Windows 8, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and how Genius is non-transferable.


I stumbled upon a blog post that I think should be titled - Genius is non-transferable. Nice up beat post about the influence of one Mr Steve Jobs and how his departure is affecting the future of Apple via a thought inspiring post.

This got me thinking about the day Bill Gates officially retired from Microsoft. I was on campus at the time and I remember everyone that I was near talked about this moment and there was a weird vibe around confidence levels. Most brushed his departure as the old guy has left the building, he didn’t do much anyway these days? Others who were more senior and seasoned didn’t follow this thread of thinking. Instead, they were more conservative and gave lofty responses like “we’ll see..” hinting that we as a company have only just began a journey of success vs. failure ahead.

Today, Amazon has setup shop right near Microsoft and recently the company lost or was expected to lose over 3,000+ staff to the ….online bookseller? storage in the cloud? company?. …Google, Facebook etc. have also setup shop just outside the borders of Redmond as well with I’m sure equal numbers of the 3,000 likely to occur as well.

How does the Amazon staff hiring blitz have anything to do with the topic at hand? Its simple for the first time in the history of Microsoft not only does the company have just as rich competitors today, but they also have their medium level competitors parked outside their village. This is a small but equally important issue as now not only is Microsoft HR departments on notice that they need to improve their metrics around success and fail but it also has a significant impact on the quality bands of their products (ie key staff leaving? Good or bad? Depends…)

Pre-Bill Gates.

Pre-Bill Gates departure, Microsoft was still a chaotic organization filled with typical large enterprise issues but it in turn was kept in check by a guy who remember outsmarted the beloved Steve Jobs on a number of business related tactics over the years. You worked hard to outsmart Bill in the organization and he did have a cultural impact on staff – prime example, ThinkWeek Papers.

Post-Bill Gates


Post Bill Gates, well products aren’t doing that great other than Windows 7 but in reality Windows7’s success is really a false positive given if you remove Windows XP from the market and force business/consumers down a path – it’s what I’d call a duress driven success.

You have a staff exodus problem occurring and furthermore you have no cohesive strategy around marketing products that at the end of the day are technically well built – Microsoft’s always had a marketing issue never really a technical one.

Windows 8 Predictions

Next month, Mini-Steve (Sinofsky) is keen to jump on stage and release the momentum he’s spent months ratcheting around the future of Windows8. The prediction here is simple, he’s going to unload a device-operating system, and he’s going to outline Jupiter but paying close attention to promoting it as an animation framework only while throwing most of his weight around HTML5/JavaScript/Internet Explorer as being the Web Application of tomorrow.

This is going to give people their Microsoft high for the year, then in the following September 2012, he’s going to come back and officially release this to the world thus removing MIX Online from our memories for ever more.

While this is happening he’s then going to spend energy & time building out the desktop concept of Windows as we know it today whilst factoring in the disruption of Windows8 Device / ARM Operating system and its effects on the market.

Apple in turn are going to spend a lot more budget / cycles now to rebuild confidence now that Mr Jobs has stepped down for what we all know now sadly, health reasons. Inside Microsoft they will see this as a moment of weakness, the beloved General has fallen – storm the gates, hard and fast.

This is a software storm of under qualified sugar overloaded officers at best who are going to promise us the world, the future of a brilliant tomorrow when it comes to vNext Software.

The underlying impact here for all of you to consider and the moment in which I personally just shake my head and sigh.

There’s no Steve Jobs and Bill Gates anymore, just punks who think they have the capabilities that these old warhorses once had.

These two didn’t accidently impact our lives worldwide in a once off streak of luck, they had consistent measure of success over the years in everything they did and we in turn backed their abilities in one way or another.

We had confidence.

Today, you look at the landscape of software companies and what they are all busy right now pushing and pulling the industry into what it should be and you have to ask yourself a simple question?

Are you confident we are on the right path now? If that answers no, kind of or not stacking into the majority of “Yes” column. Then we have a problem and future CEO’s like mini-Steve may think he’s got the winning formula but in truth, he’s been too busy copying Steve Jobs/Bill Gates homework he’s not taken time to learn from what they’ve failed and succeeded at.

Inside Microsoft, watch guys like Scott Guthrie as whilst everyone is running towards Windows 8 / Windows Phone 7 gravy train(s), he’s walking towards Azure, a spot where you can easily hide for a while and let the mob fall on top of each other over Windows 8 / Windows 7 device rush.

Mark my words, he’s the one you should all keep an eye on as he has potential to one day become the next Bill Gates / Steve Jobs for Microsoft or maybe a competitor should he jump ship to?(minus the creative part of course).

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  • siro

    Avast reports malicious code/links on your site.
    Check to see if you’ve been hacked

  • Fallon

    @ siro:
    Yup, I got the same. Looks like a malicious JS file!

    Revenge of Mini-Steve?

  • Dan

    Harsh but I’m inclined to believe it has true, less so about Tim Cook and more so in regards to Steven. Back at Office he came up with the Ribbon, now that he’s on the Windows team what does he do? Bring the ribbon with him.

    That’s not innovation, that’s not new, that’s thinking a single UI control is your key to the top and sadly the guy is terribly mistaken.

    Apple are taking in record profits by simplifying everything, iOS couldn’t be easier to use and the steps they are taking with Lion show that this ethos is going over to the desktop as well, Steven however comes along and turns something as simple as a file explorer into a 200+ command center and calls that progress, he actually thinks that people want 200+ commands to manage a file. If that’s not delusional then I don’t know what the hell is.

    Apple are killing the file system, Microsoft are saying that you need 200+ commands to manage it, doesn’t take a genius to see who is going to come out on top in regards to that battle.

  • @Dan – When I read about the Ribbon the other day, my first reaction was GREAT.

    For power users, sure it’s useless… But to see my non-computer savvy friends, my mum and dad, all struggle with right clicking.

    It took me over an hour on the phone to get my dad to copy some photos from a CD to a folder on his desktop. The ribbon greatly simplifies that task.

    My dad used to struggle with MS Office prior to Office 07. When Office 07 came out and I upgraded him, the amount of times he would ring for help with Office dropped to almost never.

    The ribbon feature while useless for power users, is a great step in the right direction for making windows more usable.

    For the record, you clearly did not read the entire post or watch the video on the Windows 8 blog.

  • Dan

    Phillip Haydon wrote:

    times he would ring for help with Office dropped to almost never.
    The ribbon feature while useless for power users, is a great step in the right direction for making windows more usable.

    To say I never read the post or watched the video is naive at best, not only have I read the post multiple times but I’ve also watched the video multiple times, I’m trying my very best to see why Microsoft has chosen to do what they have done.

    If it actually took you an hour to teach your Dad how to copy files then the problem isn’t the UI, it’s your Dad. If he is unable to grasp the simple concept of copying files from one location to another then how the hell did he manage to even switch on the computer? If he doesn’t want to or is unable to learn such simple file management concepts either get him a iPad or a for dummies book.

    The ribbon is an answer to a problem that shouldn’t be the responsibility of Microsoft to fix, people who need big buttons in order to help them move a file or rename a file need to learn how conventional way of doing so, the way every OS adopts as the standard because it makes sense to everyone. They are a minority, they don’t bring in Microsoft’s profits, they don’t tell their friends how great the OS and suggest they buy it, they shouldn’t be treated as important (harsh but true).

    If we actually did design software for these types of people we would be using Microsoft Bob 7, not Windows 7.

  • You’re right, it says a lot when your competitors are willing to set up shop on your front door, and stand there toe to toe fighting for your talent. I’m sure you saw that MS lost Simon Witts today.

    I wonder if the reason why we are seeing that horrific ribbon surface in explorer is due to the lackluster talent that’s left.

  • @ Dan:

    If it actually took you an hour to teach your Dad how to copy files then the problem isn’t the UI, it’s your Dad.

    Yeah an hour on the phone from another country. The problem isn’t my Dad, it’s the UI, otherwise it wouldn’t be painful to watch non-tech savvy people use a computer.

    The problem is most 60/70yos don’t know how or when to right click and use a context menu. This UI change solves the problem and makes it fast easier for non-tech savvy people to use.

    The article says it’s not for power users, but as a power user you can still benefit from it, and if you don’t like it, collapse it!

    You are a minority, do you really think MS will make the OS for the minority, or will enhance the experience for the majority?

  • D

    Scott G will hopefully leave for Amazon and take their tablet to new heights along with developing a Linux distro that rivals Ubuntu and can be run on all architectures. MS is undoing the fine work he started with the .NET framework and the paradigm shift he brought to web development. What is his reward? Move to Azure and make sure you save it otherwise ….. I don’t think they’ll promote him to the next Bill G as the internal politics appear to be very thick there and not based on merit. Too many good people have already left. Scott would be snatched up quickly and given the proper respect he deserves. My two cents.

  • Niall

    Quiet on this blog recently. Too much humble pie in your mouth?

  • LBiege

    Hey Scott,

    What you make of this Google internal review on the status of Javascript. Sounds pretty authentic to me.

    I find it tragically amusing that while Google is abandoning the Javacript Titanic Microsoft is busy jumping on it. It cannot get any more pathetic than that.

  • LBiege

    Oops posting URL failed. Try it as plain text:

    It’s really really bizarre now that Google is getting off Javascript in search of their SilverLight and yet Sinofsky is murdering SilverLight to pump Javascript.


  • @ LBiege:

    Wow.. just wow.. still trying to process that info… wow..

    @ Niall:
    Humble? dude, i nailed it.. feel free to point out how i got it wrong 🙂

  • cahuna

    Scott Barnes wrote:

    @ LBiege:
    Wow.. just wow.. still trying to process that info… wow..

    Funny, isn’t it? Getting ready to drop SL/C# in order to adopt JS just when Google’s getting ready to drop JS for something else means that you have just the right knack for timing. Priceless.

  • Asmtrash

    Almost agreed in everything. Scott Guthrie is the obvious innovator/dreamer/achiever now inside MS not because he is heading along Windows Azure and the Cloud Computing (something that Ray Ozzie widely promoted and looked out for when he stepped in as Chief Software Architect), instead, Guthrie has achieved/been involved in many of MS triumphs like ASP.NET, WCF, WPF, XAML, Silverlight. Also, Windows 7 is the greatest Windows client version not by mistake but because Steven Sinofsky took a similar aproach as the Xbox team by not letting Gates/everyone-else insist on re-using Windows previous/current basecode.