#Microsoft

I think it’s both crazy and good that Microsoft is sharing such a statistic. They’re finally admitting the major weakness, but focusing on how it can be a strength.
"Yes we’re a big company, making a ton of money, but look at how much we can grow in this key area!" And yes, a new mindset is required to execute this: that of the underdog.

I think it’s both crazy and good that Microsoft is sharing such a statistic. They’re finally admitting the major weakness, but focusing on how it can be a strength.

"Yes we’re a big company, making a ton of money, but look at how much we can grow in this key area!" And yes, a new mindset is required to execute this: that of the underdog.

Insert the joke here: Times change — The times they are a-changin’ — Think different.
But really, this IBM deal seems like a smart partnership for Apple. They could either double their workforce to fully go after enterprise, or they can partner with a massive company already doing that. 
Yes, Apple likes to control every aspect of what they do. But enterprise is not a core competency and won’t be any time soon. Yet customers are demanding it. Hence, this deal.
And yes, this is potentially very bad news for Microsoft — which, oddly, is now the one trying to do everything itself. 

Insert the joke hereTimes changeThe times they are a-changin’Think different.

But really, this IBM deal seems like a smart partnership for Apple. They could either double their workforce to fully go after enterprise, or they can partner with a massive company already doing that. 

Yes, Apple likes to control every aspect of what they do. But enterprise is not a core competency and won’t be any time soon. Yet customers are demanding it. Hence, this deal.

And yes, this is potentially very bad news for Microsoft — which, oddly, is now the one trying to do everything itself

Ben Thompson:

Over the last two generations of consoles, however, prices have actually risen, and today a Playstation 4 or Xbox One is nearly the same price as an average PC.

In some respects, this makes no sense: why hasn’t Moore’s law had the same impact on consoles as it has had on PCs? Moreover, when you consider that consoles now compete with a whole host of new time-wasters like phones, tablets, social networks, dramatically expanded TV offerings, the Internet, etc., it’s downright bizarre.

And:

Let me be very clear: this is a perfectly rational response by Microsoft, and a strategic disaster, all at the same time. The reason the Xbox existed in the first place was to give Microsoft a toe-hold in the living room. Over time the expectation was that the entertainment aspects of the console would make it appeal to not just gamers, but normal consumers as well. Instead, Microsoft has (understandably) been captured by gamers, and the only purpose their original strategic intent has served has been to make them less competitive with said gamers (the Xbox was more expensive and made different processing choices in order to accommodate the Kinect-centric entertainment focus). Meanwhile, no rational non-gamer will buy an Xbox One for $499 $399 in the face of sub-$100 alternatives like the Apple TV, Kindle Fire TV, or Roku.

Lots of great stuff here by Thompson. Much of this is exactly why I felt like this generation of consoles could be very troublesome for these companies. And yes, why I think Apple has a very real opening here (I may have just been off by a year).

Microsoft isn’t just doing the wrong thing, they’re doing the opposite of what they should be doing if they really want to own the living room.

Arash Markazi:

Even worse than being named after a sailing ship that has been out of commission since the 19th century is the Clippers’ logo. It’s a knockoff of the Lakers’ logo, which was introduced when Sterling took over the team in 1982 with an eye toward relocating the team to Los Angeles.

It’s the sports version of opening up McDowell’s across the street from McDonald’s.

It basically looks like Sterling showed the Lakers logo, which had been around since 1960, to someone and asked for it to be copied as best as it possibly could without getting him sued for copyright infringement.

Agreed on both the name change, and the ridiculous logo. But what should Steve Ballmer rename them to?

Don’t make a ‘Clippy’ joke. Don’t make a ‘Clippy’ joke. Don’t make a ‘Clippy’ joke. Don’t make a ‘Clippy’ joke. Don’t make a ‘Clippy’ joke. Don’t make a ‘Clippy’ joke. Don’t make a ‘Clippy’ joke. Don’t make a ‘Clippy’ joke. Don’t make a ‘Clippy’ joke. Don’t make a ‘Clippy’ joke.

A few crazy things about the sale (aside from the fact that it’s happening):

1. It’s $2 billion when the most valuable franchise in the NBA, the Knicks, were valued at $1.4 billion just a few months ago.

2. The Dodgers were sold in 2012 for $2.15 billion — the most expensive sports franchise deal ever — but that included all the land in Los Angeles on which the stadium (and parking lot) sits. More importantly, it included the massive television deals for the team.

3. The Milwaukee Bucks were just sold for $550 million earlier this year.

4. Donald Sterling bought the Clippers for $12.5 million in 1981.

5. Ballmer will own 100% of the team and become the most wealthy owner in sports, with his net worth of just over $20 billion. 

6. The person who he passes on that list? Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (who owns both the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers).

7. Ballmer outbid a group including Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Laurene Jobs (the widow of Steve Jobs), and newest Apple employee Jimmy Iovine. 

Ben Thompson makes the case as to why new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella should kill off the Surface product line:

This here is the greatest danger of forgetting your original goal; you start making up new ones, that are basically “because we need it to exist.” The hardware capability that Nadella claims Surface leverages only exists because of the decision to make Surface. Nadella is basically saying Microsoft needs to make Surface because Microsoft makes Surface. With that sort of reasoning, you can continue on a wrong path forever, just like the Xbox.

I was thinking this very thing last night after hearing Nadella speak at the Code Conference. He often seems to be making the case for many of Microsoft’s products because they already exist, not because they should exist. As he did with the Surface Mini, I expect him to trim.

Shira Ovide:

Microsoft had a tough first foray into homegrown computing devices with the introduction of the Surface in October 2012. Microsoft has recorded about $2.64 billion in Surface sales so far. Apple, by comparison, sold $7.6 billion in iPads in the past quarter alone. Nomura Securities estimated that Microsoft has accumulated roughly $2 billion in operating losses on the Surface.

While the two devices may be in the same category, they are not in the same league. 

Dina Bass and Ian King on why we didn’t see a “Surface Mini” at Microsoft “small" Surface event this week:

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and Executive Vice President Stephen Elop decided that the product in development wasn’t different enough from rivals and probably wouldn’t be a hit, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans weren’t public. Engineers had been working on the device and had planned to unveil it as early as today at an event in New York, two of the people said.

This is important. It finally seems as if Microsoft has someone in place to say the all-important word: “no.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of this. I’m still not sold on the Surface Pro 3 being the right call either, but at least it makes sense to try to market that as a full-on laptop replacement. The “Surface Mini” would have been another embarrassing flop. Good on them for realizing it before it was too late — even if it was at the last minute.

Reuters:

The Central Government Procurement Center issued the ban on installing Windows 8 on Chinese government computers as part of a notice on the use of energy-saving products, posted on its website last week.

The official Xinhua news agency said the ban was to ensure computer security after Microsoft ended support for its Windows XP operating system, which was widely used in China.

Neither the government nor Xinhua elaborated on how the ban supported the use of energy-saving products or how it ensured security.

Insult, meet injury.

Microsoft made a gaming box that didn’t game well, banked on controlling the content gateway with an expensive peripheral that customers despised and resented paying for, and wondered why it didn’t sell.
Charlie Demerjian, on Microsoft unbundling the Kinect from the Xbox One. The whole post is well worth the read for his take on how Microsoft has grown “irrelevant to computing”.
I don’t think that’s an important topic, actually. It’s certainly not important to me. Microsoft is still like a child to me. So the fact that people are loving it, that’s all that really matters.

Steve Ballmer, when asked by Shira Ovide if he cares that he’s not getting any credit for Microsoft’s latest announcements, many of which he set in motion before he left. It’s a good answer by Ballmer, the exact way to handle such a question.

His answer about potentially buying the Los Angeles Clippers (and apparently not moving them to Seattle) is interesting too.

Chris Kohler on the news that Microsoft will soon begin selling a $399 version of the Xbox One without the Kinect:

Price is the problem, as others have learned recently. Getting Xbox One’s price in line with PlayStation 4′s was paramount, and matching Sony in terms of online video streaming features was as well since that is also an extra cost associated with Xbox ownership. Microsoft having to suck it up again and roll back a feature to get the price down illustrates that this was really its only feasible move. (Getting rid of an unpopular peripheral has got to hurt a lot less than Sony having to ditch backward compatibility to get PlayStation 3′s price to a palatable level.)

I’m not sold that price is the only problem here. As I’ve said from the outset, this latest generation of consoles sound like mediocre upgrades at best. They’re not Wii U-level disasters, but they’re just too “meh" to compete in a world that is increasingly mobile.

Further, I think Microsoft just created a quagmire for developers who were told time and time again that all Xbox One’s would ship with the Kinect. With the change, who in their right mind would create a game that takes full advantage of the device? And that, in turn, will ensure the device itself is not a success.

Dawn Chmielewski:

Interviews with several entertainment industry executives who have attempted to do business with Xbox Entertainment Studios describe an operation with big ambitions to dominate the living room, but one that has gotten off to a rough start.

Sources paint a picture of a disorganized studio that struggles to close deals and lacks a fully fleshed-out business model. This inability to execute has turned off potential studio partners, they say, complicating the process of securing premium content.

Welcome to the land war in Asia, Microsoft.

Tom Warren:

Nokia sold nearly 251 million handsets last year, a mixture of feature phones and smartphones. While the Lumia lineup of Windows Phones only accounted for 30 million of that 251 million, Microsoft now has to plan and manage how it handles the millions of other devices that Nokia produces that do not run Windows Phone. That’s a mixture of Asha handsets, feature phones, and Nokia’s new Android-based X range. It’s a big worldwide business that places Nokia in second place behind Samsung in the top mobile phone manufacturers. Microsoft is now the world’s second largest phone manufacturer by sales.

Not sure which is crazier: that Microsoft is now the number two phone manufacturer in the world — or that only 30 million of the 251 million phones Nokia sold were Lumias?