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Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 5, 2008
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"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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
This book is written by Mary Jo Foley, who maintains a wonderful blog about the software company from Redmond. Mary often receives leaks (seemingly officially) from Microsoft insiders that outline future product directions and organizational changes. For anyone who is interested in what Microsoft is actually up to, Mary's blog is a must read.
Microsoft 2.0 is basically the same material one would have found on her blog, distilled, and current as of early 2008. As such the book is not a necessary read for anyone, as those "predictions" or "leaks" that are in the book have since been taken over by events. Unlike at the time of writing, Vista is now recognized for the disaster it was, Windows Mobile 7 was killed and replaced by Windows Phone 7, and "software + services" seems to be as important as ever.
If you are interested in this sort of material, then definitely read the blog. But skip the book.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Foley's writing is crisp and clear (as always). Surprisingly, the book is HEAVILY footnoted with extensive net references for details, making the book smaller (and better) than if... Read morePublished on November 24, 2009 by Howard Kapustein
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... Read morePublished on September 10, 2009 by JPKelly
A couple of weeks ago I finally finished reading Mary Jo Foleys book on Microsoft (Is there anything else she is working on besides Microsoft at all? Read morePublished on February 26, 2009 by A. A. F. Stam
You have to adjust your mindset a little if you are not fully a Microsoftie developer. Mary Jo leans more towards the "fascination" of the company, not so much being critical. Read morePublished on September 12, 2008 by David Friedel
I just finished reading MJF's book last night. Microsoft 2.0 is a fascinating and exceptionally well written read. Read morePublished on August 24, 2008 by Blodge
Few people have covered Microsoft longer and more consistently than Mary Jo Foley (besides maybe Ed Bott). A couple of weeks ago, MJ sent me a copy of her new book Microsoft 2. Read morePublished on June 26, 2008 by Robert McLaws
Interesting book, only thing that bothered me that at times Mary Jo Foley incorrectly assumed Microsoft would acquire Yahoo (or even already had). Read morePublished on June 10, 2008 by Robin Wauters
Do you work at Microsoft, at one of their partners, or competitors? Own their stock? Then this book is for you. Read morePublished on June 1, 2008 by Stephen Forte
Mary Jo Foley did a great job of explaining the depth and the breadth of challenges that face Microsoft as they plan for the future. Read morePublished on May 30, 2008 by Mike Gilis