in fact, little in the way of an ad push with Vista until the *Mojave* ads - which aired strictly to counter bad word-of-mouth buzz around Vista. As much as Vista was panned, it was only a bomb compared to XP - it still sold more copies than any non-XP desktop OS in Microsoft's history of that time.

2. Office 2007 for Windows was the *ribbon Office*- it was no bomb (it outsold Office 2003); however, it DID get lost over the trashing that Vista took. On the OS X side, Office 2008 saw Entourage (Offce:Mac's mail application) get replaced with Outlook for Mac. It was no bomb, either (the best-selling Office in OS X history at the time); however, the Mac Business Unit's relative success got lost over the relative woes of the Windows side.

Pretty much the so-called *lost decade* was due to the media picking over Microsoft's *relative* failure with Vista.

You cannot say the revenue has tripled. You would need to take into account how much x billions was worth in 2000 and how much it worth today. The billions of 2000 have a higher value than the billions of today.

You know i earn A LOT more money than i was in 2000. Am i more successful ? not at all. Why ? Cause i have exactly the same purchasing power that i had in 2000. Houses have practically doubled in price since 2000.

LaP said,
You cannot say the revenue has tripled. You would need to take into account how much x billions was worth in 2000 and how much it worth today. The billions of 2000 have a higher value than the billions of today.

You know i earn A LOT more money than i was in 2000. Am i more successful ? not at all. Why ? Cause i have exactly the same purchasing power that i had in 2000. Houses have practically doubled in price since 2000.

Difference, Microsoft started paying mass amounts of dividends, which is where nearly 200 billion went in the last 10 years that they could have locked in a vault like Apple currently does.

That is a bit more than Apple's cash in hand/equity.

Apple just in March started paying dividends, which they have not done since 1995.

So if Apple had been paying out to their investors like Microsoft, the financial sheets would be very very different.

It is just accounting and math, and Apple is not as rich as people think. They also have a far more fragile income stream.

Go buy the Apple stock, but lots of it, and dump Microsoft stock if you can. Please....

I think that Microsoft has had a little bit of an identity crisis.

The direction they are going now to unify the look of their products is going to pay off in the long run. People may not like Windows 8 start screen, but the overall objective to just have a unified look and feel will bring more brand name recognition to "Microsoft". If they focus on their name brand a little more I think it would really pay off (as oppose to their sub-brands such as Windows and XBox). That's my opinion, anyway.

I think the lost decade was the time when Microsoft was resting on its laurels. It was just after XP, when Microsoft left IE6 to rot (because it had monopolised the market), and went from mistake to mistake with Longhorn, Vista, WinMo, Zune, Kin, and now WP7. It's a wonder they're still in the market at all when you think about it. But I guess that iron grip on OEM's (by less than honest means) is what did it.

simplezz said,
I think the lost decade was the time when Microsoft was resting on its laurels. It was just after XP, when Microsoft left IE6 to rot (because it had monopolised the market), and went from mistake to mistake with Longhorn, Vista, WinMo, Zune, Kin, and now WP7. It's a wonder they're still in the market at all when you think about it. But I guess that iron grip on OEM's (by less than honest means) is what did it.

Longhorn was a mistake because it was written on the XP (not Windows Server) code base, and let's face facts - the XP code base had security issues (XP Service Pack 2 was plenty of evidence of that). Vista? At worst a relative mistake compared to XP - it still sold more copies than any non-XP desktop OS in Microsoft history up to that point, which was the OTHER part of the problem (outside of Microsoft) - XP had gained "comfort" status - how many folks had no interest in upgrading even their existing hardware from XP to Vista, even those that had Vista-compatible hardware? And I'm talking home users - the avoidance in business was even worse. (Heck - how many of us here in Neowin work in companies *still* running XP?) XP's *comfort* status created its own problems for Microsoft - how do you upgrade core components (and IE6 was definitely a core component) without breaking the OS? Windows Mobile was a niche Windows - and niche versions of Windows generally don't do well. (The same was, in fact true with Kin - however, Verizon Wireless pricing a feature phone - such as Kin - like a smartphone certainly did not help; Verizon Wireless is repeating the same error with some models of Android phones - putting them into the smartphone market when they would be more suitable as feature phones - why else are the LG Ally and Motorola Citrus not selling?) Zune was just plain late - by the time it launched, the iPod had the portable media player all locked up; I have a pre-Zune media player - the Iomega HipZip - which uses 40MB Clik! media. It's not a bad product - unlike some, I have no need to take my entire MP3 collection with me - however, it lacks the coolness factor of even an iPod of the same age. WP7 is a bit of both Kin and Zune - late and going against an established product; it still doesn't help that the carriers (in the US, primarily AT&T) still have no idea how to structure data plans for anything but smartphones.

PGHammer said,
Vista? At worst a relative mistake compared to XP - it still sold more copies than any non-XP desktop OS in Microsoft history up to that point,

No it didn't. The fact that Manufacturers bought licenses and supplied it on computers everyday people bought BY DEFAULT explains 99.9% of its sales.

I have 1 PC (laptop) here that came with Vista. It was always crap from day 1. I bought Windows 7 for it and now the laptop is a joy to use and so much faster than it ever was running Vista.

*deep breathe*..

Firstly, Frank's not exactly your best grass roots boots on the ground perspective person to react to. He's a VP for starters which means he's got an entire org tree looking upwards whilst he looks downwards. Secondly he's in charge of PR... its his job to place Teflon spin on whatever turd gets thrown out the front door whilst cheer lead the hell out of the non-turds that actually make a bang.

I've worked in a lot of software companies, govt departments and so on in 15 years. Nothing and I mean nothing compares to Microsoft culture and if anyone had been paying attention over the last 5 years you'd see the body count rack up on key, important and significant talent leaving the company. Noticeably you've got the Google chrome team made up of mostly IE ex-members, You've got the WPF/Silverlight brains trust now at Google, Amazon and other companies as such. You've got Scott Guthrie in Azure team? .. not that Azure doesn't need attention but if your job is to light up developer sat levels and get them excited about XAML/C# this is one guy who's got a proven record and has established trust amongst majority of the C# developer base..

There he is, sitting in Azure sand pit whilst Windows team roll out there confusing message around WinRT and Win8 whilst bleeding developer sat levels and OEM providers. Silverlight has been put on ice but nobody will confirm/deny it for fear of admiting there was a mistake as if you admit it was a mistake you have to understand the culture that lead to declaring it a mistake namely why did Bob Muglia suddenly leave after his "We've changed strategy" blip on Mary Jo @ZDNET's column. Why is Steve Sinofsky ignoring DevDiv's efforts in Silverlight/WP7 and lastly what made the Silverlight team split up?

Point is, the article hit a nerve simply because it led to the first step of solving a major problem within Microsoft - acknowledging that there is a problem.

Scott Barnes said,
*deep breathe*..

Firstly, Frank's not exactly your best grass roots boots on the ground perspective person to react to. He's a VP for starters which means he's got an entire org tree looking upwards whilst he looks downwards. Secondly he's in charge of PR... its his job to place Teflon spin on whatever turd gets thrown out the front door whilst cheer lead the hell out of the non-turds that actually make a bang.

I've worked in a lot of software companies, govt departments and so on in 15 years. Nothing and I mean nothing compares to Microsoft culture and if anyone had been paying attention over the last 5 years you'd see the body count rack up on key, important and significant talent leaving the company. Noticeably you've got the Google chrome team made up of mostly IE ex-members, You've got the WPF/Silverlight brains trust now at Google, Amazon and other companies as such. You've got Scott Guthrie in Azure team? .. not that Azure doesn't need attention but if your job is to light up developer sat levels and get them excited about XAML/C# this is one guy who's got a proven record and has established trust amongst majority of the C# developer base..

There he is, sitting in Azure sand pit whilst Windows team roll out there confusing message around WinRT and Win8 whilst bleeding developer sat levels and OEM providers. Silverlight has been put on ice but nobody will confirm/deny it for fear of admiting there was a mistake as if you admit it was a mistake you have to understand the culture that lead to declaring it a mistake namely why did Bob Muglia suddenly leave after his "We've changed strategy" blip on Mary Jo @ZDNET's column. Why is Steve Sinofsky ignoring DevDiv's efforts in Silverlight/WP7 and lastly what made the Silverlight team split up?

Point is, the article hit a nerve simply because it led to the first step of solving a major problem within Microsoft - acknowledging that there is a problem.

It all comes down to a lack of a single coherent vision so that all departments/divisions can work towards that end goal - that is what is lacking which is where Apple has strength in. In the case of the iCloud everything orientated towards that - iOS and Mac OS X; from their iWork through to email, music, videos etc. where as with Microsoft there always seems to be a lack of coherency and it really does show when it comes to GUI design. Each division doing its own thing and what you have are a series of disjointed products making it to market with the consumer dumb founded as to how the heck everything is supposed to work together.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

It all comes down to a lack of a single coherent vision so that all departments/divisions can work towards that end goal - that is what is lacking which is where Apple has strength in. In the case of the iCloud everything orientated towards that - iOS and Mac OS X; from their iWork through to email, music, videos etc. where as with Microsoft there always seems to be a lack of coherency and it really does show when it comes to GUI design. Each division doing its own thing and what you have are a series of disjointed products making it to market with the consumer dumb founded as to how the heck everything is supposed to work together.

Do you really think that the current vision that's arguably more coherent than even Apple's vision was spit out in the last few months? Microsoft's had this vision for years, but they've been hamstrung by the consent decree. If Microsoft embedded SkyDrive into Windows 7 when it was released, the DoJ would have been on Microsoft faster than flies on ****. Instead, Microsoft had to watch as Apple brought iCloud to the market, partly on Microsoft's infrastructure mind you, and have all sorts of accolades from "visionary" and "innovative" bestowed upon them.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

It all comes down to a lack of a single coherent vision so that all departments/divisions can work towards that end goal - that is what is lacking which is where Apple has strength in. In the case of the iCloud everything orientated towards that - iOS and Mac OS X; from their iWork through to email, music, videos etc. where as with Microsoft there always seems to be a lack of coherency and it really does show when it comes to GUI design. Each division doing its own thing and what you have are a series of disjointed products making it to market with the consumer dumb founded as to how the heck everything is supposed to work together.

I agree with a lot of this, but Microsoft just didn't wake up, they were forbidden from providing the interoperable features that Apple has been able to leverage over the past 10 years. The Anti-trust 'thingy' let Apple and Google and other ties that Microsoft could not.

They couldn't even keep MSN Music and have it open in Windows Media Player on Windows. Compare that to Apple having hardware iPod/iPhone that essentially locks in users to iTunes and the iTune marketplace and also works better on OS X. (If Microsoft even attempted this today, they would be taken back to court with fire and pitch forks.)

Apple is good about 'shoving' their products together, but when they control the hardware, this makes things a lot easier, as they don't have Dell signing up customers for DropBox and Gateway signing up customers for GDrive, etc.

Apple is also better and messaging than Microsoft, even when things don't work well, they can convince people that they do or just to accept the flaws they are not important. This is where the 'distortion field' works beyond advertising, as Apple users will notoriously say their Mac never crashes, yet ask why it has random restarts to 'clean itself' so often. (Crazy stuff, but it works for Apple.)

The big thing is the Anti-trust, Microsoft literally had to close down successful product and integration in the early 00s, which was great for Apple, as by Microsoft being deemed a monopoly, it allowed Apple to become a monopoly in the music industry, setting prices, controlling distribution, even controlling release dates instead of artist or labels. (Apple has been a bit abusive of the industry in the past year or so, and they will hurt Apple back if they are given the chance, which is why a lot of Music insiders want Microsoft to put together a successful music market.)

Microsoft has certainly lost brand recognition...or more accurately brand image...they are no longer thought of as innovative leaders. Apple in the past decade has sky rocketed into the next dimension, so has Google.

As for the upcoming months,

Windows 8 has been met with negative to mixed reaction
The home console market is shrinking due to convergence and xbox isn't as relevant now as it could have been 10 years ago
Windows Phone 8? Judging by the lack of success of Windows Phone 7, theres nothing at all positive there. Windows has LOST market share in the mobile space since the release of WP7 and Nokia is going down in flames.
The surface is betting on the success of Windows 8 and Windows 8 as mentioned above does't exactly have many people (outside of this site) excited.

The days of the Microsoft monopoly are coming to an end, finally.

Sonne said,
Microsoft has certainly lost brand recognition...or more accurately brand image...they are no longer thought of as innovative leaders. Apple in the past decade has sky rocketed into the next dimension, so has Google.

I agree with the branding and image problems Microsoft has. Ok Apple and Google have each a real success, with good products but for a decade also now their product are enlised in their success... Who could say that last iPhone iteration is as exiting as the first one in 2007 ? The truth, if you except the marketing salsa, is it's boring. Apple is sitting on its success and can't stand up. Marketing mask this but... is new phone brushed metal back a real innovation ? Do you really think IOS app folders is a real innovation ? Do you think glossy rounded app icon is a UI innovation ? (did it really was in 2007 ?)
Android success is in a large part due to its big adoption by lot of manufacturer, thanks to its low cost, but except it is leading the hardware smartphone evolution, it's not really an innovative task force about the UX and GUI pont of view. Even on the hardware, I'm not sure it's a good thing to put up CPU frequencies or core at so high value in the innovative balance... Looks like Intel 90's Mhz marketing on desktop PC (and we know how it has finishing).


Sonne said,
As for the upcoming months,

Windows 8 has been met with negative to mixed reaction


I disagree, the negative feels are just reaction to any change on a usual thing, not necesseraly bad feeling. So medias are delecting with what can be interpreted as bad or mixed reaction, normal that makes them selling paper (or web trafic).
Windows 8 is as good as 7 can has been. It's 7 with a touch part plus a new graphic langage that is more than just a layer, it redefines the UI. I don't see why it could be a bad thing except it shows that Microsoft has push dektop UI Design one step forward while Apple put mass glossy and metal brush marketing on old fashioned dektop.


Sonne said,
The home console market is shrinking due to convergence and xbox isn't as relevant now as it could have been 10 years ago

Ah ? and Why ? Because of the Mobile Market ? Year, mobile game market is a success, but a real empty brain market, it's just about casual enthousiasm. Mobile games are in a large part poor games : old titles adaptations on touch device (more often bad adaptations) ; old gameplays ; with poor game culture bagage. Except some real pieces of work (And I'm not talking here about angry birds) success of mobile games is just about money, only due to the casual gaming expansion to large mass, it's not from its real game inside qualities.
Sonne said,
Windows Phone 8? Judging by the lack of success of Windows Phone 7, theres nothing at all positive there. Windows has LOST market share in the mobile space since the release of WP7 and Nokia is going down in flames.

Did you own a Windows Phone ? Are you concerned by the UI as an information access point of view ? Can you just consider WP7 by its market share success, as you consider a game is good cause it's a blockbuster ? Microsoft is the only one that put on the market something different, where Apple and Google and others are just sitting on old fashioned Palm's clone interface success.

Sonne said,

The surface is betting on the success of Windows 8 and Windows 8 as mentioned above does't exactly have many people (outside of this site) excited.

Why people should be excited by an iPad3, wich is just a 0.5 % more than the iPad2 they already own, and other people couldn't be excited by a new tablet concept ? Just marketing : some people are brainstorming others by the fact Apple is doing well while others don't.

Sonne said,
The days of the Microsoft monopoly are coming to an end, finally.

I think these day are over for a decade. And it's what's good for Microsoft. It's what make them coming today with the more exciting environnement about the post PC era.
And about monopoly, I'm not sure an Apple or Google monopoly could be better than what Microsoft monopoly can has been.
(sorry for my english, but you certainly understand what I mean).

Edited by Wireless wookie, Jul 21 2012, 10:31am :

Sonne said,
Microsoft has certainly lost brand recognition...or more accurately brand image...they are no longer thought of as innovative leaders. Apple in the past decade has sky rocketed into the next dimension, so has Google.

As for the upcoming months,

Windows 8 has been met with negative to mixed reaction
The home console market is shrinking due to convergence and xbox isn't as relevant now as it could have been 10 years ago
Windows Phone 8? Judging by the lack of success of Windows Phone 7, theres nothing at all positive there. Windows has LOST market share in the mobile space since the release of WP7 and Nokia is going down in flames.
The surface is betting on the success of Windows 8 and Windows 8 as mentioned above does't exactly have many people (outside of this site) excited.

The days of the Microsoft monopoly are coming to an end, finally.

How is Microsoft not thought of as innovative anymore? Xbox Live, the Arc Touch Mouse, the Kinect, the Surface touch cover, Windows Phone UI, etc. And was Microsoft ever really thought of as an innovative company? I remember growing up in the 90's with people constantly talking about how Microsoft had stolen Windows UI from Apple (or Xerox); rarely ever attributing Microsoft's success to their own innovations.

The criticisms of Microsoft's lack of innovation today seem about the same as always.

Now onto the specific upcoming projects:

Windows 8: Introduces an app store to Windows as well as a new universal WinRT dev environment, and ports Windows to 3 different ARM chips while reimagining the UI for modern touch screen computers. Windows 8 is a major innovation with huge implications. The Windows Store itself could become another billion dollar business for Microsoft. We don't know what reaction will be from developers and consumers yet. A $40 upgrade is compelling, as are new sub-$500 ARM tablets that are incredibly thin/light and have amazing battery. The PC finally fully embracing touch input on both software and hardware side for the first time in history could really capture consumers imagination in a big way.

Windows Phone 8: Ports the Windows NT kernel down to the smartphone for the first time. Windows Mobile/Phone is no longer running on the grossly inferior Windows CE kernel for the first time in history. The NT kernel blows open the doors on both hardware and software capabilities for Windows Phone. Comparisons to WP7 are foolhardy and demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the software running on these devices. Not only can Windows Phone now do everything that an Android phone can do, it has the potential to do a lot more and leverage code from Windows PC development in a way that Android cannot.

Office 2013 - Looks to revolutionize their Office business, making it a truly cloud first experience with a device agnostic subscription model that makes much more sense for consumers. With an Office subscription any device or PC you touch within 90 seconds becomes an Office computer.

Xbox version 3.0 : Building off of the massive success of Xbox 360, Xbox is no longer fighting to get 3rd party support as the last Xbox was when it launched. Xbox is now the primary game development platform in the industry. Xbox has also expanded out successfully as the set top box Trojan horse that it was originally intended to be. SmartGlass is a clever and free device-agnostic app that takes your tablet and smartphone and uses it to make sure the Xbox remains the center of your living room experience. All of your tablet apps including IE, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, etc. are available on your Xbox enabled living room.

Kinect 2.0+ : Holds endless possibilities especially when coupled with either 3D and/or augmented reality technology. We've seen a potential glimpse of the roadmap where Kinect technology goes from just being this Xbox device to a living room holodeck to evolving into a more advanced version of Google Glasses. Developers and businesses continue to embrace Kinect technology well beyond just the gaming industry.

Microsoft Stores and hardware: Microsoft sparked enormous excitement around the Surface tablet unveiling. The design of the tablet and it's touch cover blew many people away. Future versions of devices like Surface, Xbox, Perceptive Pixel, and Kinect will keep traffic flowing into Microsoft Stores for years to come. Microsoft Store is the only place to get a Surface this year. Microsoft Stores will be a mecca for the Xbox 3/Kinect 2 launch next year.

Edited by Avatar Roku, Jul 21 2012, 6:34pm :

Sonne said,
Microsoft has certainly lost brand recognition...or more accurately brand image...they are no longer thought of as innovative leaders. Apple in the past decade has sky rocketed into the next dimension, so has Google.

As for the upcoming months,

Windows 8 has been met with negative to mixed reaction
The home console market is shrinking due to convergence and xbox isn't as relevant now as it could have been 10 years ago
Windows Phone 8? Judging by the lack of success of Windows Phone 7, theres nothing at all positive there. Windows has LOST market share in the mobile space since the release of WP7 and Nokia is going down in flames.
The surface is betting on the success of Windows 8 and Windows 8 as mentioned above does't exactly have many people (outside of this site) excited.

The days of the Microsoft monopoly are coming to an end, finally.

Microsoft has always been the 'brand' underdog. With the 80s being their high point with Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel on Macs, which were dismissed by a lot of business, and is why Lotus and Wordperfect ran the world on PCs.

In the 90s, Windows was the 'poor' version of Mac. (Even though it was technically more advanced and had more functionality, the stigma of 'better for graphics' and the WYSIWYG that Microsoft helped to created for the Mac overshadowed Windows.

Windows NT was written off many times during and ofter development. It was considered to be too 'heavy' with all the kernel layers and the HAL and excessive token based security for even low level kernel calls, and especially the object based model of the OS that didn't work in generic I/O and simplistic functional interaction with static parameters and typing.

NT was a success, and the people dismissed it for it being 'heavy' have a hard time when they see NT outperforming the lighter generic OSes today, because the hardware and software complexity has caught up and object based model and other layers that create the NT overhead are far more efficient and require less resources than the generic OS models that have to recreate and duct tape exceptions into code when faced with new circumstances that NT doesn't even flinch in dealing with the change or need a ton of code to work with the new technology.

NT was also supposed to fail because Novell was brilliant and had a better technology and if not there was *nix OSes out there like Solaris. However, Novell never successfully got past their own complexity which was a crash-fest, and they were ONLY a file/printer server and authentication technology, it wasn't designed as a full Application server technology like NT.

The late 90s were Win9x with the good OS, NT being ignored in the consumer markets. MSN couldn't get off the ground to compete with AOL. Microsoft was NOT loved then either as Win9x was a fairly solid OS but 3rd party applications created the famous blue screen of death jokes.

WinXP was not liked, it was fisher price looking, and with the security blunders Microsoft did with it, coming from the Win2K server blunders, Microsoft was still hated by the world. (Especially with the anti-trust rulings over and Microsoft being demonized.)

(As a fun note, go look at the people involved with the Microsoft Anti-trust case that testified against Microsoft. The majority think the ruling was wrong, and several regret the roles they played, as they were later burned by rising companies that took advantage of Microsoft's weak point. Heck Mark A. of Netscape was a good example of a prominent person in the case that said it was crap.)


So ya, Microsoft has never had a 'brand' that was deemed 'must have'. The only exception might be Microsoft Mouse/Keyboard products. Even the XBox 360, being #1, people ignore the Microsoft part and never call it a Microsoft XBox, as that 'cheapens' it.

The decade that Microsoft had to keep kowtowing to XP fanboys.

Yes, I'm well aware it hasn't been nearly that long, although sometimes it feels like it with those idiots crying for their beloved XP to keep getting more support.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
Decade of the Linux/Mac meow!

/s.

Never say never. There was a point when IBM looked like the unstoppable force back before the reign of Microsoft. There was even a saying - "No-one ever got fired for buying IBM..".

Market leaders come and go.. who knows, with Apple's success in the tablet and smart phone markets, this might start a landslide of people moving towards using their computers instead?

Chicane-UK said,

Never say never. There was a point when IBM looked like the unstoppable force back before the reign of Microsoft. There was even a saying - "No-one ever got fired for buying IBM..".

Market leaders come and go.. who knows, with Apple's success in the tablet and smart phone markets, this might start a landslide of people moving towards using their computers instead?

No.

The iPad although a great product is in the same catergory as those nifty 90's gadget people used to buy, use them for a few months and then get bored of it. I know many people that have bought iPad and then find themselves going back to their laptop.

Chicane-UK said,

Never say never. There was a point when IBM looked like the unstoppable force back before the reign of Microsoft. There was even a saying - "No-one ever got fired for buying IBM..".

Market leaders come and go.. who knows, with Apple's success in the tablet and smart phone markets, this might start a landslide of people moving towards using their computers instead?

I won't say never, but I will say, not in the next 10 years.

IBM took a long time to fall out, and part of this was because they have outsourced the work to companies like Microsoft. In IBM history, they messed up when they didn't listen to Perot, as software was more important than hardware, and Perot made billions by leaving IBM to do create the software model industry.

There are not OS or platform technologies out there that even come close to what Microsoft has a firm understanding and a strong leverage point with Windows 8's NT technologies.

Even if you look at JUST compiler technologies - Microsoft's low level x86, x64, and ARM compilers are faster, create more secure code and create more stable code than anything from Intel or other development and compiler technology companies.
** With their focus on Async technologies and higher level language concepts like F# they also have a grasp of massive numbers CPU/Core utilization. Even the low level compilers split out process/threads more efficiently giving code compiled by Microsoft a jump on multi-core/CPU systems.

(People forget Microsoft does well with the low level technologies, in fact better with them often than the upper layer technologies users see.)

There isn't even a 'theoretical OS' design or model in talks or consideration or being built that is known that comes close to the comprehensive architectural model of Windows NT. If there was, they would be who we would need to be looking at to dent Microsoft.

The way NT is designed, by dumping the *nix model and traditional architectural specific kernel models, Cutler and his team took the 'theories' of the day and they have paid off, with NT able to adapt to software and hardware changes and increasing complexity in ways other OS models simply cannot.

Even the managed kernel technologies Microsoft has been working with, can be rolled into NT, as the object based model of NT allows this to be accomplished with low level interpretors and even mid level exception and garbage catching that is already in Windows 7. (Go look up the PCA of Windows 7, it is progress to a highly secure and stable managed code OS model, without the performance penalty.)

nickcruz said,
The iPad although a great product is in the same catergory as those nifty 90's gadget people used to buy, use them for a few months and then get bored of it. I know many people that have bought iPad and then find themselves going back to their laptop.

i'm sure you are still living in the 90s. dude.

Albert said,

i'm sure you are still living in the 90s. dude.

Care to explain why? Phones will take over tablets in no time, why would I need a tablet when I got an smartphone which can do all of that and more?

WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW STOP RIGHT THERE MAN. WHO THE HELL PUTS C# IN THE SAME BOAT AS VISTA, ZUNE, AND KIN? either this dude's crazy, or I'm spending way to much time in the wrong forums & news sites. I hope it's the first option

Matthew_Thepc said,
WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW STOP RIGHT THERE MAN. WHO THE HELL PUTS C# IN THE SAME BOAT AS VISTA, ZUNE, AND KIN? either this dude's crazy, or I'm spending way to much time in the wrong forums & news sites. I hope it's the first option

Vista was a failure under technical view, but it still has more marketshare than osx

fenderMarky said,

Vista was a failure under technical view, but it still has more marketshare than osx

Zune hardware was a failure, but the Zune group of technologies changed the online and media industries.

(Even the hardware brought attention to and helped to make some technology 'common' on all devices we see today. Things like Gorilla Glass, HD out, 4 point touch, pressure implied touch for higher accuracy, WiFi and Sync technology, Streaming technologies, music sharing, hybrid stream/subscription/purchase model, WiFi socket interlinking, etc.)

(Still surprised Apple took so many years to get WiFi Sync in iOS though, and still surprised how poorly it works, especially when it will strip content if it gets confused in finding the 'sync' location that often deletes it from both device and computer.)

The serious part of Zune is the Windows Audio/Video codec and streaming technologies and PlaysforSure v2 that were involved. These are the same technologies that the XBox 360 used for its XBox Music/Video store and why it was the first provider to stream 1080p content over the internet. (It was XBox branded, but was using Zune aka Windows Video/Audio technologies that were in the Zune group.)

There is also the smooth streaming(adaptive) technologies and the ways it can stream a purchased movie now and fill in any quality drops as it is archived to the HD and on and on and on.

Netflix wouldn't exist without Zune based technologies, and even Hulu would NOT be able to play content on an iPad with Zune based technologies, as it is Microsoft Server conversion technologies that recode and package the Hulu content so the iPad can play it.

The last one is kind of ironic, as you will see iPhone iPad users made fun of 'Zune', not realizing they are using Zune technology when they watch Netflix or Hulu on their device.

thenetavenger said,

Zune hardware was a failure, but the Zune group of technologies changed the online and media industries.

(Even the hardware brought attention to and helped to make some technology 'common' on all devices we see today. Things like Gorilla Glass, HD out, 4 point touch, pressure implied touch for higher accuracy, WiFi and Sync technology, Streaming technologies, music sharing, hybrid stream/subscription/purchase model, WiFi socket interlinking, etc.)

(Still surprised Apple took so many years to get WiFi Sync in iOS though, and still surprised how poorly it works, especially when it will strip content if it gets confused in finding the 'sync' location that often deletes it from both device and computer.)

The serious part of Zune is the Windows Audio/Video codec and streaming technologies and PlaysforSure v2 that were involved. These are the same technologies that the XBox 360 used for its XBox Music/Video store and why it was the first provider to stream 1080p content over the internet. (It was XBox branded, but was using Zune aka Windows Video/Audio technologies that were in the Zune group.)

There is also the smooth streaming(adaptive) technologies and the ways it can stream a purchased movie now and fill in any quality drops as it is archived to the HD and on and on and on.

Netflix wouldn't exist without Zune based technologies, and even Hulu would NOT be able to play content on an iPad with Zune based technologies, as it is Microsoft Server conversion technologies that recode and package the Hulu content so the iPad can play it.

The last one is kind of ironic, as you will see iPhone iPad users made fun of 'Zune', not realizing they are using Zune technology when they watch Netflix or Hulu on their device.


could you provide sources for this? I'd really like to be able to cite this kind of stuff the next time I'm in an argument and someone points out how crappy the zune is ;D

thenetavenger said,
Netflix wouldn't exist without Zune based technologies, and even Hulu would NOT be able to play content on an iPad with Zune based technologies, as it is Microsoft Server conversion technologies that recode and package the Hulu content so the iPad can play it.

I'm sure they would exist. I have no idea if they use any underlying microsoft/zune technology, but there are plenty of other platforms out there. Successful ones, that they could just as easily be using.

rfirth said,

In other words, a Fortune 50 company

Spot on, some outside the business world may not know that, F500 is more common...playing to a low denominator

gregalto said,
heh, i read that TC article where he said C# was a failure...i'll have what he is smoking please

LMAO... Really? Sounds like a good article to read for a laugh...

typical lies and statistics. Its 2012 now (almost 2013) AND btw Frank - fyi 2000 to 2011 is actually 11 years - not 10!

Lets have the same timeline above starting from 2002 or 2003, then you can see where the Lost Decade is.

e.g.
XP had already been released and everything up to Windows 7 was a flop. the Xbox had already been released.

Edited by dvb2000, Jul 21 2012, 3:09am :

dvb2000 said,
typical lies and statistics. Its 2012 now (almost 2013).

Lets have the same timeline above starting from 2002 or 2003, then you can see where the Lost Decade is.

e.g.
XP had already been released and everything up to Windows 7 was a flop. the Xbox had already been released.

So those revenue and growth numbers are lies? Also, the first Xbox was not a hit.

bdsams said,
So those revenue and growth numbers are lies? Also, the first Xbox was not a hit.

the timeframes are wrong and magnify the results (although they aren't bad numbers), but Ballmer took over a pretty healthy company. Shame he screwed it up. Compare Microsoft's revenue growth to Google, and see where he went way wrong.

Agree about the xbox, which is pretty much what the book is about, although the guy from Microsoft was proclaiming it as an achievement, not a failure)

dvb2000 said,
typical lies and statistics. Its 2012 now (almost 2013).

Lets have the same timeline above starting from 2002 or 2003, then you can see where the Lost Decade is.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the antitrust settlement yet.

The "lost decade", if it existed, was entirely the result of the US Department of Justice, when they handed the industry to Apple and Google on a silver platter in late 2001.

The DOJ oversight fits perfectly with your 2002-2012 theory.

dvb2000 said,

the timeframes are wrong and magnify the results (although they aren't bad numbers), but Ballmer took over a pretty healthy company. Shame he screwed it up. Compare Microsoft's revenue growth to Google, and see where he went way wrong.

Agree about the xbox, which is pretty much what the book is about, although the guy from Microsoft was proclaiming it as an achievement, not a failure)

Are you really comparingGoogle's growth rate to Microsoft's? Microsoft during that timeframe was a mature-stable company, google was still a voliate, fresh off the book, IPO company.

bdsams said,

Are you really comparingGoogle's growth rate to Microsoft's? Microsoft during that timeframe was a mature-stable company, google was still a voliate, fresh off the book, IPO company.

any why not - there was nothing stopping Microsoft getting in webapps or search or mapping or any other many new areas that google expanded into and pretty much OWNs today as a result. They had the lead with things like hotmail, and pretty much squandered it, late to market with search and its still a failure compared to google, late to market with maps and they are still way behind google. The list goes on and on.

Yep "Lost Decade" pretty much sums it up.

To give them credit, their latest incarnations of Skydrive and WebApps (not mail, photo's or maps tho) seem to be superior to google's offerings.

Why the eff is everyone feeding into the frenzy? It's obviously a hit piece and we should leave it at that. By reacting, you guys (and MS Frank Shaw) just give the trolls more credibility to their pss poor hit piece.

But still, as far as I can see, having a lost decade only mean the next one will be blazing. So it's a still win win by not responding to them. I don't know why an MS associate can even respond to an article with personal intent. Frank Shaw should be fired as far as Ballmer is concerned.

rfirth said,

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the antitrust settlement yet.

The "lost decade", if it existed, was entirely the result of the US Department of Justice, when they handed the industry to Apple and Google on a silver platter in late 2001.

The DOJ oversight fits perfectly with your 2002-2012 theory.

While I personally disagreed with the entire ordeal it is fare to remember that MS executives were instrumental in driving the company in trouble. Have you forgotten BG deposition about IE? You do not need Perry Mason to train you about how to handle yourself in a court room..........

bdsams said,

So those revenue and growth numbers are lies? Also, the first Xbox was not a hit.

25 million is hit enough compared to how the Gamecube fared >.<

dvb2000 said,
typical lies and statistics. Its 2012 now (almost 2013) AND btw Frank - fyi 2000 to 2011 is actually 11 years - not 10!

Lets have the same timeline above starting from 2002 or 2003, then you can see where the Lost Decade is.

e.g.
XP had already been released and everything up to Windows 7 was a flop. the Xbox had already been released.

The TC article criticised Steve Ballmer and Frank Shaws response timeline was specifically when Ballmer became the CEO at Microsoft and considering it's still 2012, the decade selected for figures is correct imo.

dvb2000 said,
typical lies and statistics. Its 2012 now (almost 2013) AND btw Frank - fyi 2000 to 2011 is actually 11 years - not 10!

How long was the Hundreds Years' War? Once you figure that out, you'll realize how stupid and irrelevant your argument is.

Were it not for the fact that ancient humans had to resort to counting on their fingers, the concept of a "decade" would be as arbitrary as pulling a random number out of your ass. In terms of business, it IS arbitrary.

For you to object that Shaw gave figures that spanned more than this arbitrary time frame of the VF article is laughable.

dvb2000 said,

any why not - there was nothing stopping Microsoft getting in webapps or search or mapping or any other many new areas that google expanded into and pretty much OWNs today as a result. They had the lead with things like hotmail, and pretty much squandered it, late to market with search and its still a failure compared to google, late to market with maps and they are still way behind google. The list goes on and on.

Yep "Lost Decade" pretty much sums it up.

To give them credit, their latest incarnations of Skydrive and WebApps (not mail, photo's or maps tho) seem to be superior to google's offerings.

You do not even have technical facts or history on what you are talking about...

Late to the game?

The entire mapping and image mapping technologies that Google has used successfully started with a company called Microsoft back in the 1990s. TerraServer was built by Microsoft and is the basis of Google Maps and other aerial mapping technology to this day.

In 1999 you could map using online Encarta for directions, or use Streets or use Mappoint for sales and regional data, and MSN Aerial maps - long before Google BOUGHT out the companies they now call 'theirs'.

As for WebApps - specifically Office. Do you realize that in 1999 people were saving and editing Word and Excel document VIA their browser and saving them on a shared site using NT 4.0 and IIS and later Sharepoint in the late 90s?

Microsoft was only 'behind' in providing a version for the public, the corporate world had been using WebApps for over 15 years now. And it was successful and it is STILL is successful, or things like Sharepoint would NO exist a be an integral part of Enterprise and the foundations of Office365 collaboration.

Do you forget these years, and this history?

This was a successful time for Microsoft, and it carried through to when MSN and Hotmail was FORCED by the EU and DOJ to separate itself from other Microsoft services.

MSN was gutted because in 2000 there was a full integrated 'iTunes' like service that Microsoft was forced to shut down because of the anti-trust rulings (Which ironically created the Apple media monopoly.)

Microsoft had to separate out Hotmail from MSN and other MSN online features and technologies and NONE of them could be combined to work with Microsoft Windows products like Exchange, Sharepoint, or Office as this crossed the artificial DOJ line.

(Office 2000 was originally going to use native HTML/XML file formats that could edited and viewed in ANY browser. Sun and IBM and others in the FOSS world threw a fit, and with the anti-trust case was able to get Microsoft to no longer use the HTML/XML format. Of the politics of the day hand not happened, the original OfficeXML technologies would have been here in 2000 and we would not need WebApps, as the file formats included the viewing and editing technologies in XML.)
**More History - look up OfficeXML, Office 2000 Beta, Word HTML file format, and also look at the W3C proposals that Sun and others got blocked from 1998 through 2003. The last one is a fun read, because they are almost identical to HTML5 and CSS3 and other RIA technologies now being adopted, and is why Microsoft is PRO-HTML5, as it is their technology they tried to bring to the Web 14 years ago.


So they were having their hands tied in every direction, they couldn't create Word Online or provide MSN Music through Media Player anymore nor could they combine it to Plays4Sure v2, which had to be rebranded and combined with other Media codec technologies and was called the Zune group.

There is also the technology Microsoft brought to the world in the last ten years that everyone from Google to Apple is happily using, and Microsoft gave the ideas and reference designs away for free.

(Fun fact - In the last 20 years they have given away more technology and ideas than the entire FOSS world combined. Giving away reference designs and hardware innovation and IDEAS is far more important than high level language source code, and I hope the FOSS world eventually 'gets this'.)


So if idiots want to call this a bad or lost decade for Microsoft, they holy cow, hold on to the handrail for the next decade, as Microsoft is for the first time in control of their products again, and have a solid platform of technologies to jump really high.

thenetavenger said,
Late to the game?

EXTREMELY. I was using google earth and loving it LONG before microsoft had any sort of decent mapping or street view software. I used Microsoft's Streets/Encarta and all their other software and it was US Centric crap. No where near as featured or World Wide in its coverage.

As for the corporate versions of the sharepoint etc, they were NEVER Web-apps, and they were never full featured. Sure they worked, if you were on a local connected LAN, had a domain logon, and were happy to run a slow and buggy version of their PC based apps, but they never held a candle to google apps, or gmail.

Hotmail for years and years couldn't even get a basic spam filter right, and they didn't seem to care either. It was one of the first things google did, and they also warned you when you were about to open dodgy or malicious emails. Hotmail was left to wither and die, you even had to pay in later days to get pop3 support.

thenetavenger said,
So if idiots want to call this a bad or lost decade for Microsoft, they holy cow, hold on to the handrail for the next decade, as Microsoft is for the first time in control of their products again, and have a solid platform of technologies to jump really high.

good joke, I doubt Microsoft is going to ever recover its position of eminence. It has sat on its hands too long and squandered the advantage it had, while companies like google have eaten their lunch.

It's upcoming launch of Windows 8 is even more evidence of its "lost" ways, which will consign it to purgatory for another 10 years.

dvb2000 said,
...Hotmail for years and years couldn't even get a basic spam filter right...

That's why Google bought Postini in 2010.

I agree with thenetavenger.
Microsoft created some really great technologies that will really get to stretch their wings over the next decade.

gregalto said,
heh, i read that TC article where he said C# was a failure...i'll have what he is smoking please

I'll just have a quick toke of what author and most of the people replying on here are smoking, please!

Lost decade, my eye! Oh, they must be talking about the 60's or 70's then, as nobody remembers those decades, and if you do, you're lying!!