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Uma história foda sobre a miopia da Microsoft contada por Kyle Baxter. Como se sabe, desde o final da década de 90 a Microsoft já pensava em tablets, mas as pessoas mais altas na hierarquia da empresa – e da idiotice – sempre vetavam qualquer coisa nesse sentido. Abaixo, um relato mais recente sobre a apresentação para o Steve Ballmer sobre o Courier, um projeto de tablet apresentado internamente em 2009.

So when Robbie Bach, who led the company’s entertainment and devices division at the time, presented his idea to CEO Steve Ballmer and Microsoft’s senior leadership, he expected enthusiasm and additional funding for the project. There was just one problem: The Courier prototype borrowed from Windows, Microsoft’s vaunted computer operating systems, but had an operating system all its own. (That’s what Apple did with its iPhone and iPad — it built a new operating platform based on its existing Mac OS X.)

Bach learned a hard lesson about the power and might of Windows within Microsoft. Not only would Bach not receive the extra funding he sought, said Ballmer, who personally delivered the blow, but there would be no Courier because it was unnecessary. The best of Courier, where appropriate, would be folded into the next version of Windows, Windows 8, due at the end of 2011 or in 2012 — or maybe even Windows 9. Several months after its death, Bach announced his retirement.

Perdoai, Senhor, essas pobres almas!!

The problem is very simple: they are so beholden to Windows that anything that might threaten it—whether it comes from outside the company or inside—has to be eliminated. Effectively, Microsoft is protecting Windows at the expense of the company’s long-term success. That’s not only a mistake. It’s absolute idiocy.

Their tablet strategy is a perfect example of this. Microsoft thinks tablets should use the same operating system as PCs, with a user interface “optimized” for touch. Tablets, then, aren’t completely new devices, distinct from PCs, which would require a new use paradigm and thus a completely different user interface; instead, they are just a different form factor for using the same PC operating system we’ve been using, with the same basic use concept and user interface, just with a nice touch layer overlaid.

Why would Microsoft want tablets to be merely derivative of PCs? That’s easy: because it means what they’re currently doing, licensing a PC operating system and selling software for PCs can continue unchanged.

Microsoft’s management isn’t thinking about where computing is moving, how they can improve people’s lives and how they can capitalize on it. They’re thinking about how they can preserve their current business. And that’s a fantastic path toward irrelevancy.

Se você gostou, recomendo este fodástico post do Kyle sobre a estratégia de Mr. Jobs.

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