Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Brings Out the Vapourware and PR as the Stock (MSFT) Slides Almost to New Lows

"In the face of strong competition, Evangelism's focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X."

--Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: Microsoft is being hammered by analysts this week because its future is not promising; Microsoft starts talking about (not showing) speculative future products that do not exist and may never exist at all

Microsoft booster Marius Oiaga and other such boosters are seeding vapourware right now (this time it's Midori OS and not Vista 8).

"Vaporware time," calls it Chips B. Malroy, who probably already knows that when Microsoft throws vapourware out there it means that it's suffering and that people say the company has no future.

Turn on the BS meter and read the latest pile from Oiaga et al.:

Work continues on Microsoft’s non-Windows Midori operating system, a Microsoft Research project based on the Singularity platform.

The Redmond company is not confirming this officially, but the detail can be inferred from information made public recently by Joe Duffy, a lead architect on an OS incubation project at Microsoft. (spotted first by Mary-Jo Foley)

Duffy is leading the team responsible for “multiple aspects of a research operating system’s programming model.”

For those who don't know, the Singularity platform was shelved a long time ago because it's worthless. For those who say that Windows is a dead end Microsoft can only point at something which does not really exist. "Why" you ask? Because Microsoft took some serious beating on Monday, having been downgraded by Goldman Sachs and told that its phone efforts are hopeless. We wrote about it very briefly yesterday and before we get to the news, here are some quotes from IRC about Midori:

"Microsoft is a sub-par software company. I doubt they'll be able to survive without the inertia of an operating system that's already well entrenched," said hazzy.

"Well, Windows 8 vaporware is supposed to be based on NT still. So don't see Midori coming out soon, if this is true, unless MS decides to sell it as a dual boot system or go back to the days when it sold both 9x and NT systems," responded Chips B. Malroy.

“It's only going to get worse... They would die without windows revenue.”
      --Chips B. Malroy
Diablo-D3 said that "midori is going to be windows 9 or 10... it's way too early for that..."

"[N]o, midori is a khtml-based browser," MinceR joked.

"The question I have about Midori is, when," added Chips B. Malroy. "As Windows is getting too hard for the average user to protect from malware. It's only going to get worse... They would die without windows revenue."

"[Microsoft] midori is going to be a harder flop than vista was," opined MinceR, "even less compatibility with the usual [Microsoft] quality..."

"[Y]es, if it doesn't run Bejeweled, then the public will ignore it," Chips B. Malroy concluded, "it has to be backward compatible..."

The IRC logs have a lot more on the subject, including the subsequent discussion about the latest Microsoft PR stunts in the UK. Microsoft's selfishness is described (spun) as public good and the article in question contains an out-of-place "Gates" brand in the photo. It's all part of Microsoft's lobbying from Gates et al. in the UK, just as we discussed last week. Here is part of the PR:

Mr Frazer said Microsoft’s UK partners – a network of IT and software companies affiliated with the computer giant – currently offered some 3,000 technical apprenticeships to 16 to 18-year-olds, fully funded by the state. Any costs incurred by the employer were limited to the individual’s wages and overhead expenses such as providing training equipment.

Chips B. Malroy had some harsh words to say about it, for example: "It looks like MS is being paid by taxpayers to put children to work? Is this so?

"Well, I know young people have to start somewhere, but if the taxpayers pick up the full amount, then these companies in effect get free taxpayers supported child labor, which replaces and adult worker. And most of these MS and MS partner companies can afford to pay.

"What were they thinking? It smells like a handout to rich corporations to me.

"Shouldn't sixteen and seventeen year olds be in school?

"At that age what talents could you have that MS and it partners want to exploit with free taxpayers' money? It seems like some sort of sweatshop work I bet." There is more on that in the IRC logs where Chips B. Malroy discussed Microsoft's major decline yesterday, with Goldman Sachs adding to several recent downgrades of Microsoft [1, 2] until "Microsoft One Dollar from 52-week Low," according to the referenced headline.

“At that age what talents could you have that MS and it partners want to exploit with free taxpayers' money? It seems like some sort of sweatshop work I bet.”
      --Chips B. Malroy
To quote some of the things Goldman Sachs is doing: "The New York-based investment bank removed Microsoft from its Americas Buy list and lowered its outlook for the company’s stock to neutral on Sunday. Citing poor returns for 2010 so far, an insufficient dividend and increasing market share of tablet PCs, to the detriment of notebooks and desktops, the bank also lowered its price target from US$32 per share down to US$28."

To quote few of the things Goldman Sachs is saying (there are many more quotes in IRC and in the original article): "Since 2002 Microsoft has had a -8% return on dividends-reinvested basis, the second-worst of the largest dividend-paying tech stocks" (says Friar).

The author adds: "While the company raised its dividend 23% to 16 cents per share (or 2.6% of cash flow) just two weeks ago, Ms. Friar argues that is still barely half the yield necessary to boost share value."

Even one of MSFT's (the stock) fan sites, The Motley Fool, has just published "Why Microsoft Will Never Be Great Again" (and it may explain the sudden need/hunger for vapourware).

"Stewart Alsop, industry gadfly, presented Gates with the "Golden Vaporware" award, saying, "The delay of Windows was all part of a secret plan to have Bill turn thirty before it shipped."

--Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft's PR mogul

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