Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months

Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”


Finally! Maybe after a decade of stagnation in the PC world and Microsoft we will finally get back some direction and alternatives in the market.

Also, pay special attention to the phrase i marked out in bold. Telling.

Ford Goes Open Source to Speed App Development

“Ford is a leader in this space and they chose a strategic decision to move like Google did with Android and be as open as possible,” Mark Boyadjis, an analyst at IHS Automotive, told Wired. “Getting these systems embedded and perfected is not something that can be leveraged by Ford or their technology partner alone. This has to be an open environment.”

Even though more automakers are offering in-dash app platforms, there’s little incentive for developers to create specific apps for cars. Developing apps for the relatively limited number of vehicle platforms available – and having to re-code for each automaker’s platform – pales in comparison to creating even a decently successful app for Apple’s App Store or Google Play. It’s the classic chicken-and-egg dilemma, and why most automakers offer only a handful of generic apps like Pandora.

Ford is establishing an open-source Genivi project that will contain the code and documentation necessary to implement AppLink software into any vehicle’s infotainment system for iOS  and Android devices. The code, known as SmartPhoneLink, will be released under a BSD open-source license.

“Developers will have access to the software code for the audio head unit and the set of APIs for the smartphone apps and can implement it in their own way,” says Doug VanDagens, global director of Ford Connected Services. “This announcement is about the vehicle-side software being agnostic … and can run on Windows Embedded, QNX, Linux or other automotive OS.”  VanDagens added that the AppLink brand will only be used for Ford and Lincoln vehicles. “But when it comes to the end product,” Boyadjis notes, “there will be unique Ford elements that make it different or better.”

Autopia –

Why Android users surf less than iPhone users

Why Samsung Androids? Because right now they’re the cheapest phones in their segments. To put it mildly, economy of scale applies to the Android device market — and the absence of any royalty payments for the OS is a nice extra. Operators make more money by selling their clients Androids than on iPhones, BlackBerries, Nokias, and all the rest.

Thus, once consumers arrive in the operator store the clerks efficiently steer them toward the Samsung Androids that make everybody most money. (Unless the consumer demands an iPhone, of course. That short-circuits the plan.)

Many consumers don’t particularly want to surf on their phones, because they don’t see the point and they think it’ll cost them a lot of money (and, especially in the developing world, they are likely right). A friend of mine, who recently got a mid-range Samsung Android with his new contract, explicitly asked me to turn off his Internet access because of the cost.

What I think is happening is that consumers who in the past would have been happy with a mid-range Nokia are now buying mid-range Androids. They don’t really care what kind of phone they have, so they’re willing to take a Galaxy, especially if it’s “free.” But they won’t surf. That’s too expensive.

Peter-Paul Koch

Steve Ballmer’s Dilemma

Death of the desktop is clear not because Windows desktop sales are declining but because Macintosh desktop sales are declining. When Mercedes (Apple) begins to suffer declining unit sales, what does it mean for GM (Microsoft)? Not good.

The only option is to invent the future, which Ballmer and Microsoft are attempting to do by entering the tablet hardware business (again emulating Apple) and cutting bold smart phone deals with outfits like Nokia. But Microsoft, for all its posturing and $1 billion marketing budgets, isn’t any good at inventing the future and knows it. Ballmer lacks confidence that Redmond can invent it’s way out of the current hole. And because he lacks confidence, as does nearly everyone else at Microsoft, of course it won’t happen.

Microsoft didn’t invent the PC but benefited from its invention. Microsoft didn’t invent BASIC, they didn’t invent the PC operating system, they didn’t invent word processor, spreadsheet, or presentation applications, they didn’t invent PC games, they didn’t invent the graphical user interface, they didn’t invent the notebook or the tablet, they didn’t invent the Internet, they didn’t invent the music player or the video game, but they benefited from all these things.

Like Blanche DuBois, Microsoft has relied on the kindness of strangers.

I, Cringely

There’s a couple of errors with this reasoning. First, Macintosh desktop sales has been declining because Apple has provided very little value in its latest lines of desktops, and this while the world is going through a very strong financial crisis. I would suggest that the only way to actually see the desktop trending average would be to avoid the edges of the market and see what’s the “middle-class” buying.

Second, although i don’t disagree that most people will be perfectly satisfied with their pc-as-appliance model of tablets and smartphones in the future, Enterprise computer needs will remain stable for some sort of desktop computer, even if not some cumbersome power-hungry beast based around Intel’s x86 line.

Third, Microsoft is not “a person”, it’s a set of persons, which has changed a lot through out the times and it’s definitely not the same set of persons today than it was yesterday. Just because 30 years ago MS didn’t invented BASIC or the Operating System it certainly doesn’t mean that they will not invent something revolutionary and ground-breaking now.

Fourth, the whole argument is based on Ballmer being some sort of machiavellian genius of finance and business strategy. And that I have a very hard time believing…

Apple Announces Changes to Increase Collaboration Across Hardware, Software & Services

CUPERTINO, California—October 29, 2012—Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles. Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”

Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

Apple Press Info

Two quick thoughts:

  1. Tim Cook is temporarily my new hero! (( for a very brief moment. I haven’t forgot all the latest disappointments with Apple’s line of products. ))

  2. I think I’ve just decided to completely avoid Lion & Mountain Lion OS X and just try to wait for Sir Ive’s cleaned up version of Mac OS X. Snow Leopard until 2013’s Summer?

interview with Asymco’s Horace Dediu

Business education is predicated on storytelling, also known as the case method. Business management is not a discipline that has “axioms” defining basic truths, or if it does, they change frequently. Therefore business education (i.e. the MBA) is the equivalent of people teaching each other by telling stories around a campfire. The best stories get repeated more often and are better ‘teaching tools’. So it is with Apple. It’s a great medium for story telling because people can see the stories unfolding in real time or at least within their lifetimes. They are not about a distant past or an abstract industry. There is also a lot of passion around the brand, both positive and negative and so it leads to more attention.

The Tech Block

That has become my main point of interest in technology. The way how I can see different ways of making business, strategic management of companies and the key point of leadership with a vision and their effect on the rise and fall of gigantic companies. And in much less than a decade.

When I got back my interest in technology in 2007, after the long stagnation years of Windows XP, Apple was still coming back, Linux on the desktop was on the route to slightly usable for a standard user, Nokia and Blackberry were still phone market kings, and Microsoft was floundering in confusion and dumb mistakes.

5 years, later, Apple is technological king (( at least in influence )), Blackberry and Nokia are a couple of quarters from bankruptcy, Linux is now a king in smartphones and much more usable on the desktop (( although still a bit more to go. But have you seen Ubuntu 12.04? )) and Microsoft is still floundering in confusion and dumb mistakes, one after the other and each one increasingly dumber and perfectly avoidable.

I could read most of the Strategic Management undergrad books and i would never get so much info and real-life perspective as i get from paying very close attention to the computer&technology market.

EU expands browser probe to include Windows 8, Windows RT, says report

“Earlier Wednesday, Reuters reported that the European Commission had launched an inquest into accusations that Microsoft stymies other browser makers’ efforts to build software that runs in Windows 8 and the offshoot designed for ARM-powered tablets, Windows RT.”


Microsoft wanted so much to protect their Windows brand that they’ve brought along their past with all the weight, cruft and brand burning. Curious if this process would go ahead on the Windows RT side, if it was simply called “Metro OS” or some other name.

Steam’d Penguins

“Steam’d penguins? Is it a recipe for an exotic South Pole dish? Perhaps it’s one of those bizarre YouTube videos of penguins in a sauna cavorting with the Swedish Bikini team?

The truth is that this is the first post of the Valve Linux blog. This blog is where you can find the latest information from Valve about our Linux development efforts. Avoid the rumors and speculations that multiply on the Web. Instead, come to the source – a blog where people who are interested in Linux and open source game development can get the latest information on Valve’s efforts in this arena. In this initial post, we’ll introduce the team (and a bit of its history) and then give you a snapshot of what we’re currently doing.”


And so, it begins.

While Microsoft is out playing “catch the running Apple in every direction”, every “place” where it had exclusivity or a strong presence erodes. Finally, Linux users won’t have to reboot in to Windows or use Wine to do games. It’s just a couple of games now, but the flood doors have opened. Finally!

You’re not the CEO – you’re the Fucking Janitor

“I’d encourage you the next time you start thinking of yourself as the CEO to also remember to always be the Janitor too. It’s great to become someone who is looked up to, or to make an impact, but its even more important to remember where you started and stay true to who you wanted to be before you got to where you are.

So I hope if you’re reading this, you’ll remember to always be the Janitor.”

Zach Bruhnke

Great story! And a great lesson.

Pro (Advertising) Choice

“Now, I sacrifice a ‘polluted’ browser (and a specific email account) which I use to click on ads, download products or marketing information, and do my best to keep my other browsers clean.


The conclusion is obvious: behavioral advertising is backfiring. The more experienced users become, the more cautious they get in order to avoid aggressive tracking. For advertisers, this is the exact opposite of what they meant to achieve. And I take the trend will accelerate. Marketers have more sense of efficiency than of measure; they were quick to embrace these clever technologies without considering they might end up killing the golden goose. It is happening much earlier than anyone has anticipated.”

Frédéric Filloux – Monday Note