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Microsoft beyond Ballmer, Windows, and Office

Boy genius needed, black attire vital

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Radio Reg Is Joe Belifore the new face of Microsoft cool? If not, Microsoft could try poaching Steve Jobs. He's got some good ideas - and he dresses in the requisite black.

Or there's Tony Hawk, for the teens, tweens, and X-gamer crowd.

Wherever it turns, Microsoft needs an infusion of hip. Its new ideas man – "call me J" Allard – has left the company, with Steve Ballmer taking control of the Entertainment and Devices business unit, the unit that's failing to compete with the iPhone.

Of course, being cool only gets you so far. What about the money? Well, Microsoft is losing out to Apple there too. In 2009, just three of Microsoft's businesses - Windows Client division, Server and Tools, and the Business division that's home to Office - earned more than the whole of Apple. But nine months into Microsoft's current fiscal year, their revenue is shrinking, flat, or in single-digit growth, while Apple - just six months into its year - is streaking ahead.

Microsoft needs new, cool, billion dollar-business ideas to expand the core Windows, database and email, and Office franchises. Is that in mobile? Or somewhere else?

Join Reg software editor Gavin Clarke and All-About-Microsoft blogger Mary-Jo Foley as they discuss whether or not E&D gets re-orged out of existence, how Microsoft believes it can convert 30 million feature phone users into smartphone carriers running Windows Mobile 7 (and why analyst IDC is backing away from these claims), and where the next big ideas are coming from at Microsoft.

Strap on your Tony Hawk-branded multi-sport helmet and catch MicroBite using our player below, or you can listen using MP3 here and Ogg Vorbis here. ®

Microbite June 2010

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