Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Pity poor Microsoft's midlife crisis

Filed under
Microsoft

Even as the champagne flowed in Seattle, things didn't seem quite right. The share price is flat - and has been for quite a while. A company that was famously lean, mean and agile has become sluggish as it wades through the treacle that all large corporations accumulate. The next release of Windows - now called Vista - has been repeatedly delayed, and when it arrives it will be only a shadow of its predicted self.

It's getting harder and harder to persuade customers to upgrade from older versions of Office and Windows to updated releases. The threat of open-source software grows by the hour, and although it hasn't yet reached the average user's desktop, it has foiled Microsoft's attempts to capture the server market. And last week, former Silicon Valley titan Sun Microsystems joined with tech powerhouse Google to announce a free web-based competitor to Office.

Internet Explorer is losing market share to the open-source upstart Firefox. The European Commission refused to buckle under pressure and continues to insist that Microsoft unbundle its Media Player software from versions of Windows sold in Europe, and make details of the necessary programming interfaces available to competitors. It appointed a special commissioner last week to keep an eye on Microsoft's conduct.

Most worrying of all in an industry based on the creation of pure thought stuff, Microsoft is finding it harder to recruit world-class engineering and software talent. The best of this is now going to Google - which explains the bitterness of the recent court dispute in which Microsoft sued the search company for allegedly luring one of its senior executives.

Gen-Xer Microsoft has grown up and is beginning to experience the mixed blessings of corporate middle age. On the one hand there is the respectability and status of being the most famous company in the world after Disney, and the complacency that comes from having $US50 billion ($A66 billion) in the bank.

And, as if to confirm the suspicion of internal unease, we recently saw the announcement of massive corporate restructuring.

Then there's the furring of the corporate arteries, the slowing of reflexes and the dawning realisation that you are no longer the coolest kid on the block.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • Sunjun partners with Collabora to offer LibreOffice in the Cloud
  • Tackling the most important issue in a DevOps transformation
    You've been appointed the DevOps champion in your organisation: congratulations. So, what's the most important issue that you need to address?
  • PSBJ Innovator of the Year: Hacking cells at the Allen Institute
  • SUNY math professor makes the case for free and open educational resources
    The open educational resources (OER) movement has been gaining momentum over the past few years, as educators—from kindergarten classes to graduate schools—turn to free and open source educational content to counter the high cost of textbooks. Over the past year, the pace has accelerated. In 2017, OERs were a featured topic at the high-profile SXSW EDU Conference and Festival. Also last year, New York State generated a lot of excitement when it made an $8 million investment in developing OERs, with the goal of lowering the costs of college education in the state. David Usinski, a math and computer science professor and assistant chair of developmental education at the State University of New York's Erie Community College, is an advocate of OER content in the classroom. Before he joined SUNY Erie's staff in 2007, he spent a few years working for the Erie County public school system as a technology staff developer, training teachers how to infuse technology into the classroom.

Mozilla: Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society, New AirMozilla Audience Demo, Firefox Telemetry

  • Net Neutrality, NSF and Mozilla's WINS Challenge Winners, openSUSE Updates and More
    The National Science Foundation and Mozilla recently announced the first round of winners from their Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society (WINS) challenges—$2 million in prizes for "big ideas to connect the unconnected across the US". According to the press release, the winners "are building mesh networks, solar-powered Wi-Fi, and network infrastructure that fits inside a single backpack" and that the common denominator for all of them is "they're affordable, scalable, open-source and secure."
  • New AirMozilla Audience Demo
    The legacy AirMozilla platform will be decommissioned later this year. The reasons for the change are multiple; however, the urgency of the change is driven by deprecated support of both the complex back-end infrastructure by IT and the user interface by Firefox engineering teams in 2016. Additional reasons include a complex user workflow resulting in a poor user experience, no self-service model, poor usability metrics and a lack of integrated, required features.
  • Perplexing Graphs: The Case of the 0KB Virtual Memory Allocations
    Every Monday and Thursday around 3pm I check dev-telemetry-alerts to see if there have been any changes detected in the distribution of any of the 1500-or-so pieces of anonymous usage statistics we record in Firefox using Firefox Telemetry.

Games: All Walls Must Fall, Tales of Maj'Eyal

  • All Walls Must Fall, the quirky tech-noir tactics game, comes out of Early Access
    This isometric tactical RPG blends in sci-fi, a Cold War that never ended and lots of spirited action. It’s powered by Unreal Engine 4 and has good Linux support.
  • Non-Linux FOSS: Tales of Maj'Eyal
    I love gaming, but I have two main problems with being a gamer. First, I'm terrible at video games. Really. Second, I don't have the time to invest in order to increase my skills. So for me, a game that is easy to get started with while also providing an extensive gaming experience is key. It's also fairly rare. All the great games tend to have a horribly steep learning curve, and all the simple games seem to involve crushing candy. Thankfully, there are a few games like Tales of Maj'Eyal that are complex but with a really easy learning curve.

KDE and GNOME: KDE Discover, Okular, Librsvg, and Phone's UI Shell

  • This week in Discover, part 7
    The quest to make Discover the most-loved Linux app store continues at Warp 9 speed! You may laugh, but it’s happening! Mark my words, in a year Discover will be a beloved crown jewel of the KDE experience.
  • Okular gains some more JavaScript support
    With it we support recalculation of some fields based on others. An example that calculates sum, average, product, minimum and maximum of three numbers can be found in this youtube video.
  • Librsvg's continuous integration pipeline
    With the pre-built images, and caching of Rust artifacts, Jordan was able to reduce the time for the "test on every commit" builds from around 20 minutes, to little under 4 minutes in the current iteration. This will get even faster if the builds start using ccache and parallel builds from GNU make. Currently we have a problem in that tests are failing on 32-bit builds, and haven't had a chance to investigate the root cause. Hopefully we can add 32-bit jobs to the CI pipeline to catch this breakage as soon as possible.
  • Design report #3: designing the UI Shell, part 2
    Peter has been quite busy thinking about the most ergonomic mobile gestures and came up with a complete UI shell design. While the last design report was describing the design of the lock screen and the home screen, we will discuss here about navigating within the different features of the shell.