Tag: Steve Ballmer

Microsoft takes axe to Finnish staff

steve-ballmer-tongue-540x334Software company Microsoft said today it will make 2,300 people redundant in Finland.

Microsoft had said it will cut nearly 8,000 jobs worldwide in July.

Most of those result from its ill-fated decision to buy Nokia’s mobile unit. That decision was taken by then CEO Steve Ballmer (pictured), who decided Microsoft should pay well over the odds for the Nokia unit.

Most of the job losses in Finland will come from its product development unit in Salo.

Microsoft has made many attempts to get into the burgeoning mobile phone business and has spent untold billions on the attempt.

But yesterday market research firm Gartner said it was still failing to make headway in a market dominated by two operating systems from Google and from Apple.

Microsoft tried to bully UK government

David CameronA report said that Microsoft put pressure on the UK government after the Conservative Party said it would move government computers to use open source software.

According to Bloomberg, Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s former director of strategy, said earlier this week Microsoft stepped up lobbying at Westminster.

Hilton said, according to the report, that Microsoft phoned Tory MPs with Microsoft facilities in their constituencies and threatened to shut them if the government went ahead with the plan.

Hilton said the MPs that were threatened told Microsoft to take a hike.

Recently, Microsoft has been less confrontational about open source software, which former CEO Steve Ballmer detested with a passion.

It has realised that if it wants to make money from the cloud, it has to cooperate with the entire community and cannot hope to use the strategies that at one time gave it and Wintel a virtual monopoly on computer systems.

Intel, Microsoft have terrible annuses

“Your shadow at morning striding behind you    
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;    
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” – TS Eliot, The Wasteland    

Yeah, I am quite aware the plural of annum is not annuses but then the headline is more important than the body text.

Both Microsoft and Intel have had a terrible year and Janus, which rhymes with anus, suspects that 2014 won’t be much better for either.

Intel’s “customers” – for that, read compliant vendors – have, like Nero never did, fiddled while Rome burns. The X86 chip is not quite dead but considering the amount of money Intel spent on branding in the 1990s, it must be frustrating for the old lags at Chipzilla – those that are left of course – that the world+dog is not in the slightest bit interested in what component powers the smartphone and the tablet.

Intel, it could successfully be argued, brought it all upon itself by allowing the famous Atom to cannibalise its ever so famous brand.  It thought the gravy train would run forever but it found itself at the end of the line, hitting the buffers of indifference and even this old buffer doesn’t care about Intel any more.

The  notion that anyone in her or his right mind would pay over the odds because a machine had an Intel chip in it  is just plain busted.

Microsoft is a different case.  It’s heart is in the right place, that is if any multinational corporation can be said to have a heart. Intel certainly has never been challenged by sentiment.  But Microsoft lost the plot too – why would you choose a Microsoft operating system for a phone and a tablet when it has such a big slice of a PC’s pie?

This year has seen the brutal toppling of a quiet, charming man who has a large voice that can be heard 10 blocks away.  Steve Ballmer did not deserve the opprobium heaped upon him by, as Nick Farrell describes them, the Wall Street cocaine nose jobs.  Microsoft, like Intel, is now simply irrelevant.  The game has changed and both megamoths are tumbling into the dying flame of the X86 monopoly.

Say you are a diplodicus with a huge body and a tiny brain.  Does death take longer because of your bulk?  I can think of only one IT company that managed to successfully re-engineer itself, and that is IBM under the stewardship of the Nabisco man.  Getting in a geezer from Ford to run Microsoft is just plain nuts in May.

No one cares about the operating system, the motherboard, and the CPU any more.  Those days are gone.  A happy new year to all of our reader (sic) and lang may your lum reek.

Ballmer realised he was the Microsoft problem

An interview with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has revealed the thinking that led him to decide to go.

In an exclusive interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said the realisation that he was the problem started in a London street in spring when he thought Microsoft was likely to change faster if he wasn’t there.

To that end he wrote as many as 40 resignation letters and in June a meeting with the board made the decision to leave so.

He was already under pressure from board directors including former IBM and Symantec exec John Thompson to speed up change at the software behemoth which was lagging behind competitors on the cloud and tablet front.

In a characteristic Ballmer move, during the interview with the WSJ he leapt from his chair and screamed “Charge! Charge! Charge!”.

Ballmer (57) has large shares in Microsoft and he’s not short of a bob or three.

Nokia shoots itself in both pheet

Ailing phone company Nokia – now a subsidiary of Microsoft – appears to have looked in the mirror and seen a distorted image of reality after it launched a $500 tablet in Abu Dhabi.

The tablet, named the Lumia 2520, has a 10 inch screen and runs Windows RT. It also includes LTE, if that’s anywhere near you yet.

At the same conference, Nokia-Microsoft introduced three cheap handsets and two absolutely “phabless” phones. The Lumia 1520 and 1320 also run Windows software, with the former set to cost a staggering $750.

Stephen Elop, the former head of Nokia and tipped by some to take over from Steve Ballmer at Vole, came out with a platitude of some size when he said that the Lumia portfolio is growing.  When we say growing, perhaps he meant going, it was hard to hear the din  from this distance.

Presumably Elop has heard of something called the bill of materials….

Nokia readies Abu Dhabi tablet launches

Microsoft subsidiary Nokia will introduce six products at a conference in Abu Dhabi in a bit to spoil Apple’s expected launch of an iPad tomorrow.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the six devices includes a tablet computer and some “phablets” – what a horrid word.

Stephen Elop – tipped by some as a replacement for CEO Steve Ballmer – will host the event.

The tablet Nokia will show off is expected to include LTE and that might give it a chance to compete with Apple.

Nokia, Microsoft must be hoping, will give it some momentum in the market for tablets following its disastrous launch of the Surface RT.

Microsoft investors antsy about Ballmer palaver

Microsoft executives are due a grilling from shareholders as investors prepare to make sense of exactly what is going on at the company.

Mixed messages is an understatement: outgoing shy and retiring CEO Steve Ballmer first consolidated power by dismantling the powerful Windows group according to his whim, then abruptly announced he’d step down as soon as the next CEO is in place. Then the company bought Nokia.

The Wall Street Journal reports analysts are readying themselves for a crucial meeting Thursday, where Ballmer and other executives are tipped to face an onslaught of questions about confusing happenings in Redmond’s Vole Hill.

Throw in relatively shakey financial results and the company’s ailing plan to turn itself into a game-changing, paradigm-shifting hardware company – Microsoft is not a hardware company – and it is little surprise investors are edgy.

It is expected, the WSJ reveals, that the company will update analysts on its hunt for another CEO, take it to task over its smartphone and other hardware segments, and probe Redmond’s plans about its $77 billion cash stockpile.

Ballmer’s lasting legacy may be his unwaivering attempts to reshape Microsoft into a rival in the consumer space, biting at the ankles of Apple and Google, rather than as a software and services company. First with the Zune and now with the Surface, Ballmer hasn’t been entirely successful. Indeed, the Surface was essentially a $900 million write-off, plagued by its image as an also-ran, a hefty price tag, clumsy marketing and unremarkable hardware.

Thursday should also bring with it a stock dividend increase. If this raises near the 15 percent mark, it could be a sign ValueAct Capital, a major Microsoft shareholder, is exerting its pressure as it looks for chunkier payouts from the company.

Knackered Microsoft buys knackered Nokia phones

Failing Microsoft has bought failing Nokia’s mobile business in a move that has surprised nobody.

Chief executive Steve Ballmer trousered up over $7 billion in a last desperate bid to make Windows a success on mobile phones – or handys as they call them in Germany. The billions include patents and stuff but don’t include boots.

No wonder Steve Ballmer is set to retire soon.

Microsoft's Ballmer says he's going to retire

The CEO of Microsoft – Steve Ballmer – is going to step down as the chief executive of Microsoft within the next 12 months, the company said today.

Shares of Microsoft (MSFT) stock rose on the news.

Microsoft has created a special committee to find a successor to Ballmer. Microsoft founder Bill Gates will sit on that committee. The company will consider both outsiders and insiders as successors.

In a statement, Ballmer said Microsoft needed a CEO who would be around long term as the firm changes to a devices and services company.

Wall Street has wanted Ballmer to go for some time.  Rather like Intel, Microsoft has missed the boat on the move to smartphones and tablets.  Its own attempt to make money on the Surface RT tablet went disastrously wrong, forcing the Voe to take a close to $1 billion charge last month.

Sales of Windows 8 are also in the doldrums as competitors and former partners see Android platforms as a better bet.

Hedge fund buys into Microsoft

ValueAct Capital Management said that it had invested $2 billion in software giant Microsoft and that boosted its share price by 3.6 percent yesterday.

The founder of the hedge fund, Jeffrey Ubben, revealed the fact at an investor conference in the US yesterday.

Although $2 billion isn’t a trivial sum, that investment only represents less than one percent of Microsoft’s total shares, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ubben said his company invested in Microsoft because the company wasn’t appreciated by other investors.  Stock prices in Microsoft have been in the doldrums since 2002, unlike the stock price of, say, Google or for that matter Apple.

Two years ago, another investor, David Einhorn, also talked up Microsoft but at the same time he suggested it was time Steve Ballmer stepped down from the CEO position. Microsoft’s share price (MSFT: NASDAQ) closed at $30.79 last night.