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A Nonny Moose

Steve Ballmer to retire as MS CEO

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This is fantastic news. Steve Ballmer has been nothing but an incredible disaster.

 

PC sales: declining

Zune: bombed

Mobile OS: bombed

Tablet: bombed.

 

The only reason MS is still around and somewhat stable is because of the foundation Gates built with Windows and Office. Now, even Windows confidence is shaky. One of the WaPo pundits says that MS's decline isn't Ballmer's fault because the decline of the PC was inevitable. There are several things wrong with that notion.

 

1) That statement ignores the other, non-PC bombs MS has produced.

2) It ignores the fact that Ballmer entirely underestimated his two primary rivals, Google and Apple.

3) It ignores the fact that the most recent nosedive of PC sales coincided with the release of Windows 8.

 

MS has a lot of climbing to do if it wants to get out of the hole Ballmer dug. I don't think he can claim a single success in the last 6 years.

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With regards to mobile technology, the horse is already out of the barn. Google and Apple dominate that market and inertia is going to do a lot to keep it that way no matter what Microsoft does.

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With regards to mobile technology, the horse is already out of the barn. Google and Apple dominate that market and inertia is going to do a lot to keep it that way no matter what Microsoft does.

 

One thing about tech is that you can never count a player out. It won't be easy for MS, but it can be done.

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  • Original Poster
  • So far, computer technology has been cyclic, and the frequency is increasing.  The business world began computerizing in the 1960s, IBM announced the first mass market PC in 1980, the mobile business started picking up in around 2000, and now we have all kinds of fast networks, mostly wireless, for smart phones (which are really hand-held computers). 

     

    The decline of Microsoft and its army of marching morons is inevitable.  Windows 8 may be the final curtain for Windows NT, and something new has to appear, probably UNIX-based.  The PC will now die down and become an also ran in the consumer market.

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    I have a laptop with Windows 7 and a Samsung Galaxy with Android. I don't think at present smartphones/tablets are as useful as normal computers because of the small size of the keyboard making it less useful for serious work, although they have their use in more casual utilisations such as communication etc.

     

    However with changing tech it may well be that one day the keyboard will be replaced by wireless communications with our organic computers (brain and neurone networks) which would eliminate the final barrier to full mobilisation of tech.

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  • One of the things I'd like to see with the tiny boxes like smart phones is an option to project and use a holographic keyboard.  The image could be any convenient size.

     

    In the 1960s we were all of the opinion that the computers in the 21st century would be a little box attached to the back of the printer.  Printers being the largest element of a computer system.  Now we are almost a paperless society, and the printer is a remote device with or without a couple of processor chips attached.  We failed to have enough vision.

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    With regards to mobile technology, the horse is already out of the barn. Google and Apple dominate that market and inertia is going to do a lot to keep it that way no matter what Microsoft does.

     

    One thing about tech is that you can never count a player out. It won't be easy for MS, but it can be done.

     

    Exactly. Ten years ago Nokia dominated the market and now they have been reduced to a second rate player. 

     

    To bad though, Nokia still makes great phones, and I actually love Windows 8 on my mobile. Its a good OS and those Lumia phones are sexy as hell. 

     

    Microsoft needs to send out a clearer message though, about who they are and what kind of product they provide. It needs to reposition itself clearer into the spotlight.

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  • I agree it is time for a redefinition of Microsoft's business mission.  They need to stop trying be everything to everybody.  If they got on board with the *NIX crowd, they could stop sweating out their own version of their O/S kernel and concentrate on the applications.

     

    Office has been pretty much superseded by other products (Libre Office, etc.), and they, too, can use the Apache server.  As for Internet Exploder, there are lots of good browsers around.  And it is clearly time to retire NTFS.

     

    Slowly but surely the ISO is going to force them into one corner after another.  Time to stop locking in developers.

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    I would get Windows 8 if I had a touch screen. I would buy a Microsoft Surface if I could afford one. Instead, I will most likely buy the Nexus 7, 2.0.

     

    I already use Windows 7 as my primary OS but do have a laptop that dual boots with an old version of Linux.

     

    --Ocram

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  • Ocram, when was the last time you updated Linux?  Ubuntu is up to 13.04 now.  I don't remember what the corresponding version of Mint is.

     

    Perhaps there is something to be said about the MS Surface product, but from what I've seen it is a tablet with a detachable keyboard.  Very limited in that skinny little box, and I believe it run Windows RE.

     

    I still want my holographic keyboard before I commit to a portable.

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    I have a laptop with Windows 7 and a Samsung Galaxy with Android. I don't think at present smartphones/tablets are as useful as normal computers because of the small size of the keyboard making it less useful for serious work, although they have their use in more casual utilisations such as communication etc.

     

    However with changing tech it may well be that one day the keyboard will be replaced by wireless communications with our organic computers (brain and neurone networks) which would eliminate the final barrier to full mobilisation of tech.

    Modern tablets are about the size of a laptop these days, and many including the IPad offer the same bells and whistles as a laptop. You can do desktop publishing, data entry and stastistics, and even print documents. In the business world where portability is paramount tablets have gained a foothold, but they haven't completely pushed out the traditional laptops and desktop machines yet. To those saying the PC is dying, however, there is a surprise. That surprise being gamers and enthusiasts as long as that market and the business market continues to exist the PC will remain relevant for years to com.

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    Ocram, when was the last time you updated Linux?  Ubuntu is up to 13.04 now.  I don't remember what the corresponding version of Mint is.

     

    Perhaps there is something to be said about the MS Surface product, but from what I've seen it is a tablet with a detachable keyboard.  Very limited in that skinny little box, and I believe it run Windows RE.

     

    I still want my holographic keyboard before I commit to a portable.

    1. I installed Linux Mint 12 and never updated it.

    2. The Microsoft Surface RT runs the stripped-down Windows 8 for ARM (Windows RT). I would love to get a fancy Surface Pro that runs on Haswell (because of Iris graphics) but it has not been released (or officially announced) yet.

    3. Depending on your definition of "holographic" keyboard, some already exist.

     

    --Ocram

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    It has been said that a large part of Microsoft's demise over the past several years has been the result of the anti-trust rulings against it.  Microsoft managed to stave off being broken into multiple companies, but it paid for it by being weighed down by the shackles of numerous obligations that its competitors did not have.  If Apple or Google were to experience a similar event, they would likely be heavily hampered for years to come.

     

    I suspect that another major part of Microsoft's decline is a change in consumer markets.  Ballmer's claim that Microsoft is both an consumer and enterprise company misses a key point.  Microsoft does indeed serve both markets, but it functions primarily as an enterprise company.  It's no accident that Microsoft dominates the business computing environment; Microsoft understands the market well and markets to it very well.  However, the consumer market is more fickle, and Microsoft has had difficulty in marketing to it.  Microsoft attempted to popularize tablets before Apple did, but Apple did a better job of marketing the product than Microsoft did.  Microsoft has released products, like Office 2007, that were major forward advances in the product, but it had difficulty convincing people that it had truly moved things in a better direction.  There are other advances that Microsoft has wanted to bring to market, like a 3D computing environment, but the change was so radical that it couldn't be simplified down to something that wouldn't require people investing massive time in retraining themselves to use the computer.

     

    Finally, I think that the other major issue is indeed organizational.  Microsoft has one of the best research institutes that money can buy, and they have cranked out some truly revolutionary stuff.  (For those who may not remember, Surface began its life as a Microsoft project to develop contextual computing into furniture.  High adoption costs killed the project, but they demonstrated a working prototype of an highly automated restaurant dining experience.)  Unfortunately, there seems to be a disconnect between what the R&D and engineering departments produce and what actually makes it into the product.  It has been speculated that if Microsoft can truly bring the talent of its R&D and engineering departments to the final product, Microsoft may return to a company that makes products that no one can seriously compete with.

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    I still think that nowt can beat at present a regular keyboard. Virtual keyboards, however larger, are still not the same. For starters if you type regularly you'll crack the screen or blow it up or something, and there isn't the same feeling of pressing a button, thus it is harder to know if you've failed. 

     

    But anyway another reason I hate modern operating systems is the whole way they are set up. I set my graphical interface to Windows Classic on my laptop so I ca understand it. The startup menu is thus nice and normal and everything looks normal. When I'm using Chrome I have these ugly modern windows and 'bars' for my bookmarks... 

     

    I think to replace the laptop smart PCs have to be as user friendly as Windows 98 was. No clutter messing up the screen and no silly menus with huge pictures that don't make any categorical sense... There was nothing wrong with the old system for finding stuff. Touch screens should be for certain operations, but if you try drawing something with your finger, you'll end up making something only a preschooler could be proud of. 

     

    To Moose's suggestion for a virtual projected keyboard of a holographic nature I would recommend that it provide the same feeling of pressing a button as with a regular keyboard, and it would have to be augmented reality so you'd need Google glasses or something to see it I imagine. 

     

    I think tablets are probably the future, but I don't know about Microsoft. They'll find their niche I daresay.

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    Modern tablets are about the size of a laptop these days, and many including the IPad offer the same bells and whistles as a laptop. You can do desktop publishing, data entry and stastistics, and even print documents. In the business world where portability is paramount tablets have gained a foothold, but they haven't completely pushed out the traditional laptops and desktop machines yet. To those saying the PC is dying, however, there is a surprise. That surprise being gamers and enthusiasts as long as that market and the business market continues to exist the PC will remain relevant for years to com.

     

    Tablets are nice, but I don't see people typing whole page long documents on them. If you really gotta type a lot nothing beats a regular keyboard. And it also kind of depends what kind of job you have. If you are just a regular guy pushing papers around then a tablet may be enough, but if you require the use of some heavier software applications that require better hardware, laptops/desktops are more useful. 

     

    And indeed, there will always be pc's for people who want to play games. 

     

     

    I think Microsoft might do wonders if it markets itself as the 'in between company'. Far easier to use as things like Linux, and far more reasonably priced compared to Apple, while giving you great versatility software and hardware wise. That should be pretty marketable. I think they actually tried it already, when they aired a spot in response to those attack adds from Apple, where they were basically saying that Apple's thinks itself as to cool for average people given their price tag. 

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    They make physical keyboards which you can dock tablets into if you have to do a lot of typing. It's tempting to say "congratulations, you've invented the laptop" in response to this, but the fact that the tablet can be undocked from the keyboard when not needed does provide greater versatility and portability.

     

    There are two issues, then, with using a tablet instead of a PC. One is that the hardware capabilities will not meet a gamer's needs and they may find playing with a small screen and small keyboard very unenjoyable. Gaming has gotten very into the HD world. Another is that mobile systems are generally to some degree locked and have to be rooted in order for the user to have full control over them - which wouldn't be a huge problem if not for the fact that doing so is illegal and voids your warranty.

     

    And then you have the question of user expectation. I am fairly young in the greater scheme of things but I am a man of habit and I am loathe to give up my PC simply on account of being averse to change. The fact that I'm typing on a dual boot Win7/Ubuntu machine right now is radical for me. :P Tablet? Forget it.

    Besides, I have my smartphone for access on the go if needed. The mobile interface is workable but noticeably less powerful than a PC. Definitely not a replacement for a real computer even if you make the screen bigger. In terms of "on the go" usability, though, it is greatly superior to a tablet thanks to its ability to use cellular data. Hooking up to the internet on a tablet requires you find WiFi access, which is highly inconvenient if you're out and about.

     

    Furthermore, the fact that my phone has a physical keyboard is vital to me and it is one key reason why I swear by Android (there is no iPhone in existence with a physical keyboard). Typing on a touch screen is maddening because there is no tactile feedback, every spot on the screen feels the same. Combine this with the small screen size of a mobile device and you end up with disaster - I can't feel what keys I'm hitting and I can't see them either because my finger blocks the view of the spot I'm touching and its surroundings. A holographic or augmented reality keyboard would be even worse, since then there wouldn't even be a surface to touch!

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    Augmented reality will one day include sensational simulation as well as visual I daresay.

     

    But yeah... The present system of touchscreen keyboards... I am a fairly careful typist, I don't make a dreadful amount of mistakes on a regular keyboard unless I'm hurrying. But on my smartphone I type like a school child who has just entered the realm of computing...

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  • ^ Several good points.  If you were a Canadian you'd vote Conservative.

     

    I learned to type and take Pittman shorthand when I was in grade school.  My mother was an executive secretary, and since times were really tough with my father overseas during the war, toys were rare.  So she taught me to touch type (at the office, after school), and Pittman using a copy of an old school book she had which was The Legend of Sleepy Hollow written out in Pittman.  I could type before the school would let me use a fountain pen.

     

    Being a touch typist, I've moved along with the times from mechanical keyboards to (IBM) electrics to computer keyboards.  I don't set up the board to click, but at one time I did.

     

    So, I am married to the QWERTY board, and have been for a very long time -- about 65 years.  I won't change to thumbing-it on a smart phone, and I certainly won't accept an on-screen keyboard except in the direst of emergencies of the Mayday type.  That means that a standard keyboard is for me, and not one of those abominations often attached to a laptop.  Desktop machines is where I am at.

     

     Lexus makes some very good points as well.  Microsoft has recently been failing as a company that cannot turn its hot and expensive R & D into product that can be marketed successfully in spite of being partial sponsor of shows like NCIS Los Angeles as a showcase for their touch screen products.  That screen full of garbage you get from the default Windows 8 desktop disgusts my lump of neatness.  It is not neat, it is cluttered.

     

    MS needs a new leader now.  The Ballmer era is over and it is time for new thought at the top.

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    They make physical keyboards which you can dock tablets into if you have to do a lot of typing. It's tempting to say "congratulations, you've invented the laptop" in response to this, but the fact that the tablet can be undocked from the keyboard when not needed does provide greater versatility and portability.

    Hardly, you now have to carry a separate keyboard with you if you go to work. Might as well get a laptop which hardly costs more, but can do so much more. 

     

    Still though, in response to the rest of your post, I think its wrong to turn this into a 'laptop vs tablet' thing. I do not believe that one will make the other useless, instead I believe you will see a hybrid where tablet and laptop each fulfill different needs and will exist together. People in ten years will have a laptop/desktop and a tablet lying right next to it. So the analysts claiming that tablets will destroy the pc/laptop market are idiots and they should just stop making predictions because they are terrible at their jobs :P

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