More from: hubris

Microsoft on target this time

Refer to

Microsoft is moving forward with it’s Surface series of tablets, which will change with the way businesses are already changing: in other words, I feel that Microsoft is getting back in touch with reality and adapting. However, most other manufacturers are refusing to change, which is likely to kill them. This is the same hubris that nearly killed Microsoft: “Our product is fine, those customers just don’t do what they are supposed to do.” Wrong. The customer may not always be right, but the customer IS ALWAYS the customer. The Market is ALWAYS right, and you ignore it at your own peril.

The customer  IS ALWAYS the customer. The market is ALWAYS right. Ignore it at your own peril.

Rumors about Microsoft Surface pricing are so high at $1,000 that there is much room for PC manufacturers to produce a very salable device that will SRP at $250 or $150 and maybe high end at $400. These are traditional prices. PCs traditionally sold at $1,200 for the latest and greatest, $800 for the commodity PCs, and $350 for obsolete inventory being purged. It is highly likely, if Microsoft wants to leave room for PC manufacturers to adapt and keep a piece of the market, that the awesome multi-core Surface tablet that doubles as a full PC replacement will be priced at $1,200. The next lower version with the cheaper chip set will likely be priced at $450 or $800. I am guessing, based upon the prices consumers / businesses have willingly paid for computer technology since 1981. Yeah, I’m that old. If the Microsoft Surface is built as well as my Microsoft Windows 7 Phone, it will have Gorilla glass, a visually and tactically excellent design, and spunky, quick, response to user input. It will compare aggressively with any Apple product and maybe capture significant iPad market share.

But it will not be mainstream commodity retail product: it will be high end product only those with the money can possibly hope to own.

I would love to equip my new mobile device teaching lab with Microsoft Surface, and have a resell agreement with Microsoft to sell their tabs after class to my students who wish they could own the tab they have just learned to love. There is no way my public charity,, can begin to hope they can possibly ever have Surface tablets: a dozen tablets at $1,200 each is unattainable for an all-volunteer Public Charity that brings in $200 – $400 a year max. This will be true of a lot of businesses which will be changing their technology away from dedicated PCs to flexible multi-use devices. Ubuntu Linux already has such a configuration available for use with Android tablets, and others will follow: there is lots of market share available at $250-$400, and multi-use devices brought to the market 3Q2012 will do well if they just work simply and reliably — Surface priced at $1,200 will be in a totally different class and won’t hurt the $400 market at all.

Microsoft Surface priced at $1,200 will be in a totally different class and won’t hurt the $400 market at all.

But PC makers are simply not adapting: they are spending their time crying that the customer is wrong instead of building their own multi-use mobile devices. That is a lethal mistake: the old single-use boat anchor heavy PC is passe: multi-use, flexible, mobile devices which can also dock and replace a full desktop PC are the future. Pay attention to which PC makers adapt and have a product for Black Friday this year, and which ones merely sit around and whine that the customers don’t really know what they are doing, because the customers do know what they are doing: they are spending their money as they see fit.


Tit for tat

Note: this article is the writers personal opinion. It is based upon almost 40 years of experience in small computers and communications, but it is still an opinion.It is presented AS IS. All use is at your own risk.

Microsoft was unsuccessful at introducing their Phone 7 product a month or two ago, with reviewers saying everything from “Well, at least the UI looks functional” to listing long lists of features promised two years ago, and expected by consumers in all smart phones today, that still are not in the Phone 7. Most intelligent manufacturers would look at this and fix the product, but that is not the path of Microsoft Hubris.

A month or so ago, Microsoft decided that instead of fixing its own product to realistically compete with market leading smart phone platform Android and #2 phone iPhone, that instead they would try to scare Motorola away from manufacturing the Droid by suing them for supposed patent infringement. Motorola has now turned the tables on Microsoft and is instead suing them for patent infringement. The details are discussed by Nicholas Kolakowski in an E-Week article you can read here.

Don’t get me started on how stupid it is to allow massive obsolete dying dinosaur corporations to patent every mathematical algorithm and scientific principal they would like to call their own. Microsoft has once again demonstrated that it is still Business as Usual in 1986. Drive all competition out of business, kill those you cannot buy — Microsoft is ‘too big to fail’!

Microsoft is not ‘too big to fail’: Microsoft could fire their obsolete 1980’s thinkers and hire people with vision to bring the company into the 21st century and compete. This same hubris is why Microsoft has lost customer after customer over the last decade to Apple and Linux — it is a big part of why their market share (as measured by statistics on which OS is in use on every computer which visits our web sites) has dropped from 90% a decade ago to maybe 60% now. It is likely also one reason Linux has grown so much from a trivial presence a decade ago to 27% today.

This maneuverer is the same failed approach used by SCO just a few years ago to try to intimidate IBM, and it cannot but fail just as badly and for the same reasons: Microsoft does not dare show one line of code that is allegedly stolen by Linux (Android) because as soon as they do there will be a global paper chase to identify the true origin and revision history of that code, and it is very very likely that any code Microsoft would claim was stolen from them by the open source community was actually in open source some years prior to Microsoft appropriating it from Linux and inserting it into their for profit product without honoring the legal obligations that attend the GPL. In other words, Microsoft does not merely live in a glass house: they live in a glass house where most of the glass has huge cracks due to their foundation settling.

Once any supposed stolen code segment is shown to have actually been stolen from the global Open Source Community by Microsoft, Windows would likely fall under the GPL and Microsoft would collapse under its final act of supreme unfathomable Hubris and stupidity. What would be truly delicious in this situation would be if Google and IBM would like to join in the fray and deliver a serious spanking. Maybe there would follow some serious cleaning at Microsoft and the company could quit living in the past and begin innovating again.