The Ballmer decade and what's next for Microsoft

Confidence, lost


Radio Reg It's a different Microsoft leaving the first decade of the 2000s compared to the one that entered it.

The year 2000 was a safe and secure world of the client and the server - and closed source code. Ten years later, Microsoft is grappling with open-source and - as ever - a successful internet strategy. Also, it has just delivered a version of Windows that embraces safety and jettisoned vision.

Three things defined Microsoft's actions and its challenges in the last 10 years: a shift in platforms from the cozy world of the PC to games with the Xbox, mobile phones, and the cloud; security, with the race to not just lock down Windows but change the way Windows is built in the wake of the worms of the early 2000s that ripped through millions of PCs world wide and thoroughly tarnished Microsoft's already troubled reputation on security; and spending billions of dollars to try and catch a company it ignored for the first half of the decade and allowed to build a possibly unassailable position in search and advertising: Google.

Along the way, there was Steve Ballmer taking over as chief executive, the court ruling in the US Department of Justice's antitrust case, the Windows Vista debacle, inflammatory statements on Linux and open source, and the hiring of Lotus-Notes inventor Ray Ozzie to replace Bill Gates as chief software architect. It was Ozzie who issued a call to action for Microsoft on internet services.

In a decade's-end edition of MicroBite, The Register's software editor Gavin Clarke and All-about-Microsoft blogger Mary-Jo Foley assess the last ten years, look ahead to what Microsoft's got coming, and ask whether Ballmer can last to the end of the coming decade as Microsoft's CEO.

You can listen using our player below, or download the MP3 or Ogg. ®

MicroBite 14

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