Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Microsoft's midlife crisis

Filed under
Microsoft

Microsoft is slowing down. It is bigger, more lumbering and less profitable than it was five years ago. Its sales are up 73% in five years, but profits are up only 30%. Payroll has doubled in the last six years. In the fiscal year just ended, sales rose only 8%, the first time the company has ever reported less than double-digit growth.

In the dog years of Silicon Valley, Microsoft, at 30, is in advanced middle age. The company relies on Windows and a suite of desktop applications--products released a decade ago--for 80% of sales and 140% of profits. Newer products--the Xbox videogame machine, the MSN online service, the wireless and small-business software--collectively have racked up $7 billion in losses in four years.

In Web-server software, Microsoft has 20% of the fast-growing market, while the free Apache program, a Linux variant, has 70%--worth $6 billion in revenue had Microsoft gotten the sales. In search, Google and Yahoo! get 70% of queries while MSN gets only 13%. Google now gives away features (desktop search, photo archiving) that Microsoft promises in its next upgrade of Windows--which is running two years late.

What has gone wrong?

"Microsoft is a vestige of the past," says Marc Benioff, chief of rival Salesforce.com.

"Microsoft has become what it used to mock," says Gabe Newell, a developer on the first three versions of Windows.

Jeff B. Erwin, who quit in December after five years there, adds, "Microsoft has some of the smartest people in the world, but they are just crushing them. You have a largely unhappy population."

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

Proposed: A Tainted Performance State For The Linux Kernel

Similar to the kernel states of having a tainted kernel for using binary blob kernel modules or unsigned modules, a new tainting method has been proposed for warning the user about potentially adverse kernel performance. Dave Hansen of Intel has proposed a new "TAINT_PERFORMANCE" for the kernel that would proactively print a warning message about not using the kernel for any performance measurements. Dave explained in his RFC announcement, "I have more than once myself been the victim of an accidentally-enabled kernel configuration option being mistaken for a true performance problem. I'm sure I've also taken profiles or performance measurements and assumed they were real-world when really I was measuring the performance with an option that nobody turns on in production. A warning like this late in boot will help remind folks when these kinds of things are enabled." Read more

Scientific Linux 7.0 x86_64 BETA 3

Fermilab's intention is to continue the development and support of Scientific Linux and refine its focus as an operating system for scientific computing. Today we are announcing a beta release of Scientific Linux 7. We continue to develop a stable process for generating and distributing Scientific Linux, with the intent that Scientific Linux remains the same high quality operating system the community has come to expect. Please do not install Pre-Release software in your production environment. Read more

Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) Now Features Linux Kernel 3.16.1

"The Utopic kernel has been rebased to the first v3.16.1 upstream stable kernel and uploaded to the archive, ie. linux-3.16.0-9.14. Please test and let us know your results," says Canonical's Joseph Salisbury, after the latest Ubuntu Kernel Team meeting. Read more