Archives for April 2006

Breakup in Microsofts future?

Let me begin by saying that I do not believe that there is currently any plans for Microsoft to break up any time soon.  Further, I don’t believe it would be all that great of an idea.  Sure it would make it easy to weed out the not so good sectors of the business, but then the Xbox team would have been out of a job years ago if being self-maintaining was part of the overall plan.  The beauty of a company like Microsoft is that it can put it’s economic weight behind any project that it wants.  Bill Gates wants a gaming console to help soften the walls of the home entertainment market?  Enter the XBox.

Stowe Boyd has an excellently precise post in response to something that Scoble said and as a result, I find myself quoting it.

Scoble said: “So, I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of weeks. How do we tune up Microsoft’s economic engine and get ready for the 2010’s?

To which Stowe replied: “Say, brother.. You’re quoting Martin Luther King, and thinking about four or more years from now. Dr. King was all about change now. But mt heart is not bleeding for the lowly employees of Microsoft, who wish it were all better. They are all well-compensated. I am thinking about the people out here, in the wilds, the customer. You keep talking about shareholders and employees, but what about they guy using the products?

Now, Stowe goes on to suggest that Microsoft break into “a dozen smaller, hungrier companies”, which as I said above, I do not agree with.  Sure those “smaller, hungrier companies” may “do something glorious”, but at what cost.  At the cost of the remaining companies failing to make the turn on the “moonshot” and fading off into oblivion.

So, besides a major break-up of the monopoly, how does Microsoft go on?  I think Stowe got it right in saying that Scoble’s focus has been in the wrong place.  The user is the driver for Microsoft.  The user should determine where the focus goes.  Which gets me to thinking…  I’m a user…  I can determine the focus.  Well, me and another couple of billion users around the world.

I have to admit that I am far from a Microsoft hater.  I am, it seems, one of the lucky few who actually had a good experience with Windows ME.  I still have problems from time to time with any Microsoft product, but I actually feel that some of their products have made progress.  IE in particular.  (ouch… I can feel the flames now…)  Where Microsoft needs to improve most is in pricing and reliability.

I believe that the multi-tiered Windows versions that Vista will be released into is an attempt at better pricing, but the problem is that there are six versions and even the lowest priced one will still be in the $100 range.  If I’m going to be required to upgrade my OS every 5-6 years, I don’t want to have to shell out that much for it. Especially if I’m only getting a shell of the full OS. Why not take a more pro-active stance and reduce the price and offer pay-per-support.  Red-Hat does it.  And most everyone is gonna need support at some point.

What else…  IE should be released from its windows bondage.  No more hard linking it into the Windows operating system.  Sure it makes it weaker in the market, but it also improves it’s image as well.  Plus, lets face it, the only people that will reallly go through the trouble to switch to something like firefox or opera have already.  While we are releasing software from bondage, get rid of Windows Media Player.  Completely.  Bury it.  It barely limps through half the media that I try and make it play.

Finally, Microsoft is a software company.  Try to stick to that.  Very soon Apple will be a hardware only company and you can sell Windows to all the Apple freaks fans too.  Get back to the basics of being a software company.  The Xbox is great, but it’s a major distraction from your true business.  The money that has been dumped into the Xbox division is an even bigger distraction.  The Origami project is another good example of this.  Why spend so much money teasing about a hardware product that you don’t even build?  Sure it runs Windows, but you should have been touting the Windows advancements, not the hardware.  Reduce the monetary distractions of things like that and you can probably afford to charge a little less for Windows.  That would make me happy.  And remember, I’m a user.

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Future not so Sunny for Mcnealy at Sun

Scott Mcnealy, CEO and Co-Founder of Sun Microsystems, announced that he will be stepping down as the CEO of Sun Microsystems.  Effective Immediately.

There has been quite a bit of talk about this recently, but I really didn’t think we would see it as soon as this.  I think when it’s a company that you have founded, it makes it extremely hard to relenquish your position within the company.  Ask Steve Jobs if you don’t believe me.  Of course, he got fired and Apple has done quite well with him back.

One has to wonder what pressures Scott received to do this as well.  Sun has struggled to take a firm hold as a recognized server market where Dell and IBM are the more well known brands.  I would expect a mover and shaker type CEO to step in next for Sun and really try and make a stronger move into the enterprise set with application servers.  I just don’t see them competing well with the higher end servers.  The strategic alliance that they founded with Google last year could make for some interesting appliance servers from Sun/Google.

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The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in Heaven;

Hallowed be thy name;

Thy kingdom come;

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven;

Give us this day our daily bread;

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

And the power,

And the glory,

For ever and ever.

Amen.

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Fox & News Corp buying risk

It’s been all over the news lately that Fox/News Corp. bought into the Simply Hired job search engine for about 13 million. This has to be one of the surest signs that there is a huge bubble going on right now and it is gonna burst soon. Why?

Simply Hired is an aggregator… All that would have to happen for it to become not relevant is for half of the sites that it “searches” to turn off their feeds. All of a sudden, Simply Hired’s search results aren’t really relevant and nobody uses it anymore. Kind of defeats the purpose if I still have to visit 3 sites to find all the listings anyways. Don’t get me wrong, I have used SimplyHired and I like it. I think it’s a great idea. I just don’t see where it is worth any where near 13 million.

Hey Rupert!!! If you are so ready to throw around your money, I could use a million. That’s it. One million. I’ll sign over all my advertising revenue for the next year for one million dollars. You can even put a little Fox/News corp logo on my site for that year. Any other takers? Maybe I should sell it by the day… $2800 per day. All the revenues from the site are yours. You can slather your corporate logo onto my site.

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