Microsoft: Corporate Athleticism and Missing Pro Day

June 9, 2021

Yep, now it is a “new” Windows. And Teams, the feature rich Word software which struggles to number stuff and keep text and images where the author put them. Plus the security system that will prevent SolarWinds’ missteps and Exchange Server from becoming the lap dog of bad actors. “How Microsoft Fumbled Skype – and Let Zoom Flourish” is an interesting article. The implicit messages in the document are intriguing: Microsoft is big but not really able to handle opportunities like Skype in a way that avoids head shaking and hand wringing.

I marked this passage in the source document:

Although Skype, launched in 2003, has been available nine years longer than Zoom and is owned by tech titan Microsoft, Zoom has effectively left it in its dust. People don’t say “I’ll Skype you” as often as they say “I’ll Zoom you” anymore.

The write up provides some historical color but nailed the reason for Microsoft’s Skype fumble:

In 2011, when Microsoft acquired Skype for US$8.5-billion, Zoom had just launched and Skype already had 100 million users. By 2014, Skype was popular enough to merit inclusion as a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary. And by 2015, it had 300 million users. But Skype’s technology wasn’t well-suited to mobile devices. When Microsoft set about to address that problem, it introduced a host of reliability nightmares for users. It gave them further headaches by redesigning Skype frequently and haphazardly while integrating messaging and video functions.

My experience with the new Skype is that the Teams’ environment is pretty darned confusing. This comment illustrates what happens when management guard rails are not in place for programmers who may have good ideas but cannot cope with the outstanding Microsoft operating systems:

When Microsoft set about to address that problem, it introduced a host of reliability nightmares for users. It gave them further headaches by redesigning Skype frequently and haphazardly while integrating messaging and video functions.

Could this Skype example provide some insight into the security issues Microsoft’s core systems face. I know which company will win the prize for most loved software from a coalition of Eastern European bad actors. Do you? Let’s ask a JEDI knight.

Stephen E Arnold, June 9, 2021

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