EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

01.25.09

Wrap-Up of Microsoft’s Demise; Units Shut Down

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Office Suites, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 5:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oriskany ship sinks

MICROSOFT CORPORATION, a company that was accused of engaging in financial fraud with similar doubts still lingering and debt around the corner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], is no longer able to hide its poor health. Since the announcement of the layoffs we have already published:

Today we take a closer look at the points that were not covered in previous posts.

It Hurts

MSN, which is Microsoft’s news Web site, put up a BizJournal article — one that’s titled “Gloom at Microsoft headquarters.”

The morning was appropriately foggy and dark as Microsoft employees came to work today, bracing for details of the unprecedented cutbacks announced by the company before dawn.

Google’s sales rose 18% compared to just 1% from Microsoft and Microsoft employees foresee what’s coming.

Microsoft’s announcement it will lay off 5,000 in its biggest-ever job-cut rippled through the Seattle area on Thursday, further unnerving residents of an already-bruised city of just over 3 million.

The Forbes article above may suggest that this is not over and another Forbes article is titled “Microsoft’s Massacre.” Microsoft’s business model, just like Novell's, is dying.

It’s Going to Get Worse

Analysts are saying that Microsoft’s layoffs are not sufficient and this assertion is consistent with previous words from several independent analysts [1, 2]. The scale of the layoffs is simply too low.

The unprecedented layoffs and other cutbacks announced yesterday by Microsoft haven’t appeased Wall Street. Microsoft shares are down more than 6 percent since the news came out, and some analysts assert that the company needed to go much further.

Here are some more details.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) announced the first significant layoffs in its 34-year history Thursday. Investors, analysts and even some employees say the cuts likely won’t be the software giant’s last.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company said it would eliminate 5,000 jobs, or 5% of its workforce, over the next 18 months, as well as cut some travel and other expenses. The cuts are needed to bring the company’s costs in line with the rapidly slowing sales of its flagship Windows software, which are dropping along with sales of PCs.

Which areas of the giant company’s operations will be affected – and how deeply – remains unclear. But investors and analysts say the company hasn’t moved dramatically enough to turn its fortunes around. And on Internet chat boards, some Microsoft staffers said they were concerned the day’s layoff announcement was the beginning of a drawn-out staff reduction.

Beginning of the End?

Microsoft’s fan press, the Motley Fool, has actually done the unimaginable by urging people to sell away Microsoft shares.

Vista: Microsoft lost nearly half its value in 2008 as it faced a tough year like many other tech companies. But it wasn’t all due to events outside the company — many argue that Vista did a spectacular job at lowering the company, as the unpopular operating system was shunned by many corporate users.

According to this column, “for Microsoft, the pain is just beginning.” The explanation is long.

And Microsoft’s stock? On Thursday, as Microsoft was announcing the layoffs, one cable-TV reporter commented that MSFT has “gone nowhere for years.” Actually, the stock has lost nearly half its value over the past year.

So now, for the first time, Microsoft — like IBM 16 years ago — is resorting to a major layoff.

It won’t be enough, any more than a layoff was enough for IBM.

Microsoft has been coasting for years on Windows and Office. Those have been the cash cows that enabled the company to fumble its way through years of halfhearted “innovation” and watered-down imitation. Microsoft has lost ground (or never gained a footing) in search versus Google, music players versus Apple, Web browsers versus Firefox.

Worse still, Microsoft has forgotten how to improve even those cash-cow products. Office 2007 is a mess for usability. Vista is a disaster in almost every way.

Mish Shedlock calls Microsoft “An Aging Gorilla”:

Microsoft is an aging Gorilla facing many battles. The first is declining PC sales as discussed above. A second more serious problem is that it’s products are too expensive and too buggy. A third problem of Microsoft is a shift to web-based services.

Cash Cows Starve

Revenue extracted from Windows and Office already declined at the beginning of 2008, but it continues to get worse for these core products which are among the few that are actually profitable.

Job cuts call for Microsoft to rethink Windows client

[...]

[E]ven Microsoft acknowledged Thursday that a flat PC market could continue to affect the overall Office business, while the entertainment and devices unit’s performance had more to do with holiday sales of the Xbox 360 game console than overall growth in that market.

IDG is citing its bosses at IDC (Al Gillen in this case). They spin it in favour of Microsoft, as they very typically do. What can Microsoft do now other than engage in new viral marketing campaigns for Windows? At the moment, Microsoft markets a product that is not even on the market (Vista 7) while neglecting those which do exist. It’s consistent with the evangelism strategy which Microsoft adopted.

“My initial evaluation of Windows 7 shows that it’s really just Vista with a fresh coat of paint.”

Randall Kennedy, InfoWorld (IDG)

Vista 7

Need to Eliminate Products

Microsoft needs to eliminate products. The question is, “which ones?”

Well, Om Malik from the broadband arena believes that Microsoft should concede its main race on-line.

Should Microsoft Reconsider Its Search Efforts?

[...]

As the company tries to get its act together, one question comes to mind: Should it give up on its search and online advertising efforts? The division brought in $866 million in revenues but lost $471 million.

The Wall Street Journal mocks the Zune and asserts that it’s time for the Zune to just go.

At its much faster rate of decline, the Zune player looks like it’s headed from low to no market share — unless Microsoft jazzes up the product soon.

The Zune is doing very badly, according to the following new report:

Sales for the Microsoft Zune MP3 player tumbled by 54 percent during the last quarter while the Apple iPod grew more than 3 percent in market share. The battle of the multimedia players might have met its final match.

Microsoft Corp reported last week that sales on its Zune MP3 player tumbled by 54 percent during the last quarter. The Zune rival, Apple Inc’s iPod, grew more than 3 percent in market share and is seen as the dominate music player. While the software giant is cutting divisions that don’t have improved sales, some analysts wonder if Zune is on the way out.

This troubled Zune makes headlines only when disaster strikes.

Another site contends that Microsoft is not cutting down in the right departments.

Seriously, how is it that, when the ax comes down, you pick the people that make you look good? Why don’t you fire the people who get you sued? Because, I tell you, the people who really love Microsoft have no idea what the big deal is with Office 2007, don’t care about new calculators in 7, and surely wouldn’t pinch a loaf for a more-compliant IE8.

But go ahead, divest yourself from the Zune. I was going to buy a Cowon, anyway.

Microsoft put some other products in the firing line, though.

Eliminated Products, Divisions

There are various elements in Microsoft that are affected immediately. One of them is another game studio which is shut down. Ensemble, which we mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], is lonely no more.

[I]t does seem that tips that the company’s Entertainment & Devices (E&D) unit (Windows Mobile, Xbox, Zune) was impacted most heavily by the first round of layoffs. And it’s increasingly sounding like the games side of the house bore the brunt of the E&D cuts.

Microsoft has closed completely its Aces Studio, the game group that developed and maintained Flight Simulator, sources close to the company confirmed. Aces’ other franchises include Combat Flight Simulator and Train Simulator.

This is also covered here:

There are other dead services, a pile of which has been growing since last year.

According to this, Popfly, the .NET poison that we mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4], might get the axe too.

Microsoft on Friday said that it may discontinue its free Popfly service that lets non-programmers build Web 2.0 apps.

Popfly “is in a transitional phase,” said a Microsoft spokeswoman on Friday. “We have no other details at the moment.”

Popfly is essentially poison on the Web, just like Silverlight [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. It’s designed to harm Web standards which make the Internet a commodity. It lumps proprietary elements onto it.

Another big setback is cancellation (Microsoft prefers saying “postponement”) of a massive datacentre in Iowa.

A day after reporting flat revenue for its online services business, Microsoft said it is postponing construction on a planned data center in Iowa.

It’s one of several other cost-cutting measures the software giant announced along with a disappointing financial report Thursday, including laying off around 5,000 people, reducing the use of vendors and lowering marketing spending.

There is also covered here and more news is likely to come regarding products and services that are taken off the shelves and called off, respectively. Withdrawals are urgently needed.

Monetary Problems

Hidden deep inside a stack of papers was this nugget of information.

Microsoft paid the federal government $3.1 billion between July and September of last year to settle a tax debt that was discovered during an Internal Revenue Service audit, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing.

We’ve already summarised Microsoft's tax evasion stories.

It’s very obvious that Microsoft is stressed for cash when it aggressively sues those who spread its software and it’s doing it again, along with its funded ally/pressure group, the BSA [1, 2, 3, 4].

Microsoft Gulf coordinates with Bahrain Ministry of Information on latest software piracy offensives in Manama

Microsoft GulfMicrosoft GulfLoading…, a member of the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the leading global organisation that is the voice of the world’s commercial software industry and its hardware partners before governments and in the international marketplace, has announced successful anti-piracy raids by the Bahrain Ministry of InformationBahrain Ministry of InformationLoading… (MoI) on two resellers operating in Manama. The offensives highlighted Bahrain’s comprehensive nationwide anti-piracy program and its thrust to make the capital city in particular a model of a piracy-free environment.

To summarise and to close off this tour through reports, regardless of the scale of future layoffs, one must remember to keep track of contractors and temporary workers, which is hard because Microsoft keeps it secret.

Microsoft says it plans deeper cutbacks in contract workers

[...]

Microsoft doesn’t report publicly the number of contractors who work for the company through job agencies. There have already been reports that the company hasn’t been renewing many contracts as they come due. Overall, Microsoft said it reduced operating expenses by $600 million in the recent quarter, and no doubt contractor cuts were part of that.

As we pointed out the other day, since not all staff is permanent, a lot of the layoffs (they don’t officially count or qualify as “layoffs”) are not visible to the public.

Remember the rule of thumb: things are much worse than Microsoft needs us to believe. It’s not unique to Microsoft, either (remember Enron?).

“There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd. I would include our stock in that category. It is bad for the long-term worth of the economy.”

Steve Ballmer

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

10 Comments

  1. oiaohm said,

    January 25, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Gravatar

    Apparently MS at long last it the penguin packed iceberg. Question can they patch the holes before its too late.

  2. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 25, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Gravatar

    Good article by Frank. I like his writing style.

  3. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 25, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Gravatar

    Just curious – where did you get the photo?

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 25, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Gravatar

    Wikimedia.

  5. ZiggyFish said,

    January 26, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Gravatar

    Microsoft has forgotten how to improve even those cash-cow products. Office 2007 is a mess for usability

    This is interesting as Vista 7 will enforce such usability issues (Vista 7 will include more use of ribbon interfaces). Maybe we already know the outcome of Vista 7.

  6. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 26, 2009 at 3:31 am

    Gravatar

    The assumption is that people will shell out money only for something that’s different (or looks different).

    It’s a bit like “New Coke”.

  7. ZiggyFish said,

    January 26, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Gravatar

    Roy,

    I see it as an anti-competitive move (under the radar). It then makes Linux’s (and also Mac’s) look old, and out of date. But the question is can Microsoft pull this off, can they make the change and have users conform with this new interface?

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 26, 2009 at 4:53 am

    Gravatar

    What’s anti-competitive here is the vapourware tactics, which can be a violation of the law.

  9. coffee said,

    February 13, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Gravatar

    I know what Microsoft should do to improve their Zune sales: get someone besides the big, hairy guy with a Zune tattoo to be their marketing front man/woman

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 13, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Gravatar

    They apparently tried to make up Obama as “evidence”.

What Else is New


  1. The EPO is Collapsing. Attacks on Journalists, Interns as Staff, Patents on Plants, and Bureaucratic Red Tape...

    A look at some of the latest issues surrounding the European Patent Office, whose insistence on denying the problems and instead attacking those who bring up legitimate concerns, will spell its doom



  2. Ignore the Bristows UPC Echo Chamber, the UPC is Not Happening

    Response to some of the latest UPC promotion, courtesy of some of the usual suspects, who stand to benefit financially if the UPC ever becomes a reality



  3. British Media Slams Battistelli for Attempting to Cover Up 2 Years of Juridical Abuses With Help From the Administrative Council of the EPO

    A growing voice of concern about the integrity of the European Patent Organisation, whose management appears to be in cahoots (overseers/regulators included) so as to cover up its own serious abuses



  4. Boards of Appeal Still Under Attack From Team Battistelli While the EPO Proceeds to Granting Patents on Carlsberg BEER!

    The lunacy of the EPO with its patent maximalism will likely go unchecked (and uncorrected) if Battistelli gets his way and turns the EPO into another SIPO (Croatian in the human rights sense and Chinese in the quality sense)



  5. Memo “Deliberately Leaked to Cover up the UPC” With Its Many Associated Issues Amid Brexit

    Some eye-opening updates about the awkward move from Lucy Neville-Rolfe, who made promises (expression of intent) she can neither fulfill nor justify to the British public



  6. Links 8/12/2016: Korora GNU/Linux 25, SparkyLinux 4.5.1

    Links for the day



  7. Links 7/12/2016: ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5, Ubuntu Touch OTA-14

    Links for the day



  8. The UPC Scam Part VII: A Fine Mess in the Making, as Nothing Can be Made of It Amid/After Brexit

    The final part in this multi-part series about UPC, which cannot be implemented in the UK as long as Brexit is on the agenda



  9. The UPC Scam Part VI: The Real Story Which People Missed Due to Puff Pieces Seeded by Battistelli-Bribed Media is That UPC Technically Cannot Come to the UK

    Another long installment in a multi-part series about UPC at times of post-truth Battistelli-led EPO, which pays the media to repeat the lies and pretend that the UPC is inevitable so as to compel politicians to welcome it regardless of desirability and practicability



  10. EPO Spiraling Down the Drain as Experienced Examiners and Judges Are Seemingly Being Replaced by Interns

    Implementing yet more of his terrible ideas and so-called 'reforms', Battistelli seems to be racing to the bottom of everything (patent quality, staff experience, labour rights, working conditions, access to justice etc.)



  11. A Lot of News From the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Today, With Some Important Decisions on Patents Coming Soon

    A roundup of today's outcomes from the US Supreme Court, which intends to review and decide on important patent cases



  12. In Historic Blow to Design Patents, Apple Loses to Samsung at the Supreme Court

    A $399 million judgment against Android devices from Samsung, with potential implications for other Android OEMs, is rejected by SCOTUS



  13. Good Riddance. Ray Niro is Dead.

    The infamous father of patent trolling is dead, so we need to remember his real legacy rather than rewrite his history to appease his rich relatives (enriched by destroying real companies)



  14. EPO Suicides Greater in Number Than is Widely Reported, Unjust System a Contributor to These

    The horrible regime of Benoît Battistelli has an enormous human toll (fatalities), far greater than the Office is willing to publicly acknowledge



  15. Lobbying Disguised as 'Reporting' by the Patent Microcosm, Which Wants More Patents and More Lawsuits (Lawyers Needed)

    A rebuttal to some new articles about patents, especially those that strive to increase patent-related activities (usually for personal gain)



  16. USPTO Echo Chamber That Lacks Actual Software Professionals Deciding on Patentability of Software

    A look at yesterday's "Roundtable on Patent Subject Matter Eligibility," which lacked involvement from those actually affected by patents rather than those who sell, trade, and exploit these



  17. More Examples of Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls Taxing Linux, Even After Microsoft 'Joined' (Paid) the Linux Foundation

    A quick look at the past week's news and clues about Microsoft's (and its broad army of patent trolls) strategy for taxing Linux, or imposing bundling at zero cost (to Microsoft)



  18. Heiko Maas, the SPD “Cash for Access” Affair, and Suspicions of Unwarranted Censorship at IP Kat (Again)

    Unsayable views or just a glitch? Readers of IP Kat express concern about a culture of censorship at IP Kat



  19. Endgame for Battistelli at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    Battistelli turns bad into worse by spitting on the very notion of accepting justice (from the highest court in The Hague or even the UN in this case)



  20. Les Échos Chamber: Having Corrupted the Media (With EPO Money), Battistelli Now Uses It for More UPC Propaganda

    The lies about the Unitary Patent are now being broadcast (Battistelli given the platform) by the publication that Battistelli pays



  21. Rumour: EPO in Berlin the Next Casualty of Battistelli's 'Reform' (Organisational Suicide Plan)

    Months after we learned that a former staff representative in Berlin had been dismissed we come across an anonymous claim that Berlin's 'branch' of the EPO will be folded onto Munich's



  22. Caricature: the Maas App

    The failure of Maas to even bother with regulation of Battistelli (among others) earns him this cartoon



  23. Links 5/12/2016: Linux 4.9 RC 8, DeepMind as FOSS

    Links for the day



  24. Leaked: Battistelli Acknowledges Bunk 'Justice' in About 100 Cases at the Internal Appeals Committee of the EPO

    A look at Battistelli's response to the latest from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), exceptionally delivering two decisions at the very end of last month



  25. The UPC Scam Part V: Unitary Patent Regime a Fantasy of Patent Trolls

    "Good for trolls" is a good way to sum up the Unitary Patent, which would give litigators plenty of business (defendants and plaintiffs, plus commissions on high claims of damages) if it ever became a reality



  26. EPO at a Tipping Point: Battistelli Quarrelling With French Politicians, Administrative Council Urged to Act, Staff Unrest Peaking

    The latest messages about Battistelli's regime at the EPO, which faces growing opposition from more directions than ever before



  27. Quality of Patents at the EPO Dependent on the Appeal Boards When Battistelli Assesses Performance Using the Wrong 'Production' Yardstick

    A look at some recent articles regarding patent quality in the US and in Europe, in particular because of growing trouble at today's EPO, which marginalises the appeal boards



  28. Microsoft's Push for Software Patents Another Reminder That There is No 'New' Microsoft

    Microsoft's continued fascination with and participation in the effort to undermine Alice so as to make software patents, which the company uses to blackmail GNU/Linux vendors, widely acceptable and applicable again



  29. Links 5/12/2016: SparkyLinux 4.5 Released, Kondik Exits Cyanogen (Destroyed After Microsoft Deal)

    Links for the day



  30. Software Patents Continue Their Invalidation Process, But Patent Law Firms Try to Deny This in Order to Attract Misinformed (or Poorly-Informed) Clients

    A roundup of news about software patents and demonstration of the sheer bias in the media, which is mostly controlled or steered by the patent microcosm rather than actual inventors


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts