Microsoft shareholders meeting – “you all look like a buffoon”

Its Apple products that their kids want says one shareholder and Microsoft is seen as the "evil empire"? Now, I wonder what past actions have caused Microsoft to get such a bad image?

Here for your enjoyment are the best bits of the Microsoft annual shareholders meeting 19/11/2009.  If you wish, you can download the complete document for yourselves here.

Before we delve a little into that, lets consider what opinions on the net are saying about some Microsoft technologies, we are seeing Zune making attempts to dethrone the household name of Ipod, we see Bing foraging in the scraps left from Googles dinner table (IMO) and we see Windows 7 being presented by some as being great because…..”its better than Vista”

I’ve often said that Microsoft has its fingers in too many pies and instead of being able to concentrate on making a few world class products it has become “jack of all trades, master of none” (IMO) The sheer size of the corporate slug Microsoft means in my opinion that its revenue stream just cannot support all the employee’s, schemes and innovations that it currently has.  To me Microsoft is well aware of its bad image and that’s why I think we see Microsoft selling parts of its patent portfolio in the hope of attacking its competitors by proxy.

So now we move onto the shareholders meeting.

It certainly makes interesting reading and for me asks the question “how focused and organized are Microsoft?” Read the answers that Steve Ballmer gives to some of the questioned put to him.  Do they sound like the answers of a well crafted plan or an attempt to merely defend the company?  I’ll let you answer that yourselves.

So whilst Microsoft tries to become trendy (IMO) it again seems to miss the mark when even its shareholders can’t convince their own children that Microsoft products are the ones they want and it seems that Apple gets the prize with them for producing the tech which is used.

I don’t really think this shareholders comment will come as a surprise to anyone.

All four of my kids in undergraduate got Macs. When they went on to graduate school, they all got Macs. They claim that 65 percent of college students have Macs. They claim that Microsoft, the evil empire, is stodgy on the current ad that Apple has, you all look like a buffoon.

If Microsoft are not aware of the stiff competition it appears in my opinion that atleast its shareholders are:

Just a really short question. I’m a rather new shareholder and I would like to know why Microsoft can’t beat, together with Nokia, Apple iPhone, and Google’s Android. What are you going to do about it?

and if I was present at that meeting representing Microsoft, I’d shout proudly “Zune and Bing!” and possibly “Oh yeah and Winmob. I know we messed up last time, but dig deep and give us another go!” – Yep that ought to pacify the shareholders!?!?

Its coincidence in the last article I covered Bill Gates and his comment about people “stealing” Microsoft products and working out how to get a return later, lets look at that comment again (said in the early 90’s)

Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don’t pay for the software,” he said. “Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.

and now Steve Ballmer 2009 at the shareholders meeting:

…I think we feel very good about our position. Whether we prevail or not, we’re going through the legal process in China…..

So, there’s a lot of work to be done on intellectual property protection in China. We both want to be at the forefront of doing that well ourselves. And we expect to see our own intellectual property much better protected in China. That is very important to us.

It sure seems time to pay the reaper.

So with Microsoft shareholders even making comments like evil empire and buffoon.  Has Microsoft still got “the right stuff” to last as the biggest player in the IT world?  Whilst in my opinion Microsoft is trying to cash in with old concepts that have already established a customer base (Zune/Bing) whilst also trying to convince people that they’ve got it wrong about Vista, Windows 7 is great and XP is only supported with security updates, one has to wonder if in fact the comment Mr Ballmer made about Google being a “house of cards” is more relevant to Microsoft?

Mr Ballmer says at this meeting,

And we are excited to be bringing our cloud computing platform to market with Windows Azure and SQL Azure, which we announced this week, will be available commercially by the first of next year.

which is strange because Andre Da Costa seems to imply that we are far away from a cloud computing future.  Having said that, if Andre has seen the comments where Mr Ballmer calls Google a house of cards, maybe Andre holds no worth in what Mr Ballmer has to say.

But wait….it does get better!?!?!

Of course theres “great” news which wasn’t mentioned at this meeting and I would suggest that maybe you don’t get too comfortable with Windows 7….Why? because according to the Microsoft road map (and this article) Windows 8 is on its way for 2012!  So enjoy Windows 7 and get ready to buy into Windows 8 in just over 2 years…remember, “its always better the next time”.


Goblin –


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