[FoRK] Quarters needed for Apple to put Microsoft out of our misery?

Gregory Alan Bolcer greg at bolcer.org
Thu Jan 29 17:36:26 PST 2015

1) Why would they want to.  They are completely different businesses.
2) I think you completely underestimate the value of some of Microsoft's
cash cows
3) Mergers are all about line of businesses, not technology; tech is only a
risk for failure.


On Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 5:27 PM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:

> How many more quarters like this last one would it take for Apple to
> comfortably buy Microsoft? Not many it seems. I give it 4–6 to be
> comfortable.
> I frequently cringe just seeing the headlines of Microsoft gaffes, which
> is mostly against my will these days. [1][2][3][4] I am sure Microsoft is
> staffed by great people, although often stifled I’ve heard and read.
> Besides long-standing corporate culture that exhibits signs of significant
> ineffectiveness, the glaring problem seems to be the severe, perhaps epic
> technical debt that many of Microsoft’s products frequently seem to
> exhibit. Poor design decisions and bull-headed avoidance of better or more
> accepted solutions have often been adhered to out of what sometimes seems
> like pure spite or greed.
> Now, with the already pervasive use of Linux, cloud services, etc. on
> servers being boosted to explosive levels by container technology such as
> Docker, along with related services, there’s little doubt where things are
> heading. Coupled with browser, app, desktop, tablet, and development
> evolution, we’re only a few cycles away from true user and developer
> freedom. For some of us, there’s no trust left with Microsoft and the gap
> between the best approach and Microsoft’s is too great to foresee any
> bridge. For a long time, those apparently best approaches were often
> somewhat theoretical or otherwise not practical. Now, they are often
> immediately, easily, and very inexpensively available with evolutionary
> momentum that is simply fun to experience. While those still immersed in
> the Microsoft technology world view may not see it, the other technology
> realm predictably experiences a lot less angst nearly every step of the way.
> Perhaps, ironically, the purchase of Microsoft would be perceived to have
> anti-trust issues. Or perhaps, as US and other governments have an
> inexplicable fondness for using what is arguably the most complex, least
> secure, and most expensive operating system, preservation of the current
> security stance may be asserted. Nothing could be further from the truth,
> but these biases and inertia run deep.
> Microsoft’s market cap is about $337B, with Apple said to be about $700B.
> Apple made $18 profit in the last quarter with $178B cash on hand, with
> significant amounts held overseas. Microsoft had about $80B in cash in
> January 2014.
> https://www.google.com/search?q=microsoft+market+cap&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
>  $337B market cap
> https://www.google.com/search?q=microsoft+market+cap&ie=utf-
> 8&oe=utf-8#q=apple+market+cap
>  $672B market cap ($700B in articles)
> http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/27/apple-q1-2015/
>  $18B profit in last quarter
> http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/28/investing/apple-cash-178-billion/
>  $178B in cash
> https://finance.yahoo.com/news/microsoft-starting-hoard-
> cash-now-194453195.html
>  $80B cash
> http://money.cnn.com/2015/01/26/technology/microsoft-earnings/
> “Microsoft sales are growing for just about every product it makes …
> except for Windows.”
> Simplistically, at 51% of ownership, you could vote for a merger. That’s
> only $168.5B. Presumably the stock would rise as it was purchased at that
> scale, so it would be more. Probably chunks could be spun off or sold to
> some other big players in a multi-party bid. Once 51% was reached, the
> Microsoft cash on hand should help. I for one would personally contribute a
> significant sum to end the pain for myself, those I care directly for, and
> the world at large.  Should I start crowd funding for this? The cumulative
> unnecessary pain caused by Windows and associated products is immeasurable.
> There are other interesting paths to a solution, but I don’t expect
> Microsoft to seriously consider them.
> The most obvious problem and opportunity is at the operating system level.
> How would a merger there work? Here’s one interesting scenario: First,
> create a compatibility layer starting with the Linux kernel and GNU / open
> source subsystems, which already run on everything. (Linux is also the
> basis for Android and ChromeOS on Chromebooks.) This kernel can then host
> the rest of OS X with Windows APIs supported as an ABI (Application Binary
> Interface) alternative in the kernel. At that point, Linux, OS X, and
> Windows apps could run side by side, natively. Ideally, for users, this
> would be open source and also host ChromeOS and Android, but getting all of
> that would be a twisty path.
> The only things that fundamentally hold this back now are patents,
> proprietary details, and the fact that the official version of Windows
> will, currently, evolve, invalidating any imitation or port. A merger could
> end the quagmire that is Windows while supporting current apps and unifying
> mundane operating system details so we can concentrate on more constructive
> efforts.
> The drift of Windows, and Microsoft it sometimes seems, toward obscurity
> is painful and suboptimal in many ways. There are probably not enough good
> reasons for Apple to take on such a burden, but it might be better for
> everyone. Use offshore cash first, do the right thing for users, and get on
> with the next generation of technology. Microsoft shareholders would likely
> be happy to have Xbox, Azure, and perhaps Office separated from Windows.
> The Surface 3 looks like impressive hardware, and innovations like Kinect
> and now HoloLens are great, but much of the market isn’t going get much
> benefit if they are Windows only.
> [1] http://www.infoworld.com/article/2848574/operating-
> systems/microsoft-botches-kb-2992611-schannel-patch-tls-
> alert-code-40-slow-sql-server-block-iis-sites.html
> [2] http://www.infoworld.com/article/2848574/operating-
> systems/microsoft-botches-kb-2992611-schannel-patch-tls-
> alert-code-40-slow-sql-server-block-iis-sites.html
> [3] http://www.infoworld.com/article/2834535/security/four-
> more-botched-black-tuesday-patches-kb-3000061-kb-2984972-
> kb-2949927-and-kb-2995388.html
> [4] http://www.infoworld.com/article/2855039/windows-phone-
> os/windows-phone-heading-back-to-deaths-door.html
> sdw
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greg at bolcer.org, http://bolcer.org, c: +1.714.928.5476

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