Robert Scoble Defends Gatesgate
Earlier, in a momentous week for Redmond, Robert Scoble announced his long-expected departure from the comforts of global megabrand, Microsoft. His move to Silicon Valley to an unknown startup company in the rather geekish field of podcasting, is a great gamble for a man approaching the male menopause. But maybe we need look no further for a reason. Now we hear that Bill Gates is beating a very leisurely retreat from Redmond in a long march that's coming to resemble Mao Tse Tung's back in the late 1940s. There are also calls for CEO Steve Ballmer to saddle up and head for the Rio Grande, despite the traffic coming the other way. As the wits will have it, to lose one big cheese is careless, to lose two is verging on ... [add your choice of expletive]. But potentially to lose three is a Category 5 storm. It's all very gentlemanly so far. Last night, here in Britain we watched Robert Scoble and Irwin Steltzer debate the Gates affair -- Gatesgate? Well, he is heading for the gate. Appearing on the BBC's flagship often-grumpy, late night political commentary programme, Newsnight, Robert put up a stout defence of the man he clearly admires a lot. Steltzer was less sanguine, choosing to bounce the topic off his well-rehearsed economic liberalism. Both men made excellent contributions and, since they weren't totally opposing each other (a common BBC tactic), an interesting exchange of views took place. So what is happening at Redmond? Is meltdown round the corner? Are we starting to see the glimmerings of the end of the parabolic career of a once-great business? Is this IBM all over again? With Ray Ozzie moving into pole position at Microsoft, I suspect Microsoft will transform itself radically in the years ahead, moving more and more online, and adopting a swifter trajectory on product launches. Once you resist the fear of having to maintain yourself at your present size, a common fast-food neurosis, you can let yourself adapt to the market rather than attempting to make the market adapt to you. Conversation.
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