Does Microsoft fail?

An interesting article by Charlie Demerjian "Microsoft has failed" is actively discussed at SlashDot and other western sites . It is written in complex English, but raises topical issues, not limited, for example, to the convenience or inconvenience of the tiled interface. Although they say about the author that he often writes too gloomy, but in my opinion, the material is in the style of a kind sarcasm of an indifferent person, and is quite worthy of publication and discussion on the hub Translated 1v1, unchanged.

Does Microsoft fail?

Nov 14, 2012
Charlie Demerjian @

Microsoft has big problems: the 2 main product lines fail, and the search for the guilty is accelerated. This time, Windows 8 is blamed for Steve Sinofsky, but the real problem is the behavior model that such actions illustrate.
Microsoft is far out of line with today's realities: the few markets it plays in evaporate at an astonishing rate. The company’s long-known habit of shutting itself off from the rest of the world, ignoring the opinions of others, works well until there is a worthy alternative, and such a strategy was fundamental for the company for so long that there was nothing else left. The model works, but as the walls of indifference grow, customer irritation grows, thereby adding value to possible alternatives. This cycle is repeated until there are no alternatives. As soon as they appear, then everything collapses with awesome speed.

Any company that plays such a game for too long becomes a byword, and even the chance that something can change becomes impossible. Microsoft has been in this game for a long, long time. By betting on linking users instead of providing them with real value, the company's product lines have stagnated, and distribution channels are controlled by the iron hand of the monopoly. Any attempts to innovate in Windows-PCs have not been allowed for more than a decade, and woe to those who tried to change the state of affairs. History books are full of ghost companies trying to change the Windows Experience. The company's dissatisfaction with those who tried was quick and fatal. At least before.

As a result, the development of Windows reached the point where any competition was eliminated, even in the bud. Redmond's rules read: “Don't change anything unless it crushes someone doing something innovative.” So they acted. And the market stagnated. Ask yourself: when was the last time Microsoft did something truly innovative? What was it - the result of creative power within the company, or copying competitors?
Sooner or later, the one who will do something better than the molasses offered by Microsoft will come. In reality, this happens all the time. But what if, at some point, someone succeeds, and for some reason, Microsoft cannot crush them like a cockroach? Then the walls of indifference will be an alternative. Then the irritation accumulated over a long time will find a way out. And then Microsoft will not envy.

In this situation, the company has 2 exits, both of which are rather gloomy. They can radically change the way they do business, or dry up and die. Before you point your finger at Windows 8 and say, “but they change and create innovation,” wait a minute, this is not what you think.

Microsoft has 3 foundational product lines, Windows, Windows Server, and Windows Mobile / Phone / WART / How They They Call It Today. Other cash cows, Office and Exchange exclusively work for them. These applications use protocols that are tied to them in suspicious ways and will not be executed elsewhere. So competitors are taken away from the opportunity to do what Microsoft can do - either directly, like Novell, or indirectly, making costs unprofitable. Thus, the walls grow, with each cycle, as well as the cost of overcoming them, and the value of the alternatives, too.

The problem is that if you are faced with a choice of 100% Microsoft or 0% Microsoft, it is not trivial if you refuse one thing, everything else disappears by itself. Once you start using Google Docs and related products, you no longer need Office. For you, or perhaps any other company, this saves you a few hundred dollars per user. If Office is not needed then Exchange is not needed either. If Exchange is not needed then Windows Server is not needed either. No need for Office means no need for Windows. As soon as the top of the avalanche begins to move, its speed is eerily increasing. And we are all there. Exiting now is much easier than entering.

If you read the news about the dismissal of Steve Sinofsky (of his own free will at the peak of his own successes like Windows 8), you will notice some interesting quotes. Read the article in AllThingsD , especially the appendix at the end. Check out Steve Ballmer's quote,
“I appreciate the many years that Steven has dedicated the company,” said CEO Steve Ballmer. “The products and services that we have launched on the market in the last few months mark the beginning of a new era at Microsoft. We have laid an incredible foundation by launching the new Microsoft Office, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Microsoft Surface, Windows Server 2012 and 'Halo 4,' as well as integrating Bing, Skype and Xbox services perfectly into all our products. To ensure this success in the future, it is necessary to continue to work closely between all Microsoft groups, as well as to improve the integration and speed of development cycles of our future proposals. "

You will see that one offer is occupied by ordinary praises when the top manager leaves. The next three are dedicated to the straight line that Ballmer takes off, praising the level of integration and success of product lines. Has anyone guessed why he had gone so far?

Remember the days before Windows Phone 7, when Microsoft’s line of mobile OS crashed and was the laughing stock of the industry. Microsoft completely redid the OS and its appearance, paradigms, and also made it incompatible with all previously released applications. She spent almost half a billion dollars on her ad. She bought Nokia to simultaneously eliminate her competitor and take her market share.

At that time, Microsoft occupied about 12% of the OS market for smartphones, and Nokia a little more than 30%. By joining forces, Nokia and Microsoft, together with other partners selling Windows Phone 7.x, managed to achieve sales in about 2% of smartphones. The level of subsidies is high and only growing, and Windows Phone 8 is just entering the market. Luckily, it is incompatible with previous versions of 7, so anyone who bought one is "out of date" without warning.

Microsoft's intentions in the field of mobile devices have crashed so dramatically that it is unbelievable. Instead of eliminating the limitation that the vast majority of market participants who do not have a Windows phone have left overboard, Microsoft doubles the bets of the new round by playing the same compatibility before, to leave behind developers, competitors and innovators. It's funny that they did it in the name of compatibility. With Windows 8 (meaning Windows Phone 8? - approx. Translator), the current market share of which is rounded to zero, all already created applications for this platform remain out of work. Windows phone has not yet paid for the latest ad campaign, and may never pay for it.

Then came Windows 8, with a completely new interface for tablets, and WART. This is sad for business users, and anyone who takes any significant time to work in it will find out that the halo of novelty will disappear surprisingly quickly. To further aggravate the situation, Microsoft dropped the Surface bombon all of her partners, the very ones she kept on a short leash and properly tied bonds of monopoly. They were terribly angry, and before they were afraid to anger Redmond. As we exclusively reported earlier, HP abandoned WART . Now they are much more concerned about what will happen if they do not do the same.

Acer then delayed the release of Windows RT devices until the 2nd quarter, Taiwanese OEMs talk about it as dead. The rest are looking for an alternative, any alternatives, as the main priority. There has never been such a mass exodus before, and this is a one-way street. Microsoft bullied prices on WARTto an unbearable level, cut the prices of equipment partners, made it impossible for any vendor to release a profitable device on WART, and now it’s surprised at the news. And what is most shocking? Microsoft feigned surprise that all its partners do not like to enter the market with cut prices. As a pacifying gesture for OEMs, Microsoft chose the scapegoat and fired him, and then returned to her plans as if nothing had happened. For some reason, the partners did not buy it.

No one was surprised when Steve Ballmer called Surface sales “modest.” Mr. Ballmer is not one to understate anything; humble means an extreme degree of failure in his language. They say that Surface sales after a month of sales amounted to 4 million, which is hardly modest. But if you look at this figure in perspective, they say that Apple sold 5 million iPhone 5 on the first day, mainly because they could not cope with the supply, and another 3 million iPad Mini on the first weekend of sales. Indeed, modestly, and not a word about the returns, which, as we at SemiAccurate have heard, are surprisingly high. Surface is another failure. Apple also did not run a broad advertising company, they just released products.

This means that Windows Phone 7.x and 8, Surface, WART, Windows 8, as well as all the power of Microsoft’s unified ecosystem, were launched into a full attack on the two mobile device markets that Microsoft ousted from. They were supported by hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising, a high level of OEM incentives, and were sold through a network of dealers and stores controlled by a monopolist supplier. After all this, if you close your eyes to the initial slipping of new products, Microsoft has not even stood on its feet in the field of phones and tablets. Failure is not even a strong enough word for Microsoft's mobile ambitions.

And this already leads us to Windows 8 itself, the laughing stock of the world of operating systems. Not a single operating system since Windows Vista has been so fiercely ridiculed as 8ku. At first, it seemed funny - but, as we have said, the sensation of novelty quickly passes. It’s inconvenient to work with it on an old computer; you need a touch screen. Unfortunately, it is inconvenient to control (the interface) by touching on vertically located surfaces, as dozens of studies have shown. If you do not have a tablet, Windows 8 quickly becomes a disappointing exercise that causes pain in the arm. To make matters worse, it simply is not suitable for the tasks that most users in the offices are used to - make a document, prepare a table, reply to mail. Does it seem funny to you to constantly move your hands from the keyboard to the screen and back every time you need to click on any menu item in Word? Cool angular interface, or a nightmare of tunnel brush syndrome? By a lucky coincidence for those who are aware of the problem, Microsoft thought this issue up and made it impossible in a different way. The new interface cannot be avoided, and this is not permissible for office work.

Windows 8 developers are also a nightmare. The best games are one area where Windows still doesn't have much competition, but Microsoft doesn't seem to care. Even without much effort, Windows 8 excelled in successfully tearing down developers. Valve first publicly released Windows 8 , then Blizzard supported Valve . A few very large and influential game developers in private conversations with SemiAccurate about Windows 8 expressed themselves much more expressively. No one likes what Microsoft did, some just don’t say it in public.

Microsoft has gone from an incredible influence in the software and games market to the moment when they are forced to pay developers to transfer (port) applications. Usually this means a death knell on the platform, and most developers are already looking for new pastures where the grass is greener. The main attraction for end users has died with Windows 8, and if you pay for every sneeze, you can’t reach it even with Microsoft’s deep pockets. Product sales will never cover outside investment at this stage: without Windows 7 and backward compatibility, there is no market.

The market for Windows 8 as a whole also does not look rosy. OEMs, chip makers, and Wall Street have jointly tried to minimize declining PC sales in anticipation of Windows 8. With the release of this OS, Q4 and Q1 estimated sales growth of 5-10%. Once pent-up demand is satisfied, good times await.
Then came the first substantiated confirmation, Investigation by Joanne Feeney from Longbowwith two comments about the health of the PC market. In it, she claims that there will be no changes in laptop sales in Q4, desktop PCs will fall by 5-10%, and the numbers coincide with the real ones. Windows 8 came out and sales are falling? During Christmas and Chinese New Year? True? Stop and think about it. When the previous versions published articles about people spending the night in tents to buy one of the first. Does this indicate market acceptance of the product?

Here we are: Microsoft has a complete failure in phones, a complete failure in tablets, and the image of a star that has lost its popularity in the eyes of the new generation. A company can talk about technological excellence at least all day, but people do not believe. Windows 8 itself seems to be pulling PC sales down, and it will hit server OS sales too, which are also losing market share at an alarming rate. In order to stop the recession after only losing most of its market share, Microsoft decided to make the mind an incomprehensible move to force the tablet interface in the servers . If that doesn't open your eyes to how blind Microsoft is, then nothing can.

To correct things, Ballmer did not admit that the company had large-scale problems, did not say that their actions not only could not eliminate them fundamentally, but also ruined the market for other products that were previously safe, and did not announce at least something that could shed light on it. Instead, he chose a scapegoat, fired Steve Sinofsky, and said that Surface's sales were “modest.” IPad sales are not modest. IPhone sales are not modest. Android phone sales are not modest. Android tablet sales are modest only when compared to Apple products. Surface sales are also not modest, they are just a disaster.

Back to Ballmer's eulogy about Sinofsky, remember? He said that this guy gave them everything, did an excellent job, even firing, most likely instead of Ballmer. The rest of the quote is about how Microsoft is now united, ahead of colleagues. Everything works as one. True, you will be forgiven if you think of it as a single whole, which will lead to even greater integration in the future. Fine.

Unless you have an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, they do not work very well with Microsoft, as Microsoft intended. They cannot be used with Office, they cannot be integrated with Server 2012 applications properly, and they cannot run the small number of Windows 8 / WART applications that exist now. Of course, Halo 4 will not start on them, and there will never be a surface, but there will be a choice of applications compared to which Microsoft looks like a dwarf, and you can not mention libraries of music and video, which have no equal. If you give up your iPhone, iPad, phone or tablet on Android, you can be part of 2% of Microsoft-loyal users who have believed all the promises and enjoy a world in which there are no products other than Microsoft.

For some reason, 98% of the market does not seem to be about to give up its devices. In fact, you could argue that just the opposite is happening. Windows 8 sales are drying up, and the target audience does not seem to want to pay more for less functionality just to get an OS that has “modest” sales and has no applications. For obvious reason. Abandon iTunes and the collection of purchased songs, movies and TV shows? From applications for Android or iOS, for which there is no analogue in the Microsoft ecosystem? All this for a lot of money and a strange disappointing interface? What is there not to like? For what reason, at least one user may not want to buy all their libraries again, just to go to Surface?

For some reason, people do not just stand by; users who had previously bought a computer on Windows and were waiting indefinitely for an upgrade, either decided not to do it, or had done so long ago. That very deadly spiral of small market share doomed Windows Phone 7 and 8 to failure, stalled WART and Surface, and the entire OEM community is looking for or creating viable alternatives to Windows itself as stung. They say that Microsoft itself has already written off hopes for the adoption of Windows 8 among business users. This means that all the sweets that are in Server 2012, we believe that some may be, will work only from a computer on Windows 8, like the previous 4-5 generations. Microsoft is very predictable.

So Android and iOS are not inferior to the Microsoft market, on the contrary, they are eating away chunks from sales of Windows 8. This means that Server 2012 is also declining in the eyes of end users. OEMs have an incentive to offer anything but Microsoft, and it all starts here. There is already a whole generation with tablets that don't have Windows. They use Google Docs, not Office. They use Gmail, not Outlook or Exchange.
They could use the allegedly decorated Microsoft Office 365, but for some reason they don’t want to spend money on the full Office desktop license, which seems to be required for this. You can also buy the service as a separate product, but those who wish are not visible. All cloud integration with Windows 8 in any form does not play a special role for you if you do not use Windows 8. Build - and hope that they come (cinema? A popular quote in the West about build a business, and hope that customers come - approx lane.) They built - and the customers came. Microsoft built another, and wonders why no one wants to buy expensive tickets again, which also have a small print on the back that forbids ever going anywhere else.

As a result, the deadly spiral for Microsoft is already in full swing, and management spends a lot of effort to untwist it even more. Anyone who decides to indicate that the entire ecosystem is collapsing, or - even worse - to propose an alternative, will follow Sinofsky. Or maybe the Guggenheimer? In any case, Microsoft does not want to change, and this is clear as God's day. Even if they would like, at the corporate culture level they have already passed the point of no return. The market share that had previously been leaked by a thin stream turned into a stormy stream, and the management is not aware of this, uncompromising and blind. Game over, chatter still lay some time, but this will not change the result. Microsoft failed. S | A



Personally, it seems to me that the article has sound thoughts:
  • new products (Office 2013, Windows 8) offer a new non-alternative interface that many do not like. In Windows 7 and Office 2010, working is much more comfortable and faster. I tried, but I can’t retrain. Yes, and why?
  • windows phone: dubious interface + few applications
  • those who don’t like the tiled interface are faced with a choice: either buy Windows 7 + Office 2010 (for sale now), or switch to Apple / Android / Linux (now or in the future)
  • it is frustrating that despite the rejection of the new interface by many users, the interface was still implemented. Those who used the Win7 start menu search know that applications like the Classic Start Menu are an unequal replacement.
  • adequate alternatives to office and win are not yet visible, but perhaps everything is going to this (since from the point of view of the user, the convenience of the interface in the latest Microsoft products has been worsened).

What do you think?

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