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Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era 1st Edition

4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470191385
ISBN-10: 0470191384
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Editorial Reviews


"The award-winning journalist author has access to inside information and what she has to reveal will bring tremendous media attention".(The Bookseller, Friday 14th March 2008)

"If you need a Christmas gift for an insomniac geek, look no further." (ComputerWeekly.com, September 30, 2008)

From the Inside Flap

In the beginning, there was Bill Gates. Then were born Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Xbox, and assorted other progeny. There were billions in revenue and tens of thousands of employees worldwide.

And above all, there was power.

But challenges arose. There were antitrust suits and rumors of more. The Internet star grew brighter. Google and AJAX and open-source technology threatened to unseat the master. Suddenly, there were murmurs of discord in Redmond paradise. Yet despite it all, the idea of Microsoft without its creator at the helm seemed unthinkable.

On July 1, 2008, the unthinkable becomes reality as Bill Gates retires from his daily responsibilities at Microsoft. From her 25 years of studying the company, Mary Jo Foley has developed sharp insight and a unique perspective on what the future might hold for Microsoft minus Gates.

This is a remarkably incisive look at leadership, potential products, management and product development styles, licensing issues, and other signposts. Who are the rising stars? What does the business model look like? Does the brass ring lie with consumer products or business solutions? What's ahead for Ray Ozzie, Steve Ballmer, and Steven Sinofsky? How will Microsoft digest future acquisitions during its "2.0" phase?

Whether you're a customer, competitor, business buff, or garden-variety consumer, this look at the next generation of one of America's corporate monoliths is riveting reading.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (May 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470191384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470191385
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,243,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Mary Jo Foley has made a valuable contribution to investors and stock analysts. This books makes it easier to understand Microsoft's background, which kinds of business models does Microsoft employ to make money, and the future evolution of these models. This book is helpful if you are going to estimate future cash flows and calculate the intrinsic value of the company. Whichever tools do you have to your disposition as an analyst, this one is a worthy addition.

The author has done great job summarizing miscellaneous (and sporadic) sources of information like various speeches, blogs, and articles. She has also used Microsoft's SEC filings like annual and quarterly reports.

First, she introduces the reader to terms used by Microsoft, e.g. what is "eXperience", "S+S", "Office Live" and so on. Rather than copying vague definitions from the website, she really makes the reader to understand what lies behind these terms in a neutral manner.

Then, she focuses on key people of Microsoft, near-term products of Microsoft, and then devotes the most of the book to the business models. She is not a Microsoft insider and didn't have support from Microsoft key people while writing this book, thus she uses neither overly optimistic nor pessimistic voice: she is quite neutral. The fact that she is not an insider is also good because she doesn't have to do any promises that she have to keep.

There is a useful "annotated reading list", which list blogs which you might want to read to keep in touch with Microsoft. This section also lists some books, but they are quite old and are interesting only in historical perspective.

The only disadvantage of this book is that is somewhat small: more analyses and figures would have been useful for better understanding of the business models of Microsoft.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading Microsoft 2.0, here are my thoughts:

If you are a geek that reads Slashdot, Digg, and other technology news sites, it is most likely that this book is going to bore you to death. It's filled with information you most likely already know. I usually enjoy reading tech-related books, but this was the first time I was completely bored reading. I don't blame the author, she could only work with so much.

This book seems targeted at people that don't keep up with the tech industry.

Also, the author lacks the knowledge of Microsoft's gaming division and their XBox Live efforts. One could tell from reading her thoughts on XBox Live that she truly didn't understand the service. However, Microsoft is a big company, and it will be difficult for a person to be knowledgeable in all areas.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book I've been looking forward to for some time... Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era by Mary Jo Foley. Given her long track record in covering Microsoft in tech media, I was interested to know how she perceived the behemoth as they come to a critical juncture in their leadership. I personally think she did a very good job in touching on and analyzing all the different facets that make up Microsoft's efforts to stay relevant. Only a minor deduction for an assumption she had to make late in the game that didn't play out as many expected... :)

Forward - The Microsoft 2.0 World (According to Mini-Microsoft)
Introduction - Microsoft 2.0 - Welcome to the New (Post-Gatesian) Microsoft
Microsoft 1.0 - It Was All about Bill
Microsoft 2.0 - The Buzzwords
Microsoft 2.0 - The People
Microsoft 2.0 - Products on the Near-Term Radar Screen
Microsoft 2.0 - Big-Bet Products
Microsoft 2.0 - Tried and True Business Models
Microsoft 2.0 - Untried but Unavoidable Business Models
Conclusion - On to Microsoft 3.0
Memos, Letters, and E-mails
Annotated Reading List

When you're trying to analyze a company as large as Microsoft *as it is still moving*, it's a difficult chore to commit words to page without having those same words become irrelevant (or even wrong) before the book sees the light of day. Many of the previous books on Microsoft try to tell the story of some past event, and at least have the ability to know that the story isn't going to change much.
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Format: Hardcover
First, if any analyst used this book as a reference I'd be afraid, very afraid. The statement about Microsoft buying Yahoo in the first chapter was very annoying since it didn't happen.

I read a lot of tech specific content and, as one reviewer mentioned, perhaps that is why I did not like the book. Personally, I was hoping for a true look at Microsoft within the context of current technological and cultural shifts. This book reads more like the diary of a girl with a crush on the high school quarterback. Microsoft has before it one of the most difficult challenges any firm can face. History has shown for a firm to move from dominating one paradigm (client/server in this case) to another (cloud - IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) is incredibly difficult. Microsoft actually has a real chance of pulling it off rather successfully, but that would actually require a PLAN or at least some vain attempt to offer suggestions for the future of the lumbering giant rather than biting on lame marketing attempts to milk their current products with terms like S+S.

Microsoft needs to re-architect their entire enterprise - both what and how they sell. How about leveraging Android and putting a MSFT face on it - the firm has always been better at marketing than technology anyway. Windows Mobile is horribly irrelevant. They should have bought Sun before Oracle did - that would have been a cool MSFT 2.0 - they desperately need to embrace open source, a play out of IBM's book.

For a Microsoft 2.0 to be successful MSFT needs to look out - perhaps that's my biggest problem with this book, all it does is look in.

"The Microsoft Culture of Today and Tomorrow" or something like that would have been legit. "Microsoft 2.0" not so much.
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