While bashing Microsoft has always been common in the circles I run in, I've tried to do less of that in recent years. I know more people working there and have a lot of respect for them. I now understand that a lot of their problems are the result of systemic problems and sheer inertia.
But still, sometimes you see things that ought to be pointed out.
Henry Blodget's Microsoft's MSN: Still Sucking Wind After All These Years is rather eye-opening.
Did you know that MSN is currently losing about $1 billion a year (run-rate)? That's right, $1 billion. On about $2.2 billion of advertising revenue. (See this page for details). Unless Microsoft's disappearing access business is losing a lot of money--which we doubt--all of the division's losses are attributable to the advertising and media business. That means that MSN is losing nearly $0.50 for every $1.00 of advertising it sells.
Not good when compared with rivals, it seems.
And then there's the employee retention problem.
Translation: We only grew headcount 12%, but we have to pay so much to retain and recruit people that our overall headcount expenses increased more than twice as fast.
He concludes by saying:
Don't forget that, in round one of the Microsoft's-going-to-rule-the-Internet wars, Microsoft accelerated dial-up subscription revenue and expenses in an attempt to catch AOL. That effort failed, as did several that followed. In the past 12 years, in fact, Microsoft's online story has had any number or re-orgs, restarts, and revampings, but the reality has never changed.
Makes you wonder when Microsoft will find their way on-line... if ever.
And then there's former Yahoo Bill Reardon's Microsoft Search post, which is a most excellent rant. He's got a talent for taking the obvious and making your realize how fucked up something is.
Reacting to the fact that Microsoft's Search finally has stemming:
They didn’t have these things before?!
Understanding “driving” vs. “drive”? That’s a pretty basic problem called stemming. How basic? Put it this way, there’s been open source code out there to this before there was a Microsoft Search. Fuck, even the Wikipedia page has existed since 2007. All they had to do was go there. I know Microsoft is big about “eating their own dogfood”, but damn, use Google just this once to find it.
He paints a pretty sad picture, and reading the Microsoft presss about their technology, it's hard not to agree with him.
Read the whole thing. It's worth it. Bill really cracks me up.
Don't even get me started on their "you can look but not touch" .NET source code release.
Hint: It's not like Open Source. Not at all.
Posted by jzawodn at October 04, 2007 07:20 AM