Ballmer's Last Stand

Moving sucks. Our furniture arrived late last week so I’ve been off the clock for awhile and there is a lot of catching-up to do.  We’ll start with Microsoft and Windows 8, which I’ll argue are going to be formidable competitors in the tablet space, primarily because it’s that or start spending all that cash on diversified investments to turn Microsoft into a Berkshire Hathaway. This is probably Ballmer’s last stand as a high tech CEO.

It was entirely by coincidence that I interviewed both Jon Shirley and Bill Gates in their last weeks as Microsoft CEO. In Shirley’s case it was his final day and I’ve never seen a guy more eager to get out […]

By |September 19th, 2011|2011|85 Comments

What Microsoft should do

Before this week’s Lockheed Martin network breach story intervened, I wrote a column about the strategic dilemma faced by Microsoft from downward trends in both product pricing and new installations for its flagship Windows and Office products. That’s on top of an overall market transition to mobile where Microsoft does not seem to be playing a leading role. What’s Steve Ballmer to do? I think that to thrive Microsoft has to turn itself into a very different company. Fortunately there are archetypes — other companies that have faced similar pressures yet gone on to reach even great corporate success. I think the time is fast coming for Microsoft to emulate Warren […]

I told you so

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is out with his autobiography and Vanity Fair has an excerpt available online. As the Nth richest man in the world, Allen isn’t doing this for the money.  Maybe it’s for posterity. Maybe to settle old grudges, and he certainly does that in Vanity Fair.

The part of that excerpt everyone will be talking about this week is Allen’s story of overhearing Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer plotting to recover Allen’s Microsoft shares or dilute him into insignificance, this at a time with Allen was dying of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  It’s a great story, that’s for sure.  But if you are a longtime follower of this column or its predecessor you’ve […]

What Goes Around: Teledesic 2.0

teledesic2Bill Joy used to say, “not all smart people work at Sun” (he was right). Max Levchin is making a killing in Web 2.0 by resuscitating Web 1.0 projects that were too ambitious for 1999 but — thanks primarily to Moore’s Law — are just right for 2009.  Sometimes all it takes is a change of scene or season for something that was a failure the last time to be a big success today. And that’s why I’m predicting the eventual return of Teledesic or something just like it — some new form of Internet in the sky.

This is the first of probably three columns about what will be in coming months the huge story […]