Steve Ballmer Sells Out!

Steve Ballmer is a sell out. Well, at least with a lot of his Microsoft stock. The big guy plans on selling  up to 75 million shares of stock by the end of the year. That’s a lot of stock, and a lot of money. He claims that he isn’t going to jump ship anytime soon, and it is a personal financial choice. Hey, the guy needs a new yacht, can you blame him!? Why have all that invested, and never touch it.

“Even though this is a personal financial matter, I want to be clear about this to avoid any confusion,” Ballmer said in a statement on the company’s Website. “I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people’s lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success.”

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Microsoft Consumer Brand is Dying…

CNN reports that the Microsoft consumer brand is dying. With Windows running at 90%+ market share, the XBox 360 performing excellent, Windows Phone 7 just released, Windows 7 selling record amounts, and on and on… Reading comments from around the web from anyone with an open mind, not biased (Apple fans are laughing), they are saying “What?! CNN is uninformed.”. I just have to say that their opinion is slightly off from reality. They may not innovate (Yea, Kinect is old school…), they may not have very much market share in the consumer market (Windows with 90%+), and their server products suck (a lot of enterprises don’t seem to think so), overdue on tablets (the medical industry uses them very successfully, iPad wouldn’t be viable in that situation)… CNN, you need to send back the check Steve Jobs sent you. The whole bashing Microsoft is so cool trend is over. Long over.

It’s not like Microsoft didn’t foresee the changes ahead. With a staff of almost 90,000, the company has many of the tech world’s smartest minds on its payroll, and has incubated projects in a wide range of fields that later took off. Experiments like Courier (tablets), HailStorm/Passport (digital identity), and Windows Media Center (content in the cloud) show the company was ahead of the game in many areas — but then it either failed to bring those products to market, or didn’t execute.

UPDATE: Microsoft’s answer to the article: #notdeadyet.

Frank Shaw, the Redmond company’s vice president of corporate communications, is fighting back on Twitter by pointing out the areas where the company sees strength or new momentum in its consumer businesses. He’s using the hash tag, #notdeadyet, in hopes of making his ad-hoc social media campaign go viral.

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Riskiest Product Bet For MS: Windows 8?

Steve Ballmer has said in an interview that the next version of Windows will be their riskiest product yet. Let’s hope it is as revolutionary as they claim. I’ve been waiting!

But when we saw the leaked Windows 8 slide deck which looked to be from Microsoft (dated April 2010), the supposed early feature set concepts for Windows 8 looked solid, but weren’t anything I’d call “risky.” Fast startup, facial recognition as a security option, better support for slates, a possible app store — all good, but not amazing. The one feature on the list that might be considered remotely risky (mostly in terms of the ability of Microsoft to deliver it)? Push-button reset, which allegedly would reinstall Windows while maintaining all of your personal files, applications and settings.

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