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Is it looking to the future, or having a consumer focus versus enterprise?

Consumers are fickle, and you have to be on top of the latest trends in GUI, service, products, business models.

Corporate customers tend to be stickier, and more resistant to change.

The A/G/A/F foursome are geared for consumers, and are suitably nimble. The others you listed aren't. The worst thing a company can do is try to be perfect for both types of customers.

I think we should compare MSFT against other companies in enterprise space.

So lets take, for example, ORCL.

From 2000 till today, ORCL become the clear leader in enterprise: they acquired PeopleSoft, Siebel, BEA, Sun, etc.

On the other hand, MSFT position in enterprise space is in much weaker position comparing to competitors such as ORCL. Enterprises will replace their Windows with tablets, but I don't see them replacing Oracle Database or Oracle Applications (and Siebel and PeopleSoft apps are not so bad).

So Balmer gets B- for his enterprise work. Larry, on the other hand, gets A+.

I see that slightly differently. Oracle is huge in government, world-wide. But while it used to be "Oracle is the answer. What was the question again?", there's a shift towards F/OSS, open standards, and commodity hardware. This hurts Oracle. And yes, the exact same thing hurts Microsoft, too.

Microsoft, however, have three products that will ensure their continued profitability[1] - Excel, Exchange and (probably most importantly), Active Directory. This is over and above their insanely cohesive ecosystem, from SCCM all the way to Dynamics.

Active Directory is so critical because of the vast amount of legacy code that depends on it. Want to guess how many fortune 500 companies rely on AD?

[1] Nothing is guaranteed so yes, unless they evolve as the environment they generate value for inevitably evolves, they'll go.

Back in late 1990s and early 2000s, enterprises were much more dependent on MSFT than today. Windows machines were in server rooms, Windows machines were on desktops, Exchange was everywhere.... Companies really depended on Microsoft: they had the entire stack.

Fast forward to 2013 ... what do you see? Did Ballmer really improve Microsoft position in enterprise comparing to Oracle and other competitors?

And how much growth potential is there in selling Active Directory, Excel, and Exchange?

Every sizable company already has these things installed. Smaller and new companies may choose to spend their dollars elsewhere and that's a change of events for Microsoft. Projects that previously would go on Sharepoint are now done less expensively with cloud services, for example.

In tech, growth is in consumer, and with consumer tech drifting in to the enterprise, even enterprise IT spending may not go to Microsoft.

You can't really blame people for abandoning sharepoint, it's really an excellent display of why you shouldn't try to interbreed all your gui applications with internetexplorer iframes. It's literally the worst MS have ever produced.

That said, Im amazed at the volume of seemingly smart people that choose to implement that steaming pile of poo.

Who knows? What I do know is that this is exactly what I was hearing in the late 90's.

"Enterprises will replace their Windows with tablets"

really? What can you do on your tablet in enterprises? You can have them only as an additional device. They don't even have any port where you can plugin something. And, you will have your tablets interact with whom?

At the end of the day, you need real machine running full blown OS to get shit done and not devices meant for playing with those face painting apps.

Ten years ago, were you saying the same about laptops?

Given that there are already enterprise users out there today on Android and iOS devices, this is a pretty bold claim. (And you can, in fact, plug things into tablets with both operating systems - they have USB support.)

Its just as bold to say you can run enterprise on a tablet. Are there any enterprise running soley on laptops? No servers?

It's not bold at all, since there are lots of enterprise tablet deployments today and products in the market specifically to serve such uses: http://www.samsung.com/us/business/samsung-for-enterprise/in...

These are not all being deployed as "secondary devices" - in many cases companies deploy them because they're cheaper to deploy and maintain than a laptop, which only makes sense if you're not also providing a laptop to the user.

Having companies run solely on laptops or tablets has nothing to do with whether or not there are enterprise tablet deployments. Your logic is flawed.

Thin clients for VDI for one, and the trend does seem to go that way. With current generation hardware, a good 1U server can support 50 - 100 desktop simultaneously.

And then Microsoft makes money by selling 50-100 Remote Desktop CALs to replace those 50-100 physical desktops. The price per CAL is about 90% of the price per license of Windows. But add in the base price of the Windows Server license, and you're back to essentially the same price.

Net impact on Microsoft's bottom line: zero.

At first. But eventually, less and less will run on the 370^H^H^H Windows box, as people get native clients (or good HTML 5+ clients) for email, memos and spreadsheets, and only "that legacy .NET app we still have to use" will be on the big-iron rack in the DP donjon.

no port needed. everything wireless. I'm waiting for NFC keyboards.

google now says you interact with the tablet by voice, and you watch the screen with your eyes. Now, tablets can even derive events from looking at your face (samsung you look away video stops).

Noticed you don't need a mouse with a tablet?

Oh, the software will have to be rewritten, no doubt, but since most of the software is interface anyway...

MSFT position in enterprise space is in much weaker position comparing...

Is that true?

Microsoft's ActiveDirectory, Exchange, and SharePoint are every where.

Perhaps they have different parts of "enterprise" pie.

The statement is true from my POV.

In last 10 years, I have visited 100s of enterprise data centers and seen the transformation from primarily UNIX (non-Linux) and Windows server to Linux. Today I rarely come across UNIX and come across shrinking base of Windows servers. Ten years ago, I saw shops exclusively being either UNIX or Windows. Today shops are either Linux or a combination of Windows and Linux. In Enterprise OS market, Linux ate UNIX for lunch and now nibbling at Windows for dinner.

Active Directory and Exchange are much more popular because of its utility with windows workstation managements and user familiarity with PC and Outlook. With the acceptance of BYOD, thanks primarily due to iPhone and iPad, the MSFT hold on workstation side has started to be impacted.

Sharepount is not that much popular except in dominantly Windows server shops.

If you were to look at how much money these products make, it's a pittance.

Most of the money is made on Windows Server licenses and many of these things get thrown in.

That's certainly not something I've heard. Sharepoint alone is supposed to be $2 billion in revenue.

Don't overlook the SQL Server licenses that almost all of the enterprise stuff requires.

The bulk of the money is in

os, sql server, office/exchange.

Everything else is tiddly winks.

Microsoft still has a problem. AD, Exchange, and Office (no SharePoint is not everywhere) only work on completely Windows networks. Once somebody has to use mobile computers, you are better with Samba, IMAP, and a LibreOffice compatible package.

Every mobile platform that matters hooks into Exchange - iOS, Android, Mac OS X Mail, Surface Mail, Windows Phone, Pre-Windows Nokia, all speak ActiveSync for mail, calendar and contacts. Blackberries hook in with Blackberry Enterprise Server.

And most if not all of them have some kind of Office Document viewer and basic levels of editor, either built in, shipped with, or available as an app.

And how is Samba, a clone of Windows SMB file shares, going to help anything mobile?

I'm mostly a startup type, but I've worked in some fairly corporate environments and I've never used any of those.

Although Active Directory and Exchange are pretty entrenched. And how's Sharepoint and Lync doing? Microsoft still have quite a foothold in the enterprise, even leaving aside Office.

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