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June 6th, 2010

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11:04 am - Microsoft still sleeping
The software industry's powerhouse for most of the 90s and first decade of 21st century is still sleeping at the till it seems.
Being the company that brought PCs to the masses, and then bring tablets, smartphones seems not enough for this giant to wake up.
Somehow, they seem stuck in their little world of monopoly on windows and Microsoft Office and lost the will to innovate. I still remember watching that interview 5? years ago when Bill Gates and Steve jobs were sitting feet away from each other, and Bill Gates said the future of computing is in Tablet computers, and Jobs shook his head. Fast forward to 2010, Apple makes a big splash with it's iPad, and all Microsoft did was showcase HP's Slate, which is not released yet, and no where to be seen.... not that it is a superior product to the iPad in any way! What are they waiting for? what are they looking for?
For a while I thought Microsoft has this super weapon to unleash on the competition, may be it's the Microsoft Courier. The only product that has generated enthusiasm for a Microsoft product in years, if not ever. Well to my biggest disappointment we learned that it was canceled a month ago.

So what do they have? I am hoping that it is Project Natal, when I first watched the trailer for that product I thought this is very futuristic, I could not believe that we will have a gadget like that this year, but having seen what Microsoft can do with it's marketing, I have very little hope that this is it, the Microsoft marketing team has this super power of turning super products into vaporware, they are probably the only marketing team on the planet that can destroy products of such quality and with so much budget.

Let's talk about smart phones. I attended the Microsoft Mobile Developer conference back in 2005, I saw huge products and projects going on there, they even had a Telematics version of Windows CE, the adoption was zero. Fast forward 5 years when I went to Google IO, I actually saw a car (Volt) running on Android OS??!? I am truly amused. How can a new embedded OS paling in features compared to WinCE make such a big splash compared to Android? I can only blame the marketing team.

Then comes the iPhone, I mean Windows Mobile has the largest market share in smart phones few years ago, and no BlackBerry doesn't count. Then comes Apple with the iPhone, a much superior device and way better UI. Of course, Apple was makes nicer products, and have a much better marketing team, but you would think Microsoft having the upper hand being there years ahead of Apple, they have armies of developers who know about WinCE inside out, not to mention the army of developers in Redmond itself....you would think... that they would at least put some resistance to losing their market share? No, they did absolutely nothing for 3 years, their only answer is a re-write of their mobile phone platform, which means people will have to learn everything from scratch, all their existing applications  are out of the window!
What happened to WinCE Telematics? What happens to all these embedded products out there using WinCE? They obviously cannot move their stuff to the new OS, they are just left there hanging.
To their credit, the new Phone OS will use Silverlight as a development platform, but Silverlight just sucks, just like WPF, it is a horrible platform to develop on, very unintuitive.

Finally, I say that besides the marketing team, someone else should take the blame for all this... his name is Steve Balmer. Steve, single handedly took the largest IT company in the world, and slashed its market value to half in less than 5 years. Under his leadership, nothing innovative came out of Microsoft (well except for Natal, but we have yet to see that)

Steve Must Go

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