May 25th, 2010

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Could your next IT project come from Brazil?

It’s not just the world’s number one producer of coffee, sugar and ethanol. It’s not just one of the ten largest oil reserves in the world. And although you’ll find poverty and luxury almost side by side, it’s not just another developing country. Over the last few years Brazil has been quietly turning itself into something of an IT powerhouse; you might use a system based on Brazilian tools every day without knowing it. And - what I found very encouraging - the minister for science and technology used to be a physics researcher. We got to sit down with him recently and ask: what's going on in Brazil and is it more than just lots of Linux?

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And there I was just dissing Robbie Bach the other night

Ever since we saw him at CES in the same outfit as Bill (with who he was sharing a keynote) just much more expensive (tailored slacks and his blue sweater was both cashmere and a much better colour), we've referred to him as The Man Who Would Be Bill. He has the ambition to run a division and, I'm sure, beyond, but either he doesn't have the vision or he does have the vision but he doesn't have the execution. Either way, I think his departure is the best thing that can happen to consumer Microsoft. Steven Sinofsky isn't universally beloved, but if he or someone like him can do for Windows Mobile what he did for Windows, we could treat WinPhone 7 as Vista and get something done right. Windows Media Center has been stranded in Entertainment & Devices, punched down regularly by its feisty Xbox brother; it should get some love and nurturing. Mediaroom/Web TV is doing pretty well; AT&T and BT have big installations. And Xbox isn't going to wither away, it's just not going to be the cuckoo in the nest any more.

I always feel a little uncomfortable commenting like this on the performance of executives who have, after all achieved far more than I'm ever going to in my career, and I've heard positive things from people who work for him, but I blame Bach for the mess that is Windows Mobile and the failure to own the tablet market just as I do Jim Allchin for Windows Vista and IE6 (and Will Poole for blinking when Intel played chicken over Vista Basic). E&D has been this side organisation that really didn't seem to play well with others - that has to change.