Was Bill Gates lucky in escaping the criticism and a kind of downslide that Microsoft went through under the leadership of Steve Ballmer?

Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:

>>Wasn't the rise of Google, Facebook and Amazon and the fate of MS eventual?
After a decade of mismanagment, Microsoft still makes more profits than
Google+Facebook+Twitter+Alibaba+ Amazon+EBay+Yahoo+Adobe+Baidu combined. [1]

Take that besties.

It is so big that in 2014 [annual income $60B], it makes as much profit in one day as the whole of RedHat makes in one year. In 2 days it makes as much as Twitter annual income. In one month, it makes more than FB's annual income. [Leave alone poor Amazon or Sony that are not making any profits but mere losses].

>>Microsoft never embraced the web the way it does in last 4-5 years or so.

Wrong. 20 years ago Bill Gates predicted how big Internet is going to be. Look at his memo: The Internet Tidal Wave. And he did act on his intuition.

  1. Within months of the launch of Netscape Navigator, Microsoft brought its own arsenal – Internet Explorer – in 1995. A company that didn't care about the web would not react that fast & that brutal. BillG was hell bent on winning the Browser wars and pulled all stops.
  2. In August 1995, Microsoft launched MSN as a direct competitor to AOL. For a long time, it was the Internet's most visited properties.
  3. In 1996, it launched ActiveX the framework that for a long time ruled the content sharing on the Internet (for better or for worse).
  4. In 1996, Microsoft also unleashed the Hydra [SQL Server 6.5] with built-in support of web applications.
  5. In 1996, it also brought out the FrontPage to enable anybody and their grandmother to create webpages.
  6. In 1997, Microsoft acquired Web TV that pioneered in mixing the Web and Television. Along with its partnerships like MSNBC, Microsoft was all set for the communication revolution.
  7. In 1997, Microsoft acquired Hotmail and quickly dominated email.
  8. In 1998, Microsoft entered the search business with a partnership with Inktomi. For a while, it leveled with Yahoo in search.
  9. In 1999, Microsoft launched MSN Messenger – the Whatsapp of the previous generation.
  10. In 2000, it launched the web framework ASP.NET that still continues to be a major player in the game.

Are you saying BillG was not serious about the web? Are you serious?

Some/most of these tool might look ugly when look at from 2014, but they were a revolution back then. When Bill Gates gave up control in January 2000, Microsoft was the undisputed king of technology – both web and software – that got little challenge from Amazon, Google , Yahoo or Apple – all of them relatively old by that point.

BillG vs. SteveB

I have worked under both their administrations.

  1. Engineers had little respect for Ballmer. I worked and interacted a lot at the ranks at Microsoft & knew very well how scant a respect he commanded, even when Microsoft was doing well.
  2. Ballmer took his fights personal. He spent way too much time on the "betrayal" by Google that he took off his eyes from the ancient rival – Apple.
  3. Under Ballmer, Microsoft was very slow to react. Bill Gates attacked Netscape in just 6 months after its release. That instant blitzkreig left Netscape stunted & confused. Ballmer attacked iPod 5 years after its release. That time allowed Apple to really perfect things & get a financial foothold. By the time Zune came out, it was too late & too ugly to bother iPod.
  4. Ballmer really over-reached instead of streamlining. He fought every major technology company in parallel – Oracle (with SQL server), IBM (Windows Server & other tools), Sun (with ASP), Google (with MSN->Live->Bing), Apple (with Windows, Zune..), Sony (with XBox), Mozilla (with IE) besides taking the open source community head on. This multi-pronged battle really depleted the ranks.

Also see:

  1. Technology – Google Finance
  2. The History of Microsoft (Channel 9)

Was Bill Gates lucky in escaping the criticism and a kind of downslide that Microsoft went through under the leadership of Steve Ballmer?


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