Strong opinions, weakly held

Tag: Microsoft (page 2 of 2)

Links for April 2nd

Microsoft Office XML

Back in December 2006, Andrew Shebanow commented on the difficulty of creating a converter for Microsoft’s Office 2007 document format, which uses XML after Bob Sutor of IBM called it a one-way format due to its complexity. Based on some numbers posted a Microsoft explaining why it would take longer to release a converter for the Mac version of Office, Shebanow came up with this estimate of the effort required to build such a converter:

It would take 5 developers a year to do a quarter of the work. That means the whole job is roughly 20 man-years of development time. That doesn’t include testing, documentation, or localization. That would probably double the number of man-years, at least. But it gets worse:

This is just for Word. We need additional teams for Excel and PowerPoint.

Back of the envelope, we’re now talking about 120 man-years. For Mac Office, Microsoft decided such an investment wasn’t practical, so instead they waited for Win32 Office to go final and are now porting the Win32 code to the Mac.

Today I read that Microsoft still hasn’t released the converter from Office 2007 to Mac Office 2004. It was scheduled for release in January, but has been pushed back to June.

Will the Microsoft/Yahoo merger lead to innovation?

Is it just me or does the Microsoft/Yahoo merger stand to foster a lot of innovation on the Web by driving away many of the smartest people at Yahoo and perhaps even some of the smart people at Microsoft? How many startups will be created by former employees of those companies, and how many startups will hire key staff members from the legions of disaffected Yahoos? If you worked on a project at MSN that is trying to catch up with a similar property already provided by Yahoo, wouldn’t you be thinking it may be time to start looking for other opportunities?

The greatest value of this merger may be in the chaos it generates.

Thoughts on Microsoft and Yahoo

My first impression of Microsoft’s $44 billion offer for Yahoo is that this is one of those big mergers that’s doomed to tedium, if not failure. It sort of reminds me of HP buying out Compaq. What was the end result other than some people getting a lot richer and a bunch of other people getting laid off? Was the merger a failure or success? Does anybody even care?

Something tells me that Yahoo is a bad cultural fit for Microsoft. This is a company that built its infrastructure on FreeBSD — not only did they go with an open source operating system, they went with a non-obvious open source operating system.

Yahoo hasn’t even been able to figure out the right way to integrate companies they’ve acquired — note the different ways that Flickr, del.icio.us, Launch, and others have been treated. The problem is determining the degree to which they need to be subsumed into the Yahoo brand. How can merging Yahoo’s disparate online properties with MSN be handled in a sensible way?

I’m very curious to know what other people think, so please comment, especially to reactions to the deal elsewhere (including your own).

Update: Nelson Minar’s analysis is worth reading. (I love the BBC quote.) Paul Kedrosky’s covering the offer as well, but his blog appears to be inaccessible.

Scott Rosenberg on the deal:

These big takeovers — AOL/Time Warner was the biggest — are always about failure in the present and fear of the future.

Here’s one way of looking at the merger, courtesy of Tim Bray:

I have a Yahoo userid. I bet you do too. I wonder how many of those there are, in total? I wonder what that number divided by $44,600,000,000 is?

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