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 –

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…

don’t be evil

The extension was removed from the Chrome Web Store in 2009 by Google due to it’s ability to bypass advertising. It will not be developed further, sorry for the inconvenience.

youtube-html5-chrome website

youtube-html5-chrome was an extension to switch Flash for HTML5 on every youtube video on every webpage out there. Apparently Google forcefully canned it. So nice of them. I just love, love those text tags over the video i’m trying to see…

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.

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


Heart and Soul

“We’ve ushered in a new era of cloud computing, embraced mobility, are attempting to transform entertainment, and Windows is the heart and soul of Microsoft”

Steve Ballmer

This explains why Microsoft is in a downwards spiral (and until further details from Surface are provided i don’t think that will save it either). Windows should never have become “heart and soul” of Microsoft. Office is what people really need/want, Windows is just a tool to an end, or a tool for the use of another tool. And not a really good one.

As long as you can do your Office work, in a compatible and “usual” way, it really doesn’t matter if you have Windows, Linux, Mac or some other OS. Focusing on Windows instead of Office will be the key event of Microsoft downfall.

Three to Six Months

I don’t get this. Microsoft announces in June that they will ship a tablet somewhere around Fall, with a undisclosed price! Does this makes any sense?

If it would ship today, then many people would probably buy it as a impulse purchase and this single momentum alone could probably make sure that the product “sticked” to the market and kept on selling. After an initial run of several hundred thousand sales, is probably difficult to just ignore a product all together.

But making everyone wait for three to six months? First, the only way the “regular Joe” will have access to the Surface experience is through journalists and commenters and regular “tech pundits”. But what if those folks, which are usually hyper-critical and always have an axe to grind or an angle to the story, slander it? What if they say that the battery sucks or the keyboard-cover is useless or it gets too hot? With the iPad there was a deluge of bloggers and regular folks saying that the whole “warmgate” was an absurd and exaggeration from Consumer Reports. Mouth to mouth communication helps a lot spreading the “good news” of a product and fighting doubts and confusion. Regular, intermediated, press on the other hand is always a risk and usually tend to focus on the defects.

As usual Microsoft seems to try to take a step forward that then translates into a risky movement and ends in two steps towards oblivion. Until the Fall, Surface can either disappear in the wind or surge again with bad reviews. But it won’t stay on the news with praises and excited covers and reviews for four or six months that’s for sure. Maybe i’m wrong, but this has pretty much been the pattern in the last years.

Better wages

“Apple is pushing for Chinese worker reform now because with its huge margins, better worker wages & fewer hours hurts Apple competitors.”

Glenn Fleishman

I’m not sure if the Apple Board / Tim Cook would actually go for this maquiavelic strategy, it really doesn’t seem their thing. Apple has, since 1997, pretty much did their thing and let the rest of the world follow their own path. In fact, it seems something more out of Bill Gates book of strategy.

But if true, it will work. Boy, how it will work… And pretty much nobody will withstand it. It will drive the prices of competing laptops right into the Mac(s) price range. And if that happens around the time of Windows 8 spectacular launch and an even spectacular crash, Apple’s share of the PC market will sky rocket, and a giant turmoil will follow in the “PC world”.

As a secondary outcome, it’s a step further for the factories coming back to the western world. Or moving to other less developed countries, spreading richness and well-fare around, improving life conditions and reducing the wind behind China’s sails.

Now that i think of it i can only see positive outcomes on this…

Perspectives and leadership

“At present, Microsoft has 14 retail stores and plans to open up to 75 more over the next three years, usually placing them as close as possible to Apple outlets. “Well, the traffic is going to be there, and we’ve got to beat them anyway,” Ballmer says with a shrug. “

Steve Ballmer Reboots – BusinessWeek

The Dark side.

“If we want to move forward and see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to let go of a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace a notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. And if others are going to help us that’s great, because we need all the help we can get, and if we screw up and we don’t do a good job, it’s not somebody else’s fault, it’s our fault. So I think that is a very important perspective. If we want Microsoft Office on the Mac, we better treat the company that puts it out with a little bit of gratitude; we like their software. So, the era of setting this up as a competition between Apple and Microsoft is over as far as I’m concerned. This is about getting Apple healthy, this is about Apple being able to make incredibly great contributions to the industry and to get healthy and prosper again.”

Steve Jobs

The wise side.