Bill Gates unhinged with Apple envy; Microsoft on path to become high profile casualty

“Trends in the data that have to be massively disconcerting to Microsoft management (not to mention its external shareholders). Dripping, gloppy Apple envy coming from the top. Incredulity at the public’s lack of understanding of Vista’s greatness. These are not signs of a company, of a culture, of a management team doing well. They are failing. Failing to understand their customers. Failing to understand the tone of the market. Failing to understand the kind of messaging that is necessary to get people excited about their products. And yes, failing to transition into the Consumer Era of Computing,” Roger Ehrenberg writes for SeekingAlpha.

Ehrenberg writes, “And I’ve got to say that this latest leg in the Microsoft/Apple battle bears stunning similarity to the duel (although it is hard to have a duel when one of the participants is already dead) between Sony and Nintendo in the PS3/Wii war, while a story that still needs to be fully played out looks increasingly like the nimble, adaptive, consumer-focused company kicking the crap out of the Grand Dame of Gaming. And I am sure over the ensuing months and years we will see more of this stuff happening, where the more consumer-centric, lighter, friendlier applications will dominate the legacy titans of yesteryear. It is all just beginning, and the first and highest profile casualty may well be Sony, closely followed by Microsoft.”

Bill Gates “has not been doing Vista or Microsoft any favors with his recent performance. Contrast this with his alter-ego, Mr. Jobs, who even in the face of controversy surrounding the Apple options backdating scandal can get up on stage and wow his employees, his customers and the technology community at-large. Steve is a rock star. Bill looks as if he’s been living under a rock,” Ehrenberg writes.

Ehrenberg recounts some choice moments from Gates’ February 1st interview with Steven Levy of Newsweek. See related article: Bill Gates has lost his mind: calls Apple liars, copiers; slams Mac OS X security vs. Windows – February 02, 2007

Ehrenberg writes, “Are you kidding me? Bill sounds a little like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, and that he is getting ready to boil Steve Jobs’ bunny. First off, Bill, after having spent an amount exceeding the GDP of several sovereign nations – $500 million – to launch Vista, don’t you think you could have spent even a little of that on media training? THAT is your elevator pitch? Sorry, Bill, but you’re not getting the VC funding you desire. You’re not even getting out of the elevator. Your answer on security: poor. Your paranoia and irritation at Apple’s successful branding and image-making? Nauseating. You’re the richest guy in the world. You do lots of great things with your money. You’re a brilliant man. The Apple threat and a changing world is making you become unhinged. Do something about this. Fast. For your shareholders sake. Please.”

MacDailyNews Take: Gates was much more lucky than brilliant. In fact, we don’t see much brilliance in Gates, past or present.

“And if you think that’s bad, our friend Bill a/k/a Mr. Malaprop is getting the crap kicked out of him by former friends in the media – everywhere. For some reason Microsoft and Bill just don’t get the props they used to,” Ehrenberg writes. “The world has changed. Bill either doesn’t see it or doesn’t want to see it… What do you get when you take arrogance, a ton of cash, an enterprise software-laden culture and fierce competition? Microsoft. People (and what are companies but conglomerations of people, anyway?) react to fear in different ways. Some clam up and stick to what feels comfortable. Others challenge this comfort by acknowledging that something has changed and recognizing that they need to make decisive change. Microsoft, unfortunately, appears to be in the former camp… Bill’s got a bunch of reasons to feel pretty lousy. Microsoft has never been as vulnerable as it is right now.”

MacDailyNews Take: See related story: The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson.

“We may be witnessing an historic changing of the guard, which takes place in every generation. Remember IBM? They were invincible. How could they be beat? By a couple of geeks in a dorm room, that’s how. Microsoft rises. And then another snot-nosed kid with a great idea and a dorm room made it happen in the box business, enter Dell. Then others got wise and squeezed their efficiency-based margins to nothing. Apple rose like a phoenix, crashed and rose once again, by virtue of innovation and a customer-centric ethos. Sony was like IBM. Now they’ve been bloodied by the customer-centric and community-oriented Nintendo,” Ehrenberg writes. “When put in this context Microsoft just seems so big and slow and old, hidebound by 30 years of culture and organizational silos that seem impregnable. And it appears that Vista – the product, the PR, the marketing approach – is the result of such an organization.”

Full article – a must read with much, much more – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Macaday” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Back on ,January 10, 2005, we took a bit of flack from some readers for our Take, in which we have always believed and therefore reprint here: As we have always said, even as many short-sightedly waved (and continue to wave) the white flag, the war is not over. And, yes, we shall prevail. For the naysayers: In 1929, Ford held just over 61% of the U.S. market for automobiles. GM’s market share stood at just 12%. Ford was thought to be invincible, with GM regarded as a niche auto maker. Probably, some analyst at the time said, “The reality is, long term, GM will always be a niche player.” But, in 1936, just seven years later, Ford held just 22% of the market for new automobiles while General Motors held a 43% share. No company is invincible. Not even Microsoft.

Related articles:
Apple takes dead aim at Microsoft’s Windows Vista in latest ‘Get a Mac’ ad (with video) – February 06, 2007
Bill Gates has lost his mind: calls Apple liars, copiers; slams Mac OS X security vs. Windows – February 02, 2007
Net Applications: Apple’s Mac market share continues rise, hits 6.22% in January 2007 – February 01, 2007
Bill Gates lists Microsoft ‘innovations’ that Apple has offered Mac users for years – January 30, 2007
Apple larger than Microsoft by 2010? – January 29, 2007
Gates bristles over Vista, Mac OS X comparisons – January 29, 2007
Microsoft about to lose the software business just as IBM lost the PC business in ‘80s – July 26, 2006
Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ ultimate goal: ‘to take back the computer business from Microsoft’ – June 16, 2005
Apple vs. Microsoft rivalry heats up again – January 10, 2005


  1. @Dream On who says: “Zillions have their lives, businesses, and their future tied up in the PC…Jobs’ market share will never reach double digits.”

    Oh yes? And how many of those ‘zillions’ are seriously wondering whether it is worth it? In fact there is a massive percentage of people and businesses who have had enough of Windows and its viruses and other problems. As and when they realise there is an alternative that is cheaper, easier, secure and reliable, they will all switch. For heavens sakes, just read the blogs, the advanced guard are switching as we speak!

    @toonie who says this is FUD. Please toonie, you should be able to see for yourself that the ratio of Microsoft to Apple FUD is 1000:1. If you look back over the last 5 years toonie, MDN has been right more often than not in its predictions.

    Microsoft, not just Bill Gates is going to be regarded as a pariah by the end of this year. The genie is out of the bottle, and no-one, least of all Bill Gates, can put it back.

    And I am smiling! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. Maybe I’m just a sucker, but I believe Apple sinceerely wants to make amazing products. I know they are a company that lives on the profit they make, but I am convinced that that is not the primary motivation.

    I can’t say that about MS. MS always licks there finger and puts it up in the air to see where the wind is blowing. The wind they feel is the wake of where Apple passed a long time ago.

  3. “Apple build quality: you are so right that it is poor atm. I’ve got several friends and acquaitances in the music and movies industries, who are all Mac owners, and every single one of them has had a bad experience with poor quality hardware in the last twelve months; from iPods not working and multiple to MacBooks dying, or falling apart. They are all bemoaning fall in Apple quality. NOT GOOD!”

    Dingoes Kidneys. I have a new Quad Xeon on my desk, next to a 20′ iMac, and 2 other machines at my last job, that were all top notch. Your friends opinions are not evidence. Of course, my opinion is also not evidence. But until you present some you’re just blowing smoke.


  4. After spending billions and 6 years, M$ has given birth to a dead DOG – and they all know it.

    Desperately they are trying to beathe life into said ‘dead dog’. It has come to a state that BG is lying on TV to help a Ballmer that has zero credibility in the tech world.

    Soon the market will see the numbers come in and the nose dive against inflated projections for revenue VISTA was to deliver.

    The stock is going South. big time.

  5. “The Vista train is leaving the station, and nobody is gonna stop it. Only a fool would think about getting in the way.”

    That’s because MS is using Amtrak. The engineer is drunk and stoned. Only a fool would get on this train or get in the way before it jumps the tracks.

    Ballmer was probably talked out of endorsing Vista with the media after his lewd squirting references to Zune sharing. He still can’t stop giggling about Vista’s new sticky, warm, gooey GUI.

  6. MDN’s take is quite correct: no company, no matter how seemingly monolithic and powerful, is invincible, not even Microsoft.

    And I’m willing to bet that no one knows that better than Microsoft. Even at the height of their power, they behaved with a certain paranoia, almost like the paranoia exhibited by tyrants in the late stages of their rules. I like to call it the “pathology of the totalitarian”. They’ve been on top and all-powerful for so long, that they’ve become terminally infected with hubris. They simply can’t believe that things are slipping out of their control.

    I believe that their colossal pile of cash, at last count more than $60 billion, is a hedge against the collapse of their software business. With that kind of money, Microsoft could absorb a lot of pain if their stock collapsed, but could still reorganize themselves into any kind of business they wished. Much as their enemies would like to believe it, Microsoft is simply not going to fold up their tents and evaporate. They’re much too cash-rich for that to happen. My bet is that if they leave software manufacturing, they’ll reinvent themselves as a financial services house.

    Their big problem of course, is that no one trusts them.

  7. Apple build quality: you are right, it’s just a few samples of half-a-dozen people who bought MacBooks. I haven’t had a problem myself, and nor have others I know who bought iMacs.

    But was embarrasing the other day at a media party when I was trying to persuade someone to ditch their PC laptop for a MacBook, and a bunch of people come over and have horror stories of multiple returns, problem screens, broken keyboards, crappy builds, etc.

  8. Gate’s chairty work is, to him, a smoke and mirrors way to get off a sinking ship. The charity crap is a ruse, and it goes something like this:

    “I can’t stay on this ship, I must help the crippled childern of the world. If I stayed, everyone knows MS would have beeen saved, but I am such a great person, I just have to go…”

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.