“The news last month that Microsoft was issuing its first large-scale layoffs was a clear sign that the economic downturn is being felt even in Redmond, Wash. In a conference call with financial analysts Tuesday, CEO Steve Ballmer made it clear that the software giant doesn’t expect things to improve anytime soon,” Frederick Lane reports for CIO.
“Ballmer told analysts that as part of its effort to understand the current economic climate, Microsoft asked some of its employees to read various company annual reports from 1927 through 1938. The goal, he said, was to find out who had done a good job handling the Great Depression,” Lane reports. “‘RCA, god rest them in peace, RCA become our role model,’ Ballmer said. ‘They actually kept investing in R&D through the Depression period, and in the post-Depression they dominated TV technology because they were really the only guys who had invested.'”
MacDailyNews Take: RCA, yeah, right. He had employees go find someone, anyone other than Steve Jobs and Apple, Microsoft’s favorite bottomless fount of ideas:
We’ve had one of these before, when the dot-com bubble burst. What I told our company was that we were just going to invest our way through the downturn, that we weren’t going to lay off people, that we’d taken a tremendous amount of effort to get them into Apple in the first place — the last thing we were going to do is lay them off. And we were going to keep funding. In fact we were going to up our R&D budget so that we would be ahead of our competitors when the downturn was over. And that’s exactly what we did. And it worked. And that’s exactly what we’ll do this time. – Apple CEO Steve Jobs, February 2008
Balmy must have missed the part about no lay-offs.
Lane continues, “During his presentation, Ballmer listed the company’s various R&D initiatives. Among other things, he said, Microsoft is committing $7.6 billion in R&D funds to Office, the company’s flagship productivity suite.”
MacDailyNews Take: Yes, another great decision by the should’ve-been-a-used-car-salesman. We were just saying around here, “You know, what Microsoft really needs is to spend $7.6 billion on ‘Office R&D.'” Why not make it a nice round $8 billion? For some weird reason, $7.6 billion makes us think of “government efficiency.” Basically, that much “R&D” on fargin’ Office 14 sounds like a lot of fancy cars, yachts, and vacation homes to us. Does incomprehensible bloat-by-committee really cost several billion dollars? Can you believe that Microsoft shareholders haven’t marched on Redmond with torches and pitchforks years ago? We can’t. All that said, of course: May Ballmer remain Microsoft CEO for as long as it takes!
Lane continues, “However, Ballmer added, the next version of the program, Office 14, will not be available this year as expected, but will be ‘generally available’ in 2010.”
MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, you should double the Office R&D, Mr. Ballmer. $15.2 billion on Office R&D is no less ludicrous than $7.6 billion. Or $7.60, for that matter. Steve Ballmer couldn’t run a hot dog stand effectively.
Lane continues, “‘I think, depending on how you look at it, Apple has probably increased its market share over the last year or so by a point or more,’ Ballmer conceded. ‘And a point of market share on a number that’s about 300 million is interesting. It’s an interesting amount of market share, while not necessarily being as dramatic as people would think.'”
MacDailyNews Take: Just keep on deluding yourself while focusing on all the wrong things and it’ll all finally turn out the way it was supposed to.
Full article here.