“Mary Jo Foley [is] a ZDNet blogger who has covered Microsoft since Bill Gates first emerged from puberty,” Betsy Schiffman reports for Wired.
MacDailyNews Take: Our condolences.
Schiffman sat down with Foley on the occasion of Foley’s new book, Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era. Here are a few snippets that we found interesting:
Wired: When do you think Steve Ballmer will give up or get kicked out?
Foley: I think he’s going to stick to what he said. He said last year he would [serve as CEO] for nine years, because that’s when his youngest son will be in college. I don’t think they’ll get rid of him before then.
Wired: So what do you think of Windows Mobile?
Foley: I’ve avoided it like the plague. Every time I get a new cellphone, everyone always warns me not to get Windows Mobile. The thing’s awful. I think Windows Mobile is a huge challenge for them.
Wired: And what do you think happens to Microsoft after Gates retires?
Foley: There’s always been this dichotomy between “Bill’s guys” and “Steve’s guys.” Steve’s guys have MBAs and their roots are in sales. Bill’s guys have been traditional technologists. The people who are more like Steve will probably get more power and will run the show, so I wonder who’s going to be the tech champion for Bill’s guys. I think that’s going to be a big cultural and noticeable change once Gates is out from his day-to-day duties.
Full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ian K.” for the heads up.]
MacDailyNews Take: Windows Mobile does indeed suck. If even Foley is saying it, it sucks hard. As for Ballmer and Microsoft, here is a very relevant excerpt from a BusinessWeek interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs from October 12, 2004:
Steve Jobs: How are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly. But after that, the product people aren’t the ones that drive the company forward anymore. It’s the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because what’s the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself? So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy… Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they’re no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn’t.
BusinessWeek: Is this common in the industry?
Steve Jobs: Look at Microsoft — who’s running Microsoft?
BusinessWeek: Steve Ballmer.
Steve Jobs: Right, the sales guy. Case closed.
Source: The Seed of Apple’s Innovation