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Microsoft reports record first-quarter revenue of $18.53 billion (microsoft.com)
244 points by coloneltcb on Oct 24, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 237 comments

Nice boost in their search revenue, if your wondering why Google's CPCs are going down, that is why. Microsoft has gotten serious about exploiting their search engine tech and that is having an effect [1]. Unlike 'recuter' I don't think this is their "Blackberry Moment" :-)

Google is smearing the smartphone market, at the expense of Apple's cash engine, Microsoft is smearing the Search market at the expense of Google's cash engine and Linux is smearing the operating system market at the expense of Microsoft's cash engine. Seems like there is a lot of pressure to diversify.

[1] http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/24/pricing-engine-adwords-bing...

> Linux is smearing the operating system market at the expense of Microsoft's cash engine

Is this true? I don't see too many Enterprise shops going "no more windows, exchange, and active directory. its ubuntu, postfix, and ldap all the way!"

Linux certainly has killed commercial unixes, but MS Server products never got popular for web and other areas Linux is traditionally strong in. The fabled year of the linux desktop never happened.

MS still leads with many enterprise products. For all the hand-wringing over surface and bing, MS is swimming in money on the enterprise side.

Its true in two very interesting ways -

First it has nearly sealed off the 'cloud' from Microsoft. Sure there is Azure, and you can ask many VPS providers to put Windows into the box, but Linux system images dominate the 'cloud' OS space by a large margin. So a lot of what Microsoft used to sell as 'back office', aka an NT server for a small business running exchange and maybe Access is shifting over to gmail + AWS.

The other place its getting crushed is of course mobile phones. If it weren't for licensing revenues from patents the Android (and Linux kernel) would be doing more financial damage, as it is, the number of 'seats' which run the operating system of choice are running a Linux derivative. We've talked about how this is the 'post PC' era, and it is, and the Post PC, whether it is your Samsung 'smart TV' or your phone, predominantly doesn't pay Microsoft an OS tax.

So revenues that Microsoft used to get for OS installs are now time limited patent licenses.

Don't know if I agree with your first point. AWS got a head start, but Azure is gaining and fast (Azure revenue - not profit - is at least 30+% of AWS already). That says nothing about SkyDrive either, which is already the biggest cloud syncing service out there. So saying Microsoft is getting "crushed" in the cloud is _far_ from being true.

Right, from the revenue report: "Commercial cloud revenue grew 103%". This appears to be the largest section of growth reported, so it looks like Microsoft is doing pretty well in the cloud space.

Business 101: Whenever you see a ridiculously huge growth figure like 103%, it's usually measured against a tiny base. See http://xkcd.com/1102/

Improving growth does mean either Microsoft's doing something right and/or the size of this market is increasing. But seeing a growth number this high means you should be very skeptical that cloud products will be able to carry the rest of Microsoft on their back going forward, or successfully challenge market leaders.

Usually, but not in this case.

Something about this sounded sketchy...


places Sky Drive in fourth, behind Dropbox, Google Drive, and ICloud....

From your source, "According to OPSWAT’s data (which admittedly could be wildly skewed depending on who actually downloads their software, take it with multiple grains of salt)."

Admittedly I'm referencing data I read somewhere which I can't find right now, so I'll retract the statement about SkyDrive being the biggest. It is certainly up there though and growing according to this financial report.

Almost every windows tablet sold is another user for SkyDrive. I am not sure about Windows 8 and 8.1, but significant portion of those sales will add users to SkyDrive as well. Let's not even talk about Office 365 which forces you to use SkyDrive. So while SkyDrive might not be #1 in terms of number of users, given aggressive bundling strategy, I would expect it to be close to the top in terms of growth.

But as a metric for actual popularity, that is a completely useless stat. Microsoft also used to crow about how many tens of millions of people had Windows Media Center, but most of them were just people who bought a "premium" version of windows with their pc and didn't even know what Windows Media Center was. If gazillions of people are technically users of skydrive simply by virtue of having windows, that really says nothing about skydrive's actual popularity. It's like claiming solitaire is the world's top-selling game.

> If gazillions of people are technically users of skydrive simply by virtue of having windows

Or Hotmail. I don't use Windows, but I use Hotmail and I have some files stashed away on Skydrive. This is stuff I don't access frequently where it's fine to go through the browser to get them.

I even tried it on a Mac, but it needs a case-insensitive filesystem. Amateurs...

I think Azure is great, but it remains that people are using linux for their servers.

Azure is OS agnostic; Linux runs great on it.

Hence why I said it was so great. My point was that windows is dying as a server OS, though I'm sure enterprise will keep it kicking for several decades

Microsoft even charges less for Linux VMs on Azure than Windows Server VMs with the same specs.

Exactly! Windows is a dying beast.

SkyDrive is bigger than Dropbox? Is it bundled with Windows/part of the install then?

With Windows 8, and has been part of the windows phone ecosystem for ages.

But it's more than that, SkyDrive was launched in 2007, DropBox 2008. In classic Microsoft style, they didn't really tell anyone it existed for a few years.

I'll be honest, I don't 'get' dropbox. Their security record means I'll never, ever trust them with anything beyond a lolcat, they don't really have any killer features.

The fact that on Windows SkyDrive offers much better user experience than DropBox, the implementation of JIT-downloading files, the fact it hasn't messed around with ASLR in my web browser.

I gather dropbox is better if you run OSX, but at the end of the day having 1% of windows market is better than 10% of OSX market.

A big use of dropbox is sharing files with other people.. so unless all your friends run windows as well, cross platform is actually a big deal.

I'm sharing some vacations photos with Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone and Linux users.

All of which can be done on SkyDrive. Not sure why the downvote for this.

The only one lacking a first party client is Linux. There are 3rd party ones serving it.

For simple sharing, it can be done entirely in a web browser. In fact for photo sharing SkyDrives web-based offering is much better than dropbox, from handling of exif/geotags to the whole commenting and such.

Oh, ok. It was your last lines that made me think of cross-platform availability and sharing. Let's say SkyDrive had 100% of the windows users but only 10% of the Mac users. It would not be especially useful to me since one of the two big usecases is to share many files with others as easily as possible.

Which actually (and thankfully!) I think is the problem with DropBox's business model.

Most apps I use, will happily use SkyDrive, DropBox or Google Drive. As a business, why would you ever tie yourself to the fait of one. The 'key risk' is simply to great to be tied entirely to one vendor or platform. It is one of the best arguments for making AppStore Apps multi-platform.

Which brings me back to my original point. SkyDrive has some better features, even if you only use OSX. Both Google Drive and Sky Drive are working on converging the web-app space. When people are just in a browser the word / excel / ppt / etc document editing ability (all free) is considerably better than google docs.

For sharing simple photo album, its much better, especially if you want to share with someone who can edit. It also blurs into almost facebook territory with the comment system too, but has better privacy.

I can't think of one feature in fact that would make think Hmm DropBox is the best for this. As I don't have a mac to compare, combined with my deep loathing of the UX/Design Language of OSX, I have only glanced over the feature sheet. Can't see anything SkyDrive is missing on OSX that dropbox offers.

GNOME can integrated with SkyDrive since June 2012.

Ah, thanks for the info. I tend to use Drive myself - I just assumed Dropbox was the most used/largest.

> NT server for a small business running exchange and maybe Access is shifting over to gmail + AWS

I think many small businesses are looking at Microsoft's cloud exchange solution to be honest. Works just like exchange (meaning all the mobile devices and apps that expect exchange like outlook still work), isn't expensive, pretty reliable and gives loads of space.

> Sure there is Azure, and you can ask many VPS providers to put Windows into the box, but Linux system images dominate the 'cloud' OS space by a large margin.

That depends if you're talking about the host OS or the guests. There are plenty of people running Ubuntu instances on Azure.

One thing I keep hearing is how great MS offerings are for businesses and enterprises. What offerings are these? How do they beat the open source systems?

Active Directory and it's deep integration into all MS Products is a killer feature in my opinion. Federated Identity Management, and ADFS are tightly integrated into AD but at the same time open and make Access Management and integration with other Enterprises pretty seamless.

I think a lot of people outside the corporate world have a hard time understanding the virtues of Microsoft because they work on such a small scale or without Security, Compliance, and Regulation concerns that are requisite in Enterprise Environments.

Having worked in a very secure/compliant/regulated shop, I can understand those concerns (I was not a sysadmin, I was a developerish person).

I'm going to presume from your answer that OpenLDAP is not sufficient then? Certainly Linux systems can use LDAP.

AD looks more like the addition of puppy, a yellow pages solution, and a mail settings wizard. I'm sure there are other features too, but I don't see people using them. Linux has nothing like that. In part that's because:

- It's far from consensus that a puppy-like system is the best way to manage the settings of all your computers, including desktops. Linux has plenty of other tools for managing multiple computers, and almost nobody uses only one.

- Really, what was MS thinking when they joined email configuration with the desktop settings management? (And ntp, dhcp, and etc?) AD imposes a lot of restriction on how one must organize his services, and just a tiny minority would be content with something like that on Linux.

- There are plenty of yellow pages solutions that people like more than LDAP.

> what was MS thinking when they joined email configuration with the desktop settings management?

Selling Exchange licences, what else?

> AD imposes a lot of restriction on how one must organize his services

Preventing machine-profile creep is a big concern for me. Every different kind of machine we deploy is one more different configuration we need to manage.

> Certainly Linux systems can use LDAP.

I think the operative word here is "can." Active Directory allows you to actively reject machines from your network that are not part of the Domain and it can prevent you from extricating a machine from the Domain to circumvent restrictions imposed upon the machine, the user, the location, or any other myriad of configurable factors.

It would surprise me if there was something you couldn't do to on a nix machine that you could do with Active Directory on a Windows based PC but the time and maintenance involved are in no way proportional. The full featured and easy to use tool-chain was what made Microsoft great, and they lost that with overly complicated systems in the 2000s but they seem to be getting back on the right path with Powershell and their Core Server administration tools.

Additionally Active Directory is an LDAP provider so it's relatively easy to integrate nix machines into an AD environment.

Thanks! I appreciate your insights here.

Try this, what is the open source competitor to Active Directory from the point of view on a system admin who manages 1,000s of PCs? This is just one part of the equation, but it shows a lot about the difference between Microsoft and open source projects.

It's LDAP. I'm not looking for "points", but I'm looking for a broad understanding of why an enterprise would definitely select Microsoft. From a techie in the trenches with an eye on founding his own company, I simply can not grasp why I would use Microsoft or other proprietary technology at this point.

OpenLDAP. But I don't want to derail into nits really - I'm looking at the broader question of "What offerings conclusively swing an enterprise away from Linux".

"...swing an enterprise away from..." implies they are already there. They are not. The question should be reversed,"What offerings conclusively swing an enterprise away from Windows?", and the answer is not much (so far).

LDAP is not a substitute for the whole of Active Directory it is a small piece.

Currently there are a broad set of tools to manage thousands of PCs from a core infrastructure, think Puppet or Chef for Windows Desktops. And you can set broad policies about software and access.

That sort of deployment, where you have say a call center with 1,500 people sitting in front of a PC to look up orders and such on their desk. You can update all of them, make sure none of them can surf outside to random web sites, etc.

It is also useful in a large technology enterprise where you have many developers. (Say a large C# shop of contract coders) because the tools help manage workstation build environments etc. When you are a mixed shop it is less useful.

Basically if all of your IT needs can be met by Microsoft products, they have a good story about how you can deploy them, manage them, and maintain them. There isn't a solid open source equivalent. Part of Google's strategy there is 'Chromebook' since if you're running a bunch of terminals that makes things easier to centrally manage.

If you were going to build something in the FOSS space here it would probably impose some strong limits on customizations in order to work. It would also need a way of disabling 'smart' employees from subverting the system (remember the kids who broke through the restrictions in their school issued ipads?) You have to think in the mindset that your employees are not your friends and may be trying to subvert the system :-) The "ideal" (and I put it in scare quotes because most employees hate it) is a workstation that can only run the tools to do your job, and only browse to sites that help you do your job.

I expect we'll get back to that and there will be a 'soft' network for personal devices which is monitored.

Hum. I guess you're right; thinking of people I hired as people I don't trust does change the mindset a lot. I would hate to work for a place like that, and would feel awful about helping build that kind of place. Probably very "hacker" of me. :)

Of course, technically, I can conceptualize that in my own company, I would set up a stock Puppet-based configuration that controlled Debian workstations, build computers, etc. Firewall rules, access rules, login rights, etc - all via puppet.

It does go a bit deeper than not trusting folks[1]. Sometimes you must make sure you comply with information sharing laws in your field (e.g. HIPA). Two, most people are not super computer literate and just want the damn thing to work. Having a standard config that you slap down with their data stored on good servers is actually a pretty helpful thing to them. They don't want control of their machine, they want stability, reliability, and recovery from mistakes. The accountant wants to do his/her job and not learn IT's job.

As much as I'm not a fan of Windows Servers, I understand that they provide a pretty easy, integrated approach. I do wish open source projects would look to that and not think what's available is good enough. People will trade up their Camry for a Lexus, but not willing trade down to a Yaris.

1) although with over 1,000 or 10,000 employees you probably should assume you've hired some damn fools or evil folks - that's just basic numbers

That's the problem your a techie and if your founding a techie company non-MS solutions will work. But if your running a business that's not techinical think insurance agency, mortgage company, etc. You would go down to "best buy" buy a couple of windows boxes run your loan officer product on windows and try not to think about technology again. Where I work we have a product that runs java on the server but requires IE as the browser. 5 prod websphere servers 700 windows boxes for the users. On the development boxes we run tomcat but if there's a production issues they want to be able to call microsoft or IBM.Also, your going to train 700 users to use linux on the desktop. Besides can you lease linuxs boxes from Dell?

1,000s of PCs... So you work in a small Enterprise shop?

... I wasn't describing my situation, although I would bet 1,000s is a bit more common than 10k and 100k but I take your point (I think).

I use FreeBSD with Samba, but I only have 500 at my current site with a mix of iPads, PCs, and OS X.

And what about the massive enterprises running exchange?

> The fabled year of the linux desktop never happened.

That's partly because the desktop became more irrelevant, while mobile became more relevant, and linux dominates the mobile market. One could say that the it switched from being about "the year of the linux desktop" to "the year of the linux palmtop", and that already happened.

Of course, depending on your point of view, that may just be double speak to obscure original point, which to varying degrees it most certainly is.

No, that's just the excuse linux fans use.

Linux failed in the desktop market thus far, and probably will until someone comes up with an OS that is at least as user friendly as OS X and then actually has the ability to get it into users hands.

But why does it need to do that? The desktop paradigm is dying a slow but inevitable death for most consumers.

Android is not exactly Linux. Ubuntu-like builds are far from dominating anything.

How is Android not a Linux distribution?

It's not a GNU/Linux + X + Gnome/KDE stack traditionally associated with Linux desktops.

That's right. It's not a traditional Linux distribution for desktops. It's a Linux distribution for mobile devices.

I dont understand why you would WANT linux to dominate desktop market :/ I thought the whole point of linux is that its a playground for advanced users. Windows on the other hand, was designed for normal users, who would never even think of scripting of piping etc. So considering the general public aren't hackers, why would they come over to the linux side?

> I dont understand why you would WANT linux to dominate desktop market

I don't, necessarily. Or, more accurately, I used to, then I didn't, and now I don't really care.

I long ago realized there's a sweet spot technology when that technology is used enough to be popular in niches, but not enough that skills in it's use and maintenance are commoditized.

Professionally, this results in more demand for your skills. Personally, this allows you to invest some portion of your identity/personality in your choice, especially if your identity is slightly nonconformist (this isn't necessarily a good thing, but it can feel good).

Perhaps what finished off 'the year of the Linux desktop' in the end was OSX.

It's incredible that the enterprise mail market is dominated by MS. How Linux didn't get that is beyond me.


Plus nothing really came along that was a viable alternative to Office. Don't count MS out of tablets yet, Surface falls into line quite well with an Office dominated culture.

Agreed. People love to trash talk Microsoft's mobile offerings, but really their biggest failing was being so late to the game. If I was in the market for a tablet (which I am not, because I am still perfectly satisfied with my 3 year old Android tablet) I would definitely be taking a hard look at the Surface.


The ASUS T100TA is an impressive tablet or mini-laptop based on the new Bay Trail Atoms and will allow many corporate users who are tied to the MS stack to do what they need on a tablet. They run Windows 8, not RT and are start at $350.


Oh gosh. The battery life alone terrifies me! Microsoft simply doesn't know how to make an efficient OS.

Many business people depend on outlook and it's integration with exchange. I don't understand it myself, but it's a fact.

What's amazing to me is how popular Linux has become while no one is promoting it. Both MS and Apple have spent loads on marketing and polishing their products. No one is marketing "Linux".

Not entirely true... Oracle and IBM both push Linux, and of course Red Hat and SUSE are both ~1 billion dollar companies.

Not an Oracle user, but aren't they primarily pushing their DBMS and related products, with their RH clone merely a certified platform for the their core products?

Same kinda true of IBM too, no? Except AFAIK, they don't even have a Linux flavor the claim as their own. I think they're clearly a supporter of Linux, but any marketing I've ever heard from them (admittedly not much), was for their own core products.

Red Hat is indeed a commercial company with a Linux distro as its core product, but, while it may be the most successful "Linux" company, isn't it small potatoes compared to AAPL and MSFT? Most non techie people I know probably wouldn't know what Red Hat is, but I suspect all would know Apple and Microsoft.

Because people don't want to "compile kernels" and "make those drivers finally work".

Who said it was "a year"? I thought I read "the age of the Linux desktop". That would imply much longer than a year, which would IMO be a lot more accurate.

Regardless of what it actually is, my point is that I don't believe we will see the kind of overwhelmingly quick adoption of Ubuntu or other flavors of Linux until somebody makes a laptop or desktop computer that runs Ubuntu, does everything a Mac/Windows machine can do (and I mean EVERYTHING...the only reason I'm not running Linux all the time is because the best DAWs and audio plug-ins are for Mac or Windows), and somehow also markets it to be a cool computer to have. That's the only way they're going to beat Apple at this, by being better.

But that's not going to happen. What will happen, I believe, is that over time, more and more people will gravitate to using Linux as they tire of the limited choice offered by Apple, Google and Microsoft. Hopefully, so many will that major software vendors will begin porting their stuff to Linux, at which time it will become more and more obvious for people to be using it. With Steam for Linux and SteamOS based on Linux, we've already seen some trickles of this in action. I think we'll see more gamers gravitate toward Linux when Steam for Linux gets more popular and if that succeeds, other industries will follow suit.

>The fabled year of the Linux desktop never happened.

Maybe history will prove me wrong, but I've got a feeling that Valve isn't quite ready to stop batting 1000.

Valve is not trying to, nor will it, replace windows.

The year of the Linux gaming console does not automatically lead to the year of the Linux desktop (though of course it helps).

> The fabled year of the linux desktop never happened.

In the past. But now, MS desktop deteriorates and that process will only grow with Linux finally getting more traction. Valve's push for Linux gaming is one of key factors which will reduce MS grip on the desktop.

> Valve's push for Linux gaming is one of key factors which will reduce MS grip on the desktop.

My wife uses windows because I can't convince her that google docs or openoffice are ok. She just prefers MS Office.

Valve's push may get us better graphic card drivers, but I don't know anyone who uses windows over linux because of that (I know a few people who stubbornly use linux notwithstanding crappy drivers though)

> My wife uses windows because I can't convince her that google docs or openoffice are ok. She just prefers MS Office.

Depends on what you are using them for. I've tried to convince a lot of people that that is the case, and then I wrote a book and found out it isn't actually the case. They are good enough for casual use, they aren't actually good enough for more serious work. Editing in particular is far far superior with Word.

Until you have to cooperate on writing. Then google docs becomes massively superior.

Actually no. Without the editing tools it doesn't matter.

MS has a lot of user inertia, people can't make lateral shifts, they have to make clearly stupendously better shifts, because they don't have time to learn a new mode of doing things.

That's why it kind of surprises me that MS sticks its neck out on UX redesigns like the ribbon or eliminating the desktop, since every change gives the core userbase another excuse to try something new. (Even if there are a few good underlying UX ideas, like larger buttons, more prominent placement of common commands, and saving me a Win key before I just start typing to search...)

I know quite a number of people who were hesitant to dump Windows completely because they couldn't run some games on Linux. Surely that's not the vast majority of Windows users probably, but it's a significant amount still. Lately, with all these new Linux releases and Wine improving greatly, many of them dumped Windows for good.

I would safely assume those people are mostly geeks/hackers.

Certainly some of them, but not all. Some are just gamers who are upset with Windows and want to move to better systems (for example those who care about DRM free gaming and so on). In general PC gamers are more willing to experiment with new things than the regular crowd it seems.

Now you know one person. I use Windows solely because my game of choice isn't available for Linux (Until Valve finishes it), and I find the solution provided by WINE to be insufficient.

Granted, I'm not a good representative of the average user.

I gave up on gaming for a while because I got tired of booting into Windows. Lately have been playing way too much on Steam. :-) In fact for my new desktop decided to go with Ubuntu 12.04 because it makes it easy to run Steam. Otherwise I would have gone with Debian proper.

She obviously prefers a great product to the "OK" one. There is an obvious UX difference between Web and native.

"the linux desktop never happened." Correct. Because it happened on the phone.

No, it's next year, just as it has always been, just as it will always be.

I think SteamOS, is the killer-app

Android is not exactly Linux.

This probably would have been better put as "*nix-based" operating systems. If you include MacOS, iOS and Android as nix-based, it's very much happening at both the consumer and the enterprise level.

I don't think iOS is anything unix, at all. They might reuse system utilities from OSX and its kernel, but that is like saying if you put the same motor in a pickup truck and a dune buggy you have the same vehicle.

"The iOS system is based on the same technologies used by Mac OS X, namely the Mach kernel and BSD interfaces. Thus, iOS apps run in a UNIX-based system and have full support for threads, sockets, and many of the other technologies typically available at that level."[1]

[1]: https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/documentation/iphone...

So the original prophecy was right, it just left out the bit about all the wonderful walled gardens that will help protect us from using the underlying *nix technologies in inappropriate ways.

Yes, still a lot of enterprises are stuck with outlook etc. But how many new companies are going for outlook. I heard even large companies are moving to gmail. Example : genentech( roche).

Most of us are forced to use outlook, because it is our corporate mail server. It is horrible, but our IT guys don't know anything else. Typiclly IT departments are run by who only know microsoft.

>>Microsoft has gotten serious about exploiting their search engine tech and that is having an effect

If you ask a source like Yahoo who see's real data, you would know thats not true. If Bing is making an impact Yahoo would not be going out of way to avoid Bing.

CPC is down due to lower CPC's on Mobile. Isn't it public knowledge?

You realize that Yahoo is Bing right? Yahoo outsourced its native search engine to Microsoft a while ago and has served up results from them ever since.

as is duckduckgo.


did you actually think that ddg runs its own crawlers, indexing, ranking, etc.?

apparently it does, in addition to other sources (https://dukgo.com/help/en_US/results/sources). But you are right about Bing being one of them. Though I wouldn't go so far as to say that duckduckgo is Bing like the gp said.

For most search queries, the results are identical or very similar, although DDG does a lot of enhancement/cleanup.

/It does some, bit its mostly google.

What do you mean by 'avoid Bing'?

I think he/she is referring to the news that Google tried to delay roll out of Bing in some Asian markets.

Yes I was referring to Yahoo trying to delay roll out of bing in Asian Countries.

This was probably a tactic by Marissa to push Microsoft to modify the terms of the contract to be more favorable. Remember she was not the one who signed it.

> Google is smearing the smartphone market, at the expense of Apple's cash engine

That statement is not borne out by data. Apple’s iPhone revenues and market share have continued to rise since inception. Please remember that Apple was never the biggest phone manufacturer. In the last couple of years, iPhone (and in general, smartphone) growth has mainly come from people switching from feature phones. The rest came at the expense of Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry. The number of people switching from iPhone to Android is negligible on the whole.

In the last reported quarter by Apple, in which the iPhone offerings were awaiting a refresh, Apple sold 20% more iPhones compared to the same quarter last year. Unit sales reached an all-time high for the June quarter.

So if Android didn't exist, Apple's profits wouldn't be higher?

Who knows. If it weren’t for Android, perhaps Maemo, WebOS, and Windows Phone might have had a shot.

God, that graph in that article is so dumb it hurts. It appears to undermine their case, in fact. Actual graph:


Dell has gone private, HP has flat out called them a competitor.

Their online division giving Google some heat is all well and good but that Wintel thing is still their bread and butter - alienating all their hardware partners by doing Surface and buying Nokia is a big deal and a great gambit if it works out - but so far its failing and seems desperate. Their position is increasingly precarious.

I don't think they are doomed, I do think they have a very real crisis in leadership and focus.

I don't think pissing off their hardware vendors is really that big a deal. There is an echo chamber in HN towards unix in both Linux and Apple forms - your grandparents still expect to talk into Best Buy and buy something with Windows on it, because it runs their ISPs POS pop3 email app, or they have all their pictures in some proprietary picture catalog program and don't know how to take them out of it.

I guess the more alarming trend is how a lot of tech companies and governments are picking up LTS Ubuntu as a replacement for Windows XP workstations they have had for 10+ years.

> I guess the more alarming trend is how a lot of tech companies and governments are picking up LTS Ubuntu as a replacement for Windows XP workstations they have had for 10+ years.

I have friends who work in the systems integration space and from their experience they don't see an evidence of this. Was there a number reported anywhere that makes you say this?

The German government and Amazon mainly. Germany has been phasing out at various levels of bureaucracy XP for Ubuntu, and Amazon uses it a lot now.

ummm didn't they abandon that and moved back to Windows finally? http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/german-open-source-exper...

Don't know about Amazon but its just a small software company that is known to be stingy to its own people

>Amazon >small

You're kidding me, right?

In this context? No. PC sales per year a few hundred million. Amazon total headcount 100K (including warehouse workers)

In case you didn't bother to read the parent comment, the user was referring to Amazon forcing its users to install Linux instead of Windows.

Windows is only a quarter of MSFT's income. Not insignificant by any definition, but not bread and butter either...

Keep in mind that thanks to the patent system, Microsoft probably makes more on a per-smartphone basis than Google.

Probably not when you include ad revenue

mobile CPC is paltry.

With so many people willing to give Linux a shot more than ever before, I think Ubuntu (or any well supported Linux dist) is really at that stage where there is a great chance for them to be commercially very successful. I really hope and wish someone really gets there.

The funny thing is that those "smeared cash engines" in all of the mentioned examples are at their all time peaks and growing. I wish someone would smear my business cash engine like that.

No way that's why Google's CPC is down. It's because on mobile it's a lot lower, and people are using mobiles more and more instead of PC's (measured in time spent on them).

Maybe now they'll have enough money to figure out a decent search ads account UI and offline editor like Google has. Currently they're almost as much of a pain as healthcare.gov.

So since Apple isn't smearing anyone, does that mean they're the trend setters?

I think Apple is smearing Microsoft by taking a portion of their desktop market.

In countries where people can afford them.

Nice boost in their search revenue

From what to what? I see a "47% increase", but was that from $100 to $147, or $100,000,000 to $147,000,000?

I tried searching for it on bing :). The only thing that even had an estimate was http://searchengineland.com/microsoft-search-ad-revenue-esti...

Their guess was between 900 million and 1.8 billion, or large but they haven't a clue. 47% should be in the ballpark of a few hundred million.

I think they're on track to do $2 bil this year for some context.

This is impressive. They blew through their numbers. They're showing that they can offset a slowdown in the core cash-cow via other product lines. Search revenue increase was particularly impressive.

Except for the fact that their (non-GAAP) operating income fell 3% (YOY). Falling profit on rising revenue is a red flag, no?

Falling profit on rising revenue indicates shrinking margins, which should be an outcome of a capitalist marketplace.

Not an accounting major so a genuine question: Why is non-GAAP operating income a better indicator than net profits?

Impressed by the diversity of revenue streams for Microsoft. Wonder how a one trick pony like Google will be able to handle this should it run into pressure from competitors in future.

It's funny really. Microsoft has lots of revenue streams despite being clueless about a lot of things (in many ways they are in lots of markets they don't truly understand). But to some degree it doesn't matter, at least for now, because they keep trying and they do learn from their mistakes.

Google, on the other hand, is extremely bizarre. They have excellent engineers and they have a ton of high-impact applications and services. But they are utterly clueless when it comes to dealing with customers, so they have yet to significantly diversify beyond their revenue models from a decade ago. Google has at least 3 separate multi-billion dollar businesses locked away within their company (in addition to search/ads) but they still don't know how to make use of them or bring them to maturity.

It's stuff like this that makes you appreciate the companies that get everything right.

What are the three businesses you think Google has "locked up"?

Office/collaboration apps (gdocs, gmail), cloud hosting (app engine), and youtube. Google has put a lot of work into these and has monetized them to some degree but only a fraction compared to their potential.

The total revenue from everything that isn't search, motorolla, or internet backbone transport is only about 5% of gross revenue. If they were better at interfacing with customers and better at making and selling actual products that slice could easily be half the company, if not more.

Office Collaboration? Are you kidding. Gdocs is incredibly primitive compared to Office.

GMail isn't bad, but ultimately doesn't have half the features you can get for a SME on Exchange, simple things like stopping people emailing a document outside of the organisation. Very important (often a legal/contractual requirement) are simply not possible.

Cloud Hosting? Amazon and MS are out infront.

The thing they've got sewn up is YouTube, but the oddity about that is how awful the search / navigation on the site is. Like imgur they have a brand that people see embedded, I'm fairly sure people click on Reddit imgur links which they wouldn't for an un-known domain host.

But that doesn't mean a competitor can't come along and destroy them. In the rather profitable (and technically un-challenging) world of Meme Generation, we saw the incumbent cast aside this year, amongst some bad publicity. The same could easily happen to youtube.

That's precisely the point. Does google lack the technical talent to turn gdocs into an office killer or gmail into an outlook killer? Of course not. They lack the vision, the business model, and the idea that it's important.

So instead they stay cuddled up in their warm little search / ad revenue hidey hole where it's comparatively easy for them to dominate the market. While they chase facebook out of a false understanding of what the next generation of big computing corporations are going to look like. It's almost as though google, as a company, has some sort of institutionalized autism. Gdocs is a five year old project and yet it's stuck mired in mediocrity. But have you ever seen people trying to collaboratively edit a spreadsheet using sharepoint? It's a travesty.

As for youtube, they're clearly dominating the market in every way, except for the ones that matter. They don't understand the commitment it will take to turn youtube into a true competitor to HBO and netflix, not just in eyeball-hours but also in revenue generation.

Google refuses to make good on the innovations they've made (or bought) while at the same time they are incapable of trailblazing legitimately novel things. In some ways it's charitable to compare them to the bumbling, myopic Microsoft, because at least MS was capable of executing well into multiple different business areas (office, dev tools, servers, email, etc.) It's sad seeing so much talent going to waste.

Well now in all fairness this is a damned if you do and damned if you don't. Is Google to be admired for not straying too far/becoming distracted and focusing on the one thing it does really well? Or is it vulnerable because it doesn't branch out into a lot of other markets?

I dunno, they could be the first to come out with a CarOS and get government contracts (automate bus routes, trucks maybe, later individual cars). Self driving cars is right up there with EVs for future revenue sources...

I am a developer at an investment bank that passed the Level 1 Chartered Financial Analyst exam part of which explicitly tests you on your ability to read accounting statements. If you are a developer without similar training, please realize that you will probably sound as uninformed offering your commentary on this topic as would an equity analyst giving their opinion on pages of C code.

Then I absolutely want to know more about such things. Please do share some or anything you can, regarding, oh... I dunno... whatever sort of insights might escape the ordinary common man, equipped with a high-schooler's grasp of basic integer math.

I've heard these sort of claims before, coming from financially oriented colleagues. I hate it when they make these kinds of dismissive pronouncements. The worst thing you could ever do is plainly state that a thing is simply too complicated to be worth explaining.

If these arcane statements should be regarded as esoteric hieroglyphics by the uninitiated, at least tell us which one is the sun god?

Seriously, we're all pretty curious types around here, and even when the material is bone dry and stale as Soviet bread, we all enjoy learning. At least I know I do.

The worst thing you could ever do is plainly state that a thing is simply too complicated to be worth explaining.

After working in finance-related IT for 16 years, I signed up for the Level 1 CFA exam to take it in December of 2009. I've been in IT for 20 years but I thought, "How hard could this be?" I found out. I ended up studying for over 350 hours and was thankfully one of the 33% of people that passed the test when I took it. 67% of people that took the test failed it.

So I ask you - how much of those 350 hours of studying do you think I can squeeze in a Hacker News comment? Do you think you could teach a financial analyst how to analyze Java code in a Hacker News comment? Would you take the time to even try?

For all that studying you did, you still seem to be able to squeeze a lot of BS into your HN comments.

As an analogy, becoming a commercial pilot requires 1500 hours of flying time and hundreds of additional hours of studying outside of this for exams and checkrides. This is 5 times the amount of preparation you needed for your Level 1 CFA exam. Just about every time there is a crash of a commercial flight, you will hear remarkable insights from these guys that will usually help explain the situation. Here is a great example with a commercial pilot's take on the Asiana crash that killed 2 people at SFO: http://wgnradio.com/2013/07/08/analysis-of-asiana-airlines-f...

I can only hope that the countless hours you've devoted to finance would be able to provide you some insights into something as fundamental as a quarterly earnings report.

That still doesn't change the fact you have contributed absolutely nothing to this conversation. Your comments should would be marked as flame-bait, or not informative on old slashdot.


Stop talking nonsense and making shitty analogies and learn how to contribute to a conversation. At this point, I'm calling into question your bank teller file clerk financial knowledge and your A+ certification in IT.

Perhaps you could better contribute by pointing to specific examples where us unwashed, uninformed, unworthy hordes have demonstrated our ignorance of your obvious expertise. (And no, "I don't follow that stock" is a cop out when you're already telling everyone they're wrong)

You can't teach a financial analyst how to analyze code in a single comment, but you can certainly give them some rough pointers:

(using Python as an example) def function(): This is a "unit" of code which performs an action. raise Exception(): This means something bad happened. ...etc.

droneStrikes is asking for something along these lines. We're not expecting to become experts at financial analysis after reading a paragraph, but we'd at least like to leave more informed than when we arrived.

Thanks for pointing out that 100 minus 33 equals 67.

For fuck sakes man, if you have any insight, share it instead of just pointing out that others are wrong in some obscure and nonspecific way. I bet you are full of shit and have no clue what you are talking about because you are yet to say anything intelligent. All you did is claimed all kinds of credentials without adding anything, at all, to the conversation.

Wow. I mean HN does have its douchebags but is it really getting this bad?

This may be the most pompous comment on HN, a forum known for its pompous comments. Congratulations.

This may be the most pompous comment on HN

Who is more pompous? The people thinking they are intrinsically expert at financial analysis posting here or the person that points out how silly they sound?

Seriously, picture a real financial analyst with no computer background reading your Ruby code and drawing all kinds of nonsensical conclusions from it. You'd probably laugh your head off when they read a comment in the code and thought that it was a functional instruction. That's the type of things developers are doing here with their armchair financial analysis.

>the person that points out how silly they sound

...with no counterargument, specific instance, or even evidence of their own credentials. I can tell you how silly you sound because I'm a Harvard trained economist, and unless you were also trained at Harvard, you're clearly unqualified to read a MS press release.

A similar comment deriding your hypothetical financial analyst would be called pompous if they listed credentials, claimed the analyst was uninformed, then declined to say anything more (assuming other commentators were similarly uninformed).

Saying "you're wrong" and leaving it at that isn't very helpful and most people will simply ignore the statement.

A financial analyst may not be able to critique my code, but he can certainly tell if my program works or not and offer his opinion on how it should work. His take on it is not invalid just because he doesn't know how to program.

The same can be said for this- I can look at it as a developer and get a general idea of how Microsoft is doing. I may not know all the intricacies behind it, but that doesn't mean my input should be thrown into the trash.

There are many people here who have worked in the financial industry before and don't feel the need to brag about exams they've passed, because, well, they just read the damn financial statement and draw their own conclusions.

You act like you are the only developer in the world who has also studied finance. As it happens, you aren't.

just because you're not an 'expert' doesn't mean you shouldn't try...

you gotta try to get better at it.

It sounds like you can give some solid insight on this issue. Could you please state your position instead of simply mentioning that other people are unqualified to do so?

It sounds like you can give some solid insight on this issue.

No, I can't because I don't follow Microsoft as a stock. The analogy is that while I am able to program in Java, that doesn't mean I'm qualified to evaluate a particular code base written in Java without investing substantial time to research it. The analogy is not perfect of course - since most of the time people writing code aren't purposely trying to obfuscate it like people who write accounting statements are trying to do.

Equity analyst here. The people following those companies don't know dick either. And the CFA doesn't give you ANY credentials (certainly not just level I) regarding business strategy. Stop listening to people based on titles and credentials and start evaluating (and critiquing) their arguments.

My opinion? Microsoft is expanding revenue but losing it's core business slowly. I think they'll look pretty good for the next couple of years until viable competitors to Office come along. All these other sources of revenue are contingent upon their traction in enterprise, something that's unlikely to change in the short or medium term but when it does will very unpleasant for them.

> until viable competitors to Office come along

I don't think this will happen so soon. OO still looks&feels like from 90-ies, has only basic functionality, and MS Office's data formats are sufficiently complex (and probably also intermingled with implementation details) that I don't see a 100%-compatible importer being developed anytime soon.

Your analogy is nonsense and speaks of the pomposity someone earlier mentioned:

Microsoft presented only a summary level of revenue statement for a quarter indicating both GAAP and non-GAAP adjusted figures and you are telling us you need time to research to make a contribution here even though you've already said others are not qualified to contribute?

By your analogy I will be surprised if I show a 15-line Java Class to a Java programmer and he tells me he needs to research it to make sense of it.

By comparison, Microsoft presented a single Java Class [revenue statement] not a codebase[Financial Report]

by the way: so far you haven't made any contribution to the discussion even though others have asked you nicely to.

i suppose the point 300bps is trying to make is that those kind of announcement need a lot of work before you're able to draw any kind of conclusion from it, either positiv or negativ. I only have a very small amount of knowledge in accounting, but i was amazed at how subjective and arbitrary some accounting decision can be, and as a consequence, how you can make profits appear basically anywhere you want to ( on one year).

Demonstrate, don't declare. So please, leverage some of that CFA knowledge and give us your take on Microsoft's quarterly report.

Otherwise, your comment sounds suspiciously like conversational terrorism, specifically the first item on this list:


While being able to read a financial statement is a step in understanding a business, I feel this comment needs to be knocked down a few pegs, so...

As an actual CFA charterholder, I can tell you any analyst I work with would have laughed out loud at someone bragging about passing level 1. It means you have roughly an undergrad level understanding of finance.

As an actual CFA charterholder, I can tell you any analyst I work with would have laughed out loud at someone bragging about passing level 1

Can you tell me what IT certification tests you have passed? You may have missed the fact that I've been in IT for 20 years, remain in IT and will always be in IT.

I'm sure a native Spanish speaker wouldn't be too impressed with my ability to speak Spanish either. But I would hope they would have more class than to "laugh out loud" at a native English speaker putting forth significant effort at learning their language.

Not laughing at the effort, I rather encourage it and congratulate you passing level one. Everyone has to start there obviously. Its the attitude that rubbed everyone the wrong way.


As far as I know HN doesn't allow downvoting by default (I think you need sufficient posting experience to do so). So having +100 is not in any way a reliable metric of overall opinion towards your comments.

For example, I think your attitude and condescension is at best odd and out of place here, and I personally would downvote you if I had the ability.

It sounds like your background might allow you to offer a unique perspective - or at least temper the immediate conclusions a layman might have.

What do you think about the importance of this announcement, given your training?

I think much of the HN audience deals with the business side of the house enough to get their bearings on an revenue statement.

Feel free to offer your unique perspective. But we can still look at this from other avenues.

After reading your comments in this thread, I can see your training doesn't seem to have given you any particularly useful insight into this subject either.

Great to know you are actually qualified. Can you highlight what point other people have been missing in reading these statements?

For those people doubting the future of MSFT, here is my take:

MSFT is both a tech company and a utility.

It has growth potential (phones, surface, search, xbox) but it is also completely essential for global business (servers, AD, SQL Server, Exchange, Sharepoint).

In that sense it is a utility. If you took out all the MSFT software in the world everything basically stops. Your electricity probably doesn't work, you probably can't get on a train to get to work and if you manage to get to work you can't login to anything.

People say "but my company has BYOD!" that might be true, but MSFT is still the infrastructure it is running on. You can bring your AAPL car but you're still driving on an MSFT road.

Note the keyword is "first-quarter". Usually for Microsoft the first quarter of the fiscal year is a little below other quarters. But this first quarter is still below what MS typically achieves the other 3 quarters of the year:

- 1st quarter of last year: $16.01 billion

- 2nd quarter of last year: $21.46 billion

- 3rd quarter of last year: $20.49 billion

- 4th quarter of last year: $19.90 billion

- 1st quarter of this year: $18.53 billion (the "record" one)

I assume that pattern is due to businesses not starting new purchasing orders until the start of the next financial year?

For those of you who continue to predict the demise of MS, it might be worth mentioning that Microsoft has a quite broad range of products and they primarily sell to enterprise customers who are notoriously non-fickle.

Microsoft's ventures are very much dependent on their operating system though, making the entire company like a house of cards. If their operating system monopoly ever goes, the entire company would collapse with it since they're so dependent on it. The only other successful product they have that isn't dependent on windows right now is xbox, and that's a very volatile market.

Google is similar in the fact that a lot of what they do depends on internet ad revenue.

Yes but Apple (or any the OS developer) is 10+ years behind MS in the enterprise architecture department; a market they'll probably never enter since they want margins on hardware.... not corporate bulk discount contracts.

I don't see how anybody can assail their stranglehold on the cubicle market.

What? First, they have enough cash to weather quite a lot of financial upsets.

But to say they are dependent on their OS for revenue is silly.

SQL Server income is not dependent on the OS -- anything can talk to it. Their cloud solution is not dependent on their OS. Search. Even Lync and Office can be used with other operating systems.

Maybe I wasn't clear, my point was that the major breadwinners still depend on their high operating system marketshare. I have no doubt that things like sql server would be the last to go, but if they ever lost their operating system monopoly a lot of products they depend upon would collapse, and they would mostly definitely feel it.

Does MSSQL run on Wine?

I am hesitant to put any unnecessary software layers between my databases and the hardware so I wouldn't know.

But it doesn't matter. Even if everyone stopped buying and using Windows tomorrow /Microsoft/ could still use it. MSSQL is not dependent on a thriving market for Windows. Anyone that needed to administer the machine could just RDP into it.

I don't know, and one can't even try. (Really. Read the EULA.) And if you decide to ignore everything and try it, you can't discover if it's faster than native Windows either, nor compare it with Postgres.

I don't think that's right. My guess is that the vast majority of iPads and iPhones used in the workplace are sync'ing mail via Exchange. While that could change, it won't be because Windows is no longer the dominant client OS.

I don't think anyone is seriously predicting their outright demise, only their loss of power to dictate the computing landscape.

While I have no doubt they'll survive another 20 or 30 years, they no longer have the power and mind-share they once had.

Microsoft have been under government/competitors' anti-trust watches for the past 10 years.

Now with google/apple catching up, they probably can move a bit faster without consult lawyers in every single move.

On the other hand, with so much cash/profit, the employees/managers have no hurry to move too fast anyway. The share holders might not be too happy.

Why are we comparing Microsoft to RIM?

RIM was a one trick pony. Microsoft has several billion dollar businesses.

If they want to translate the great performance some parts of Microsoft are having into a Google-like stock price they should break Microsoft up into business and consumer companies.

Critics of Microsoft are wrong to call it's enterprise business a dinosaur. There is no reason to think Microsoft won't continue to grow this business for decades to come.

But I would like to be able to own this as a pure play, not mixed up with XBOX. Let's call this company "Azure" and spin it off, like HP did with Agilent (which should have been called HP), and let the "devices and services" part screw around with reinventing itself.

Windows revenue is (finally) down. I say finally only because many people wouldn't believe this would happen, even a few quarters ago. That could be quite a problem for Microsoft over the next few years. Right now they are offsetting that with enterprise deals, but do they really think that's safe for them? RIM did, too.

> Windows revenue is (finally) down. I say finally only because many people wouldn't believe this would happen, even a few quarters ago. Right now they are offsetting that with enterprise deals, but do they really think that's safe for them? RIM did, too.

If anyone is surprised by this, then that person has not been reading Microsoft's financial statements.

Windows revenues were also down year-over-year in Q4 of fiscal 2013, and in Q3 of fiscal 2013, and in Q1 of fiscal 2013. (Non-GAAP in all cases, to back out the effect of revenue deferrals.)

As for RIM, I don't see what it has to do with Microsoft. RIM didn't have platform lock-in -- all they had was email.

In contrast, analysts estimate that IBM still derives 40% of its profits from mainframes. ("Estimate" because IBM plays accounting games to minimize the contribution of mainframes.)

Yep, and now that it's happening, it's a cloudy number because MS cut the price when changing from 7 to 8.

Well, the price cut is another symptom of decreasing market appeal. But it does make the number less useful.

$400M in Surface revenues. At even a generous $400 unit price, that's only 1M sold this quarter. Probably closer to 700K if you consider some of them being Surface 2 priced up to $900.

Unlike Apple who sells direct to consumer, it's likely that quite a few of those Surface units are still sitting on store shelves.

Microsoft sell direct to consumer[1]. Every consumer electronics store I walk into has a bunch of Apple gear sitting on store shelves also.

[1] http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/html/pbPage....

There are costs associated with each sale, not everything is revenue.

> There are costs associated with each sale, not everything is revenue.

"Costs associated with each sale" are irrelevant when considering revenue.

If you spend $400 to make a $500 sale, it's the same as if you spend $100 to make a $500 sale. Both are $500 in revenue. What's different is income, which is revenue minus costs.

I think the OP means that $400 is the retail price of a Surface, but the revenue listed in the report will be based on its wholesale price.

Costs associated with sale mean not everything is profit, but are irrelevant to revenue.

Revenue is income before cost of goods sold.

Stock price just hit after hours $35.63 (up 5%), good news for Microsoft employees indeed.

Don't forget these are un-audited and don't really give us much information other than what they want to show us.

If they play games in Q1, then they'd simply take a hit in Q4. The annual report is audited, and the quarterly numbers have to add up to equal the annual numbers.

It wouldn't look good to play the Surface write-off trick twice in a row.

I don't see your point. These numbers are quarterly growth numbers since the audited year end statements. It has nothing to do with their upcoming year end or future quarters. They tell us the positive things but don't show us anything related to expenses or actual revenue dollar amount increases/decreases.

There would be a beating of a high magnitude if these end up being false. If anything, if they were false, they would have only met numbers not gone and crushed them.

The enterprise and business division is turning into a juggernaut at Microsoft that shows no sign of slowing down. Unlike the Windows team, they have a clear focus and vision guiding them.

Well, junk^Wfast-food chains also growing, so what? What is popular ins't even good in the most cases. Just a Bandwagon + Peer effects as it is in case of Java.

And, of course, defacto server-side OS is Linux. So-called Desktop will be theirs for a long long time, but not because the OS is of any good - it is meaningless a bloatware, but because of word.exe and excel.exe which it seems to be here forever.

As for their services, well, forcing sheeple to use IE and Bing by re-writing their browser's settings doesn't account for even for popularity. IE is crap compared to Chrome, and even some sheeple could see that, but most of them just doesn't know any better, so they got stuck with IE and Bing.

And to appreciate the absurdity, just look what is happening with all those Java apps, which are supposed to run everywhere, with each new release of Windows, which are supposed to be 100% backward-compatible.)

defacto server-side OS is Linux

Is it? Sure it's fairly defacto for public facing web servers, but servers in general? Given how hugely popular Exchange, Active Directory, SQL Server and, to a lesser extent, Sharepoint is I imagine that Windows servers are pretty darn popular (or at least common). You just don't see them if all you're looking at is public facing web servers.

Any of these inside FB, Google and most of startups? How many startups really develop anything for MS platform?

Well, really good tools like Go allows the same server-side code to be ran under Windows, the real question is what for?

I'm using SQL server, Server 2012 R2.

We can't use public cloud. Need our own private hardware for legal reasons.

The load isn't high, we have a high value per client, low client count business model.

The ease at which I can have a private cloud. Data replication and clustering, full Hot-Hot style DR solution, hosting on MS technologies is great.

I can get due diligence sign off from SQL Server which I could not for say Postgre, this would be due to the fact the replication component isn't vetted and considered secure/authoritative by my clients.

Then I do the maths, once bizspark ends, the total cost for all these licenses is going to be about $30k per year. We hope to have revenues of about thirty times that by then.

But better than all that. How long does it take to set up this replicating, elastic cloud, with replicated database? Not even a day.

I couldn't do that with Oracle!

Bizspark means right now that we don't have to worry about the costs compared to going VMware.

Now in the world of startups whom have 100,000 users to make $10, then yes, the cost of these technologies is going to be hard to justify!

You set up a "full Hot-Hot style DR solution" in one day ?

Did you try actually failing it over ?

better, I also got it set up with selenium doing a set of tests, my own version of a chaos monkey (a powershell script) that created failing instances, all triggered as part of a TeamCity process.... Too much faff to do it in TFS. The glue code for this is truly horrific, I'm thinking of buying ranerex.

I've not yet linked it up to the build quality (which I want to do) and I'm also thinking of making a more Windows Focused Chaos Monkey OS project. I dislike the idea of testing only that a VM stops. I want to see what happens if I hammer say its CPU with a few higher priority threads. Or simulate insane network latency, or some other networking quirk.

I worry I am only testing against very well behaved nodes disappearance.

Ultimately I'll have a nice little dashboard, which allows me to switch instance between UAT2/PROD, that shows me the available reserve for each environment. I'm toying with making some OWIN extension that allows me to control which components are loaded. For example, we have a 'chat' component, which is obviously not essential. I'd love the idea of automatically failing that. As we add more value add features, certain models and the like which are CPU demanding, these features will not have any uptime guarantee, so I'd like to automatically throttle them, in the case of a catastrophic failure (like a DC loosing connectivity).

I am looking for something 99.999%. I've got three physical separate DC sites, each DC site has 3 or more servers. We could run the entire system on one server, easily.

Here us the Google Trends graph showing the decline in the search terms 'Microsoft' and 'Windows':


For comparison there is the trend for 'iphone' and 'android'.

Sure Microsoft are doing loads of exciting things but people aren't typing 'Microsoft' or 'Windows' into the search engine box of Google as much as they used to. Make of that what you will.

Well, if you search for "windows safe mode", that went down too and "windows [version] safe mode" is systematically in the top 5 suggestions after "windows [version]". That may mean that people search less for windows because it became more stable. Good news!


My point is that, yeah, getting conclusions from that is hard...

In other news, they still only pay 5% taxes due to offshore accounts.

I switched my default search in chrome to bing when the new tab page changed. I've since fixed the tab page, but left the search provider alone for now to see what differences I notice over time. So far, it's OK, but fails to give me my geek-centered results for generically named things like orange and amber.

The overwhelming need to poo poo these results in here is pretty disgusting though expected I suppose.

I'm interested in following those Surface numbers over the course of the next year. If they can get that revenue up to about a billion, they will have done very well. And I think they can do it.

They will continue to milk the enterprise cow, but eventually even they will dry up.

We are a Apple/Linux shop here with a couple of hundred employees. We use Active Directory (switched from LDAP) and we have the Macs on load sets. We recently outsourced our email to Google. It is not as easy as with Windows.

Microsoft has a good thing going in enterprise as their boxes are much easier to manage en masse and it works well together. I do not think they are threatened as much by cloud services like Gmail, Google Docs as much as people think. They simply say to their entrenched enterprise customers in which things are working for them "We offer cloud Exchange and cloud Office" I think MS has the enterprise community on lock and they are moving in the direction to transition them to online services.

I know everyone here wants to believe that but their percentage of penetration in enterprises continues to rise and the breadth of their offerings as well.

They are growing more cows and expanding their offerings to other herds (see Java support, node.js support, Linux support, ...).

> I know everyone here wants to believe that

Factually speaking, some of us here don't want to believe that, especially if we work for Microsoft.

But will it? The value of enterprise solutions are often times validated by consistency: it's nice to have a megalithic company with a proven track record of hitting their SLA. Personally, I don't use Microsoft (or Apple for that matter) products at all. However, I would be hard pressed to come up with alternative company which provides practically all the necessities for the technological infrastructure of a company. Google is certainly trying but hasn't quite gotten there yet. There's something very comforting knowing that a product purchased to day will be supported the full length of its contract.

Businesses will stop needing software to make them more productive? When will this happen?

Or are you saying that Microsoft's products will be overtaken by others?

Businesses will stop needing windows and windows servers eventually.

In much the same way that, about fifty years on at this point, businesses have stopped needing mainframes and the software that runs on them?

And in much the same way the paperless office would kill off the printer and photocopier business?

Headlines from Dec 18th, 2009: "BlackBerry shipments break record in Q3, RIM profits jump 59 percent".

Also known as the Wile E. Coyote Syndrome.

You could literally post this comment every time every company from Google to Netflix have record revenue.

Also known as the even a broken clock is right twice a day syndrome. :)

Not at all. RIM was screwed when the iPhone was announced, and despite dismissing it publicly (just like Microsoft did) they knew that internally but did nothing.

That lack of leadership sealed their fate.

Google and Netflix are firing on all cylinders not placating Wall Street with short term profit surges.

You're right about the lack of leadership. But as someone who has worked at both RIM and MSFT, they're vastly different. Moving out of the MSFT platform for example isn't exactly as simple as switching out a couple of servers and handing out new phones to employees. Also, there's innovation on the enterprise side of things (very cool stuff (on par with google) being done in Azure, SQL Server, Visual Studio, .NET, Dynamics CRM, Skype/Lync, Sharepoint etc.) which I think where most of the money will eventually come from (and the trends suggest that)

If I remember correctly, that was around when they released blackberry storm and had a real shot at being a triumvirate along with iOS and Android.

don't know why your comment was downvoted, i find it extremely relevant. i also remember how, a couple of years ago, blackberry announced a rise in profits, and how some blogger explained how that was the end of their product cycle and that they were only improving profits from a soon to be extinct product ( with nothing to replace it).

microsoft is not as deep in a mess, yet it's really good to be aware of the fact that sometimes rising profits means you're milking the last drops from the cow.

MSFT's todo list to boost revenues:

1. Accelerate Ballmer booting out process. Why's he still there?

2. Boost Cloud.

3. Boost enterprise services and everythings.

4. Stop wasting resources on stupid consumer widgets department.

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