Microsoft Office market grip loosens as the cost of free drops

31 May 2014 by Steve Blum
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How much more popular do the descendants of OpenOffice need to be before they reache a tipping point? That is, the point at which open source productivity apps tip Microsoft Office into a terminal downhill market share slide.

The answer is not much. The Apache Software Foundation says that its child – Apache OpenOffice – has been downloaded more than 100 million times. That doesn’t represent the size of the user base by a long shot – the figure would include downloads of updates and browsing by the curious – but it’s not unreasonable to think it’s somewhere in the tens of millions range, albeit at the lower end.… More

Linux marches to the beat of broadband growth

10 May 2014 by Steve Blum
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Most of the world’s personal computers run on Microsoft Windows. Gartner, a tech industry research group, says that the 280 million Windows boxes shipped last year swamped 12.5 million Macs and 2.9 million Chromebooks. But Gartner is also predicting that the Linux-based Chrome operating system will overtake the Mac OS by 2016.

According to a BBC story

“There’s a couple of reasons – one is the number of vendors who are now pushing a [Chromebook] device,” explained Ranjit Atwal, research director at the firm.


And the 2014 open source champion prize goes to Microsoft

12 April 2014 by Steve Blum
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In with a chance.

When the City of Los Angeles released its gigabit RFI earlier this week, it didn’t put the considerable broadband-relevant assets owned by its municipal electric utility on the table, but it did offer to throw in obsolete computers…

Due to the Microsoft end-of-support for its Windows XP Operating System on April 8, 2014, a mass computer replacement effort has been underway across the City. As a result, thousands of old computers will be salvaged through the City’s e-waste recycling.


Microsoft CEO chooses long chase over head on attack

Winning depends on the pitch staying playable.

The launch of Microsoft Office apps – Excel, Word, Powerpoint – for the iPad has been hailed by some as a turning point for the company and a bold leadership stroke by new CEO Satya Nadella. If anything, the excitement is a fair measure of Microsoft’s problem: the best it can do is port thirty year old software to the market leader’s tablet.
Ironically, Excel and Powerpoint were originally developed for the Mac OS.… More

New CEO seems unlikely to win Microsoft's test

8 February 2014 by Steve Blum
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Sometimes the best you can do is watch the stumps.

Instead of seeking fresh leadership, Microsoft’s board of directors has opted to double down on the status quo as the company struggles to regain relevance in a world that’s moved away from the personal computer and toward mobile devices and cloud services.

The choice of Satya Nadella as Microsoft’s CEO was an exercise least-worse decision making. His most recent assignment in his 22 year career at Microsoft was running cloud and enterprise services, where he produced mediocre results.… More

Microsoft CEO candidate understands the danger

16 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Vestberg living large at CES.

“It’s normally not given that the winners in the first phase are the winners in the second phase”, said Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson at CES last week. It might be that someone on the Microsoft board was listening hard, because the rumor of the day has Vestberg on the shortlist to be its new CEO, replacing Steve Ballmer, who announced his impending resignation last year.

Vestberg was talking about the challenge in front of Ericsson, which was an early behemoth of the mobile phone business, but has remade itself as it fell far behind in handset manufacturing and its infrastructure business lost ground as voice networks were upgraded to handle broadband.… More

Qualcomm's CEO-elect backs away from Microsoft

6 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Mollenkopf prepares to step into the spotlight.

“We continue to be optimistic about the future of the Windows ecosystem”, said Steve Mollenkopf, the man picked to take over as CEO of Qualcomm, starting in March. He was responding to a question about Qualcomm’s relationship with Microsoft, during a refreshingly informal press conference at CES today.

What Mollenkopf didn’t say, though, was even more important.

When quizzed about Qualcomm’s ability to move beyond media consumption and into mobile productivity devices, such as the Windows tablets that have stalled in the marketplace, Mollenkopf talked up the benefits of supporting multiple operating systems – which Qualcomm vigorously does – and then started waxing poetic about the wonders of media consumption.… More

A roach clip for Blackberry

28 September 2013 by Steve Blum
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The familiar scent of Blackberries.

Wall Street investors seem happy to take what Fairfax Financial Holdings is offering for Blackberry and let the dwindling mobile phone company waft away in the wind. Subtract out the cash that Blackberry is holding, and the net sale price is about $2 billion, a sad end to a psychedelic slide that began at $83 billion five years ago.

Like Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia, Fairfax’s offer seems to be based on the chemically impaired notion that Blackberry isn’t in the final stages of a terminal crash.… More

Android anxiety drives Microsoft's purchase of Nokia

14 September 2013 by Steve Blum
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When you have to buy corporate affection.

Finally, there’s a plausible explanation for Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia last week: an Android phone was under development, on the only major mobile product line that supports its Windows operating system.

It couldn’t have been because Microsoft wanted to hire away the management team that took Nokia from world domination to being a life member of the sub-five percent market share club. I believe that Steve Ballmer thinks that he can scream loud enough to make Finnish engineers turn out hip, frictionless iPhone clones.… More

Next Microsoft CEO needs to come from outside of the shrink-wrapped box

24 August 2013 by Steve Blum

Steve and Mini-Steve.

The best news Microsoft has had in many months came Friday with the announcement that CEO Steve Ballmer would be stepping down some time in the next twelve months, and a top level board committee, that includes Bill Gates, will be looking for his successor.

Ballmer took over as CEO in 2000, when Gates began pulling back from day to day management of the company and increasingly focused on tackling the big problems that face mankind via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.… More