Ballmer tap-dancing on a wire as world moves on without Microsoft

“It’s been almost 20 years since IBM’s Lou Gerstner got an elephant to dance. Now Microsoft, one of the companies that forced IBM to confront its problems, finds itself in need of a new dance partner who understands the realities of 21st-century computing,” Tom Krazit writes for mocoNews. “Steve Ballmer is not that person.”

“Microsoft is at a crossroads, not the first one it has stared down in its 36-year-history, but perhaps the most important,” Krazit writes. “It is both enormously successful and astonishingly off-course at the same time, generating billions in profits off of Windows and Office but ill-prepared and out-gunned in making the transition to a new style of computing that old rivals like Apple and Google are appearing to lock up for themselves.”

Krazit reports, “It took a new CEO from a completely different industry who was willing to question every single part of IBM’s business and culture in order to prime the company for a new era, and IBM remains one of the strongest tech companies on the planet as a result. Perhaps not as top- of-mind as it once was, but secure in its own identity and now once again more valuable than Microsoft. Microsoft needs such a leader.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Ballmer is that leader. His strategy just needs more time to unfold. We urge Microsoft’s board to continue with Steve Ballmer’s vision for as long as it takes.

69 Comments

  1. I feel like these Microsoft doom and gloom scenarios are a bit overblown. The company isn’t going anywhere, Office will still be a vital part of it, and frankly Windows isn’t going away in the immediate future either.

    Yes they have problems, but its like saying since Toyota has some problems they’re going to shut down…. not going to happen, microsoft is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

    1. There’s no doubt in my mind that Microsoft will be able to coast on its Windows & Office monopoly for a long time to come particularly when IT doofuses still act in lockstep with it. But that only means Microsoft will be standing still while other more nimble companies in the tech sector whizz past it at a hundred miles per hour.

      A whale takes a long time to die but while Microsoft lies floundering grasping for breath, others will step in and skin it alive.

      1. “A whale takes a long time to die..”

        And it takes even longer to rot. Given how large MS is, it’s going to take a long time for its proponents to realize what has been obvious to the rest of us for years.

    2. What you say is true. At the same time, however, Microsoft appears particularly vulnerable. Microsoft is a corporate giant standing next to a cliff. A buggy whip manufacturer watching the first Model T’s chugging by the factory.

      Many Mac users have noted Microsoft’s increasing vulnerability over the past decade. Vista was a wake-up call for the corporation, and Microsoft reacted reasonably well with Windows 7. You also correctly note that Office is still doing well, although it is a mature (and still bloated) knot of products that need a complete rethink and rewrite. But Microsoft has sunk billions into video games, internet search, mobile OS, etc. with relatively poor results (as determined by the bottom line). Microsoft is a three-legged stool supported by Windows 7, MS Office, and enterprise software and services. How long before one of those legs becomes weak enough to tip the company on its side? How long, for instance, before a critical mass of enterprise and government customers tire of paying exorbitant fees for software licenses and email? I think that time is drawing near.

      1. As a representative of the Whipmakers Guild I have to object to you trotting out this old analogy. It’s been disproven in countless case studies. Did the industry hit a roadbump so-to-speak with the popularization of the automobile? Yes. But in the 20th century we thrived by adopting the very same approach taken by Apple more recently. Market share is not everything. By focusing on a niche market, and putting margins and profit first, America’s whipmakers are in a better position today than ever before. The S&M market is thriving today. You can’t imagine the cash piles our leading manufacturers are sitting on.

        So please, let’s put this old myth behind us and look at the positive way the whip industry handled the rapidly changing market.

    3. Can you spell d-e-n-i-a-l? Toyota is clearly a leader in the automotive industry, problems or no problems. Microsoft is clearly behind the times and groping blindly, without a clue. Read it and weep.

    4. However, Microsoft has shown ZERO ability to create a profitable business outside of its Windows and Office products. It has lost money on Xbox, and is failing miserably in mobile devices and its search engine Bing. Even the acquisition of Skype was greeted with a collective, “WTF?!?”

      The reality is Microsoft has mature products in Windows and Office with little room for growth or expanded feature sets. Everything else looks like acts of desperation, like trying to hit the winning lottery numbers before you run out of dollar bills.

  2. I’ve long said that Microsoft in 2020 will be like IBM today. Not top-of-mind, but important in back office, etc.

    With IBM’s resurgence, I may have to rethink that. MS won’t be so successful.

  3. The Office monopoly will wither away-at least as we know it. Time takes care of such things and the clock is a tyrant.
    Microsoft Lacks “the vision thing” & the cracks are showing. They are still trying to straddle the whole IT/electronics world and it will not end happily if they do not change their plans.

  4. I’m Canadian, so at dinner the first toast always goes to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. But the second toast is, as I’m sure it is in your house: “May Steve Ballmer remain CEO as long as it takes!”

  5. You guys have very destructive perspectives on business and life. Like dysfunctional. You want to see people fail.

    Anyway, all this bullshit and for what? For a company who is profiting over $5 billion each quarter, what, with the success of Windows 7, Kinect, and XBox.

    Ya, what a reason to say their CEO has to go. MS has a long future. How bright that is I don’t know. But they’re doing fine under his leadership.

    Next.

    1. I like your strategy. I like it a lot.
      I hope there are many, many more out there who think like you do.

      “MS has a long future. How bright that is I don’t know. But they’re doing fine under his leadership.”
      – For as long as it takes!

    2. MS is super huge – everyone can agree on that, I’m sure.
      But that just means that it’s going to take a really loooooong time for its proponents to realize that its really a stinking, rotting corpse.
      It’ll take a long time to really catch the stench, but its already too late.

      May Ballmer reign for as long as it takes!!!

    3. Yeah, and it won’t be all that long until Microsoft is making 4 billion a quarter! Then 3 billion! Woo hoo! They’re a totally healthy company!

      Totally.

      I can’t tell if Fghn is doing a schtick or not. I mean, my first reaction is “this guy’s so delusional it has to be an act”, but then I remember Microsoft-cultists truly are this delusional in real life.

      Of course, there’s a third, more chilling option: he’s Steve Ballmer.

  6. One more thing about Microsoft:

    Apple doesn’t need a buffoon at the helm of Microsoft in order to compete successfully. Apple doesn’t need anything but a level playing field and Steve Jobs to beat the crap out of all comers. Real competition benefits everyone, but that’s not what we have in the modern business world. Instead, we get slavish imitation, bucket loads of hype and absolutely no imagination. Which is why Apple fans love the company so much. Whether they win or lose, Apple is always trying to do just one thing: Make better products.

Reader Feedback

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