Thursday, June 9, 2011

Has Microsoft Jumped the Shark?

Not so long ago Microsoft wasn't the largest software company in the world. Lotus was. Now they're a footnote on IBM's financial statements.

Not so long ago Microsoft didn't own the corporate networking market. Novell did. Now they're a footnote to the accounts of a private equity firm, chunks of their business belongs to Attachmate and a whole bunch of companies are picking over the bones of their patent portfolio.

Is Microsoft next?

One thing that was common to the slow, painful decline of Lotus and Novell was their attempt to get into non-core space. They lost focus.

Lotus built Symphony, bought cc:Mail and got into 'something'-ware with Notes.

Novell bought Digital Research and got into the DOS business and then they bought WordPerfect and a couple of products from Borland and got into the Office business.

Now Microsoft has bought Skype, melted Bing and Yahoo, provided seed funding to a failing Nokia and had a Wall Street type call Ballmer 'the biggest overhang on Microsoft stock'.

Now Redmond is showing off Windows 8. An OS that can scale across phones, tablets and desktops, but, is it going to be enough?

The radical shift in interface is going to piss a lot of people off. Yeah, I know that you'll be able to make it look like Windows 7, but, you'll also find that like they've done in the past,  going to the old interface will involve compromises.

I just wonder if this is the onset of panic. Their phone OS isn't setting the world on fire, in fact the defenders are starting to sound like Apple fanbois did about 10 years ago. The less said about the Kin debacle the better. The Zune wasn't exactly a screaming success.

I don't know something has changed in Redmond. The juggernaut has stumbled.

This kind of reminds me of Lotus 123 V.3 - it was the dog that marked the start of the decline.

For Novell it was WordPerfect Office, UnixWare and DR-DOS.

What's it going to be for Microsoft?

Under attack from all sides they need to smack one out of the park. Linux is chewing into their server market. Apple has bitch slapped them in the tablet and phone market and IBM just leap-frogged them to be the second largest tech company by market cap.

Where will Microsoft be in 10 years from now?

No comments:

Post a Comment