The Passive Gorilla

We all use one form or another of Windows on our PCs, but that notwithstanding, Microsoft has yet to impact electronics manufacturing in a truly specific way. Could that change?

As has been well documented, founder/world’s richest man Bill Gates has announced a two-year transition after which he will no longer be involved in the day-to-day operations of Microsoft. Ray Ozzie, who created Lotus Notes, will take over as chief software architect.

In an interview with Money, Ozzie indicated a focus on software that would give Microsoft the capability to run servers and platforms for their customers (instead of selling the tools to them): “Services-enabled software really is going to change the nature of how almost everyone uses technology, from consumers to small businesses to enterprises.” Such a move would in theory give the company the ability to mine vast amounts of data, picking up use patterns and trends that could in turn be invaluable to predicting the next killer ap.
Will an Ozzie-run Microsoft eventually turn its attention to manufacturing-specific operating systems, or will it continue to be the passive gorilla in the room, quietly chewing its leaves and bananas? The guess here is, thanks to the size of the potential market, it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft flexes its formidable muscles.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow