Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is Microsoft Irrelevant?

I think they are in mobile and online - see the two stories below.

For the First Time in My 20 Year Career, Microsoft is Irrelevant:

for the first time in my career Microsoft is just plain not in the game.  Irrelevant.  No show.

Now, I’ve been at this game awhile.  I wrote my first code in 9th grade in 1979 (on a TRS-80 Model 1) well before Microsoft mattered.  But my first real development came during the period when Microsoft was trying to get Windows to be real.  In those days Digital Research had a great DOS called DRDOS that was the cats meow.  And in my opinion, Microsoft did everything in their power to make sure DRDOS failed.  Fast forward through all the history with Microsoft, the anti-trust cases, the clear outright dominance of the market, the flailing attempt of my beloved Linux to get some kind of toe-hold, the Microsoft funded SCO debacle… for most of my professional life Microsoft has been the bruiser, the 600 pound gorilla, the Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Not any more.  When was the last time you heard something about Microsoft that mattered?  Thought so.

The reality is that in the consumer space it’s now Apple and Microsoft.  The shift to mobile-oriented computing is well documented (I won’t elaborate here).  For most people the computer they use most is their mobile phone.  The innovation and the new markets are in mobile.  The interaction with the cloud will be primarily mobile.  In short, the MARKET that MATTERS will be mobile.  And Microsoft has a pathetic attempt with Windows Mobile 7.  It’s late, it’s not as good as what shipped by Apple or Google/Android last year, and it has no compelling EXTRA VALUE.

Microsoft’s Online Efforts Keep Losing Money:

Microsoft reported good results yesterday for the last quarter of 2010. I guess the term good could be an understatement when you post a quarterly profit of $6.63 billion on numbers that beat the street. No one doubts that Microsoft is still a strong company with Windows, Office 2010, Xbox, Kinect and server businesses moving right along.

However, what we are interested in the Internet side of the ledger and it tells a familiar story that makes one wonder if Microsoft will ever make money online.


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