Tag: Steve Ballmer

Microsoft's Ballmer gets a great big French gong

The man with the quietest voice in the world has received a great honour and un whopping big gong from one of the shortest international leaders.

Mr Steve Ballmer, a US citizen and very quietly spoken, received the gong called the Legion d’honneur yesterday from Nicolas Sarkozy (pictured), the president of France but more famous for having a tall and quite beautiful missus, Carla “love lasts a long time, but burning desire — two to three weeks” Bruni, who Mick Jagger once fancied quite a lot. And Eric Clapton, or so it is related on Wikipedia.

Ballmer now joins the legion of other IT leaders who have been awarded gongs by sycophantic Western European countries.

Sir Bill Gates and Sir Lou Gerstner are honorary knights, bestowed on investiture by Her Britannic Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Gibraltar and other small places, like Droitwich.

The gong allows Sir Ballmer to drive a flock of sheep across the Seine provided there’s a “z” in the month. Zut alors! [Slow news day, Jock? Ed.]

Microsoft appoints Satya Nadella to head up cloud division

Microsoft has appointed Satya Nadella as the replacement for Bob Muglia for the company’s server and tools business, which is focusing on cloud computing.

Nadella is an engineer from Microsoft’s Online Services business and has been with the company for 19 years, only a few years less than the 23 that Muglia laid claim to. At the time of removing Muglia as head of the department, CEO Steve Ballmer said that new leadership was needed to help the company dominate the cloud market.

The division is worth $15 billion and is a major bet for Microsoft, but with studies indicating that the cloud market, both public and private, will boom over the next few years, it’s a much safer bet than some recent decisions. Not mentioning the Kin.

The cloud is such a big deal to Microsoft that it has already switched much of its internal services to run on the cloud. It also forecasts that within three to five years at least 80 percent of the company’s applications will run on the cloud, according to Total Telecom.

Muglia will aid Nadella in his position while the transition takes place. Nadella already has some cloud experience from his previous position, where he helped oversee the technical strategy of the company’s cloud network, which covers search, portal and advertising.

Despite talk of a management shake-up which is expected this month, the fact that Ballmer appointed a veteran to the cloud position arguably means he is unwilling to bring in flesh blood for the top positions. He did promise to use engineers to replace key positions.

Investors want to see Microsoft pay more attention to its cloud, smartphone and tablet markets. Ballmer has received a lot of criticism from all flanks, but if this latest appointment pans out, some more cloud success could bring Microsoft back on track and dampen the waves of criticism.

Silicon Valley's entrepreneurs in "Fight Club" fisticuffs

When most think of a job in Silicon Valley an image conjures in the mind of plush settings and entrepreneurial talent.

But TechEye has learned that while these workplaces are often ranked as the most desirable in the world, many staffers are tragically unfulfilled.

This has led to the emergence of a dark underbelly of violence in the technology community.

More and more office workers who have spent the day sat in front of a computer are seeking out the visceral thrill of one on one combat in what seems to be a number of groups inspired by the cult film Fight Club.

“I hit a guy in the face and we’ve bonded. We’re part of the same tribe,” said one participant in a fighting ring, quoted from the video below.

“I would say I use the fighting more as a remedy to the cubicle existence,” he continued, highlighting the growing trend towards a need for an outlet following a day working in the technology industry.

“We are seeing office workers who, after a day in the office, want to have a good manly experience of a fight.”

“Poker is fine, but Fight Club – I do it for the hugs afterwards.”

The fights, which probably don’t see combatants arming themselves with anything from knives to shurikens carved from USB sticks and sellotape, would probably often lead to horrific bloodshed.

 

Uppercut from California is a place. on Vimeo. Seen on The Next Web.

 

While TechEye has the growing feeling that some of this could, just possibly, be make-believe, it has made us wonder who we’d like to see in the Silicon Valley Fight Club next:

 

Fight: Mark Zuckerberg in a three way fight against the Winklevoss’s?  One easy way to solve the lawsuit.

Verdict: Out of court settlement.

 

Fight: Apple‘s Tim Cook versus Microsoft‘s Ballmer. The main event.

Verdict: Steve Ballmer’s pro-wrestling training gives him the competitive advantage armed with a chair. 

 

Fight: Dirk Meyer versus The entire AMD board?

Verdict: Our money is on Meyer. Angry and disillusioned from his sacking er resignation at AMD and an unsuccessful comedy career, he’ll have some pent up violence. With AMD shedding execs left jab, right hook and centre it may not have the staff to enter the fight – and Meyer will win by default.

Microsoft planning management shakeup

Microsoft is planning a management shake-up that will concentrate on replacing many of its executives with fresh people who have an engineering background.

The changes are being sought by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, according to two unnamed sources close to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Ballmer has already been replacing people in the company, last month getting rid of its server division president, Bob Muglia, who had been with the company for 23 years. Ballmer said that the company needed new leadership in this area to focus on cloud computing, an area which is expected to boom over the next few years.

The changes in other key positions are likely to be in the smartphone and tablet sectors, areas which Microsoft arrived considerably late at after the success of Apple’s iPhone and iPad and Google’s Android platform. The appointments are expected to be made this month, although these plans were not intended to be public.

One of the reasons cited by the sources for the shake-up is mounting investor criticism, which has been focused on Microsoft slipping behind main rivals, particularly with Windows Phone 7, which received good critical reception but had a very late market entry. The dramatic failure of the Kin phone also received stern criticism from shareholders.

The focus on finding engineering people to fill the key positions suggests that Ballmer has lost faith in his marketing team. He already replaced Stephen Elop with Kurt DelBene, an engineering chief, instead of a marketing executive, which was widely expected.

The fact that an engineering background is a prerequisite for the positions suggests that Microsoft’s current management lacks this kind of knowledge to a degree, which rivals like Google and Apple have been using to push product lines. 

How about Steve himself? He’ll probably be clinging on.

Analysts advise Nokia to dump MeeGo

Dump Meego and switch to Windows Phone 7 is the message sent to Nokia this week by a number of analysts.

In an open letter to Stephen Elop and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Berenberg Bank’s Adnaan Ahmad said Nokia’s move to Windows Phone 7 would benefit both companies.

The analysts urged the struggling company to ditch the Symbian OS – which has been dropped by the likes of Sony Ericsson and Samsung – as well as the unreleased released MeeGo. They said developing smartphones with Microsoft’s OS would give them a much better advantage.

The recommendations come as Nokia’s newly appointed CEO, Stephen Elop plans to talk about how he will turn around the struggling business next week.

“Get rid of your own proprietary high-end solution (MeeGo) – it’s the biggest joke in the tech industry right now and will put you even further behind Apple and Google,” Ahmad advised Elop.

“Focus your high-end portfolio around WP7, and over time you can take the cost down (that’s Steve [Ballmer’s] job and cost base) to get this into the mid-range market.

“Push your Symbian solutions into the low-to-mid-range smartphone market as quickly as possible to defend market share versus Android’s upcoming lowered cost ecosystem.”

Ahmad claims Microsoft also needs the support of the world’s biggest smartphone maker. “Two million units [of Windows Phone 7] shipped in the last quarter is not really much to write home about, given $500m in marketing programmes (ouch), but with Nokia on-side, you get access to a potential 20-25 percent global share over time – and exclusivity.

The analyst’s advice was echoed by Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair, who said the switch to Windows Phone 7 “would address the key concern we have had about Nokia for the last several years: terrible software”.

MeeGo, which is in joint development with Intel, has already had its fair share of trouble despite it not even being launched. Back in November we heard that developers were none too trusting of the OS. Reasons for this included that it was late to market, it showed no signs of a solid app framework and didn’t have enough to differentiate it from other popular choices. Intel and Co. continue to pin hopes on Meego – showing off with a spendthrift attitude at a conference in Dublin where they rented the entire Guinness brewery.

And it doesn’t seem Nokia’s people have faith in the OS either. In October its MeeGo Devices VP, Ari Jaaksi resigned – leaving the company in the lurch.

Black Eyed Peas' will.i.am appointed Intel Director and other pop hits

Yes it’s true – in an announcement that has a striking similarity to Lady Gaga’s move to Polaroid last year, it has been confirmed today that “will.i.am”, hack auto-tune professional and producer of pop outfit Black Eyed Peas, is about to embark on his most adventurous collaboration yet.

Bucking the trend of roping in this year’s latest chart-topper for another half arsed attempt at a listenable record, will.i.am has been chosen from a candidate list of one for Intel – his official title is now “Director of Creative Innovation,” a position carefully cooked up and created, no doubt, by Intel’s innovative marketing team in a bid to cash in on Cheryl Cole’s friendzoned BFF. Neil Inntel of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band may be Otellini’s replacement. 

Intel is not the only tech giant combing the charts for a gossip rag regular with a keen eye for snatching cheques. TechEye can, after some digging, exclusively reveal further collaborations between the realm of foundries and mediocre pop acts: Along with others, “Blue Man” Bernard Manning has joined AMD just a day after comedian Jim Davidson was made CEO.

At a pre-MWC press conference in California, Nvidia has chosen a cardboard cut-out of 90s hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur as its Tegra Software Manager. Meanwhile Rambus is set to announce that the rapper from 2-Unlimited will take the helm of European sales, though as yet no one can remember his name.

There are rumours around that former HP CEO Mark Hurd is going to be playing Lux Interior at a one-off celebrity packed gala, performing critically acclaimed cover ‘Surfin’ Hurd’. Sources say he does a “mean impression” after just a few. Hurd, now at Oracle, may be surprised to find VMWare selected the one with the beehive from the B-52s to join the award winning virtualisation team. 

The struggling Yahoo has hired England’s “Diversity,” the street dance group headed by the charismatic Ashley Banjo as head of Enterprise Solutions. 

Over in Asia, Foxconn’s Terry Gou has plans for Donny Osmond as floor manager at the notorious Shenzhen plant. The Honeycombs are now Huawei’s official R&D department. Also in East Asia, Led Zeppelin has entered acquisition talks with AU Optronics but the merger has been delayed due to Robert Plant’s display patent worries.

Our very own deepthroat has leaked a slide which suggests Madonna’s “in vogue” at Infineon – with a promotion out of the blue to head fellow. Similarly, Big Blue aka IBM has been awarded service provider of the year 2011, perhaps prematurely, by Motown original Diana Ross. The Cure’s Robert Smith is now in charge of EMEA public relations at Citrix while Shirley Ellis of “the Clapping Song” is delighted to take a top design role at Apple. To celebrate she will be releasing the Appling song.

The shock departure of Google’s Eric Schmidt, replaced by Larry Page, has found the reanimated corpse of Michael Jackson take charge of all open source projects. At Microsoft, Steve Ballmer has personally chosen the living members of The Beegees as successors to the Microsoft throne.

Is Microsoft considering buying a handset manufacturer?

Microsoft refused to rule out the possibility that it would buy a mobile phone manufacturer, but just how likely is it that the company would make an acquisition in this area?

Rumours have been flying high and low since Microsoft’s CEO, Steve Ballmer, made some interesting comments in an interview with CNBC

When asked if Microsoft would consider buying a major handset manufacturer he gave a cryptic answer, stating that there is a difference between “bold technology bets” and acquisitions, and that it had done the former, but he would not comment on the latter in the interview.

He said that acquisitions are “a complicated subject” and asked “when does an acquisition make sense?” He had no answer for that question, but that’s likely because Windows Phone 7 is still in its early days.

Windows Phone 7 launched very late in the game, with three rival companies already dominant in the market: RIM, Apple, and Google. This late entry led to many predications that WP7 simply wouldn’t catch on.

And this may in fact be true, as Microsoft refuses to reveal its recent sales figures, which it never does for its successful products. What we do know is that it only sold 40,000 devices on launch day, a paltry figure for a launch day, which usually sees better-than-average sales. While this number may be better than sales of the Microsoft Kin, when we compare this to sales of between 200,000 and 300,000 per day for Android and Apple it paints a very grim picture.

An analyst for NPD Group, Ross Rubin, suggested that things were not going well for Microsoft and that it had failed to build the early momentum that Android did. Of course, Android took some time to really take off, but it filled a gap in the market that isn’t there any more.

Would an acquisition help with sales then? That’s a very big question, as it depends entirely on what exactly the problem is and which handset manufacturer might be bought. 

The problem with Windows Phone 7 is that, while it’s technically not bad, it doesn’t offer anything really new to the world. Apple gained popularity for its user-friendly consumer-orientated experience, while Android won the hearts of open source fanatics and people looking for a cheap alternative to iOS. Windows Phone 7 simply doesn’t have that “something” needed to steal significant market share from either of these big players.

And buying a handset company won’t help, unless it’s a major company like Nokia or HTC. If it were to automatically take the place of Symbian it has a fighting chance, but this is unlikely, as Windows Phone 7 tends to cater for the higher end of the market. While Symbian appears doomed to many, it’s much more likely that Nokia will embrace Android than WP7.

Buying out HTC or Motorola could help eliminate some of the competition, since both of these are big allies to Google, pumping out dozens of Android devices. That may lead to an antitrust probe, however, and will simply mean others will fill the void with many more Android models. There’s certainly no shortage of them.

It will also do little to affect Apple’s figures, since it does much of its manufacturing with Foxconn. Apple’s iPhone growth has been slowing in the face of the swift rise of Android, but it still has a healthy market share and a loyal fanbase. 

Android is also likely to continue its strong growth for some time, which makes it appear that a   Microsoft acquisition might simply be a waste of money.

TechEye's predictions for the Ballmer CES 2011 keynote

Based on Steve Ballmer’s shaky announcements over the last year-and-a-bit, TechEye is pleased to present to you our predictions for his Microsoft Keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas, 2011. His keynote is on Thursday. Get ready with this handy checklist:

– Microsoft Unicorn With its distinguishing horn, billy-goat beard, cloven hooves and penchant for granting magical wishes we expect Ballmer to pen in a Q2 2011 launch. 

– Microsoft Atlantis While explorers far and sundry have given their lives searching for the fabled city of gold under the sea or perhaps elsewhere, Ballmer says he will bring the world the release of the sunken paradise sometime late 2011. He’ll call it an innovation but Google got there first

– Microsoft Shambhala Tibet is anything but free! In fact with Microsoft’s planned expensive licensing on this upcoming lost city, Tibet’s rather expensive indeed! Typically thought of as hidden somewhere in Inner Asia, Ballmer will exclusively reveal, by way of a ritual dance, that the Kingdom is Microsoft’s proprietary property. He will boast its testing phase will begin Q1 2011. Stockholders relax: Thought Shambhala was Pure land? Pure profits, more like! The man below starts off by blowing through a human thigh bone – sort of a trumpet. Go figure, Communist China!

– Microsoft Xanadu Not visited by Marco Polo in 1275, established Microsoft 1975. Ballmer is going to announce the shift of all research departments, factories, whatever to Microsoft Xanadu giving up on Redmond or Seattle entirely. It’ll cost somewhere in the region of $5 million dollars, according to Ballmer on Thursday, and the shift will start 1st February. It’ll be complete, Ballmer will say, by the 5th of February. 

– Microsoft Tir na nOg Ballmer will admit that his company, in the past, hasn’t lived up to all of its promises. And he’s sorry. But it’s all been for a worthy cause, because Steve and the gang have been looking for the fabled Irish city of eternal life, Tir na nOg. Petty, announcing this to us – as only Ballmer, Gates and a handful of bigwigs will live there. Where they will quarrel and scrap until the end of time. Similarly from what you thought was Irish mythology there will also be the Microsoft Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Rainbow. And the premise will bear striking similarity to every Microsoft roadmap in history. 

TechEye's Person of the Year 2010

With just a day left to decide, TechEye Towers has finally picked our person of the year. Time readers wanted Julian Assange on the cover but they got Zuckerberg instead. The Financial Times plumped for Steve Jobs because of his continued success in reviving Apple and pushing its profits, for the first time, past Microsoft. Ballmer didn’t get a look in anywhere. 

It’s our first one so here are the rules. TechEye’s Person of the Year will have contributed engaging forward thinking solutions unlike any other, an innovator who has demonstrated real acumen – truly adept in their chosen field moving forward. A key game-changing paradigm shift. 

After frenzied thinking through many, many difficult, sleepless nights, TechEye’s editorial team has unanimously decided that our Person of the Year 2010 is… yes, it’s Vondrashek, MD!

The mysterious Vondrashek has followed Mike Magee, TechEye’s editor in chief, through publication after publication leaving a string of profound insight as his trademark paw-prints. Here are some excerpts from Vondrashek this year.

On the rumoured Facebook mobile:

“Addmendeum. On Island in Hong Kong there is City named: Aberdeen, Thats Hutchinson Whompoa Home. Original Dock Side Organiztion was by: msr. Clague. Clague, Nixboc, Baratu. Entire group has ties to Myamar Milatary Extremeist, Death Camp Generals,of Sorts.”

On Arsenic based lifeforms:

“Arsenic Wears ArseHat, In that Banglore has plenty in water system, most in World & Forms Methyl Compounds. Sticky SEX. 

“Most of todays news is covered from long time ago. However, Now Bacteria have name, that Love Arsenic. Multi Cellular, No Go. Arsenic replaces hydrogen with oxygen, Often fits where phosphorous fits & comes in 3 styles. Grey,Yellow & Black. Yellow being waxey.Called metaloid.

“Arsenic Is Bad for Blood & soups Up Nerves. Causing Collaspe of Host. Lead Arsenic & other arssenics’ are used in agriculture as Poison. Flush Out Arsenic or Die.vondrashek arsehat specialist.”

On the BBC planning to record and broadcast at least some of the 2012 olympics in 3D: “Not just Pole Vaulter, Dean. Pole Vaulter With Spiked Shoes Flying into Face, Well Polished Spikes Big, First & Crunch,Owe,My Noggins ‘Bledin’.Wow, Was Only Shimer of Dream.vondrashek”

On Google losing the Lincoln Memorial:

“An Obo, China Is FRE’Mont Mine In Peoples Republic of China.

“Google It, As Bing won’t go Directly to Site. US has prevented further Mining & Oil in USa for Most Part.

“1/6 of USA supply of Rare Mineral comes from FRE’MONT.

“See Drying ponds & Rich Grey Ore, Open Pit & Water Dissolving Precious Thin Metals, Some Believe Metals Go 40 Miles Into Earth.

“One of Primary Sources for Computing & Telephone Usage.vondrashek md”

And here are some select quotes from TechEye staff on Drashek’s ongoing support and why he’s won our honoured and prestigious Person of the Year.

Drashek’s in depth understanding of technology issues, and his ability to get to the heart of any matter make him an icon for what TechEye is all about. – Nick Farrell

Doctor Drashek takes on so many appearances it’s hard not to think of a certain other mysterious Doctor. We wonder if he has, or is, a TARDIS. – Dean Wilson 

Vondrashek, alien watcher, is a visionary in his field and we are pleased to award him with the highest accolade available to us. – Hector Dish

What or who is Drashek? Sometimes we have suspected he is a journalist acquaintance. At other times we think he might be Mike Magee’s alter ego. But he’s not. – Mike Magee

 

Congratulations Drashek!!!!

Rumours suggest that Microsoft might go private

The dark satanic rumour mill has been manufacturing a hellish yarn which claims that Microsoft is considering going private.

On paper it looks like a good idea. Microsoft would have to borrow $225.5 billion to make it happen and it would not have to give any more money to whining shareholders or listen to Wall Street. Employees would make a hell of a lot of money and the Imperium could have total control of its finances.

Ideas like this are fairly fashionable at the moment. Michale Dell has been seriously thinking about it and is going to discuss it at his next board meeting.

Brier Dudley’s Seattle Times bog heard one of the rumours and asked Bill Koefoed, general manager of investor relations at Microsoft if there was any truth in it.

Koefoed said that it was not as far fetched as it sounded and was something “in the back of people’s minds” at the company. Apparently the Imperium has thought it through.

Firstly it would require Microsoft to borrow money at the same favorable terms it got for its recent debt raise. The interest on the loan would be about $1.21 billion per month which is doable because it earns $2 billion per month in profits,

But what is scuttling the plan is Ballmer and Gates would have to back it. Apparently neither of them think it is a good idea. In fact for it to work they would have to hang onto their shares. Recently they have been flogging them off. 

This selling of shares indicates that making Microsoft private is just the sort of mental exercise you do when it is holiday season in the US and there is no news.