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Should He Stay or Should He Go Now?

Sometimes, journalists write provocatively just to be provocative. The Web site Light Reading did this early in its life, and now it seems that The Register out of the U.K. is doing the same thing.

Last week, just before Microsoft's earnings report, The Register posted an eight-page diatribe arguing that Steve Ballmer should be replaced with someone like Lou Gerstner, who ran IBM in the '90s.

First, I would like to point out that before joining Big Blue, Gerstner made his shareholders wealthy by promoting Big Cancer. As chairman of the company that owned R.J. Reynolds, Gerstner defended smoking while shipping millions of butts to eager lungs around the world.

Say what you will about Microsoft, but its products don't lead to a prolonged and agonizing death.

Microsoft and Ballmer are not perfect (though they are plenty fun to watch), but let's look at the fundamentals. A day after The Register ripped into Ballmer, his company announced record profits. Microsoft has also managed to hold onto its desktop market share at the same time that it's building an impressive server business, and is poised to become a major player in ERP with Microsoft Dynamics.

I challenge critics like the hotheads at The Register to spend a day researching what Microsoft offers on the desktops, in gaming, for developers, in ERP and on the server. Then match that up against any rival.

I agree that Microsoft spends too much time thinking about and responding to Google. I don't think Google really matters all that much. Google and Microsoft only overlap in a few markets and all these markets (search, ad-based software, mapping) are new to the boys in Redmond -- and represent an expansion of the Microsoft franchise.

Tell me where I'm wrong and where The Register is right at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 04/30/2007 at 1:15 PM


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