Ballmer says Big Blue hands in too few pies
Memo to IBM: Eat markets the Microsoft way
Steve Ballmer believes that if IBM is to remain relevant among the technology giants, it needs to have its hand in just about everything. In other words, the Microsoft CEO believes that IBM needs to be more like Microsoft.
The Shouty One recently disparaged Big Blue's strategy of lopping-off less profitable business arms in an interview with the New York Times. Ballmer told the Gray Lady that nowadays, tech companies must have a constant appetite for potentially risky new ventures in order to thrive and appease investors.
"IBM is the company that is notable for going the other direction," he said. "IBM's footprint is more narrow today than it was when I started. I am not sure that has been to the long-term benefit of their shareholders."
While Microsoft's biz encompasses everything from operating systems to gaming consoles to online advertising, IBM has focused efforts on proven high-margin markets to the exclusion of other endeavors. Over the last decade, the company has separately shed its routing and switching, hard disk, and PC businesses - citing economies of scale. IBM reckons there are higher profits in enterprise software and services as well as servers and mainframes.
Speaking with the NYT, the president of Microsoft's server and tools unit, Bob Muglia, said: "I don't think IBM is keeping up."
Despite the slur, IBM's choice of emphasis seems to be the right mojo for the recession. The company is still generating profit growth while its hardware sales are getting slammed. And besides, just because IBM doesn't want to peddle everything in tech doesn't mean it doesn't have a plan to place a patent on it. ®
If only we'd listen
Steve Jobs must be kicking himself that he didn't take Ballmer's advice about the iphone.
Perhaps Mr Ballmer needs to build a track record before he expects people to take his advice.
IBM was only founded 90 YEARS before Microsoft.
IBM stocks have INCREASED in value over the past 5 yeas and Microsoft has FALLEN in value.
IBM has multiple divisions making money. IBM has 2 divisions making money, and about 50 bleeding it out.
How about we wait till 2075 and see if Microsoft is still even around...
As usual.... shut up Steve... don't you have a chair that needs throwing some place else monkey boy?...
As usual Ballmer is half right and half wrong.
IBM is spot on when it comes to making its OS a usable OS and a reasonably friendly OS. Sure there are some arcane things about some of IBM's OS's. BUT... here is the big difference between the two. IBM listens to its customers extremely well, where MS doesn't even know the customer exists unless they have a 10,000 (or more) licenses,
Yes it take (sometimes) years before IBM gets it right and they do get it right, most of the time. MS on the other hands just pushes new version of its OS out faster than the market can absorb it and or pushing a bad OS onto the unsuspecting people.
As far as one thing IBM does well over and above anything MS has not even attempted to do is documentation. When is the last time you needed to know something about how the internals of a MS product work? IBM does this on a timely and reasonably straight forward manor. IBM, last time I looked had 3 or 4 DVD's packed full of just manuals alone. I have yet to see anything close to one manual out of MS. Also, IBM (with input from the users) have always documented (well I might add) just about everything in their OS (and the IBM applications). Sure they have some undocumented items and IBM does charge a good penny for documentation (I think I heard $25K for one manual) but the 99.99 percent of the other documentation is essentially free albeit it $40 (approximately) for 3 DVD's packed full of manuals for users to read and use.
Is IBM focused on corporate rather than end user, yes, but then they (for the most part) do not interact for the most part with end users. The only exception was possibly OS/2 and yes IBM blew it because they did not court end users like MS does.
One last stab at MS and they could only dream to have a OS as stable as OS/2. Typical MS it is easier to reboot than to fix the problem so it does not happen again.