Microsoft

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God forgive me but I’m going to disagree with Robert Scoble, my technology pundit hero. I do not think Microsoft should be split in two: one side about the enterprise and software, the other consumers and devices.  

Mr. Scoble’s logic, and it seems some Wall Street finaciers agree, suggests the business side is “crushing” it (thanks Techmeme), while the device business growing modestly at 4%. Split the company, they say, and let consumer people handle the devices and business people handle the enterprise. I say bullshit. Together there is way much more to learn. And business and marketing is all about learning. Together there will be tensions that are hurtful, yet hopefully transitional. Brothers and sisters argue but they care about the family. And if the tensions are insurmountable, there is always mother (CEO).

Microsoft has so much cash, so much penetration, and enough smart people that it can continue to innovate and make an occasional misstep.  Como se Kin?  And though Microsoft’s brand diaspora is a problem, it is getting better and is certainly fixable.  Mother?

Microsoft is a living organism. It feeds itself while feeding upon itself, yet it is still better as one. With all deference to Mr. Scoble and the financiers and lawyers, the latter motivated by a pay day, let’s not break apart the machine that is crushing it.

Peace.

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I had a theory a while back that Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft) blew billions of dollars on technology missteps just so that he could learn a couple of important things about the future.  With all the money it prints and the legacy business it controls, Microsoft has had the luxury of launching challenger devices and services that were dogs — but from which Mr. Ballmer gathered data, insights, and ways forward.  His overbuilt, over engineered products were real-time usability tests. Costly but smart. Poor Mr. Ballmer.

Mark Zuckerberg is scary because all the news out of this year’s Facebook developers conference, called f8, points to Facebook’s desire to own to world’s user data. If banks or the treasury owned the data Facebook will and does – knowing how, on what, and when we spend our hard-earned, it would be a major antitrust violation.  And all Mr. Z has to do is put some software code, cookies , crumbs and apps behind his platform and it will become a one-stop-shop for everything behavioral. When behavior becomes data and sortable as such, allowing for 1-to-1 targeting, the game will be over. That’s why Google was scared into Google+. 

No one likes an overdog, but that is what Facebook is becoming. Mr. Zuckerberg will soon need to hire a Chief Overdog Officer.  In this light, Mr. Ballmer will be the underdog billionaire. Peace.

 

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