Advance to the rear: Is military Win8 computing the future of computing?

armydriveThe U.S. government, which is usually very slow to adopt new technologies, signed an agreement recently to move much of the Department of Defense to Windows 8. The three-year, $617 million deal for up to two million seats is a good proxy for where American business users are headed. Or is it? Microsoft of course hopes it is, but I think that’s far from a sure thing.

This isn’t just trading Windows XP for Windows 8. The U.S. Navy, which isn’t (yet) included in this deal, only recently signed their own agreement with Microsoft to take the fleet to Windows 7. But Windows 8, being touch enabled and running all the way from smart phones to […]

Steve Ballmer’s Dilemma

Napier & Son was the most successful British manufacturer of aircraft engines in the 1920s and 30s with their 12-cylinder Napier Lion powering 163 different types of aircraft between 1918 and 1935. Over that 17 year period the Lion grew from 450 to 1350 horsepower and was, for awhile, the most powerful aircraft, boat, and car engine in the world, holding world speed records in all three venues at the same time. And then the Napier Lion was suddenly gone — a lesson from which Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer could benefit if he and his company don’t repeat it.

Napier perfected their Lion engine over those 17 years, improving it in every way until it was the […]

On Win8 launch day a look back at Steve Ballmer, circa 2001

Today was a big day for Microsoft, with the Windows 8 and tablet launches, and potentially a very big day, too, for Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. It had better be, because some pundits think Win8 is Ballmer’s last hurrah, that he’ll be forced to step down if the new operating system isn’t a big success. That might be true, though I have a hard time imagining who would replace Ballmer at this point and how the company would change as a result. I’m not saying there isn’t room for improvement — heck, I’m among those who have called for Ballmer to go — I’m just not sure what would be any better. More on that in a future column.

Today, rather than look to the […]

Kindle Fire HD hurts Microsoft more than Apple

After yesterday’s Kindle Fire HD announcements from Amazon, a reader reminded me of a prediction I made at the start of the year: “If Apple gives up its position of industry leadership in 2012 the only company capable of assuming that role is” I stand by those words — Amazon is really bringing the fight to Apple — but the most important part is “if Apple gives up its position” which it clearly hasn’t, at least not yet. The real loser here, in fact, is not Apple but Microsoft.

I could be wrong about this but I don’t recall any pundits (me included) predicting that Amazon would yesterday introduce a larger format tablet, […]

Windows 8, Users 0?

Windows 8 is just over a month from hitting the market and my sense is that this initial release, at least, will be at best controversial and at worst a failure. Microsoft is simply trying to change too many things at once.

What we have here is the Microsoft Bob effect, where change runs amuck simply because it can, compounded in this case by a sense of panic in Redmond. Microsoft so desperately need Windows 8 to be a huge success that they’ve fiddled it into a likely failure.

Microsoft Bob, if you don’t remember its fleeting passage in 1995, was a so-called social interface for Windows intended to be used by novices. The idea was that Bob should be so intuitive as to […]