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posted by janrinok on Thursday January 13, @07:12AM   Printer-friendly

Should Microsoft sell Windows and Office? This former exec believes so:

A former Microsoft executive has offered up some advice for current CEO Satya Nadella: spin off Windows and Office and focus on Azure, Microsoft's cloud computing crown jewel.

Ben Slivka, a 14-year veteran at Microsoft who left in 1999, gave the unsolicited advice to Nadella in an interview with CNBC, saying: "The right thing probably is to bet the future on the cloud."

[...] On top of this, Nadella invested heavily in building out Azure and other enterprise-focused offerings to compete with Amazon's AWS and Google Cloud. By some estimates, Azure hold 20% of the cloud market, below AWS' 32% and above Google's 9%.

According to analysts that CNBC spoke to, spinning off Windows and Office would make very little sense. Nadella has built significant and much-needed synergies between Microsoft's various businesses, in such a way that the rise of one boosts the others.

So what do you think?


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by zocalo on Thursday January 13, @08:34AM (5 children)

    by zocalo (302) on Thursday January 13, @08:34AM (#1212369)
    Having seen how much a corporate is paying for Office subscriptions, and knowing how reluctant said corporates are to try cheaper (or libre) alternatives, I can assure you that there is *plenty* of money left to be milked out of the Office Cash Cow as well, and now that much of it is subscription based it's a lot easier for predicting future revenue for Microsoft too.

    They're also not averse to supporting other platforms - Apple (paid-for) and Android (free, IIRC) - so if Linux on the Desktop were to become a serious enough thing in corporates (I suspect individual users of Linux are more likely to use alternatives) to create a large enough potential market I don't doubt they'd want to try milking that subscription teat as well.
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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday January 13, @01:14PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 13, @01:14PM (#1212395) Journal
    Yea, there's plenty of cow left.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Thursday January 13, @06:23PM (3 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 13, @06:23PM (#1212458) Journal

    Making Office open source would not be mutually exclusive with getting big corporations to buy exorbitant extortionate maintenance subscriptions. Now with a $5 discount coupon per user!

    Making Windows open source may significantly improve Windows and at a more rapid pace. It would also make it easier to migrate more and more the the open source licensed Windows components into Linux until Linux IS Windows. To mollify some of the Linux crowd, systemd could be removed once and for all from this new Windows based Linux. Linux would now have excellent compatibility with Windows. A config file could specify which drive letter (default drive C) is used for pathnames that begin with only a forward slash.

    Another competing team within Microsoft could extend and expand the capabilities of WSL until all Linux distributions are just a point and click install from the Windows App store.

    --
    While in an airport, never use the word "balm".
    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Thursday January 13, @06:50PM (2 children)

      by Immerman (3985) on Thursday January 13, @06:50PM (#1212477)

      Making Office open source would not be mutually exclusive with getting big corporations to buy exorbitant extortionate

      Maybe not, but it would make it a *lot* more difficult to charge as much. Especially since almost everyone recognizes that Microsoft customer support is virtually nonexistent. Really hard to convince the pencil-pushers that they should pay $100+ per seat, per year for dubious "support", especially when an open-source version would rapidly gain compatibility with alternate server-side services. Not to mention the organizations that would deploy hundreds of seats of OSS, and then buy a handful of subscriptions to qualify for what little support is actually available.

      Just look at Red Hat, Ubuntu, etc - the paid-for versions account for only a small percentage of the total installed base. That may be fine when your "boutique" distro is carving a profitable niche out of a free ecosystem - but Microsoft is currently raking in the dough over their entire ecosystem, what possible motive do they have to surrender a huge portion of that?

      Making Windows open source may significantly improve Windows and at a more rapid pace.

      Almost certainly - but how does that benefit Microsoft? Improving Windows is not their goal - it's a means to accumulating money. The only reason they care about improving Windows is to (A) keep people from migrating to another OS and (B) keep people buying new versions. And at this point it's become clear that a negligible number of people are seriously considering migrating, and that the only reason most people upgrade is because they either bought a new computer with a newer OS pre-installed, or because Microsoft stopped supporting the old version. While they've made a few stability improvements, it's been 20 years and they still haven't delivered any of the actual functionality improvements that were supposed to provide a reason to upgrade to Longhorn (aka pre-released Vista)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, @12:01AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, @12:01AM (#1212547)
        Why do idiots keep posting this shit. Microsoft has licensed plenty of the software in Windows and Office, and cannot open source either of them.
        • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Saturday January 15, @05:09PM

          by Immerman (3985) on Saturday January 15, @05:09PM (#1212950)

          Of course they could - just not the bits they licensed from someone else. Nothing says you have to open source 100% of your code, unless you're using GPL or similar. And actually not even then, unless they're integrating *other people's* GPL code without requiring contributors to transfer copyright or grant Microsoft a more permissive license.

          The GPL puts no restrictions on the copyright holder, only on the third-party redistributors who only gain distribution rights if they comply with the license.

          It would mean that nobody else could distribute an alternate Windows distro without replacing all the non-included non-OSS bits, or at least removing the features that rely on them, but that would likely be seen as a benefit by Microsoft.

          You could certainly argue that doing so violates the spirit of Free Software - but Open Source eschews that spirit by design in favor of more practical concerns, and lots of companies have used variations on the theme over the years.

          I believe Open Office was essentially in that position prior to the donation to The Apache Foundation, and subsequent permissive re-licensing that allowed for the Libre Office fork to exist. And there's lots of dual-licensed projects that have exploit a similar arrangement that allows them to sell non-OSS licenses, often including extra features not included in the OSS version. (I want to say QT was one of those?)