Microsoft: Incomptetent management destroyed the company

“Windows has failed, PCs are dead, and the misery that is Windows 8 is to blame but why? There is one possibility that occurred to us that no SemiAccurate writer has seen posited yet, tablet OSes,” Charlie Demerjian writes for SemiAccurate. “From before day one SemiAccurate was critical of Windows 8 and Surface, we were the first to point out how serious ‘partner’ enmity was over that disaster was. Windows 8 can not compete in the tablet world for technical reasons, and will never be able to bridge the gap. Partners are in an even worse position, Windows tablets are financially untenable and they know it. With Windows 8, Microsoft has failed.”

“The main problem is that people HATE Windows 8. Worse yet this isn’t because of some dark conspiracy to slander poor defenseless and completely upstanding Microsoft, people hate Windows 8 because it is a fundamentally awful user experience,” Demerjian writes. “Everyone SemiAccurate has put it in front of has ended up buying a Mac or Windows 7 if that is still an option so it should come as no surprise that Apple Mac sales are more or less flat while PC sales are cratering. Coincidence?”

“Developers have been burned again and again, Phone 7.x, Phone 8.x, Windows 8 managed code, support, ads promises, and much more have left a decimated developer landscape for Windows 8 manged code aka Apps. What is left is pay to play, MS has to walk around with cash in hand to get most apps started and many developers won’t bother even when incentivized. No market is no market even if the development costs are somewhat subsidized,” Demerjian writes. “If you don’t understand how dire this state of affairs is, you might want to think about it long and hard. Microsoft is on the software death spiral already and is holding the line, barely, with buckets of cash. Any sign of weakness on their part and the little software support they can still manage to buy goes away.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Told ya so (and long before SemiAccurate or anybody else for that matter, too). Please see the two related articles below, each of which was published on the very day iPad and Windows 8 were revealed.

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

Related articles:
Why I’ll be buying an Apple iPad – along with millions of others – January 27, 2010
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011

85 Comments

      1. “There is one possibility that occurred to us that no SemiAccurate writer has seen posited yet, tablet OSes.”

        Allow me to “posit”…SemiAccurate needs to SemiGetOutMore; rest of world has seen this coming for years…

  1. “With Windows 8, Microsoft has failed.”

    It has failed with Windows 8; and Windows 7, ok not much; and Windows Vista; and Windows XP, ok not much; and Windows 2000; and Windows 98; and Windows 95; and Windows 3.11, ok not much; and Windows 3.1.

    Because it is a fundamentally awful user experience, plus the frequent hang ups, crashes, and blue screens of death until these days.

    1. Imagine how much business has spent trying to fix crappy Windows OS’s with bloated entitled IT doofuses departments over many long years. Microsoft needs to start paying back all those long suffering businesses. A really good article here, stuff almost too good to be true, at last. And they did it to themselves. Thanks BTC!

      1. So good, so satisfying to soak in the sting of vitriol redirected at the faces of those once so high above us mere expendable vassals. Information Technology had become Insufferable Thuggery. So glad for the cleansing of the discipline.

        1. I really don’t understand the hate you all have for IT departments. All they are trying to do is meet the requirements of the business with the limited cash they’re given to spend. Sadly that means everyone can’t go off and do their own thing. More stuff breaks that way, and IT don’t have the manpower to jump constantly every time someone does something stupid because they can’t see the entire picture of how a company’s IT landscape fits together.

          IT isn’t just your computer, or your printer. It’s often thousands of the things, with front end application and back end servers, network optimisation, security and authentication systems, limited shared Internet pipes, media streamers, all sorts of things that have to tie together in order to avoid unnecessary costs. Yeah, it’s great for you all to blame IT when you don’t get your way, but unless you want to funnel much more of the company’s resources into just keeping everything running then there’s no way that can happen.

          1. That is the definition of what IT departments are SUPPOSED to do. Sadly, this has in general not been the case. Usually you ended up with a small team of dictators, technically inclined people who have often have limited people skills and VERY often no true understanding of the business process the computer system is supposed to support or aid.

            Having got the power to “rule” over people with 10 or 100 x their pay check must be pretty fulfilling. Making rules for others equals power. Talking about incompatibility and budgets are just scape goats for unwillingness to understand and adapt to the NEEDS of the users. How much does it cost the business when people don’t get access to the tools they need to excel.
            The thing happening now is what happens every time a monopoly starts to crumble: To TRY to survive, they adapt and start acting more people friendly – listen to your wants and needs. Not because they want to, but because they are forced to.
            I believe this is the IT dept you are now describing; A shaken organisation that has woken up to the sudden fact that the rule of terror is no longer a valid option.
            IF the IT depts are willing to take the role they should have had in the first place: supportive and submissive to the wants and decisions of the departments they serve, they just may have a job and a function in the future.
            I strongly believe that this is not a possibility for the many of the small minded tech dictators, for whom marketing and sales people are just irritating distractions in their master plan. The other 50 pct or so may survive under new leadership and new ideology

            1. Maybe I’ve just been lucky with my IT work being in media, broadcast and content production companies, because I genuinely do not recognise the history of IT you are describing. If anything, we’ve been overly accommodating in the past and as a result are now chasing our tails having to secure the environment again. Interesting how you try and make out that sales and marketing are some kind of corporate good guys though. They’ve always had a hugely inflated opinion of their own importance in my experience, and often fail to recognise that without the company’s other divisions, including IT, they wouldn’t earn half the commissions they are able to take home.

              When it comes to it, every part of the company is another cog in the machine, whether they are a product creation department, a customer facing division, or purely there to support the rest. If your IT people aren’t up to it, increase the IT budget so better IT people can be hired. We are out there, but we cost a lot (for instance you won’t be earning 10x my paycheque unless you’re WELL into seven figures per annum). However, that takes up more of the company’s money and Finance wouldn’t stand for it, especially when there are products to develop etc. So why the hate?

            2. So why the hate? In many cases, it’s personal.

              I suppose many have found their calling in a benevolent work environment where creativity, individuality, and productivity are equally respected, a place where technical infrastructure enables and enhances them, rather than deforms them according to a Procrustean mandate.

              Too many others suffered career detriment because of IT machinations, interference with HR in job evaluations, biased needs assessments and survey instruments, collusion with Microsoft and Dell marketing units, dirty tricks so undisguised you could almost smell the arrogance and disdain of an invading Imperial army plundering your village, taking your food, slicing off an ear with a broadsword, crushing your Mac under a hobnailed foot.

            3. IT rarely if ever have the sort of power you are attributing to them. Interfering with HR processes? Any company that would allow something so ludicrous has far larger problems than an overbearing IT department.

            4. “If anything, we’ve been overly accommodating in the past”
              Uhhhh… Not exactly a great description of IT depts – when talking about Windows; Mac IT guys are pretty much different, or those dealing with mixed OS’s (Mac and Windows or Unix).

              “They’ve always had a hugely inflated opinion of their own importance in my experience, and often fail to recognise that without the company’s other divisions, including IT…”

              That’s just it. They – together with R&D – ARE the only important people for the company’s wellbeing, the rest (janitors, cleaning staff, drivers… IT) are ONLY supportive workers that would not be there if it could be solved any other way. You guys are the necessary evil. Failing to understand this – or refusing to accept it – is probably the root of it all.

              If IT people would have an ounce of the sales staffs attitude (“how can I help you, solve your problem… please you – sell you the idea, and make you feel you actually like it”) instead of the totalitarian bureaucratic “I have the power over you, so I will use it”

              With the typical MS IT person attitudes of yesteryear, no wonder people hate your guts.

          2. That is the definition of what IT departments are SUPPOSED to do. Sadly, this has in general not been the case. Usually you end up with a small team of dictators, technically inclined people who have often have limited people skills and VERY often no true understanding of the business process the computer system is supposed to support or aid.

            Having got the power to “rule” over people with 10 or 100 x their pay check must be pretty fulfilling. Making rules for others equals power. Talking about incompatibility and budgets are just scape goats for unwillingness to understand and adapt to the NEEDS of the users. How much does it cost the business when people don’t get access to the tools they need to excel.
            The thing happening now is what happens every time a monopoly starts to crumble: To TRY to survive, they adapt and start acting more people friendly – listen to your wants and needs. Not because they want to, but because they are forced to.
            I believe this is the IT dept you are now describing; A shaken organisation that has woken up to the sudden fact that the rule of terror is no longer a valid option.
            IF the IT depts are willing to take the role they should have had in the first place: supportive and submissive to the wants and decisions of the departments they serve, they just may have a job and a function in the future.
            I believe that this is not a possibility for the many of the small minded tech dictators, for whom marketing and sales people are just irritating distractions in their master plan. The other 50 pct or so may survive under new leadership and new ideology.

          3. Oh my, let me tell you about my experiences in the 90s.
            IT idiots would come up with any excuse to not buy Macs.
            – Appletalk is too chatty on the network.
            – Macs are too expensive.
            – There is no virus software available for Macs.
            – Macs are toys.
            – If your department gets them, we are not supporting them.

            My personal favorite:
            – We can’t rely on a single vendor for computers, what if Apple goes out of business.

            There were more but the IT people of this decade is much more accepting and they do see the writing on the walls. Especially when a marketing department that is all Mac and the rest of the company is Widows and a nasty worm or virus get past the firewall and takes down many of the PCs. Then IT stops by the marketing department and they are still working away. What virus?

            1. Forgot to answer the “We can’t rely on a single vendor for computers, what if Apple goes out of business.”

              What? Microsoft isn’t a single vendor?

            2. Funnily enough Windows is far more chatty than MacOS on Ethernet was, once you stopped AppleTalk trying to reconfigure addressing every time a new device was added, but the idea that MacOS was chattier came from elsewhere, just like the idea that Netware couldn’t be scaled.. You see the likes of Andersen Consulting used to send out armies of their “consultants” and convince the high ups in companies that Windows could be trusted above anything else. Often the decision to standardise on Windows did not come from the techs, but from above based on reports written by outsiders. That a later generation of MS-only techs then appeared was a consequence of that decision, not what caused it.

            3. I should add that the reasoning for the high ups believing outsiders over their own staff was down to the exact same thought patterns I see in this thread. IT staff were seen as incompetent and/or people with an obstructionist agenda not in line with the corporate goals.

    2. Windows 7, XP, 2000, NT4, 95, and 3.11 weren’t all that bad in their day considering they were Microsoft products. They did not succeed because they were wonderful, but because of their OEM license and, in the early days, the lack of competition.

      However, there were other blockbuster failures. MSN dialup, just in time for dial-up’s death, Salon, just in time for web content to become free, XPS when everyone was happy with PDF, Silverlight to copy Flash, a CD-based encyclopedia just in time for large hard drives and Wikipedia, and Passport as a universal web password service that no one other than Microsoft used. They made an implementation of Zeroconf that is too complicated (people use Bonjour instead), and they stuffed the ballot box to make Office XML a standard document format, but no one other than Microsoft uses it as their default because the standard is 6,000 pages long. They tried to make a replacement for NTFS that was too complicated, failed, and gave Vista quality problems because of the delay.

      Microsoft had bad employee review procedures that rewarded employees for office politics instead of quality work. They had bad management, which led to bad products, bad choices, and bad timing. They had bad judgment, trying to break into areas where they had no expertise and trying to replace things that did not need replacing. They also had an overblown self image that led them to believe that people would buy Microsoft products just because they were Microsoft.

      Microsoft was its own worst enemy. However, the employee review process changed, so employees are now motivated to do good work, and there will be a new CEO, so it is unwise to get lazy and assume that this litany of failures will continue.

  2. “The company is so blindingly mismanaged that it is almost impossible to describe in mere words.”

    Blood is draining rapidly from the goliath’s self-inflicted wounds. Scattered around it are the twitching bodies of its minions; and sickened by the carnage, appalled camp followers recede into the twilight.

    The article even has a “death march” tag.

  3. When I saw OS X demo at Tokyo MacWorld expo in 1999 ( i think it was), I told 日本人 standing by me that OS X would be the death of Windows. Hmmm, I just liked it that much and thought it could kill windows. Hey, I don’t know much… I really don’t.

  4. As good as it sounds, MS will still rule the business world and it trickles down to consumers to keep them on top. Break the Office Monopoly/Sharepoint plus many other POS that ties into those three and then we will see some defining progress.

      1. Fortunately Pages for Mac can import/export to MS Word, same with Keynote with PowerPoint, and Numbers with Excel. For the simple tasks the vast majority of users do in these applications, it is more than adequate. The fact Apple now gives these away cancels out the absolute need for MS Office. Hell, you can even use Mac Mail to work with Exchange. Many things that kept people away from going Apple are no longer an obstacle.

        Apple has never integrated better into enterprise environments more so than now. It’s like Apple has just been quietly knocking down barriers that kept it from being getting a foothold in the corporate world. Plus all those iPhones and iPads are getting Apple’s foot in the door. The ROI on Apple is actually much better than going strictly with Wintel.

        1. Normally, I just use QuickLook, but I often have to open Word because of some bizarre formatting or whatnot that doesn’t translate well from the PC version they used. It’s the same with Preview and Adobe Reader for me; I have to use Reader because of some strange piece of formatting used by the individual who created the PDF. It’s *really* annoying because it’s so unnecessary. sigh.

      1. Businesses will not trust their Docs, important Docs, in the Cloud, period ….. Google will never rule the Desktop Market …..

        I suspect with Mr. Softy making such a commitment to Dose 8.1 they will keep working and improving and Dose 7 will carry them for many years …..

        iMac will probably never get to 90 percent in the office but certainly above the low of 2 percent of yesterday and double or triple from today’s levels in the few years …..

  5. I visited my 77 y/o dad last wknd to help him set up his new Windows 8 box, and the first challenge was how to get out of E-mail back to the “Tiles” page (you have to use the Windows key on the keyboard). Web browsing actually takes you to the more familiar Desktop interface. Adding a shortcut of YouTube to the Tiles page was ridiculously difficult. And I was unsuccessful in adding MS Office to either the Tiles or Desktop screens. My wknd w/ Win8 left me unimpressed. For a regular computer (non-touchscreen), why even have Tiles? Only e-mail happened there; everything else happened in the Desktop environment. For the most basic things my dad & I were trying to do — e-mail, surf the web, write a letter — Win8 was pretty sad. It seemed very half-assed and half-baked.

    1. “Adding a shortcut of YouTube to the Tiles page was ridiculously difficult.”

      You hit the nail on the head, and I’ve been saying this for a long time. You had problems, and you know what you’re doing.

      A huge problem with MS in general, and Windows 8 in particular, is the fact that 90% of everybody uses Windows. And a huge junk of that 90% of everybody do not know what they’re doing. They’re not going to read the manual & they’re not going to put in the effort to learn. And this is what has been slowly killing MS & why Win 8 is accelerating the process.

      MS is being strangled, precisely because of its success in the past.

      1. This inertia of going with what the user knows has always been a struggle to get someone to even look at switching to a Mac. Now if you can get someone thinking of getting a new Win8 computer to try a Mac, OSX will be easier to adapt to than Win8 and, once used to the Mac way of doing things, they will realize how much easier it really is, and has been, and wonder why they didn’t switch sooner.

        1. “… if you can get someone thinking of getting a new Win8 computer to try a Mac, OSX will be easier to adapt to than Win8 …”

          Completely agree. In a lot of respects, MS seems to have screwed the pooch with Win8.

          It is so different from, and in many ways incompatible, with everything else Windows – it has fundamentally changed the equation.

          In the past, people stayed with Windows, because they knew it & it was cheap.

          Now, they don’t know it. It is only cheap.

          But OSX, works a lot more like the Windows 7 they’ve been used to. And it works really well with their iPhone & iPad. This could get interesting.

  6. An excellent article for all who have suffered under the Microsoft yoke, and who know Microsoft for what it is.

    I knew this was going to be a good read, when he started the article with this:
    “Lets go over a little history for those new to the game or who read sites that are afraid to lose ads if they point out the emperor has no clothes. That for the record would be most computer related sites, Microsoft spends a lot and that has direct influence on content.”

  7. The tables turn. Soon there will be a Microsoft Death Knell Counter. It’s like the Death Star exploding in slow motion over Alderaan. I just can’t look away. It’s so beautiful, so hopeful, so inspiring. It’s as if The Stone Age of Computing is ending and the great Iron Age is dawning. I never realized the loveliness of the color red…

    Hand me some more popcorn if you please Hannah. Wow. I can hardly wait until the chunks of flotsam start hitting the atmosphere…

    1. This does remind me of the money scene in the movie Super 8. Bizarre and amazing to think the pickup truck driven onto the tracks, precipitating the spectacular train wreck, was driven by Steve Ballmer.

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