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Steve Ballmer: We Won't Be Out-Innovated By Apple Anymore 610

An anonymous reader tips an article about comments from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer regarding Microsoft's attitude toward Apple. It seems Microsoft is tired of being behind the curve in most areas of the tech market, and will be trying very hard to prevent Apple and other companies from beating them to the punch in the future. From the article: "In a recent interview, Ballmer explained that the company had ceded innovations in hardware and software to Apple, but that the-times-they-are-a-'changin. 'We are trying to make absolutely clear we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple,' Ballmer explained. 'Not the consumer cloud. Not hardware software innovation. We are not leaving any of that to Apple by itself. Not going to happen. Not on our watch.' ... An admirable goal, but it's fair to argue that attempting to innovate everywhere results in innovation nowhere. A big part of the reason Apple has been so successful is that they devote the bulk of their attention to only a few select market areas. By trying to innovate everywhere, so to speak, Microsoft runs the continued risk of spreading itself too thin and not really having a fundamental impact in any one market."
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Steve Ballmer: We Won't Be Out-Innovated By Apple Anymore

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  • Sorry (Score:5, Funny)

    by residieu ( 577863 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:50PM (#40606297)
    Sorry, Apple has a patent on innovation.
    • Re:Sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

      by poetmatt ( 793785 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:54PM (#40606349) Journal

      To me the humor is this: why are they going after apple? Let them, surely - but why do they think it is apple who is out innovating them as opposed to the entire technology industry at large?

      • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:03PM (#40606495) Homepage Journal

        "then they laugh at you"
        "then they fight you"
        "and then you win."

        It looks like Ballmer has decided to proceed from stage 2 to stage 3. This is really the first time I recall him doing anything to admit there's a problem. Usually the MS stage puppets just keep up the brainwashing with how MS is doing so well and owns the market and is the leader in everything and how the new blablabla is going to be such a smashing success. You know the gloves have come off when Ballmer admits they're behind.

        • by sneakyimp ( 1161443 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:13PM (#40606635)

          I was thinking more about the five stages of grief (Kübler-Ross model [wikipedia.org]), the first of which is denial:

          1) Denial
          2) Anger
          3) Bargaining
          4) Depression
          5) Acceptance

          I'd put old Steve Balls somewhere between #1 and #2.

          • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:28PM (#40606853) Homepage Journal

            I was thinking more about the five stages of grief (Kübler-Ross model [wikipedia.org]), the first of which is denial:

            1) Denial
            2) Anger
            3) Bargaining
            4) Depression
            5) Acceptance

            I'd put old Steve Balls somewhere between #1 and #2.

            Does this mean he's past the chair throwing stage? Tough times ahead for Herman Miller.

            • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @05:06PM (#40607331) Homepage Journal

              With regard to Apple, Microsoft will ALWAYS fail at this contest.

              Microsoft is built around and "Enterprise Sales Division". The existence of such a monstrosity is the death-knell for any company of tech-innovators.

              Apple has no such - and they are overturning MS in the "home turf" of corporate business customers. They do so without creating a separate business line of devices, "Enterprise" software or the RFQ-response configuration choices, beloved by hardware vendors selling to corporations.

              Microsoft sold out to ideas about business and capital very early - and were always based out of a Harvard Business School background - without the real hacker DNA. Ballmer never sold Billy's blue boxes, to start their enterprise... :-)

              Since 2001 MS spent a couple dozen BILLION on R&D. Yet they capitalized on nothing - despite ensconcing the best and brightest in world-class labs and facilities. Every "innovation" from MS has been an acquisition (TellMe, Kinect) or a "Me too" (.net, Windows imaging model, Silverlight, HyperV...)

              Ballmer's bruised ego is not enough of a motivating force to make any difference here. I look forward with relish to Microsoft's continued, punishing humiliation. There is really no other company so deserving of becoming the next RIM.

              • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @06:39PM (#40608351)

                you could say that the "me too" stuff was acquisition too - .NET was created by the same guy who did Delphi at Borland which prompter Microsoft to "buy" him and get him to work on J++. So its not surprising that he then went on to make J++++.

                Silverlight is pretty much the same stable, and dead too BTW. If you mean the XMl-based programming model of WPF, then I think they'd do well not to admit they created that mess.

                HyperV was a purchased product from Connectix in 2003/.

          • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @09:32PM (#40609797) Journal

            Hmmm...personally I'd put Steve-O at a solid 3 myself, just look at all the companies he has thrown money at either buying outright or trying to use to buy his way into a market that doesn't want them. See Zune, Kin, Nokia, for examples.

            The sad part is they are going classic cargo cult usability, where they think they can ape something and then recreate its success without asking WHY, why is it like this? The answer is simple: NOBODY and I mean NOBODY buys Windows because they like MSFT, they buy it because they have a bazillion third party X86 programs they want/need to run. this is completely the opposite of Apple, where big products like iTunes are owned by Apple. Also Apple has for the most part kept iOS and OSX separate entities, you don't see them throwing teeny tiny desktops onto iPhones like MSFT did for years, nor do you see them making OSX a single tasking phone OS which is the current meme at MSFT.

            In the end if Ballmer is to have a snowball's chance in hell in the mobile market he does NOT need to be aping apple, which will never ever work, what he instead needs to do is go crawling to Intel and AMD and beg their asses for chips that will work well in phones and tablets. Because without X86 support MSFT is well and truly fucked, and ironically its because "Devevlopers developers developers" who got tired of MSFT changing their fucking mind with regards to direction every 5 damned minutes (.NET? Silverlight? HTML V5?) are completely ignoring them for iOS and Android. And I don't think all the aping of Apple in the world is gonna get those devs back MSFT,not a chance.

        • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:43PM (#40607039) Homepage
          Honestly regardless ones feelings on apple or microsoft, this is a good thing for the consumer. The more the giants battle, to be number one, the better the outcome usually.

          standard car analogy, look at the stagnant small cars in the 80s, the imports came in and swooped up. Due to that, the domestics hard to reinvent themselves, and slowly but surely we have way better small cars now than we did then.
        • by tobiasly ( 524456 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @05:28PM (#40607595) Homepage

          "then they laugh at you"
          "then they fight you"
          "and then you win."

          And of course the "then they laugh at you" is very well documented [youtube.com].

          I love the part where he says (of the Motorola Q), "it'll do music, it'll do... uh, internet...". Ah, Steve, you slay me.

        • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @06:42PM (#40608363)

          Microsoft version:

          "first they laugh at you"
          "then you fail"
          "then they laugh at you again."

      • by catmistake ( 814204 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:52PM (#40607159) Journal

        It's Microsoft's long established development culture [google.com] – watch what Apple does... then implement whatever that is in Windows.

        Ballmer's previous failed plan for beyond the OS was " last to cool, first to profit." [marketplace.org] That didn't go over so well.

        Microsoft is not entirely unlike the relentless Joshua from WarGames, but unlike Joshua, Microsoft doesn't seem to be able to learn. [youtube.com]

        • Re:Sorry (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Eponymous Coward ( 6097 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @08:21PM (#40609221)

          watch what Apple does... then implement whatever that is in Windows

          And the one time they try to predict where Apple is going and beat them there, we end up with Windows 8 + Metro. I'm convinced that back in 2008 or 2009, Microsoft predicted that iOS and OSX would be merged. I really can't understand any other reason for their current strategy.

    • Re:Sorry (Score:5, Interesting)

      by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:14PM (#40606649)
      Balmer is tacitly admitting that the previous policy was to have Apple innovate, then copy them.
    • Re:Sorry (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:26PM (#40606825) Homepage Journal

      Sorry, Apple has a patent on innovation.

      Why stop at Apple? Everyone is out-innovating MSFT. They got lazy, back in the 90's and have to root out the rot in their company before they will be nimble enough to do anything. Best bet would be to spin off a tightly focused innovation group and pull in resources as needed from where ever they come from.

  • cool story bro (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:53PM (#40606333)

    "we are not going to leave any space uncovered to Apple"

    all that really says is they will be following Apple into any market even ones that aren't right for Microsoft. it actually sounds to me like they are doubling down on copying Apple.

    • Re:cool story bro (Score:5, Insightful)

      by postbigbang ( 761081 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:59PM (#40606439)

      Phones yielded to Apple and Android.

      Desktop operating systems yielded to MacOSX (and maybe Ubuntu)

      Tablets tossed with the Hail Mary of RT.

      Servers yielded to several versions of Linux (and here, Apple croaked).

      Cloud to dozens of IaaS and PaaS providers.

      Virtual machines handed on a platter to VMware, Citrix, RedHat, and varying others.

      OH! But Games! Microsoft has XBOX and Zune^H^H^H^H

      Steve: remember, it was you that mixed the kool aid.

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zrbyte ( 1666979 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:54PM (#40606353)

    Ballmer to MS board: "Please let stay as the CEO"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:05PM (#40606517)

      MS board to Ballmer: "No we not."

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:25PM (#40606803)

      Ballmer in a month: "They fled. The Apple louts fled. Indeed, concerning the fighting waged by the heroes of Microsoft yesterday, one amazing thing really is the cowardice of the Apple employees. We had not anticipated this... Their infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Redmond. Be assured, Redmond is safe, protected."

      • by rsborg ( 111459 )

        Ballmer in a month: "They fled. The Apple louts fled. Indeed, concerning the fighting waged by the heroes of Microsoft yesterday, one amazing thing really is the cowardice of the Apple employees. We had not anticipated this... Their infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Redmond. Be assured, Redmond is safe, protected."

        Microsoft's new product "Microsoft Baghdad Bob"

    • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @05:45PM (#40607797)

      After Jobs, Ballmer is the second best person for Apple. They should be paying his salary to keep working at Microsoft.

  • Hmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:55PM (#40606369) Homepage

    Why am I reminded of this [dilbert.com] Dilbert cartoon from last week?

    A decree from the CEO to be more innovative largely means nothing if they can't actually make the change in a meaningful way and bring out products.

    If Microsoft has been innovating and not creating products, they're idiots. If they haven't been innovating, well, that's the fundamental problem, isn't it?

    Microsoft has been so mired in the "copy someone else's product badly" mentality for so long, I question if Balmer understand what needs to be done to fix this. Certainly not just a speech.

    • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Informative)

      by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:03PM (#40606491) Homepage

      They've been innovating and not creating products. Microsoft has been very conservative. Go to http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/ [microsoft.com] and you'll be shocked how many cool ideas aren't seeing the light of day because they've been strategically focused and conservative. If Microsoft is willing to start taking risks again, and Windows 8 so far surely qualifies, I think it might get fun in tech again.

      • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:09PM (#40606559) Homepage Journal

        It's already fun in tech as long as you're not a microsoft-centric person.

        Quite frankly the farther I get from Microsoft-groupthink-land the better I feel. Since I'm a gamer there is nothing I can't do on my Ubuntu laptop that I can't do on any other O.S., plus I don't waste gbs on a huge Office install.

      • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:14PM (#40606645)
        Look at their Kinect. Microsoft did everything they could to keep it from becoming a mass-market device. Why? They could have written a PC driver in 1 day and sold thousands overnight, so why not? Makes you wonder. But in a nutshell, this is what happens when you try to drive the market instead of responding to it. It has to be a 2-way street between the consumer and the producer.
      • They've been innovating and not creating products. Microsoft has been very conservative.

        Well, that's quite sad then. I know they spend metric butt-loads of cash on R&D, but if they can't figure out which of those could lead to a marketable product ... they might as well not be doing the research.

        The reality is, to me (and likely loads of others), Microsoft has "innovated" very few actually cool things which have turned into products, and they sure as hell haven't been able to come up with any "disrupti

  • by Kergan ( 780543 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:56PM (#40606381)

    Ballmer seems to be citing the ongoing (prior?) battles as areas where MS intends to fight... That's great and all, assuming MS delivers, but they should instead be focussing on the next battles.

    • by Anarchitect ( 9282 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:05PM (#40606525) Journal

      A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.
      -- Wayne Gretzky

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Balmer just doesn't give a puck.

        • by grcumb ( 781340 )

          Balmer just doesn't give a puck.

          Ballmer heard that goalies win games, so he put 6 goalies on the ice. He's now substituting them with 6 wingers.

      • by dkf ( 304284 )

        A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.
        -- Wayne Gretzky

        Yet everything I've ever heard about Ballmer indicates that he's the type to hold a management meeting to agree where the puck was and to work out what their strategic approach to dealing with the whole puck-goal situation needs to be in the first place. Time and again MS come up with good things internally with great potential, and time and again they kill them for obscure reasons. They'll even try to throw competing teams at the same problem, if I've remembered right.

        It's no wonder that so many other comp

    • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:11PM (#40606595) Journal

      Yes, he is using the same strategy as the TSA. Focus on yesterday's problem, not tomorrow's.

    • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:26PM (#40606829)

      There's an oft-quoted line of Wayne Gretsky about skating to where the puck is going, rather than skating to where it is now. Steve Jobs quoted it a number of years ago regarding their strategy of looking towards whatever was coming next, rather than what consumers were using and wanting now.

      Microsoft has been a "skate to where the puck is" company for quite a few years now, which is why everything they've been putting out feels just a bit off and a bit behind. They've made indications in the last few months that they want to get away from that and actually start to be pushing boundaries, rather than filling in behind the people that push the boundaries. And I sincerely hope they do, since more innovation (and competition!) in the tech space is always a good thing. They certainly have an awesome R&D department that routinely puts out awesome stuff, but it's unfortunately very rarely realized in its full potential. I'd love to see them using the stuff they develop internally in big ways.

  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dciman ( 106457 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:57PM (#40606407) Journal

    they're going to do something that is completely against/opposite any and all products or direction they have ever made or gone? I'll believe it when I see it!

    They don't have the best track record on original products :)

  • by DavidHumus ( 725117 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:59PM (#40606441)

    Work smarter, not harder: http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1997-07-06/ [dilbert.com] .

    Because innovation is the same way - Ballmer doesn't want to be out-innovated in any of the established "hot" areas but he doesn't know what he doesn't know.

  • by c0c ( 2037104 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:00PM (#40606445) Homepage
    Why? Because Jobs is dead?
  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:01PM (#40606471)

    "Innovation." You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    You want to out-innovate Apple? Don't make a goal of going head-to-head with them everywhere - that's copying, the exact opposite of innovating. Compete where you actually have a newer, better product than they have. Compete where they have no product. Let them win where you cannot create a better or more innovative product. I'm sure Sun Tzu had something I could quote here, but I can't remember anything offhand.

    • by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:14PM (#40606647)
      As to Sun Tzu quotes, how about this one:

      ... there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. (5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

  • by bsy-1 ( 169906 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:02PM (#40606485) Journal

    So if a team of 20 build a new widget, which rockets into fame (yes this is a work of fiction), then the 2 people will get all the credit, 16 will get credit for being there, and the other 2 will be blow standards. I don't think we have to worry about Microsoft changing.

    • I completely agree. The way they have things set up, it's a race to be that top 1 in 10 not to go out on a limb and risk being label as the loser. Stick with what you know, make sure you only color inside the lines, refine something that worked in the past (or for someone else). But come up with wildly new ideas and get them out the door? Nobody is signing up for that.

      I know why they have this system in place, but it's so completely misguided them up to now that I don't know if they could recover from
      • Make your product the coolest there is and make no compromise to compatibility with previous products.

        Then support that product for it's entire lifecycle, including real updates. If you drop support for phones sold less than a year ago that run your current latest telephone OS, you will never get anyone to believe your product is worth spending 150% of the competitors price on. You can't have your cake and eat it too, if you drop support for older hardware, make sure the older hardware has served it's purp

  • by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `171rorecros'> on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:03PM (#40606497) Homepage
    Thankfully, all it takes is a declaration from the CEO to turn everything around. (At this point, sarcasm should actually condense out of the air around you.)
  • by the computer guy nex ( 916959 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:05PM (#40606519)
    http://smallbizlink.monster.com/news/articles/897-apple-we-say-no-to-good-ideas-every-day [monster.com]

    "Well, we are the most focused company that I know of, or have read of, or have any knowledge of. We say no to good ideas every day. We say no to great ideas in order to keep the amount of things we focus on very small in number, so that we can put enormous energy behind the ones we do choose, so that we can deliver the best products in the world. In fact, the table that each of you are sitting at today, you could probably put every product on it that Apple makes, and yet Apple’s revenue last year was over $40 billion. I think the only other company that could say that is an oil company."

    Microsoft is too large and unfocused to sustain innovation. They will continue to be fast followers, and still make plenty of money doing it.

  • by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:06PM (#40606531)

    We're at a stage in the computer industry where innovation is the LAST thing we need.

    What we need is bug fixes and "refinement". Microsoft didn't need to force Metro on us...they just needed to perfect Windows 7. Apple isn't redesigning OS X every 2 years. They're tweaking it an making it better.

    The endless push for NEW products is what screws up the computer industry. Nothing is ever actually *finished*.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:09PM (#40606567) Journal
    If Ballmer thinks that his problem is being 'out-innovated' by Apple, his attempt to respond is going to be about as effectual as a fish out of water.

    Apple doesn't really do innovation as much as they do polished, decisive, takes on things that were previously relegated to niche status or mediocrity. They've also shown a historical willingness to murder even their popular products in order to introduce something that they like better(ipod mini being the most notable recent example: killed at the height of its popularity in favor of more expensive and lower-capacity flash-based products, because rotating media were deemed sufficiently inelegant.

    If 'innovation' were the problem, Microsoft could trivially bury Apple in wacky stuff coming out of MS research. As it is, though, they can't even refrain from eating any of their own young that don't play nicely enough with Windows/Office, and they have a veritable talent for squandering even the technical superiority areas that they do have by making them too expensive or too complex for individual users(eg. MS had volume shadow copy in full working order since server 2003, and has substantial clout in terms of getting OEMs to build things, plus an embedded OS to license to them for the purpose. So why is it that they let Apple beat them to releasing a usable-by-morons home backup system(based on a rather more primitive and hacky architecture) 4 years later?)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @05:48PM (#40607827)

      Your use of "decisive" is probably the best word I've heard to describe Apple. What set them apart as far back as the gumdrop iMac wasn't their ability to say "no" to things or to innovate so much as their ability to say YES to things without qualification.

      That's Apple's unique strength. While everyone else is hedging their bets and keeping pokers in the fire, Apple bets the farm over and over again. They never doubt. They never second-guess themselves. A decision is made and that's that. They put every . last . resource . into the things that they run with, and as a result, those things carry the weight (the embodied human knowledge, labor, energy, research, refinement, etc.) of the entire organization within them.

      So often in the tech industry you get the feeling that every other company is watching the stats about every product in their lineup, just waiting to kill them at the first hint of weakness and loathe to invest in them further once they're out the door. They keep thirty or fifty or a hundred product lines just barely alive but perpetually on the chopping block, none of them ever named "do or die" for the company, which makes consumers hesitate to use them in "do or die" situations in real life.

      The only other product line that ever seemed even close to as "committed" as the iDevices was IBM's ThinkPad series back in the day, but even then it wasn't at the same level.

      Every time Apple launches a new family of anything (OS, computing device, consumer device, service) there is a vast geography of scoffing from all of the other industry players, and a lot of critics saying they've got it wrong.

      But Apple doesn't care whether they've got it "right" or "wrong," they care that they execute and perfect whatever it happens to be that they've got. In the end, that focus on execution and perfection tends to make it "right" within a product cycle or two.

  • by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:09PM (#40606581)

    It is. It's an easy thing to say. And very soothing to stockholders I'm sure. But how are you going to do it? It's sort of like saying "I'm going to have an innovative idea by 3pm tomorrow!" Ok, that's great. How exactly do you do that?

    Innovation isn't something you simply decide you're going to have, and then you have it.

    What you can do is to change your culture, foster ideas, hire people and don't abuse them. Make your environment a place where innovation can happen. I'm looking at you forced curve. [glassdoor.com] People who think "outside the box" do not like being put in one. If you set up your environment to where only drones do well, then drones are what you'll have. Any real rogue thinkers in the Microsoft structure would get crushed like ants. Need I remind you Einstein did some of his best work while he was getting poor reviews as a patent clerk?

    And innovation isn't something you can really buy, either. Although MS tries. The current MS policy of borg-like assimilation of any outside company that might have a good idea isn't really working, is it? It's a wonderful tribute to the amount of money you have, but it hasn't produced any sort of good results I can think of in a decade. Hell, you guys couldn't even keep Hotmail working. They were the #1 gold standard, and Google waltzed right into that space with Gmail and it's a done deal now.

    In short, if you want to lead you better change. Your culture is all wrong for innovation.

  • Talk is cheap... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dtjohnson ( 102237 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:12PM (#40606611)

    Microsoft is always talking about what they're gonna do. They need to just shut up and actually DO something. Their last innovative product was when they created the GUI version of the spreadsheet and called it 'Excel.' Since then, the innovation has been a little slow. The problem starts with Ballmer. He is not thinking about cool stuff that can be done with tech. No, he's thinking about how he can make money doing cool stuff that others are doing. As they say in Texas, Microsoft is all hat and no cattle.

    • As they say in Texas, Microsoft is all hat and no cattle.

      Or quoth Paul Keating, former Australian Prime Minister, talking about one of his opponents: "He's all tip and no iceberg."

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:13PM (#40606625) Homepage Journal

    Innovation does not mean buying out new startups with promising technology.

    It means investing in people, technology, and software, building towards a hoped-for future.

    Neither Apple nor MicroSoft have done much innovating in the past 25 years. All they've done is fine tune, repackage, and buy startups that were promising or a threat.

    Until the bottom line is the corporate future instead of the shareholder payout, it won't change, either.

  • Genius! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Darth Snowshoe ( 1434515 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:14PM (#40606637)

    Perhaps he also should have mentioned that he intends for Microsoft to sell more, higher value products and to earn more money!

    How do they think of these things? They just must be thinking all the time over there at Microsoft!

  • by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:14PM (#40606643)

    Frankly, I don't even want Microsoft to be "innovative." At this point, they're pretty much like a public utility – I prefer when they're doing their work in the background, and I mostly only notice if they screw something up.

    The fundamental problem is that Microsoft should be transitioning from a high-growth company to a stable, mature company – from a financial perspective, less emphasis on stock appreciation and more on dividends. People – and more importantly, businesses – rely on Microsoft for un-sexy features like backwards compatibility, familiarity, installed base, and stability (some of the older Slashdotters may laugh, but Windows 7 really is a rock-stable OS, and even a fully patched XP isn't bad.) The fact is that Windows became "good enough" for most users years ago, and everything since then has been either incremental improvements or actual degradation. There hasn't been any major positive "paradigm shift" on the desktop and there won't be. Some users will find that they don't need a full-fledged PC and will transition to tablets, but many, perhaps a majority, still need the power and/or flexibility that only a complete desktop OS can offer. This is Microsoft's niche. They need to focus on it and stop chasing phantoms.

  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:29PM (#40606865)
    did Ballmer jump around like a monkey when he said that???
  • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:50PM (#40607135) Homepage

    "Not going to happen. Not on our watch."

    LOL. This piece of history (Ballmer's "watch") has already been written.

  • because Steve Jobs is dead

  • by mbkennel ( 97636 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @06:29PM (#40608251)

    Apple doesn't have to lose for Microsoft to win.

  • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @06:55PM (#40608501)
    Apple has always shown the willingness to cannibalize its own product line. Microsoft has not.
  • Courier? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vell0cet ( 1055494 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @07:18PM (#40608697)
    The problem with Microsoft (and other companies) that Apple didn't have is that they are slaves to market research. Apple did what they thought the consumer wanted, instead of researching the consumer and then making the same crap that they were already buying.

    This is the thinking that lead to the cancellation of the Courier (google it, it was awesome).

    By chasing trends, you will never be leading. I think this quote is quite apt:
    "There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them."
                              - Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin
  • It's last thing at night, my wife is immersed in some fictive on her Slate, and i've been watching TV, a rebuild of American Pie on mine. For a few years it was lame - it really didn't age well - but the rebuild is funny, because an AI has been spicing it up, and it's got Marilyn Monroe in it now, and she's still hot. And the soundtrack with New Beatles is kinda good too; John Lennon II - the AI clone - is really getting it right, and the music is going places it didn't when the Beatles were alive.

    Boris, our AI housekeeper, has realised that I have to be up by 6am tomorrow, and I take it as a subtle hint that we should be turning in when he starts dimming the walls. "Hey, Boris", I mutter, "hang on for ten minutes." The walls brighten a little, he's bumped up the lightness of the wallpaper pattern. I say he, but I guess he's not really he. "Also, I've just remembered, I'm going to need the Mercury file on the plane tomorrow." No need to worry about that now; Boris will talk to my desk and get that moved to the slate I'm going to take with me tomorrow. I watch the last few minutes of the movie, and then get ready for bed. Liz is still engrossed in some historical fictive. Her and a bunch of friends have been writing a community set in the 18th century. It's not my cup of tea, but it's been getting great reviews from all the people following them. It's better soap than soap to be honest, and some of them are getting really famous now. A real bonus is that it's desperately hard to sneak product placement into historical drama. Lol. But they were offered trips to Vegas if they'd name a character in reference to the new Audi Scoot. I decide that it would be nice to have a glass of juice before bed, so I help myself to one, and then climb into bed next to Liz. At least I don't have to brush my teeth anymore. Not since I had that DentaZ treatment; all my enamel has been renewed, I've been vaccinated against caries, and my oral bacteria have been repopulated with a healthier batch. I give Liz a kiss and drift off to sleep to the sound of Liz subvocalising the plot for the next day for her character, Charlotte.

    I wake hugely refreshed. Boris has organised the room lighting so that it's timed to my sleep cycle. The interesting bits of the news are cycling up the wall, and there's a note that I wrote to myself to take a phone. That's not something I normally carry, but I'm going to need some privacy. After showering, it's straight into the car. It will arrange to pick up breakfast on the way. I work while it's driving. It's pretty quick once we join the cartrain. I forgot my work Slate at home. I guess I was still dozy, but I get the car to pull the Mercury file up onto the windscreen, and the dash screen. I start by reading the summary that the office AI has provided. It's also given a tree of the most important bits, so I have a look through the tree. About half way through I realise that I don't understand how the deal is structured, so I call the office AI, and ask. She explains that she has spoken to Mercury's AIs, and they've come up with 3 scenario deals, and that this one is the primary. I ask her about how we'll be handling things going forward if we can agree the deal, and she flashes some graphs to my car screen. We agree to chat later in the day.

    By the time I get to the airport, it's only 15 minutes before my flight. I've been precleared for everything. It's a bit weird actually getting on a plane. It's been at least two years since I had any face-to-face meetings but this one is too important to leave to tele. I walk straight to the gate. I've been scanned thoroughly ever since we reached the road to the airport. I've been profiled, the car vouched for me, Boris has, my movements over the last 4 years have been analysed. The airport know I am me.

    After I've boarded the plane I get my phone out, and flick it at my seat screen, so it knows that I want to use that. It's not as smart as a Slate, but it can talk to the seat adequately, and it was keeping an eye on what was going on with the car

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein