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    Posted September 6, 2013 by
    Des Moines, Iowa
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    Who Will Replace Steve Ballmer at Microsoft ?

    Microsoft stock values climbed significantly on the announcement of Steve Ballmer's planned departure, and this is an intriguing demonstration that speculators will continue to bet on Microsoft's future in spite of the substantial failures resulting from Ballmer's term at the helm. Perhaps still more intriguing is the fact that Ballmer's tenure is widely accounted as a failure in spite of Microsoft's recent $27 billion profit report. This profit can only be interpreted as a loss in opportunity to profit by a substantially larger margin. The success of Ballmer's competitors and their seizure of shares in new markets makes dramatically transparent the missed opportunities during Ballmer's leadership.

    Microsoft may no longer rest on its laurels, those engrained globally in PC users by its genius founder Bill Gates. Innovation can never rest, and the competition is voraciously hungry. Ballmer's mishaps began with the disasterous Vista operating system, which was released on many notebooks which did not have the hardware resources to cope with the demands of the operating system. This actually caused an extraordinary movement of loyal, if not addicted, PC users to return to XP, an older version of Windows! Ballmer's aggressive attempt to purchase Yahoo for over $44 billion now looms as a blessing and curse, as Yahoo is currently valued around $28 billion. That nebulous opportunity left MS with a weak base in cloud services going forward. The poignant missed opportunity was Microsoft's lag in the the mobility market, where Apple and Android based devices left the Windows Phone with only a single digit percentage of market share, as the global population migrated from PCs to tablets and minis. Niches hardly imagined two years ago have been created and filled by brilliant new products. I use an Android-based Galaxy "Young," which is a quad-band smart phone that is superior to the Iphone it replaced in many facets and features. In Asia this model can be purchased new for less than $100 US, and in this niche, Microsoft is not even present.

    Nothing makes people seek alternatives more than an overpriced product, and Microsoft's vastly overpriced Office Suite has been replaced by freeware in two important arenas. Google's cloud services, includes Google Docs, a fully mobile and internet-based suite capable of using all MS Office Documents, replacing MS Office entirely, making documents available on Google Drive, and thus completely portable. If that were not bad enough, the open source group Apache has a fully stable freeware version called "OpenOffice," which enables techy users to extend the capabilities of the application. Microsoft therefore had no choice but to follow the lead of Apple into the arena of mobile devices, and cloud computing. This inspired Steve Ballmer early this year to begin his long endeavor to purchase Nokia. Negotiations on Microsoft's purchase of Nokia hinged on several novel app technologies owned by Nokia, especially its mapping app for mobile devices. But eventually the deal was made, and so now it comes as no surprise to anyone that Nokia's former CEO Stephen Elop is considered a top candidate to replace Ballmer. Elop is considered an "inside candidate" because of his previous intimate involvement at MS. The big question remains, "Who will replace Steve Ballmer?" My guess is Bill Gates will make a comeback. There is no substitute for true genius.
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