In my view, Ballmer's mistake is to not go after Oracle and SAP much more than chasing Apple and Google.
Edit: Apple did acquire ping, but that was social music, which is a bit different. They also introduced siri, which simply plugged in to preexisting search services (Google in iOS 6, Bing in iOS7) so it really is agnostic on that front.
"Google are making baked beans? Why aren't we in the baked bean market? Let's make beans!"
"What? Now Facebook are making Facebook Soda? We need to make Microsoft Soda!"
Every time a tech company produces something new MS have to muscle in on the market, despite having a) no prior experience, b) no aptitude, c) existing products that could use their attention.
But I think Google is much more prone to jump in to a market with force, they just seem to execute "better" (I leave that open to interpretation).
FB comes out and MS buys in whereas Google makes their own social network. Apple makes the iPhone and Google makes Android. Only much later (as the ship has already left port) does Microsoft come in with Windows Phone (I'm only considering 7 & 8). Somewhat related, I feel like MS and Dell were on target with the Axim from a product idea standpoint but Apple really capitalized on combining the functionality of a phone and forward thinking hardware and software design with iOS devices.
This is an established enough business strategy there's a name for it: "fast follower." (See http://www.businessinsider.com/youre-better-off-being-a-fast...).
After that, yeah, a lot of following, then again for the GUI introduction era everyone was following Douglas Engelbart, and Xerox PARC for the graphical part.
Microsoft's failure was in hesitating to change with the market, not a failure to have products on the market.
Tablets, you can make a case for, as above, I guess, but again, the leap with the iPad was so great that it wasn't just an iteration but a leap, leaving it open for a fast follower to come on (as Google did there too).
Apple and Google didn't have Windows Mobile 6, 7, and 8 being planned and developed when iOS or Android were released. Microsoft did. It's slower to turn a ship around than it is to start one going in the right direction in the first place.
And besides faster processors and a slicker UI, what exactly puts Android in a different market than Windows Mobile? Serious question. Both allow you to develop, download, and install apps. Both are pocket computers with a cell phone built in, built on the same paradigm that Microsoft ushered in throughout the 90's (give users almost complete control, let OEMs do whatever they want on the hardware side). Windows Mobile has touchscreen support. Both can/could be gotten for very cheap or very expensive. Android seems to be, for all intents and purposes, a straight-line evolution of Windows Mobile with a Linux kernel (yet still closed-source where it really counts).
What supports my claim that the market was created by Apple and Google? You cannot exclude "faster processors and a slicker UI", as you put it - nor what they're a part of. It was a revolutionary change in user experience.
Your point about neither Google or Apple having involvement in the industry is a good one and it's not completely uncommon for stories of disruptive innovation - which this clearly is...
Which is not to say they can't execute a fast-follower play successfully anymore -- see XBox and Azure. Just that they don't nail it as thoroughly and consistently as they used to.
I find it hard to believe that someone who writes something this wrong can function in society.
Microsoft invented the tablet computer a decade before the iPad existed.
Their marketing may have sucked, but they were well ahead of the rest of the industry (and apparently the world).
Please, stay civil. :)
Anyway, I don't think the statement is wrong. Sure, Microsoft had tablet computers first, but I think it's also true that the Surface RT and Surface Pro were made in response to the iPad's success.
Are you referring to PixelSense?
The antecedents to the Metro design were in Zune HD and the Zune desktop client, among other things.
>Every time a tech company produces something new MS have to muscle in on the market, despite having a) no prior experience, b) no aptitude, c) existing products that could use their attention.
Similar to what Google is also trying to achieve with Google+, especially with muscling in part? Although I don't like their approach, I can't blame them for going with it. There is a huge untapped market in the social segment and they were right to put a footing on it.
Android was bought in.
I never thought of Siri as search. To me it was more about interfacing with your device.
Bing on the other hand, not so much.
Native speakers might not see a huge difference though.
Also MS was into search before Google was.
Yes, but at least for the past two years Jobs has had a really good excuse.
I mean, its not like MS didn't try the search thing, but search is something Google will own until they fuck it up, not from anyone entering to compete with them, because free & good enough are hard to break. Albeit, Google has been doing a good job fucking up their search in the last several years.