Friday, 27 May 2011

Microsoft Musings ...

Most of you reading this will have read by now about Microsoft's purchase of Skype. I would think the recipients of the cash they paid are quite overjoyed to have sold the company which was/is losing money for such a hefty price tag. I somehow think Microsoft will struggle to turn this around. Despite vague signals that the cross-platform availability of the popular communications package will be maintained, one has to wonder if the Windows (especially Phone) versions won't be updated with more features earlier and at the expense of others... Skype on X-Box comes to mind, despite the uncertain effectiveness of a gaming interface for communications. Anyway we will see if Skype is safe in their hands as time goes on.

Then we had the retracted Ballmer statement! Most CEOs are careful about what they say as head of their companies, but last week Steve Ballmer declared that Windows 8 was to be launched next year in 2012. More recently the Redmond PR machine has corrected the "mis-statement" by their CEO as not in fact being true. It was hardly a technical detail so one has to wonder what Steve was thinking about? Either way I am not sure the world is ready to change the Microsoft operating systems out there again just yet, especially given the time it takes most Corporate IT departments to do in-house testing and deployment and at a time where economics are tough. WIndows upgrades of the past have tended to require significant shifts in hardware specs too, now in a world where both desktop and notebook sales are declining. Ballmer looks and sounds clumsy in his operations at the top of Microsoft, and key investors in the city have noticed and started to comment on it. Maybe change from the top is what the company needs. Then in my view it needs a complete revision of its business strategy for the future.

And finally on the topic of Microsoft, following its strategic deal with Nokia, the latest Windows Phone adverts seem to have taken a slightly new direction, including the notion of X-Box on your phone. Well, certainly the processing power of Windows Phone and the OS layered on it will make it hard to create an exhilarating experience for users and an attractive environment for developers. Interesting in passing that the Ovi branded Nokia app store has died a death. Microsoft's biggest success recently was Kinnect for X-Box ... people love the idea that was 'borrowed' from Nintendo's Wii ... but its not an interface that is easily imagined in conjunction with a Windows Phone ... so why would a marketing message raise expectations of X-Box on that platform. It all seems a bit muddled and slightly desperate.

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