Microsoft has had a lot of press lately, and none of it very good. First, they were sued for certifying computer components as “Vista Capable” when they were clearly not; next, they announced the closing of the MSN music store, thereby orphaning thousands of legitimately purchased songs; then they were publicly told to speak to the hand by Yahoo; and now it’s rumored that MS will install filtering software as a part of a future update that will not only scan your Zune (OK, maybe not your Zune, but the Zunes of the 12 people who have actually purchased one) for “unauthorized” content, but then delete any music or movies not purchased from the Zune store. One has to wonder, what in the world is going on over there?
Granted, Microsoft is not hurting. They still print money in their headquarters in Redmond, WA. But when you’re fined by the EU for anti-trust violations, caught gaming your sales numbers and being dismissed as irrelevant by Motley Fool, it might be time to think about some fresh leadership. Bill Gates was wise to split when he did; perhaps he saw the writing on the wall. In any case, it is upon Steve Ballmer’s shoulders that the blame for the morass that Microsoft has become will fall.
Microsoft is a gigantic ship, widely perceived as unsinkable. However, as we learned from watching Titanic for the 152nd time over the weekend, we know that there is no such thing. How much longer until Ballmer walks the plank? And at what point is he going to throw up his hands and say, “What the hell?! I’m a billionaire for God’s sake, I don’t need this!” My prediction is that within the year, Steve Ballmer will either have engineered a hostile takeover of Yahoo and mounted Jerry Yang’s head on his wall, or Bill Gates will be back in the CEO’s hyperbaric chamber in Redmond, cruelly plotting the overthrow of free software.