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Bill Gates Says Windows Phone Strategy Was Inadequate

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the not-the-worst-thing dept.

Microsoft 268

puddingebola writes "Perhaps it isn't newsworthy, but Bill Gates has characterized Microsoft's mobile and smartphone strategies as 'a mistake.' From the article: 'In an interview with CBS This Morning's Charlie Rose on Monday, Gates admitted he wasn't pleased with Microsoft's performance in the mobile market, going as far as to characterize the company's smartphone strategy as "a mistake." "We didn't miss cell phones," Gates said. "But the way that we went about it didn't allow us to get the leadership, so it's clearly a mistake."'"

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Like... (5, Funny)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 years ago | (#42940333)

Duh.

HEEERRRPPP (0)

earls (1367951) | about 2 years ago | (#42940423)

DEEERRRPP

Bill is starting to sound more and more like Stephen every day.

Re:HEEERRRPPP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940477)

Yeah, if they only could get rid of Monkey Boy ....

Re:Like... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940437)

Everybody thinks Ballmer has dropped the ball. According to Joachim Kempin, it's more likely that he's dropped the bat.

Steve Ballmer Roams The Halls Of Microsoft Swinging A Baseball Bat

Microsoft's history is filled with stories about its rough culture, from it's "stack-ranking" employee reviews to how Bill Gates used to yell, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard." Here's another one: Six-foot-two Steve Ballmer sometimes brings a baseball bat with him into meetings, and that's if he's feeling happy...

http://www.businessinsider.com/ballmer-roams-halls-with-baseball-bat-2013-2 [businessinsider.com]

Re:Like...Do I Have to Shout It? (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 2 years ago | (#42940923)

The KING has no clothes! He's big, brash, loud, a mega-shareholder and he is not managing right.

Re:Like... (5, Insightful)

mrbluejello (189775) | about 2 years ago | (#42941113)

This article title is WRONG. Windows Mobile had the problem, which is the predecessor to Windows Phone.

Big difference, completely different platform.

Re:Like... (5, Insightful)

dhavleak (912889) | about 2 years ago | (#42941233)

Exactly correct -- but you're expecting too much of Slashdot, and too much of The Register.

The exact quote from the interview is "Gates admitted the company didn't "get out in the lead very early" on cell phones. He said, "We didn't miss cell phones, but the way that we went about it didn't allow us to get the leadership. So it's clearly a mistake."

i.e. He's saying they were there with Windows Mobile when the market was in it's infancy but Windows Mobile was clearly a mistake.

But like I said -- you're on Slashdot. Don't expect logic to get in the way of an old-fashioned MS-bashfest.

Re:Like... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941307)

Big difference, completely different platform.

What's different? What's better enough for me to care?

Re:Like... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941389)

Apparently, their Windows Phone strategy was to dick around for five years before getting their shit together and getting it out the door so I'd argue the title is spot-on. If you had ever used Windows Mobile you'd know it was so comically bad that it never could have been called a strategy.

Not news (4, Insightful)

ultrasawblade (2105922) | about 2 years ago | (#42940373)

I mean if the failing marketshare year on year since the iPhone came out didn't clue you in, maybe the KIN debacle would have, or certainly the fact that your marketshare is no better off despite practically owning a phone manufacturing company could point that out.

Re:Not news (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#42941421)

despite practically owning a phone manufacturing company

And yet Nokia isn't head and shoulders above the other WP8 phones, here the Lumia 820 got weak reviews and they ended up recommending the HTC WP 8S instead if you wanted a WP8 phone in that price range, not that they found either of them hot (dice throw 3 and 4, respectively). I wouldn't be surprised if Nokia eventually gets the boot - or bought - and Microsoft goes solo like with their Surface tablets, right now Nokia isn't living up to their hardware reputation.

Uh huh... (2)

scuzzlebutt (517123) | about 2 years ago | (#42940377)

What did they have? 4,5 years to get the smartphone right before BB or iOS? Fail.

Re:Uh huh... (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 2 years ago | (#42940513)

They've had sixteen or seventeen years to get the various iterations of MSN right, and after billions of dollars have still failed to show much for it. Sure, they've turned Yahoo from competitor into customer, but Google is so far ahead one has to question Microsoft's long term strategic capacity. Even the XBox division, while perhaps having some quarters in the black, is still a big hole that Microsoft shoveled money into to buy market share, and is many years away from ever paying back its investment.

Microsoft has three major profit areas; enterprise volume licensing, OEM consumer licensing and Exchange-Office. It has made a shitload of money off of them, and while it's likely to lose the consumer crown pretty soon as the home PC begins to fade as a must-have computer product, it will still have the enterprise world locked up for some time to come.

Frankly I think they should admit defeat on their mobile and tablet offerings, buy Blackberry, which at least still has some corporate penetration, and tighten the links between those mobile products and Office-Exchange. RT and Surface are still demonstrating just how much Microsoft is on the wrong side of the door trying to get in.

Re:Uh huh... (5, Interesting)

Teresita (982888) | about 2 years ago | (#42940775)

Frankly I think they should admit defeat on their mobile and tablet offerings, buy Blackberry, which at least still has some corporate penetration, and tighten the links between those mobile products and Office-Exchange. RT and Surface are still demonstrating just how much Microsoft is on the wrong side of the door trying to get in.

Microsoft is always a day late and a dollar short. They're just getting Bing together when Search is yesterday. By the time they put out a decent smartphone, in 2017, everyone will say that's so five years ago because the Samsung Shirtbutton will be uploading everything a user sees and does, real time to Facebook and Google Goggles will be all the rage for web content delivery.

Re:Uh huh... (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#42941141)

They are more interested in making money than making great products. I don't see where they have any love or passion for the things they make.

Re:Uh huh... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941291)

I suspect their R&D department has all kinds of enthusiasm... right before the bean counters have their good shit shelved. It's a miracle the Kinect made it out the doors, and even then, they let a surprise HW hit collect dust.

Remember the Courier? That thing would've been great, and they had a prototype ready before the iPad's dropped. Can you remember people actively petitioning for a microsoft product with "goddamnyou, here, take my money!"? Yeah, they let that die.

Multitouch? They had that in the original surface, the table not that tablet, before the iPhone existed. Died.

That place needs to start loping off heads, starting at the top.

Re:Uh huh... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941419)

It's a miracle the Kinect made it out the doors, and even then, they let a surprise HW hit collect dust.

The kinect (hardware, the device itself) did not really come from Microsoft's R&D.

From:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinect [wikipedia.org]

Kinect builds on software technology developed internally by Rare, a subsidiary of Microsoft Game Studios owned by Microsoft, and on range camera technology by Israeli developer PrimeSense, which developed a system that can interpret specific gestures, making completely hands-free control of electronic devices possible by using an infrared projector and camera and a special microchip to track the movement of objects and individuals in three dimension.

big (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42940395)

Considering the lead Microsoft had in the mobile phone market, they were there in 2002 (before Blackberry, I believe), but somehow they never made it work. I'm not sure exactly why. It's actually surprising, not that they failed, but how big their failure actually is.

They knew it was important, they tried to get the market, had a huge lead, and they failed. It's a little more than 'inadequate.'

Re:big (3, Insightful)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about 2 years ago | (#42940457)

Anyone with a WinMo phone will tell you one of the biggest problems with them is the difficulty in finding apps that actually work. They would have an app store for it towards the end, but by then it was too late.

My last phone was an HTC Touch Pro 2. In 2009 it was billed as an iPhone killer. Seems laughable in hindsight (and I'm not an Apple fanatic either, I'm a "M$ shill" according to some slashdotters.)

Re:big (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#42940559)

Anyone with a WinMo phone will tell you one of the biggest problems with them is the difficulty in finding apps that actually work.

I developed apps for Windows Mobile, and I can tell you that the biggest problem was getting a phone/OS that would actually work.

They were uniformly terrible, unreliable as phones and inconsistent and hard to understand as PDAs. You couldn't even rely on them as alarm clocks, given their propensity to hang and/or crash.

Re:big (5, Funny)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#42940753)

Anyone with a WinMo phone will tell you one of the biggest problems with them is the difficulty in finding apps that actually work.

I developed apps for Windows Mobile, and I can tell you that the biggest problem was getting a phone/OS that would actually work.

They were uniformly terrible, unreliable as phones and inconsistent and hard to understand as PDAs. You couldn't even rely on them as alarm clocks, given their propensity to hang and/or crash.

Not true. One of my co-workers has an old Windows phone. It works great and he had no problem getting apps for it.
(He rooted it and somehow hacked it to run Android.)

Re:big (2)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about 2 years ago | (#42940937)

Yeah, he's right. I remember lots of crashes.

Even XDAndroid was unstable, and generally unfinished, so really there was no escape. It once completely drained my battery, and that's not something you wanted to happen on that phone. Windows looked out for it and would shut you down in advance. The reason being... if you let the battery drain completely, it would not power up even under outlet power. I had to use the battery from my older HTC Dash, tear off a small tab, and hold it in the battery compartment of the TP2 just long enough to power up and switch to the outlet. Them I could insert the real battery again and let it charge.

Very scary.

Re:big (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | about 2 years ago | (#42940955)

I should mention that it wouldn't charge either. Once the battery was gone, it is gone. And as far as I knew, it could only happen with XDAndroid. I stopped using it after that, and soon got another phone.

Re:big (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 2 years ago | (#42940983)

Well yeah the hardware is probably fine. My Microsoft keyboard and mouse work great too.

Provided you keep Windows away from it of course. :)

Re:big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941339)

It seems this is basically the same situation with Windows Phone 8 if Nokia forums are any indication.

Re:big (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940567)

I'm still using the Touch Pro 2.... I stripped off all of the OEM crap and the basic WM6.5 OS is really great... As far as the missing apps... I write my own,. Windows Mobile's Win32 API is easy to code. It is just like the Win32 desktop. I'm still trying to figure out why MS decided to destroy such a consistent programming environment. I'm thinking Balmer only sees $$$ instead of understanding the needs of his customers and developers.

Re:big (1)

NeedMyFix (819119) | about 2 years ago | (#42940741)

>Windows Mobile's Win32 API is easy to code. It is just like the Win32 desktop. Except it isn't. I tried for quit some time to port several desktop apps to WM6.5 and although I could use the same programming language and API a lot of the system calls didn't exist. I lot of networking functions were missing, a lot of encryption functions were missing, the phone OS was just too cut back.

Re:big (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941053)

Anyone with a WinMo phone will tell you one of the biggest problems with them is the difficulty in finding apps that actually work. They would have an app store for it towards the end, but by then it was too late.

I still have a winmo phone and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Do I miss not being able to run angry birds and facebook apps? I couldn't give a shit less.

I can connection share, vpn, voice command, offline navigate, sd cards, manage files, sync contacts and crap that WP8 still can't do to this day.

What I would not give for a modern mobile OS that was either not a locked down vendor orgy of control or didn't invade your privacy at every possible turn. The mobile space is a fucking joke so I'll keep my old joke of a winmo phone and like it.

Re:big (2, Interesting)

gorfie (700458) | about 2 years ago | (#42941079)

I have a Lumia 900 (after owning a Captivate/Galaxy) and I haven't had any problems with the apps. Some of the apps are significantly better than the Android counterparts in terms of polish and reliability. I know the marketplace isn't as mature as iPhone/Android but it's not dismal either. My "biggest" problem with the Lumia 900? I'd say it's that I paid $100 for it a month before they knocked it down to $50.

Re:big (3, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42940507)

Apple finally beat them.

If it were not for IBM and only corps and engineers buying computers in the 1980s the Mac would have one easily. Most hipsters then did not care about computers at all and Bill got used to having a monopoly handed to him on a silver platter. It bit him in the ass later on.

MS is very project manager dominated. I DON"T CARE SHIP IT ... attitude. There was no desire at all to ask why? Or what do people want? No thinner, save battery power, make it pretty, make the UI very geared toward mobile uses with research and usability studies to go with it. Just regular Xp with a pen and call it tablet edition in cheap plastic. Phones? Throw the start menu and put some win16 code to save development costs and put in crippled pocket editions and call it the day. Just get it out etc.

Meanwhile Samsung is developing bendable glass while Apple and others are making exotic metals for their cases and special types of glass, custom arms for low power, and even API rewrites to lower power as well. Apple and Google make sure everyhing is pretty and icons and apps all twirl when you use it. Even the DPI is supperior than your desktop computer!

MS is is just throw in a cheap battery with a $1.00 plastic mold in China and call it portable with digitizer. Windows 8 is finally getting things write ... only on the mobile end. But man it is so 2008 era right now. Windows 9 will need much catching up. Same is true with IE. They let that one rotted out until they got their ass handed to them by Mozilla and now Webkit. They are catching up but they have a long way to go.

This comes to show you that being proactice and making the best product really does win in the end. Not being reactive.

Re:big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940711)

Bill wants his handle back.

Re:big (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940991)

In the 80s Gates wrote to the Apple board telling them that they should license the Mac OS but Apple was only interested in selling to rich people so did not license it. Apple could never have won.

Re:big (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941073)

Spelling and grammer just happen to other folks, eh?

Re:big (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941109)

" Windows 8 is finally getting things write..."

Actually I've been playing with a friend's surface running W8, and I haven't yet found how to open WordPad.

Re:big (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941313)

If it were not for IBM and only corps and engineers buying computers in the 1980s the Mac would have one easily..

I think you mean "won" not "one". And living in a world with one company making hardware AND software would have been SO much better. How is this drivel modded insightful?

Re:big (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#42940521)

Nobody wants their phone to be as reliable as Windows. They want it to work 24x7x365. When was the last time it was "ok" to have to reboot your phone. Microsoft makes neat toys and cheap PC software - but reliable and "applicance-like" in a way that a Mac or DVD player or a toaster is - they are not.

It's kind of like why nobody buys the Chevy Volt - it's a $40k Chevy econobox. Chevy != high tech quality, that's what Toyota is for.

You missed 0.2425 days (5, Funny)

jabberw0k (62554) | about 2 years ago | (#42941219)

I would prefer 24x7 to 24x7x365, as the latter misses leap years. It is my understanding, though, that Windows Phones now have achieved five-nines uptime, running properly 9.9999% of the time.

Re:You missed 0.2425 days (1)

Spectre (1685) | about 2 years ago | (#42941309)

I would prefer 24x7 to 24x7x365, as the latter misses leap years. It is my understanding, though, that Windows Phones now have achieved five-nines uptime, running properly 9.9999% of the time.

This should get a billion funny mods.
I actually re-read that percentage 'cause I couldn't believe anybody would think MS had 5 9's on anything, then on the second read finally noticed where the decimal place was!
Thanks for the late night chuckle.

Re:big (1, Troll)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#42941335)

Nobody wants their phone to be as reliable as Windows. They want it to work 24x7x365

Welcome to 2013! You must be a time traveler from the late 1990's! Today, Windows is very stable, as is their phones. In the off chance that you're not a time traveler, you should consider working on your trolling skills.

Re:big (5, Insightful)

Pausanias (681077) | about 2 years ago | (#42940523)

It's Windows. Everything had to be windows. They stuck to windows until the gamechangers (iPhone, Android) had market dominance... now is a little too late to switch everything over to Metro.

The problem is, you can't just always be reactive. You have to lead at some point, with real innovation. And this company has simply never done that.

Re:big (4, Insightful)

Teresita (982888) | about 2 years ago | (#42940549)

It's Windows. Everything had to be windows. They stuck to windows until the gamechangers (iPhone, Android) had market dominance... now is a little too late to switch everything over to Metro.

When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If Microsoft was a bit smaller, like Adobe, and only had Word going for them, they'd push out a Word Phone. Sell Word Tablets. Get Marky Mark to do their commercials, say, "Word Up."

Re:big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940799)

It's Windows. Everything had to be windows.

And in an irony with Windows 8 everything is treated as a touch-device.

Re:big (2)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 2 years ago | (#42940905)

The problem is, you can't just always be reactive

You're so wrong. In fact, I will predict right now that Microsoft will continue to always be reactive.

Re:big (3, Insightful)

sir-gold (949031) | about 2 years ago | (#42940963)

It's Windows. Everything had to be windows.

This is probably the most important cause of microsoft's gradual downfall over the last 10-12 years. With each of their attempts to build a music player, an ebook reader, or a phone, every time an engineer would show his prototype to a manager, the first thing that manager would say is "thats neat, but how does it relate to windows?"

Microsoft is a company that has poured billions into researching product diversification, while still possessing a complete unwillingness to actually diversify. It's kinda like a fat guy who buys all the Weight Watchers meals every week, but lets it all spoil and go to waste because he would rather eat delivery pizza and chinese takeout instead.

Re:big (2)

DanFelixPierce (2663805) | about 2 years ago | (#42940581)

I had figured that Microsoft had the mobile market locked up when Palm started shipping Treo phones with Windows mobile on them. What killed them is the internet. A platform that they didn't control but that everyone had access to. Google killed them on search and web based e-mail and Apple killed them on hardware that made accessing the internet easy.

Re:big (3, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 2 years ago | (#42941261)

^^^ What killed them was themselves, when Microsoft literally abandoned it when it was finally becoming good.

WinMo 6.5 was fine... as a pocket laptop & PDA with built-in wireless data.It was utterly dysfunctional for making voice calls, but that was just the deal those of us who used it made with the devil. Given a month or two of hardcore tweaking & thirdparty enhancements, it blew away both iPhone AND the first year or two of Android.

Really, 90% of its real-world usability problems were caused by HTC's last-minute ill-conceived decision to eliminate the menu & ok hard buttons from most of their phones around 2008 (which caused endless misery when a missed call or unnoticed text msg activated the touchscreen in your pocket).

If Microsoft had made "phone" just another app with first-class API support (allowing thirdparty phone apps instead of treating "phone app" as HTC's private domain), and rolled out an open, Android-like app market, they would have been a strong force keeping the fire lit under Google's feet. They would have absolutely lost marketSHARE to Android (& iOS), but would probably have twice as many users today as they had in 2008 (due to the market itself growing).

WinMo wasn't "open" in the purest Android sense, but with a few improvements to strengthen its API for "phone" apps, it would have been more de-facto open & hackable by end users than a non-rooted Android phone is today.

Re:big (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42941461)

Interesting point.

Re:big (3, Insightful)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | about 2 years ago | (#42940589)

Considering the lead Microsoft had in the mobile phone market, they were there in 2002 (before Blackberry, I believe), but somehow they never made it work. I'm not sure exactly why. It's actually surprising, not that they failed, but how big their failure actually is.

They knew it was important, they tried to get the market, had a huge lead, and they failed. It's a little more than 'inadequate.'

To me, it's not really surprising at all. It's the same reason planned economies fail. A wholly top-down approach fails a lot of the time. The sad part, from MS's perspective, should be not realizing where they could utilize their monopoly to extend into safer arenas with clear pathways that top-down market acquisition could be achieved. But, then, MS's movement into mobile phones was presumably precipitated by fear--ie, they did get the top-down view right that smart phones would be a major player in the future*. Fear is a great way to waste money and market share.

*Then again, MS has thrown money at all sorts of ventures that may, in the future, be a major player. And only later, when the technology developed, was the market realized and by then MS had missed the boat. Meanwhile, its repeated attempts to leverage its "gems"--Windows and/or Office--have generally failed. Perhaps that's the real reason I'm not surprised that MS has yet another failure. Of course, most ventures in business are failures. It's just that most ventures that fail big close because they don't have tons of money behind them. Oh, and this applies just as much to Google, Apple, etc.

Re:big (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about 2 years ago | (#42940609)

I'd attribute it to the lack of competition personally. The closest thing to Windows Mobile phones were PDAs if I recall correctly, but PDAs aren't phones. It was like the Tablet PC running Windows XP -- unneeded at the time and perhaps even poorly marketed (how exactly does one market the need for a PC in your hand when a laptop works just as well and is arguably more durable?) Back then, Microsoft controlled most of the PC market, so there wasn't any need for heavy marketing, I suppose.

Re:big (2, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#42940759)

Considering the lead Microsoft had in the mobile phone market, they were there in 2002 (before Blackberry, I believe), but somehow they never made it work.

Because Microsoft has no taste. It can't design for shit, and it never could. Thus we now have a situation where, in spite of Microsoft being "there in 2002", the iPhone business unit at Apple generates more revenue than Microsoft. Not the Windows Phone business unit - the entirety of Microsoft.

Re:big (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42941443)

Maybe; WP7 does look good though. It was definitely ahead of Android as far as design goes.

Re:big (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 2 years ago | (#42940813)

The problem was that MS was targeting the wrong market. MS has made their biggest gains in the enterprise market first then consumer later. For PCs most consumers don't have a choice but Windows. Unless they got a Mac. With the mobile phone market, MS was always targeting enterprises and competing with RIM. Maybe they thought the same thing would happen again they would get some traction in the consumer market but Apple beat them to it. Apple never compete directly with RIM or MS as they targeted the consumer smart phone market exclusively. The iPhone has enough features to use in the enterprise but that's not they where they made their mark.

Re:big (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#42941297)

There is the big point. MS got in on the OS primarily because they were the only real choice for the PC when it came out and had a few years to get entrenched. They got Office in the door through their lock on the O/S.

They haven't been able to get anywhere since because they aren't the only option. Nobody will put up with their general klunkiness, gaping holes, and crashiness.

MS won't likely succeed like that again. They would have to get in first, ride on the coattails of a well respected entity in the market like IBM was to business in the '80s. It would have to be a product that most people wrote off as a mere toy for the first several years. And the killer for them, they would have to be a nobody so that their involvement wouldn't attract more technically capable and equally well funded competition.

They got a once in several lifetimes opportunity and made the very most of it, but it won't likely happen again.

Re:big (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#42941435)

I don't know, they've done ok with the xbox. You'd think they could do at least as well with a phone as they did with the xbox.

Ah well ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940407)

at least he admitted it.

But I guess he was talking about the past. At the moment M$ is doing a lot of things right and I guess they will become more important as a mobile platform in the next few years (given they stay on track). WM 6.5 was one of the worst mobile experiences I ever had. I switched to an iPhone 2 back then and I felt that it was a game changer for me that turned a phone into an usefull device. Later, when I got annoyed with Apples politics (with an ending contract at my provider), I switched to Android and have since than invested a lot in it. There are a few Apps I never want to miss again and WP8 would have to have them (or something compareable) before I would switch again. I think a lot of people have now invested their money in other eco systems (Android, iOS and BB) and they would be reluctant to switch to another system. That's why WM8 will have an extra stony way back into the market (I think). I hope they make it though!

Re:Ah well ... (1)

The Snowman (116231) | about 2 years ago | (#42940611)

But I guess he was talking about the past. At the moment M$...

You lost me there: http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/07/22 [penny-arcade.com] .

Re:Ah well ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941363)

So? Loser.

Even the commercials are horrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940413)

The commercials are on par with the ones by Apple. A guy taking pictures and a guy saying that the phone is yellow. Holy shit.

"Perhaps it isn't newsworthy..." (4, Interesting)

avatar139 (918375) | about 2 years ago | (#42940433)

Clearly, you must be new here!

You bet it was wrong! (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42940441)

I should have left that start menu on it.

Live the silly tiles to the non touch dual screen 24 inch monitor setup where that rightfully belongs.

Worse it runs too well and does not have limitations like a 32 meg file limit borrowed from Windows 3.0 left. That means people wont keep buying over and over again as we remove each limit to show off how hip they are to run the latest and greatest like Windows was pre-XP.

What goes around, comes around (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940467)

A lot of it can be traced to Microsoft's bullying behavior throughout the '90s, when they (along with Intel) owned the digital platforms that mattered. Carriers, handset vendors, application developers, and technically savvy consumers remember that era and don't want to be bullied again. So just canning the EVPs and SVPs in charge of Windows Phone development isn't likely to change things. Getting rid of Ballmer and replacing him with someone who's not a 15-year Softie, now that might be perceived differently.

Mistake?? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940527)

It may be a mistake but weighed against the disaster of Balmer's leadership of Microsoft... You'd be forced to conclude the mobile market was a success.

Understatment of year; they took nokia down !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940533)

Maybe they did that intentionally. The question though is how they plan to get into the space now that they destroyed competition and have created a bad reputation.

He also admitted he is not happy with Balmer (5, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#42940541)

I happen to agree with that.

Will Bill Gates return then? I like the newer gentler Microsoft even if it is turning incompetent. If Bill was left IE would still have IE 6 crap in their on purpose to make it incompatible with everything else and .docx would be a drmed binary format with no OpenXML so no LibreOffice or GoogleDocs compatibility.

He did the same tricks with SCO Unix before they sold it completely to make sure apps could not be ported. Balmer is too stupid to be this evil

Re:He also admitted he is not happy with Balmer (5, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#42940789)

Will Bill Gates return then? I like the newer gentler Microsoft even if it is turning incompetent. If Bill was left IE would still have IE 6 crap in their on purpose to make it incompatible with everything else and .docx would be a drmed binary format with no OpenXML so no LibreOffice or GoogleDocs compatibility.

The reason Microsoft isn't doing this crap any more (at least not nearly as much) isn't because Ballmer is less ruthless than Gates was. It's because the European Union found the balls to do what the US antitrust authorities wouldn't, and actually effectively regulated Microsoft's worst anticompetitive excesses. Not only that, but an array of governments and large corporations got bit hard by Microsoft's lock-in as a result of the IE6 fiasco, so they made it clear that they weren't going to put up with any more proprietary nonsense like ActiveX. The whole reason why OOXML was created is that many government agencies insisted on an open and documented file format, and were about to switch to ODF if Microsoft had held the line on their opaque binary blobs.

Re:He also admitted he is not happy with Balmer (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 2 years ago | (#42940965)

Everyone locked into ActiveX did so willingly. MS never held a gun to anyone's head and the problems inherent with it were obvious from the day of release.

He's Chairman of the Board (1, Insightful)

bunbuntheminilop (935594) | about 2 years ago | (#42940547)

He says 'Microsoft made a mistake', not 'the Board didn't lead the company in the right direction'.

Why do I get the feeling that he won't take any personal responsibility for the running of Microsoft?

Re:He's Chairman of the Board (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940667)

because he does not run it. He has no operational involvement at all. His position is such because of his stock holdings and it is good for the brand to have his name still be involved.

Re:He's Chairman of the Board (2, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | about 2 years ago | (#42940767)

He may not run Microsoft, but he's the Chairman of the Board that CHOOSES the guy that runs Microsoft. And year after year, Microsoft's Gates-led Board reaffirms its faith in Ballmer.

How's that worked out for them?

Re:He's Chairman of the Board (2)

Teresita (982888) | about 2 years ago | (#42940839)

He may not run Microsoft, but he's the Chairman of the Board that CHOOSES the guy that runs Microsoft. And year after year, Microsoft's Gates-led Board reaffirms its faith in Ballmer.

That doesn't shock me. Back in the Day, Bill had a Japanese buddy named Kazuhiko Nishi who spent a million dollars building a giant robot dinosaur for a TV show promoting Microsoft products, then had to bail him out when he dropped $275K on a stock scam. Sounds just like a proto-Ballmer.

Re:He's Chairman of the Board (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940669)

This is the same guy that said with a straight face that Bing is a better product than Google.

Everyone should realize by now that Billg is old and senile and not listen to him anymore.

Re:He's Chairman of the Board (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 2 years ago | (#42940953)

I use Bing all the time. In fact it is my standard search engine... I find it very good...and I am a google everything person.

Re:He's Chairman of the Board (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940973)

The board of a public company does not "run" the company. How could they when the jobs are part time and provide only occasional access to senior executives other than the CEO. And the chairman does not necessarily control the board, s/he just runs the meetings and is first among equals when it comes to influence.

What the board does is review the quarterly financial reports, reviews the strategic plans presented by the CEO and (sometimes) his top subordinates, and may ask for review of acquisitions, divestments, or significant capital expenditures. They set the CEO's compensation, and can replace the CEO if they feel that's appropriate. The board does this collectively, not the chairman singlehandedly (otherwise, the CEO could never be removed in a company where the CEO was also Chairman).

Too bad really... (0, Troll)

ndykman (659315) | about 2 years ago | (#42940555)

Windows Phone 8 is actually a pretty compelling product. Not the best match for desktop or laptops, but it really is effective in the mobile environment. It does just what I need it to do, quickly. It doesn't want to make you fiddle with it, or use it over and over.

I do hope that Microsoft can establish a profitable sector in the market, because I really do appreciate the platform.

Re:Too bad really... (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42940621)

Windows Phone 8 is actually a pretty compelling product. Not the best match for desktop or laptops, but it really is effective in the mobile environment. It does just what I need it to do, quickly.

If that is true, then it's the first windows phone os that is a compelling product. You're the only person I've seen say anything nice about it, though.

Re:Too bad really... (1)

uutf (2432816) | about 2 years ago | (#42940739)

If that is true, then it's the first windows phone os that is a compelling product. You're the only person I've seen say anything nice about it, though.

Really? Most things I've read say "great OS, could do with more apps"
And that certainly holds true from my experiences with Windows Phone 7/7.5 (haven't played with 8 yet)

Re:Too bad really... (2)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about 2 years ago | (#42940997)

It's actually good. Not perfect by any stretch, but good. WP9 will probably be caught up on features and have new stuff to boot.

Most of the people ragging on it are either people who reflexively hate MS or people who used WP7 early on and dont' realize that things change.

When people talk about getting new phones I always recomend they give it a try, if you dont' like it that's fine, but don't just dismiss it out of hand, try it out and see if you like it.

Re:Too bad really... (1)

DogDude (805747) | about 2 years ago | (#42941343)

You're the only person I've seen say anything nice about it, though.

You should do a bit more reading. Most people who actually use it like it quite a bit. Most of the very easy to find online reviews also say that it's a pretty darned good product, with quite a few saying it's better than i* and Android. I really like my Windows Phone (my second). That makes two people, if you're Google-phobic.

Great job Microsoft! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940557)

You heavily promote a WP 7.5 product - the Lumia 900 - and not two months later you declare it to be incapable of running WP8. Good job of throwing WP7.5 users to the wolves. And they wonder why they're losing money...

Windows Phone could have been the best phone OS (2, Insightful)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | about 2 years ago | (#42940577)

by a boggy mile, but it still wouldn't have sold. And that's because they've become a dirty brand - generally people use windows, not because they like it, but because they need to run particular software (office, business apps, games) or because they'd rather a mac but can't justify the expense. They have irritated geeks with their anti-competitive behaviour, and seem to be heading into an even more restrictive and walled-garden approach - but starting with the wall before really having a must-have product. These geeks are often the IT-support for friends/family with windows, and they're saying avoid microsoft unless you really have to. On top of all this, even among the general public, microsoft are not a cool brand (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cX4t5-YpHQ, http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/08/12/1732248/msft-reaches-out-to-hackers-do-epic- [slashdot.org] ). All they've got left going for them is their enterprise image. The 'if you want a proper computer to do work on, you use windows' image. But with Metro, they are just about to throw this down the pan, too. They are doing what nearly cost Blackberry their business - not realising their sales to the consumer were based on their cachet selling to enterprise, and by chasing the consumer, they will lose both groups of customer. And, frankly, after all the dirty tricks they've tried, you can't say they didn't deserve it.

Re:Windows Phone could have been the best phone OS (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42940601)

It didn't sell not because people hated Microsoft, most people don't give a shit, but because it sucked. And it still sucks. wm2003 sucked, and wm6 sucked, and now my phone runs wm6.5 and guess what? it still sucks. (Look, sue me, it was the most-featured free phone. I can run gingerbread on it, too, for about four hours between free reboots.) And by all accounts WP7 and 8 suck just like WM did, so the moral of the story is that windows phones suck. We don't need to look any further for reasons why they don't sell.

Re:Windows Phone could have been the best phone OS (2)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about 2 years ago | (#42941003)

Not all accounts. Try WP8 before you dismiss it, you may not like it, but it is absolutely worth a look.

I think he's talking about Windows Mobile (3, Interesting)

lseltzer (311306) | about 2 years ago | (#42940585)

In the context of the article he's talking about Microsoft's *old* phone strategy. Windows Mobile was basically an attempt to do the Blackberry thing with Windows. It could have done worse, but obviously it didn't succeed, which is why they dumped it for Windows Phone. I don't think he's criticizing Windows Phone.

Re:I think he's talking about Windows Mobile (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#42940809)

In the context of the article he's talking about Microsoft's *old* phone strategy. Windows Mobile was basically an attempt to do the Blackberry thing with Windows. It could have done worse, but obviously it didn't succeed, which is why they dumped it for Windows Phone.

I don't think he's criticizing Windows Phone.

But then, why is he criticizing Ballmer too?

Eugenics (2)

ezwip (974076) | about 2 years ago | (#42940599)

Gee Bill I'd love to put more money in your pocket so you can euthanize more people but... there are other cell phone companies to choose from.

Gates is in denial (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940643)

Is that all Billy has to say ?

Microsoft is an EPIC FAIL in the mobile market simply because nobody wants to run a version of Windows on their mobile!

It's funny to think that WIndows CE came out in 1998, years before the iPhone, yet Microsoft did ***nothing*** to advance this platform into a viable and profitable mobile platform.

It's in the name: WINDOWS phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940683)

Well the failure is written right there in the name: "Windows" Phone. They already started with one hand tied behind their backs and had to make a windows like phone.

That's why you got the same metaphors, Windows buttons, dialogs etc. The designers were never free to make the best phone, they were always stuck trying to make a Windows phone that was any good.

Job's on the other hand, didn't require Apple make a "Mac Phone".

You can see this with the tablets, Windows is best suited to a mouse because of the scroll bars/windows/little widgets etc. Tablets need big touchable things and simple feedback (since the screen is underneath the finger so complex feedback tends to be overlooked). So they're not a happy marriage. Yet here we are with Windows 8, and the designers are stuck with the same problem, how to make Windows more tablet'y!

Another call for Ballmer's bad strategy (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 years ago | (#42940713)

You have to start counting the cards against Ballmer. Windows Mobile was a dominant product up until the iPhone. Symbian was lame and Blackberry was coming on strong. Had they put together a good game plan, working from their strengths, they would have had a better position than they are now. I'm afraid buying a Windows Phone is a losing proposition because 1) Not many phone manufacturers will want to support it, unless MSFT pays most of the freight and 2) Not many developers are running to the platform even though they're opening their arms to get anybody to come over. That means MSFT will have to subsidize on both fronts, which if you're new into the market isn't much of a stretch except they've been in the mobile space for over a decade. And, to be honest, the MSFT ship seems to be missing the dock on quite a few things, which ultimately lead straight to Ballmer's desk. Yes, the company is successful but it's getting passed very quickly by Apple, Google and I'll be interested to see if Blackberry's First Quarter numbers don't do better than Windows Phone 8 in terms of shipped units. If the latter happens I'd stick a fork in it for MSFT and try to recoup what they can from their Desktop/Tablet endeavor or ultimately, just start porting office to Android and wave a white flag.

Re:Another call for Ballmer's bad strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940907)

Exclusive deals only work when you have people clamoring for your device. Otherwise, sell it unlocked at a cheap price and get market penetration.

Symbian was winning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940931)

You know that Symbian had the biggest market share by a long way? Even in 2010 it was selling more than iPhone. I agree with you about Ballmer, but I think Nokia's problems were ALIGNING THEMSELVES WITH BALLMER'S MICROSOFT.

" That means MSFT will have to subsidize on both fronts

Well of course that's what the $2 billion to Nokia was about, a subsidy to get the price down, coupled to a patent play to try to attack the winners. The patent play let them force Samsung to make a WinFail phone.

Blackberry had a niche, and that was the keyboard. The keyboard on the Blackberry was fantastic for text, coupled to an app ideal for text. But the world has moved on, I think they should make Texting focussed Android phones now.

"start porting office to Android

If Office wasn't ported properly to RT or Windows 8 (it's got no touch design), then it will never be ported to Android. Office division thinks they're successful based on sales, but sales are based on lockin not product. So they'll be hoisted by their own hubris soon enough. They didn't get on board with RT, they need a good management to push them, Ballmer isn't it, so they'll find the same market flip:

Office will flip away from MSOffice in future,
Windows is CURRENTLY flipping
Windows Phone has ALREADY flipped away from them

Really Ballmer's effect is really clear, a big slow motion train wreck. He'll keep increasing prices to keep the earnings increasing, but making the flip faster.

Re:Another call for Ballmer's bad strategy (2, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#42941171)

I always thought Paul Allen was the real brains at Microsoft anyway. Gates and Ballmer were the ruthless cutthroats who bamboozled IBM. What they did to wring IBM's business away isn't going to work against Google and Apple as it's a different era not to mention the EU isn't going to allow that stuff anymore.

Loop da loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940791)

I like Billy G (perhaps unlike most here), but it... failed... because it failed...?

Ballmer (4, Interesting)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 years ago | (#42940795)

At what point is Ballmer going to be held responsible any of the "mistakes" that Microsoft has been making? The guy is bulletproof beyond all logic for a publicly traded company.

Strategy is confusing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42940883)

Let's forget that Microsoft had mobile devices before. I don't see how they think they can get market share by having exclusive deals and expensive phones in the US. Sell the Nokia Lumia 620 in the US. I want a phone that dials. I'm not buying it for an easier way to get to Facebook or Skydrive. I don't want the crapware I get with a new computer on a new phone.

Yeah they did (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941077)

"We didn't miss cell phones,"

Yes you sure did. I can't imagine a more pusher-like half-assed offering than Windows phone 8. Phone 7.5 was crap but that could be forgiven as u really were late then..

But don't fret. I had to download a new dialer app for my Android phone as it was loading Skype every time I tried to phone so you're not the only crap out there. There's still only one company doing smart phones right - Apple, and since I don't want that, it's back to dumb phones and ultra smart PC's for me..

Re:Yeah they did (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#42941183)

Apple is sitting on their iPhone success. They're letting the Droids overtake them. The iPhone 5 is really nice but it's not like there aren't offerings from other vendors that compete. They need to get out there and prove they can innovate without Steve.

At Barnes and Noble (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about 2 years ago | (#42941101)

I just saw the 2013 printing of his book The Road Ahead with a sticker on the cover which read: Now Revised To Include Wireless.

Devs hate Win 8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941153)

In general, developers are hating Windows 8; and Microsoft is expecting them to jump on another platform that's more of the same?

Gates-ian Strategic Wording (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42941201)

'Mistake' = No Blame.

'Failure' = Someone IS To Blame.

Gates cannot come to grips that HE is the source of the FAILURE ! Furthermore He cannot push this off to Balmer, like so many times in the past (behind closed doors but the windows were open ! snicker snicker).

XD

The phone????? (1)

CPNABEND (742114) | about 2 years ago | (#42941321)

Has anybody looked at Office 2013? I got a copy for $9.95 through the Micro$soft home user program. They are re-making all of their APPS look like the phone. The package was about $11.00 more than it was worth. The company is putting all of their eggs in the "Metro" basket, and it will not end up well for them, unless Ballmer walks through computer stores with a baseball bat to "convince" people to buy their products.
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