Microsoft has been buying up smaller companies since it nabbed the software that would become PowerPoint in 1987, but its most robust period of acquisition is undeniably the post-dot-com bubble years after Bill Gates handed Steve Ballmer the CEO position in January 2000. Between 2005 and 2008, the software giant snatched up more than 10 companies a year and set a company record in 2006 by buying a whopping 18. During Ballmer's 13-year tenure, Microsoft devoured 149 companies.
Microsoft has been very successful building its business on the backs of developers and third-party manufacturers, what the industry calls OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Windows dominated the desktop with hordes of Windows-compatible machines from OEMs and tens of thousands of applications from developers selling into a huge market. It was the ecosystem that defined personal computing in the 20th century.
The formula hasn't worked out so well in the early 21st century. In the shift to mobile computing, Apple's iOS and Android have left Microsoft in the dust over the last five years. Now Microsoft is trying to … Read more
Microsoft's two-and-a-half-year partnership with Nokia hasn't been great for Windows revenue generation. According to a PowerPoint presentation from Microsoft on the newly announced deal to acquire Nokia's phone operations, the company has less than a $10 gross margin for each Nokia Windows Phone sold.
With the $7.2 billion acquisition, Microsoft said, things will get better -- when that deal is completed, Redmond expects to earn more than $40 in gross margin per unit with an integrated team and more focused marketing. At 50 million units, Microsoft expects to reach break-even on the new business … Read more
Microsoft was already forced to roll back its November launch markets from 21 countries to 12. Now, the company has quietly restricted Kinect's highly promoted voice control feature to only five of those markets.
"Xbox voice commands will not be available in all markets on the product release date. Voice commands will be available at launch in US, UK, CA, FR, and DE," reads the final line, buried at the very bottom of the page, of Microsoft's new Xbox One promotional page.
That means that Austria, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, and Spain will … Read more
It was one of the longest-running duos in the history of the technology industry. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, Harvard classmates and later business partners running what once was the most dominant company of its era.
Now it's over.
On Friday, Ballmer issued a surprise announcement stating his intention to step down sometime over the next 12 months. Much of the subsequent commentary has focused on shortcomings in Ballmer's stewardship. But a close review of the record suggests a more complicated narrative, one in which it's clear that both Ballmer and Gates shared equally in the company'… Read more
In his retirement memo to employees today, Steve Ballmer said that "Microsoft has all its best days ahead." You would, of course, expect one of the tech industry's biggest cheerleaders to put a super-positive forward spin on his decision to leave the company after 33 years, including 13 as CEO.
The reality is that without some miracle, as when Steve Jobs returned to Apple and transformed the company, Microsoft's best days are behind it.
In the Ballmer era, Microsoft has struggled to make the transition into the mobile and social 21st century. The company was … Read more
Windows Phone users can now tap into Instagram through a third-party app.
The 6tag app lets you upload and share your photos and videos, customize them via filters, and check out photos from your friends.
You can share your favorite photos on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Foursquare. The app offers an array of filters, including XPro-II, Earlybird, Rise, Amaro, Hudson, and Lo-fi. And you can tag your posts with your … Read more
Microsoft is teasing its Xbox One with a "look but don't touch" approach.
The gaming console is popping up at Microsoft Stores for potential buyers to ogle. But ogling is about all you can do since the gadget is locked up in a glass case like a museum piece. Even though you can't get your hands on the console, you can at least check out its various components in person.
After having to concede that the Xbox One would not be able to meet its original 21-market goal at launch, Microsoft is reiterating the point it announced in June: its next-gen console's games will not be region-locked.
That means fans stuck in the eight European countries that won't be seeing the Xbox One until sometime in 2014 have a workaround available if they want to get their hands on the console come November.
Reiterating that the delay Microsoft announced on Wednesday was due to voice support for various languages into the console's dashboard, Microsoft's director of … Read more