Various articles across the web have the same reassuring themes about Bill Gate’s departure from Microsoft: it’s to be a slow transition, and it won’t impact business because his role has diminished in recent years anyway. This is repeated because it is largely true; however Bill’s action comes at a interesting point at time- specifically, a point in time well AFTER their flagship product Windows Vista was to be delivered.
Last year after reading about the complete overhaul of Vista’s code I remarked to a colleague that Microsoft was in big trouble. As pointed out by Joel Spolsky, code refactoring isn’t a task to be taken lightly in any software application. In a complete operating system, one with over 2000 developers and due the next year, it’s a mind-boggling undertaking.
On top of that there’s absolutely no reason for businesses to buy the new OS. Can anyone think of a “must-have” application that only Vista can run? Even a potential application? Unless you are in a specialized tech or data field, modern PCs have more than enough desktop horsepower for most corporations.
And the business environment that MS exists in today has never been fiercer. The improved Linux interfaces, the addition of spreadsheets to the web, the ability for new Macs to dual-boot, and three decades of animosity over shady business dealings have all come home to roost. Microsoft has Big Problems, and it will drain their geenormous nest egg to soften the impact of the coming debacle.
Bill Gates is no fool; it’s time to quit when you’re ahead, and this may be his last opportunity to do so.
I have opened up a new bookmach page to follow articles and commentary as this news unfolds, you can monitor it here: