A Pre-Post-Mortem Revisited

One more thing about Steve Ballmer, and then I have to wash my hands of that big mess — until at least tomorrow. Maybe. Anyway, here’s John Gruber take on a strategic memo issued by Ballmer to his troops:

The inherent bravado in Ballmer’s statement-as-fact that Microsoft “will out-innovate Google in key areas” sets off alarm bells. That’s a goal, not a fact. And his mockery of Google’s search as “a white page with 10 blue links” indicates that he has no idea why Google has been so successful. I’d wager that if anyone is ever going to gain on Google in search, it will be by presenting even more focused results — less clutter, fewer distractions, more emphasis on making the results easily scanned. The old Microsoft could recognize good ideas and copy them; now Microsoft can’t even recognize genius.

That memo, and Gruber’s response date back to 2008, which makes it even more damning. Microsoft had it all: The marketshare, the profits, and in the iPhone a new product to rip off. They’ve had five years to change course, and yet they’re still getting it wrong with this pig-headed “Windows everywhere” strategy.

Meanwhile, today’s big gadget news is that Microsoft’s Finnish twin, Nokia, is introducing its own Windows RT tablet. Redmond can’t sell the things at a loss, but they can sure still arm-twist their partner-in-suckitude into making even more of them.

Even worse, maybe Nokia volunteered.