Microsoft Is Dying On Its Own

Farewell, Bill Gates

Ballmer is smart and relentless, but he’s no techie. And he’s 52 years old. Ray Ozzie, who replaced Gates as chief software architect, is also 52. He began his career at Data General, which vanished a decade ago when it was acquired by emc. Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s chief research and strategy officer, is 59 and also started out at Data General–in 1970. That’s the year the Beatles broke up and Jimi Hendrix died. Microsoft’s three top guys came of age when the Internet was called the Arpanet and the personal computer hadn’t been invented.

Microsoft hastens to point out that other managers are younger. But come on. Kevin Johnson, the guy running Microsoft’s Internet efforts, is 47, has been with the company since 1992, has a background in sales and used to work at IBM. He also oversees Vista. Ahem. Robert Bach, president of the division that handles Xbox and Zune, is 46 and has been at Microsoft since 1988. Stephen Elop, president of the Office applications group, is 44 and joined Microsoft this year. Kevin Turner, chief operating officer, age 43, spent 20 years at Wal-Mart.

Smart guys. Great guys. But not a pack of wild-eyed visionaries operating at Internet speed. Take a look at that photo of Gates and his crew in 1978, looking like the Manson family. Those are the kind of crazies who change the world.

It’s not just age.

It’s hunger, dammit.

All of those people are now fat, contented cats who no longer have to chase after mice.

If they all lost their jobs tomorrow, they could sit on their fat asses and watch TV. They don’t have to go out and hunt for their daily food. They’re vested and rich and contented.

Bill Gates didn’t come from an impoverished background, but he still had a hunger. The hunger the young always has. The hunger the old lose when they’ve succeeded — and especially when they’ve lucked into a Good Thing.

Take the maddest malcontented son of a bitch who’s always, always causing trouble and who is always shitting on everyone else’s efforts as not being “good enough” — he should be put in charge of Microsoft.

Astute readers will ask, what about Steve Jobs? He’s old too.

Yeah — but he’s still a mad malcontented son of bitch who causes trouble and shits on everyone else’s efforts. He’s an artist. True artists are never, ever contented.

This, it seemed to me, is the basic difference between human beings. Some are perfectly satisfied with what they have; they eat, drink, impregnate their wives, and take life as it comes. Others can never forget that they are being cheated; that life tempts them to struggle by offering them the essence of sex, of beauty, of success; and that she always seems to pay in counterfeit money.

— The Outsider, Twenty Years After, by Colin Wilson, pg. xviii

Previously here:

Why Microsoft Deserves To Die

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One Comment on “Microsoft Is Dying On Its Own”


  1. […] Cane describes why Microsoft’s execs may have issues in the future: All of those people are now fat, contented cats who no longer have to chase after […]


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