Microsoft in the image of Steve Ballmer. The emperor has no hair!

ballmer baldMANILA: As things stand with Microsoft and the critics, Steve Ballmer would be pulling his hair if he had any on top.

I'm not a critic, but it doesn't mean I have to keep my mouth shut. To be sure, I'm a Microsoft Windows & Office user, since at least 25 years ago, when I was 47 years old. And I'm up-to-date with the versions, even now that I'm 72 going on 73. I'm an inveterate worker and player with words and ideas, with blogs (right now one of my many blogs has 1500+ essays of at least 1,000 words each, The Creattitudes Encyclopedia, blogspot.com) and books (right now I have 6 published abroad), and I don't write - I type, with the PC keyboard, so you can see how important Windows and Office are to me, writer, editor and desktop publisher (the person, not the program). Even now as I write this.

I was using Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010, with a legitimate code, I must emphasize, that I installed the day I bought, on Immaculate Conception Day months ago, my Lenovo laptop, the occasion recorded in my essay of the same date (09 December 2011, Frank A Hilario, blogspot.com). It was, it is an IdeaPad S100 running on 4 cylinders (Intel dual core) and onto a 500 GB hard disk.

Some 19 months later, I downloaded and installed Wednesday, 10 July 2013, an evaluation copy of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013. There was no problem with the downloading. The Microsoft download site said, "The good news is that once you start the download, you can walk away while it finishes. If your download gets interrupted, it will restart where it left off." I found Microsoft was telling the truth.

In my Lenovo, with the evaluation product key 6NXRY-JM963-8YFDC-FRT92-BTBG4 emailed to me for activation, I installed Office 2013 at 1111 hours, and used it at once. And yes, I was, I'm running Windows 8 and I love it.

I was very happy that my handmaiden Word 2013 was fast, very fast, and it had a clean, neat look. Was it beautiful? I couldn't tell you because it was hard to see! (It's all gray, and each of the icons is like the grin of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland.)

I was working on an essay to post to my blog (Frank A Hilario, blogspot.com); I was splitting the window like I always do, and clicking the Word (my) Stylesheet or adding to it as I have always done in the last 25 years.

Now, I had work to do. But, in Word 2013, I couldn't find the shortcut for Numbering, there was no right click Numbering. It's okay, I forgive Microsoft, it's not The End of the Word.

Now I was ready to create the image to illustrate my latest essay before I uploaded it to my blog. I did what I always do: screen capture, then crop and save using Office Picture Manager. And then try as I might, I couldn't open the jpeg I just saved because there was no such thing as 2013 Office Picture Manager - none. What was I going to do?! I used Picture Manager for many purposes, including cropping, downsizing and upsizing images. Okay, I would make-do with Microsoft Paint.

Then the next morning, I found something that broke the camel's back and my Microsoft's heart. To avoid the curvy line that meant Wrong Spelling, I was trying to save to Autocorrect the last 3 characters of the title of the book I was producing for the University of the Philippines Los Baños Alumni (my invention of a title)

UPLB ALUMNI BLOGBOOK
Adventures & Advocac!es

and I could not. What, why, how?! I reviewed the menu and all those details but I couldn't find Autocorrect. I pressed Help (F1) and it told me what I already know about clicking on File, Options, Proofing etc; there was no shortcut.

That got my goat. I uninstalled Office 2013, goodbye to all that! Exactly at 1111 hours 11 July 2013. Word 2013 had lasted with me exactly 24 hours, including sleep.

But I still have the installer exe and I was going to give Office 2013 another try another day. And then, a week later, I read today that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is the biggest problem of Microsoft and must go, former Microsoft OEM group head Joaquin Kempin says (Preston Gralla, 22 January 2013, computerworld.com). "One major problem, he says, is that Ballmer systematically gets rid of any Microsoft executive who he thinks may be a rival for his position as CEO." So, my problems with Office 2013 are minor.

And that's how I found out who I was going to blame for Microsoft Office going from good to seed. Mark Rogowsky says (29 June 2013, forbes.com):

In the span of less than two years, Microsoft has launched Windows Phone to indifference, the Surface tablet to near invisibility, Windows 8 to confusion and the Xbox One to nothing short of fury. While it’s too soon to give up on any of the four - and indeed a safe bet that at least some success will come around Windows and Xbox - it’s time for Microsoft to come to grips with a salient reality: It has become flat out terrible at marketing. Not just the consumer-facing part of marketing like advertising and pricing (although the video below is a pretty awful collection of meaningless feature and half-truths), but the decision-making that leads to product choices about what gets built in the first place, about what the company prioritizes.

Mark forgets to mention Office 2013, the latest. So it was Steve Ballmer who took away my Autocorrect, my Stylesheet, my Numbering, my Picture Manager, and I don't know what else. Will someone lead Steve to pasture, please? He has sat too long on his chair paying attention only to himself he has been left behind by the times. The moving finger types and, having typed, moves on. Steve Ballmer probably doesn't type, he just drums his fingers.

Still and all, we may have more years of Steve Ballmer and an emasculated Microsoft Office 2013, not to mention an emasculated Microsoft. He has just restructured Microsoft to reinforce his control over the company (Don Clark, 11 July 2013, finance.yahoo.com).

Why did Microsoft reengineer itself? "Here's the issue with Microsoft," Colin Gillis of BGC Partners says (cnbc.com). "You only make broad, sweeping changes if something is significantly wrong." Well then, I say, what is significantly wrong with Microsoft is Steve Ballmer.

Chris Neiger says "Microsoft is out of touch" (15 July 2013, fool.com). No, Chris, it is Steve Ballmer who is out of touch.

With "One Microsoft," Steve Ballmer is trying to imitate Apple; meanwhile, Los Angeles schools have made a $30 million deal for the Apple iPad that is rated the best (21 July 2013, macdailynews). Can Steve Ballmer be taught the lesson of the iPad? Never mind.

Steve Ballmer's kind of management is this:

You role model it from the top, you talk about it a lot, you pinch yourself and remind yourself when you're not doing better, you measure it in the employee poll.

That's Steve Ballmer telling the truth. He's worried about his popularity with Microsoft employees. That's good for Steve Ballmer, not Frank Hilario. Having exhausted myself working with Office 2013, now I should go to bed while Steve Ballmer should go to pasture.

Dan Farber says, "Microsoft is promising major innovations in the coming months. During a keynote presentation at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference on Wednesday, COO Kevin Turner told the 15,000 attendees that Microsoft is all about pumping out innovations" (12 July 2013, news.cnet.com). Innovations like Office 2013 I can live without. With One Microsoft, Steve Ballmer is trying to remake Microsoft one more time. The problem I see is that Steve Ballmer is trying to remake Microsoft in his own image, and he is bald!

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