So, aside from being a while since I’ve written anything on this blog, it has been almost a year since I wrote about my attempts at creating an app on the Microsoft Store. (There have been a good number of blog entries since January, but most of them have been removed and repackaged into a book which I’ve written.) Of course, as most people already know, the Surface and the Surface Pro were an abysmal failure. Who would have thought that you need software to help sell a device? Or that you would need a developer-friendly environment to help create an app ecosystem? Or that not really paying attention to your customers and then being indecisive about your policy regarding the XBox One would make you look incompetent and indecisive? At this point, we can assume that the suits at Microsoft are actually asking these questions of themselves, still not grasping the “why” of these questions.
Now, I’m not one to gloat…okay, yes, I am exactly the type who would gloat, and I am going to do so now. Even though I’m strictly a software engineer, I find life to be far more rewarding (in every way possible) when I endeavor to be as much of a polymath as possible. I try to find the truth under every possible rock and from every possible sane person I can listen to. When you’re a suit, THAT SHOULD BE YOUR FUCKING JOB. In addition to developing your own sophisticated point of view, it behooves you to start listening to other intelligent people, in the hopes that you might actually learn something of merit which may correct your own mistakes. At your level of responsibility, your life should revolve around trying to understand any given topic or situation from every possible angle. That’s why you get paid your high salary. That’s how you can effectively employ a strategy and not have it blow up in your face. I’m just a simple software guy, but aside from me, many other “simple” software guys (including those who work for Microsoft’s suits) probably saw all of this impending doom from miles away, spoke of it, and were promptly dismissed by Ballmer and company. If I were a top suit at Microsoft, I would hang my head in shame. It especially feels good to know that I could do your job, if I actually wanted to.
Now, having said that…how can Microsoft resurrect this dead dog? With Ballmer now heading out, there seems to be some hope. It’s still too early to tell, since the successor(s) could be even worse. However, if the company tries to integrate its own disparate pieces, there could be hope of something down the line. In order for that to work, though, there must be a shared vision. You can’t create a walled garden like Apple unless you have a cohesive plan. More than anything, it takes a different mentality, a competitive determination which comes from being at the bottom of a pile of defeat, much like Apple in 1997. You need to be hungry. For now, it seems that Microsoft still has a full belly and a plate full of goodies, so they’re not too worried…but so was Dell and Blackberry at one point, until they became the victims of their own self-created famine.