Wednesday, October 21, 2015

1544 Hinging on a Hinge

1544 Hinging on a Hinge

Now and then monster corporations marching toward the graveyard get something right.  And this may be one of those times.

Microsoft’s newest invention is causing positive buzz for the first time since Bill Gates got shamed into becoming Andrew Carnegie.

It’s a new laptop called the Surface Book, the first computer the company has actually put its name on, though its Windows operating system remains the dominant player.

First, let’s look at some of those corporate death marches cut short, probably accidentally.

When Gibson came out with its Les Paul guitar in 1952, it saved itself from an obvious plunge to death at the hands of Leo Fender.

The 1955 Chevy was one of the best cars ever built in the United States and people learned that pretty quickly.  (And, yes, the ‘55, not the flashier ‘57.) It got another shot in the arm from the current Impala, thus allowing it to continue “shipping crap” as Lee Iacocca once said of carmakers in general.

Merrill Lynch saved itself by getting sold to Bank of America.  That hasn’t turned out all that well for BofA, but Lynch is doing fine, thank you.

Grumman, searching for something off its normal path, made canoes, truck bodies and bad buses when the lunar lander business tanked and the F-14 was declared too fat to fly.

And look at this year’s New York Mets!

So, Microsoft.  Rich as can be, but staring obsolescence at the end of the tunnel comes out with a product … a high tech product that hinges on… well, a hinge.

Strange little thing, this hinge.  Looks a little like a mammalian spine in a position only seen in advanced yoga class and among contortionists.  Lets you bend the keyboard backward and use the screen as a tablet.

High powered.  Mid-high priced.  More bells and whistles than a carillon in a calliope factory.
Oh, you say, “but the laptop is dead.”  Maybe. Oh, you say “tablets rule.” Maybe.

So this is Microsoft’s hedge fund. Whichever way the market goes, they’re already there.

The preview reviews are universally excellent.  No one has a bad word to say about this thing.  The once most- hated tech giant is getting four or five stars from everyone?

Still, they’ll probably whistle as they pass the graveyard. This time.


Shrapnel:

--What does Saudi Arabia know that Germany doesn’t? Why has it declined to accept any Syrian refugees while offering to build new mosques in Germany which will take in 800-thousand people? Many rich middle east countries are following Saudi Arabia’s lead.

--Associated Press headline: “New Top US General Looks to Capitalize on Iraq Successes.”  Good luck, General Joseph Dunford, now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  But Joe, babes, just what successes are you talking about?

--Is Japan becoming more like us in that they don’t make stuff anymore?  Our new “Japanese” TV set was made in Mexico.  So were our Korean washer and dryer.

I’m Wes Richards, My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2015

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