If you haven't yet, take a few minutes to watch the second set of highlights from Walt Mossberg's and Kara Swisher's interview with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates at the All Things Digital Conference. As the interview opens up to audience questions, Tim O'Reilly asks Gates and Ballmer a very pointed (and poignant) question:
Microsoft has been playing "me too" these past few years, following the lead of other innovators. Do you have any "big, hairy [audacious] goals" now, he asks, or do you need to?
In other words, where did all the famous Microsoft ambition go?
Bill Gates blundered through a response about "Quests" and such, and then honed in on putting a tablet PC in the hands of every student in the world. Ambitious? Perhaps. Inspiring? Not even close. It's just a tired extension of Microsoft's current dominance, without a thought for interesting new vistas for computing (pun intended).
But where things got really odd was when Tim followed up with a question about why Microsoft spends so much time talking about search and the web when these weren't mentioned by Gates as Microsoft's goals.… Read more