Wednesday, September 09, 2009

5 Reasons Microsoft Won't Buy Blackboard

Inside Higher Ed's BlogU recently posted the following article: 5 Reasons Microsoft Will Buy Blackboard. While reading the story I couldn't help but think how different the article might have been if I'd written it. A little something like this ...

The top 5 reasons why we WON'T see Microsoft buying Blackboard by the end of 2010:

  • 1. Because they suck! (they = Bb of course)
  • 2. Because Microsoft is trying harder not to suck so much.
  • 3. Because buying Blackboard would only prove that Microsoft is more evil rather than less.
  • 4. Because most of the people in the education space (including lots of Blackboard users) think that Blackborg is a terrible partner for education. Not exactly the best way for Microsoft to become more relevant in the education sector.
  • 5. Because they suck!

Please let me know if I've missed anything.


Mike Condon said...

6. They suck.

Back in the days that bb acquired WebCT, my prediction then was that Oracle, not MS, would buy up Bb.

Michael Feldstein's presence at Oracle has, quite possibly, prevented Oracle from making that mistake.

Checking the Joshua Kim 5 Reasons post, I'd argue that #3 and its assumptions of scalability in the cloud, are assumptions that would cost MS big bucks to make Bb scalable - as far as I'm aware, most C/LMS's scalability is essentially hardware bound, and may be, on the one hand, why Google is building out their own scalable cloud infrastructure from the ground up, so to speak, and on the other hand, why the larger entities like MS and Oracle have steered clear of LMSs.

So - #7 scalability.

And 8. Bb's attitude toward higher ed sucks.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Barry. I guess you hate them alright. I wonder how many more colleagues hate them with this passion and what that fine company could do to win your love again.
--- Ed Garay

Barry Dahl said...

Hi Ed.
I guess I need to clarify your guess that I hate them. I most certainly don't hate many of the people who work for the evil empire. I have met several of them over the years and they are generally nice enough people (as long as you are not too near the top of the org chart). A few of them have also expressed embarrassment at the way their employer has been acting for the past few years.

So, NO, I don't hate the people. But I DO hate the corporate shenanigans, I hate the litigious nature that is costing all of us boatloads of money, and I hate that they are claiming something to be true that we all know is false ('138 patent plus all their other bogus patents to having invented something that already existed). YES, I HATE all of those things.

How can they win back favor with me and thousands of others like me in education? THEY CAN STOP ALL THE BULLSHIT RIGHT NOW! (Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen.)

Jared M. Stein said...

Reasons why MS won't buy Bb need to include: 1. Bb is too big (read: bloated); 2. Bb doesn't have a compelling, innovative product anymore (too slow in the field). MS seems to like to buy small, innovative, up-and-coming businesses that could potentially threaten their marketshare. I don't see how Bb is there.

Josh Kim said...

Barry...sorry I missed your comments to my original blog post. It was lots of fun to read your responses. I'm largely sympathetic to your points. My intent was to try to stir things up - I appreciate your willingness to mix it up. Mostly I'd like to hear what MIcrosoft's vision is for staying relevant in higher ed. Thanks again for the comments - I'm putting your blog in my RSS stream. Josh

Anonymous said...

Barry. You're forgetting one thing to hate: the damn product itself! Time and time again they are asked for fixes, and it just gets put off and put off. I understand feature request delays, but when something just flat-out doesn't work correctly, FIX IT! Don't make excuses. FIX IT! It kills me that they bought Angel, and they're going to phase it out. That's pride winning out over intelligence if I've ever seen it. Angel is better. I've heard more than one Blackboard employee say so. So phase the original Blackboard out, phase Angel in and rename it.... Blackboard. Then Bb can keep their foolish pride AND supply a product that doesn't suck.

So - #9 Their product sucks.