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back to article Bill Gates: Windows Phone strategy was 'a mistake'

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates may be devoting more time to running his philanthropic foundation than to day-to-day operations in Redmond these days, but that doesn't mean he's satisfied with how things are going at the company he founded, particularly where mobility is concerned. In an interview with CBS This Morning's Charlie …

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Facepalm

Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

Well I never. Next you'll be saying they have a search engine of their own, rather than merely chucking up some script kiddie style wrapper round Googles.

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Boffin

Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

Discredited almost immediately.

Bing is, or at least started as, a rebranding of yahoo's search technology (and that's not saying anything good about it), but it's not google.

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Boffin

Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

Discredited almost immediately.

For reference, since "Bob Vistakin" loves this one, the Bing Toolbar - not Bing, not IE - sends URLs to Bing for analysis. Bing can then reproduce those results. In other words, it works exactly the same way as the, er, Google toolbar.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

@Bob - How many times do you trot this one out? I've explained how it's not MS copying Google at least three times and I've seen several other people explain it to you, even Eadon doesn't use this one.

Once again, here is how it worked:

Google engineer creates web page which is unique, with unique spelling mistakes in it.

Google engineer manually enters this result into Google.

Google engineer then uses MS IE with Bing toolbar to search for this site on Google, and visit it.

Bing toolbar - as advertised functionality - sends the URL visited back to MS.

MS process the URL stream and after a week or so, the page created by the Google engineer appears in Bing.

This is not MS copying Google, Google do exactly the same, for the Google Engineer to report it on a blog as such is pretty shitty behaviour and I'm surprised that it's still up there.

It's also amusing that one of the demands the EU has for Google to reform is that they stop presenting other search engines' results as their own.

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Stop

Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

The sooner Chris gets that ignore feature in here the better, you obnoxious little zit.

It's called cheating and copying, Microsoft's modus operandi. MS confessed to it.

You're wrong and you tell lies to cover your utter ignorance. Cheating and copying is what Google are up before the EU on, remember?

Just leave.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business? Bing copied Googles Search results

@Eadon - Did you even read my post? A Google engineer gamed the Bing toolbar into putting a page into Bing. It wasn't a honeypot, which if you had a fraction of the technical knowledge you claim, you'd understand. It was a shameful exercise in discrediting a competitor, especially considering Google are up to their necks in reporting other companies' results as their own.

What happened was: Someone visited a page, that page was reported to MS by the Bing toolbar, that page was entered into Bing because it wasn't there. There is no honeypot, no copying of results, nothing. To sell it as such is shameful.

As for MS copying Google, I believe the yahoo toolbar was around before the Bing or Google toolbars.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business? Bing copied Googles Search results

@Eadon - We've been through this before - I'll start posting under my real name when everyone else does. I have no way of knowing if you are posting under other names, anon or just Eadon, you are therefore just as anonymous as I.

Anyway: You're obviously citing the article from serchengineland, but you forgot to follow the link at the bottom entitled "Bing: Why google is wrong."

http://searchengineland.com/bing-why-googles-wrong-in-its-accusations-63279

Then Google's half hearted denial that their toolbar doesn't harvest URLs from other search engines (but they won't say exactly what it does do) http://searchengineland.com/google-on-toolbar-we-dont-use-bings-searches-64910

I'll point out again that the EU are currently demanding that Google cease reporting other search engines' results as their own.

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Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

Anon, you are wrong. Why did you give Radon the opportunity?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business? Bing copied Googles Search results

Wow, it's been explained 3 times and Eadon still doesnt understand it.

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Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business? Bing copied Googles Search results

Allow me to sum this up in terms the oh-so-technical Eadon can understand.

Eadon is wrong. It is well documented that Eadon is wrong but Eadon is lying about being wrong because that is Eadon's posting model. You can see this demonstrated every time he claims .NET is dead or that Eclipse is a better IDE than VS (any version at all).

Eadon will never admit that he is wrong because he is not technical enough to understand that being wrong is not a crime and doesn't make you a bad person but it does come with an obligation to learn better and stop being an obnoxious little zit.

And just to make it particularly clear to him in the retarded and yet only form of language he appears to understand -

EADON EPIC FAIL.

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Coherent use of graphical user interface elements - fail

Eadon, please stop abusing the "May contain highly technical content requiring degree-level education or above" icon for posts. Your posts don't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business? Bing copied Googles Search results

"What happened was: Someone visited a page, that page was reported to MS by the Bing toolbar, that page was entered into Bing because it wasn't there. There is no honeypot, no copying of results, nothing. To sell it as such is shameful."

Well just one question - and I use Windows and Google and have no love for either :

The page did not have the search term in it anywhere. Therefore even if that page was picked up by Bing and added to their index it should not have been returned by Bing when searching for the 'Random String' as it didn't appear on the page. Search engines require a keyword or phrase (or in Google's case at least a possible misspelling of a keyword) to return a page.

The only reason it would've shown up is if Bing was using the Google search to decide that that page was relevant to that search term - it could only do this actively by knowing to extract that search term and read the results given on that page and the subsequent links clicked.

Therefore it must've been using the Google search data to produce it's own results which are not the expected behaviour of the toolbar.

It doesn't matter - if you are building a search engine then why not use your users (of the toolbar) to improve your results by copying other search engines - once it's as good then you can work on making it even better. However to claim it was just an accident of the URL capturing of the toolbar is a little disingenuous.

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FAIL

Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business? Bing copied Googles Search results

NET is dead, show me where MS are advocating it for Windows 8 Phone

All of these samples a new dev is supposed to work from? Every last fucking one?

http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/wpapps/

You are an expert in exactly dick. No self-respecting linux guru or OSS advocate would use the heavily-encumbered Mint. I';ve never seen a single technical post from you. Not so much as a handy tip or a how-to. Nothing.

All you do is troll, you pointless waste of oxygen. If my son grows up like you, I'll fucking drown him.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Coherent use of graphical user interface elements - fail

@Eadony and others (you know who you are)

enough troll and shill name-calling, please and stick to the technical

to borrow a football analogy, when you tackle someone you ar supposed to go for the ball not the man.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

@dogged, the "ignore" already exists (it's the "halloween" type icon next to the username, but for it to really work it should then also mask the associated comments. Trust me, I've tried ignoring him.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Coherent use of graphical user interface elements - fail

@Eadon

Also my posts are borne of a deeper understanding of computer science, (science in general come to that) and of inside knowledge of the computing industry on the most technical level possible without being Linux Torvalds, who is GOD.

1 - I'm a Mensa member, but I don't mention that every time I need to win an argument - I prefer to win on sheer merit. This is also why I don't claim superior technical skills, I am intelligent enough to work out my microwave but I'm OK with other people being more versed in a discipline, and I know when to listen so *I* learn something. That said, I've been working with electronics for 30+ years (more or less when the discrete transistors and FETs were invented, and as I was 10 at the time you can work out how old I am), and I started with computers building my own Apple II and repairing a clone IBM turbo XT, and have been into security from about 5 years later. I sincerely doubt that you have either matching knowledge or - judging by your posts- matching wisdom.

2 - if Linus Torvalds is God for you you better learn to spell His Name correctly. It's LINUS, not Linux, you dolt.

3 - I know a number of these anon users, and I know why they are anon - they too want their opinion to count, not who they are.

Now go and foul some tissues and leave the grownups to talk.

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Re: Microsoft are in the mobile phone business?

I see no such icon, sadly.

So much for the silver badge.

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I like their strategy

I like Ballmer's strategy. I like it a lot.

http://www.loopinsight.com/2012/06/29/iphone-turns-5-here-are-the-naysayers/

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Anonymous Coward

Poor Stategy over last 10 years

Its not just the phone strategy that is bad also their strategy with Surface and putting computer applications on the XBox that are also terrible.

The TV sets in most peoples homes are in the wrong position for writing documents or spreadsheets. The ergonomics is terrible. A budget conscious customer could just play DirectX games on their PC. Its a nice feature but not one that is going to make consumers rush out to but the product.

The strategy employed by Nintendo and Sega with Mario and Sonic would produce better results.

Microsoft asks the question - Where do you want to go today?

My question is - How did you get to where you are today?

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WTF?

Gates quote

"There were a lot of amazing things that Steve's leadership got done with the company in the last year."

Anyone have an idea what he could possibly be talking about here? ANYONE?

<Crickets chirp, tumbleweeds blow by.>

I don't have a giant hate boner for microsoft - I use their stuff every day, and some of it is quite good (win7, server 2008, excel). But Ballmer has to face it - there is no line of business that was started after he took over that has gone ANYWHERE, and there have been a number of what should be career-ending failures (zune, kin, VISTA, and win 8 desktop, likely to be the next OS that everybody skips). I've read articles that even his own employees have a barely positive approval rating of the guy.

I assume that Gates has insisted to the board that Ballmer is in charge as long as he wants to be. 10 out of 10 for loyalty to a friend, minus several million for good thinking.

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Thumb Up

Re: Gates quote

Upvoted for, at the very least, the Zaphod Beeblebrox reference.

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Re: Gates quote

Considering his next sentence is: "Windows 8 is key to the future ... the Surface computer ... Bing, people have seen is a better search product ... the Xbox," I would venture to speculate that might be what he is talking about. I wouldn't say that *I* think any of those other then the Xbox are successful, but obviously Mr. Gates believes that they they will be.

"Predictions are hard, especially when they are about the future." --(attributed to) Yogi Berra (amongst others)

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Meh

Re: Gates quote

"...a number of what should be career-ending failures..."

Actually, I can't seem to think of a product outside of Windows 8 that Ballmer has overseen creation of...not one. If there is one or more, then to me personally that says enough. It's seems Ballmer is just along for the pay check, at least he has never forgotten his place!

As a now "Linux 4 Life" sort, I can't believe I'm actually hoping for the return of Billy G. At least Billy G. kept his mouth in a place that excited buzz for better or worse. But Ballmer's mouth adds no technical argument to anything, it's like hearing "Linux Sucks", "Macintosh Sucks", "Windows Rules" over and over and over and ...

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Re: Gates quote

Ballmer is lowering the stock enough so those he and Gates can take Microsoft private.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gates quote

I wouldn't even say the Xbox is successful. The 360 is in profit, but preceding versions ran up a nine-figure loss which has been written off; also bear in mind they initially marketed it without the Microsoft name.

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kb
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Re: Gates quote

To judge whether he is a success or a giant megafail (hint, its the latter) lets look at his win/loss ratio. Win-Win 7, WinServer 2K3, 2K8, half win, X360 (2 billion RRoD cost it being a full win). Now lets look at his losses, Zune, Kin, WinPhone, killing the profitable playsforsure for the flop Zune market and killing any forward momentum they had in the media biz, Sidekick, Bing (which now pays you to use it in the form of gift cards), the billions they had to write off for the ad company that went nowhere, the billions they spent to buy Yahoo Search, and by Xmas this year you can add Win 8, Surface (both RT and pro) and the new WinPhone.

I'm sorry but the guy is a trainwreck. he has cost the company at LEAST 40 billion in the past half a decade and has ZERO ROI to show for those billions flushed down the loo as you Brits call it. His "leadership" is so bad that one could have had a higher ROI having monkeys fling poo at the stock page and investing there than they got by having Ballmer at the wheel!

There is A REASON why Forbes names him the Worst CEO and that is because that is what he is. as a retailer of PCs I can tell you NOBODY wants Windows 8, I have stopped even having Win 8 systems in my shop because they gather dust. People would buy a system with half the power and memory rather than get stuck with Win 8, yes its hated THAT much by the public. You expect this clown to lead the company when he is losing share in a monopoly situation? I wouldn't trust him to catch a cold with a map and a GPS unit.

The sad part is if they would have stuck to Win 7 on the desktop, pushed Metro on tablets/phones along with a "it MUST just work" mantra? They probably could have made some gains. But with Ballmer in charge the strategy always seems to be "What is the other guy doing? We'll do that but poorly and half baked" and so it ends in disaster. Bottom line if the board doesn't get rid of Gates little buddy MSFT will be RIM in less than 5 years, a company that once ruled their market but now only has legacy customers and even they are looking for the exit. The OEMs are all on the phone to Google, Valve has ported Steam to Linux and will be coming out with their own console, everybody is jumping off before the ship goes down.

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Don't knock Ballmer, the fact remains that the windows phone debacle has been going on for some time, just like most other successful CEO's of companies the ones that everyone worships and adores usually get out in the nick of time.

They usually know when it is time to go, leaving the company and letting the shi*t hit the fan and someone else taking the blame. 'We were always successful during my tenure!' they will claim, but during their tenure they left a lot of unanswered paperwork in the bottom draw.

Cue the 'new' guy, he takes over sits behind the desk and opens the bottom draw...... They are then left to try and put things right.

Happens all the time, the problems withy he windows phones started many years ago.

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Re: Gates quote

I personally don't see Ballmer as a right person to be at the front of the Microsoft (mainly because of his physical appearance not expertise).

Nevertheless good thing or products while he is CEO are:

Win7, Office 2003,2007,2010, Win Server 2003, 2008R2, Exchange Server 2003, 2007, 2010. SQL Servers ... (You have mention some of this already).

Windows 8 is fantastic product and it is excellent way of moving on from platform that we all know so well.

Surface project is fantastic.

Windows Phone 7.5 and WP8.

WP8 in particular is great mobile OS.

On the question what went wrong or if you like what was mistake I believe Bill Gates was referring to Windows mobile 6. That indeed was mistake, no doubt about it. Windows Vista yes that was mistake. Zune - personally I don't need anyone to make me my collection of mp3 music or similar. Once I have paid for my CDs I know how to compress them and put then on my mobile device. I don't want to pay it again (most of the iPod users, as well, will share the same opinion). But lets say Zune was also not very good product or if you prefer mistake.

There is also other great products from Microsoft like Visual Studio, Azure, Windows 2012 is still in early days but already has some brilliant reviews form experts.

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JDX
Gold badge

there is no line of business that was started after he took over that has gone ANYWHERE

Kinect. There's one solitary note of success :)

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JDX
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It's still too early to announce WP as a total fail. They're playing the long game so for now it's only a disappointment!

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Re: Gates quote - XBox is a success myth

as their market is under fire from mobile and up-coming competition from Linux consoles, including one from Valve

Pendantry alert: For a market to be under fire from something, that something actually needs to exist. The valve console is still very much vapourware, as far as the consumer is concerned.

The points about about mobile games is correct, but not for the reasons you assume - it's because mobile gaming is "the new thing"...current consoles are 4-5 years old, and not "the new thing". Recent console sales have actually been ok. There is no direct evidence that console sales are being lost to mobile. They appear to be two different markets.

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jai
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Re: Gates quote

Totally agree - i think he's just trying to find something to say to give the end of the piece a positive spin.

Windows 8 - too early to call, but if it's the "key to the future" then it hasn't had the greatest of starts.

Surface - again, doesn't seem to have done anywhere near as well as they would have liked it to, but need more time to tell i guess

Bing - "people have seen is a better search product" i dunno about that. i switched from Google to Bing after all the UK tax issue, but i'm going to be switching back again because Bing just isn't as good, the top results often aren't the ones i'm trying to find.

XBox - while yes, it's been a successful product, it's at the end of it's life and hasn't really done anything in the last year, has it? Everyone is looking towards the next XBox, not the old one.

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Anonymous Coward

> Don't knock Ballmer

No... just put some music on and wait for him to knock himself.

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Re: Gates quote

"Giant Hate Boner", fabulous linguistic invention, may I use it for the name of my band?

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Mushroom

Re: Gates quote

Self critical -- I don't remember Ballmer throwing a chair at himself ......

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Re: Gates quote

"Giant Hate Boner" is an Andrew Hussie thing, but yeah, totally great name for a band.

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FAIL

Re: Gates quote

You sir have been fooled by Microsoft's clever accounting.

Xbox360 will never make a dime of profit for Microsoft. The development costs and warranty repair costs will always outweigh any profit from the hardware and game licensing.

What Microsoft (and other American companies) do, is "reserve" cash for future costs. so the $2Bn (which eventually doubled) was "reserved" in a single REALLY bad quarter. The next quarter, that loss is all forgotten about, and they can claim profits, which the press gleefully report without question, and fanboys lap up without question.

It's how American business works, is why American business is so screwed, as quite clearly if I ran my personal finances like that, I would have been bankrupt years ago....

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Re: Gates quote

I expect to be shot down in flames here, but if you want to sell your customers Windows 8 just get them to download <a href='http://startisback.com/'>Start is Back</a>, which brings back the Windows 7 start menu and lets you boot straight to desktop. It costs $3 and it's got none of the additional crap the other start menu replacements have. I've even been able to get the start screen to be useful by rebinding the key to bring it up and removing virtually all the Metro apps from it.

The hatred is completely justified, however- my desktop PC is not an iPad. Everything on Metro seems geared around consumption and entertainment, and I want to use my PC to actually do things.

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Re: Gates quote - XBox is a success myth

Yes Radon, those Linux consoles were developed with no R&D investment and currently generate zero revenue from their lack of well, anything. So well done citing a non existent product.

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Re: Gates quote - XBox is a success myth

>Xbox360 will never make a dime of profit for Microsoft. The development costs and warranty repair costs will always outweigh any profit from the hardware and game licensing.

You forgot Xbox Live Gold subscriptions. Don't know if it changes your assertion, because you didn't show your working,

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Windows

Re: Gates quote

" (zune, kin, VISTA, and win 8 desktop, likely to be the next OS that everybody skips)"

I like the Win 8 desktop. OK I hated it for about 2 weeks but now I wouldn't go back to Win7!

Would you go back to Office without the ribbon?

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Re: Gates quote

None of these things in your list could, nor ever had a hope of moving the MS stock price up. Sure, MS can from time to time put out solid products. That's all they are: solid, not exciting, not life changing, not enough to make the needle move. If you want to be in charge of the (formerly) world's biggest consumer software company, making a new version of SQL server that doesn't blow up, really is not good enough.

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