Microsoft is Going to ReOrg

Microsoft is going through a reorg and Allchin is going to retire after Vista ships. Scoble likes the news (although he's pulled his comments for being too “rah rah”) and even Mini-Microsoft has hope. The one interesting thing that I've gleaned from the press release and ensuing coverage is that Microsoft is going to try to shift to more of a platform or hosted software services company. That is huge news and a huge shift. For a long time, Microsoft has focused on shipping boxed software. The most obvious change here is that MSN will be brought into the core group. Can a company that had focused on shipping boxed software morph like this and still succeed? There is going to be some huge internal struggles here, that's for sure. We may see the company polarized in a way we never have before. Some within Microsoft clearly get it, but others don't. How much the ones who don't will resist this change remains to be seen. One thing is clear though – Microsoft has seen what companies like Google and Yahoo! are doing and they want in. One classic Microsoft thing that I noticed about the release is that it had a 100% positive spin. They want you to believe that they are making all these changes because of forward looking positive reasons, not because because they took a hard look in the mirror and saw slipping ship dates, decreased profits for the first time in ages and more competition then they have seen in decades. Unlike many OSS people, I don't wish bad things on Microsoft. In fact, I'd like to see them succeed in the long run. Not in the predatory and monopolistic way that they have “succeeded” in the past, but in a fair and balanced marketplace. There could be room for everyone. Can the company deal with not being the towering #1 in ever market they're in? Can they stand to not crush every competitor by predatory and quite frankly illegal means? That remains to be seen and the companies recent history makes it really hard to trust them on almost any level. Not impossible though and if they play nice they should eventually be welcomed back into the party.
–jeremy

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5 Responses to Microsoft is Going to ReOrg

  1. Anonymous says:

    How can one argue with that? Once again, you write something inspired and full of reason. Its thoughts like these that are the foundation of why your idea of a linux community has flowered and bloomed in your site. Don't stop.
    Hey, maybe you can get an interview with one of the up and comers at Microsoft…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Corey – much appreciated. An up and coming Microsofter on LQ Radio isn't a bad idea, I'll definitely keep it in mind.
    –jeremy

  3. Anonymous says:

    You are sounding very confident these day, Jeremy. Is there something you know about Microsoft Vista that you aren't telling?
    As for Microsoft's strategy, I take a more historical viewpoint. So long as Bill Jr. is in charge it will continue to reflect the attitudes of its leader. He is an intensely competitive person, and believes that when you lose a sale you lose it twice: once, to yourself, and again when your competitor gets it instead of you. With this in mind, Microsoft is likely to persist – they are good at that – that's their mentality. Since their early times in Albequerque, that has been the preoccupation of Gates, to set the standard for the industry.
    Remember back 15 or 20 years ago when Apple was doing so well? Then Microsoft got them in their sites and the rest is history. It took them nearly five years (Windows 1.0 and 2.0 were flops) but they finally got a product that set the OS standard. I don't see that much has changed, though the products have become so much better now.
    Like it or not, software is intensely competitive. And like it or not, when a new product comes out, people forget the old. I do wish that Linux and Windows could coexist side by side – like on my computer, but I'm much too old and cynical to believe that. I don't believe for a moment that Microsoft will shift away from its primary focus, the operating system. And as optimistic as things look right now for Linux, you can bet Microsoft will keep on trying to uproot it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You have a real point. I don't think that Jeremy ignored that in his post, though. It seems that he was aknowledging Microsoft's predatory market practices. Remember that Sun worked this way not too ling ago too, but they've reassessed their position so that they can continue to be strong.
    I think that Microsoft will continue to strive for market dominance, but whether or not they keep it, is up to how they continue to do business. Controlling the communication methods and market is where the propagation is and Google and Yahoo! are definitely barrelling along full steam ahead to get their piece of this “market”. Remember that these services are either free or cheaper than what's being used now.
    Yes, the OS is important, but so are the productivity apps. When big Microsoft Office/Exchange users like the government of Massachusetts switch to OpenOffice.org, then Microsoft has to think about how they're going to continue to keep making money, as Office has been the real moneymaker for Microsoft.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Harry,
    Nope – I don't know much about Vista that isn't public knowledge. The fact is that its ship date has slipped multiple *years* while also getting major features such as WinFS dropped from the feature list. You need to combine that with the fact that there is a fundamental shift from the OS as a platform to the web as a platform going on. That's a shift that Microsoft has been very late in acknowledging, much like they were very late in acknowledging the Internet and its importance.
    Now, don't take this to mean that Microsoft won't persist. They have a pile of cash, huge market share and some really smart people. They aren't going anywhere in the near future. The reality though is that when a new OS comes out, people *do not* forget the old. You need look no further than Windows XP, which didn't get anywhere near the adoption that Microsoft hoped it would (and that product is years old now). So, they may not completely shift focus away from the OS (which I don't think I implied), but I do think they'll shift how that OS is delivered.
    –jeremy

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