What should Microsoft do next?
Ok, so the Yahoo! thing seems to be dead for now. So what does everyone think they should do with the money that they obviously have lying around to invest in other companies?
I think they need some drastic changes. Take the iPhone for example. Windows Mobile is up to version 6 right? How does Apple come along and get it so right on version one? Go ahead, tell me what the iPhone doesn't have and WM does. Apple just disrupted the whole cell phone industry with the iPhone. Even the new phones coming out still suck for the average user. I don't need to see the start menu on my cell phone. And there in lies the root of the problem. Microsoft should have made the iPhone in the first place.
Look at Salesforce.com. Again Microsoft should have been there first. What a great story that could have been tied in with desktop and web versions of Office. Incrementally. when Salesforce started a few years back it sucked but it supported every browser and grew better as the browsers got better. Spend some cash and put Office on the web and make a big deal out of it. Look at what Zoho is doing. Why aren't you doing the experimenting in this space?
We have Silverlight coming - hopefully we can get away from HTML and CSS which to me is a big hack on top of a lump of crap that was never meant to do the things that it is being made to do. That's right, you read it right. We basically have the same 15 html controls we started with 10 years ago. We just found some new ways to put 5 pounds of poop into a 2 pound bag. Web apps are just so obnoxious to develop. Don't you think we have been working like jackasses for 10 years to long? I say you do it right, embrace whatever Adobe does and do them 100 times better in addition to Silverlight. Leave no one out. Truly support linux, which I believe that you are doing with Novell.
The whole Microsoft stack is a great set of technologies. To me it trumps everything else out there, hands down. Yet so many developers hate them. You know what? Stop being a bunch of pricks - you don't own the universe anymore, but you could if you do it right. I saw a major project get done without even considering the superior Microsoft product out of pure hatred and contempt.
There are a lot of great alternatives out there. Better? Maybe, maybe not, but follow this logic. How many entity-data frameworks are you going to throw at us? I'm confused and to make matters worse your frameworks only seem to work with SQL Server. Spend the money and support the 2 next biggest players. And stop making me have to hunt for and download 10 different files from different CTPs from 10 different web locations (yes you from the extensions teams). If you are giving me the next rev of Visual Studio tools give me everything I need in one download. I now have a headache.
One of my friends, a complete java / open source bigot, is trying to get me to take a look at NHibernate. Let's see - something similar, works with all databases, it's free. Why aren't you guys doing this? As soon as you see these things coming, help the teams and support at least the .Net version. Make it better than the Java version, which shouldn't be to hard.
When you create a web property don't make people have to have a Live Id. Let people create an id using their own email address and a password, just like most other sites do. With all of the resources that you have people should be looked at like total freaks if they want to use any other platform.
Don't become irrelevant like IBM did. Google is a search engine with advertisements. They are the darlings of the tech world. Are you kidding me? This should be you. It still could. Remember what you learned from your mother and in kindergarten? Play nice.
So anyway, I know this could have been a more cohesive post but I just wanted to get some thoughts out there. Fire away.