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Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2009 11:23:26 -0500

"David Kastrup" <> wrote in message 85fxj7zmho.fsf@lola.goethe.zz">news:85fxj7zmho.fsf@lola.goethe.zz...
"amicus_curious" <> writes:

"Robert Heller" <> wrote in message

Microsoft recently announced that it is laying off people...  I take
that as a concreet sign that 'Microsoft is already hurting'.
Probably not a *serious* hurt though (except for the 5,000 or so
soon-to-be jobless Microsoft employees).

Don't look now, but a lot of other companies are laying off people,
too. Can you attribute that to the triumph of Linux in the market?

Computer use is expanding wildly, so a company with a quasi-monopoly in
that area should have a field day.

Sales of personal computers were down in the last quarter which translated into a reduction in sales for Microsoft. Certainly Microsoft does rise and fall with the general PC market, at least in terms of market volume, but that volume was clearly not expanding in the quarter past. If it suddenly thrives, MSFT will have an up tick.

Microsoft definitely is hurting, but if you take a look at the
deployment numbers, they don't manage to seriously push Vista in the
field because business is using XP rather than Vista.  So it would
appear that Microsoft managed to shoot itself in the foot quite without
the help of Open Source.

Virtually every PC sold retail for home or small business use has Vista installed. It is simply Windows 6.0 where XP was Windows 5.5. Corporations do use Vista in many cases, mine does and we are in the Fortune 500, if only by a little bit. Where they are not using Vista, they are at least paying for XP on new machines. I don't think that open source has much to do with this situation.

If there is an influence of Open Source on the bottom line of Microsoft,
it is currently more in people fantasizing about alternatives (and using
those fantasies for justifying a postponement of "upgrading" from
Microsoft to Microsoft) rather than actually moving towards them.

So it is more like a hint that they can't go on shooting themselves in
the foot indefinitely without needing to worry.

Well, it is a matter of opinion as to how bad Vista may have been. The antis have relished the thought, though if you look back, they had much the same sort of fantaxy about XP.

The layoff is a bad sign for them since it carries the message "we don't
know how we could channel more manpower into improving our offerings".

It is very unclear as to where the layoffs occurred. My own company recently had a significant RIF, but the individuals who got the gate were mostly in the support framework or in the fulfillment areas. Telemarketing, distributor sales management, etc., were hit whereas design and QA staff were mostly untouched except for a few individuals who were known to be on someone's list of those who would not be missed. If anything, it gives the enterprise a chance to cull out the obvious dead wood which, they tell me, is actually supposed to encourage the more productive staff to greater achievements.

And if Microsoft has one thing to go in its advantage is that they are
free to throw lots of basically anonymous manpower at problems that can
be tackled in that manner.  If they are running out of such problems,
their cash and company resources stop being the essential advantage they
have proven to be up to now.

It is never going to be a disadvantage to have a lot of cash on hand. I do think that Microsoft has a struggle when trying to find a new bonanza to exploit, it is not very common in business that companies hit a lot of home runs in multiple parks. The issue here, though, is whether or not Microsoft can maintain control of the personal computer general purpose operating system software business and the answer is certainly "Yes!". Whether that business will continue to grow and grow is another matter.

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