Microsoft watchers and stockholders scratching their heads over the recent cloud re-org, Bing's continued losses, and potential prospects for Office 2010 will have to personally trek to Redmond this year if they want to hear from those directly in charge about what's going on. That's because Microsoft has shaken up its annual …
It doesn't matter what Microsoft says, where it says it, when it says it, why it says it, and/or how it says it.
The fact is that Microsoft has dropped the ball too many times, and is playing catch-up in all of the sectors that matter. (Note that for purposes of discussion, "playing catch-up" could refer to market position, technological innovation, or both. It is possible that Microsoft is ahead of the competition in one aspect, but behind in another, and losing ground over time, even if a major player today.) To wit:
-- Search: Bing is playing catch-up to Google
-- Mobile Telecom: WinMob7 is playing catch-up to Android and i(Phone)OS
-- Portable Music: Zune is playing catch-up to the iPod and iTunes
-- Console Entertainment: XBox/XBox 360 is playing catch-up to Wii, and to a lesser extent, PS3
-- Utility Cloud Computing: Azure is playing catch-up to Amazon EC2 and RightScale
-- Virtualization: Hyper-V is playing catch-up to VMware ESX/vSphere, XenServer, and to a certain extent, Linux-KVM
-- Cloud Apps: Office Online is playing catch-up to Google Apps
Microsoft is still leading its competitors in certain sectors, but in my mind these market areas will become less and less relevant over time:
-- Browser: Collectively, Internet Explorer is still ahead of Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari. However, if you compare individual versions, IE is at parity, or starting to fall behind.
-- Desktop: Windows still owns the vast majority of the desktop, laptop, and netbook market. However, the move to handheld and tablet Internet devices will seriously eat into PC market share, which will spell trouble for Windows licensing revenue. This is especially true on the consumer side, where browsing, simple messaging, e-book reading, music listening, video watching, and telephony are the six primary reasons for owning a compute device. For these six well-defined purposes, a full-fledged PC and/or "fat" operating system is overkill.
-- Office: Microsoft Office is still the dominant player in the word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation appsuite market. Even so, many sovereign states (especially in Europe and South America) are experimenting with (or have already moved to) FLOSS* alternatives like OpenOffice.org, and other government entities and businesses are trying out hosted application services like Google Apps.
Until recently, Microsoft seemed to be virtually invulnerable, having shrugged-off antitrust lawsuits in the U.S. and appeased European regulators with similar concerns. However, its political resilience hasn't translated into increased revenue: Microsoft announced its first-ever round of layoffs during the Great Recession, in order to protect its liquidity ratio, and as a hedge against market saturation.
Let's face it: We have entered the Post-Microsoft World. MS needs to focus on doing a few things, and doing those things very well, if it wants to remain relevant, and ultimately, to continue to exist. I am not saying that the company is (at present) in any danger of folding, or going bankrupt, or even unloading any of its assorted divisions -- it's sitting on a veritable pile of cash -- but it does seem to be having trouble navigating present market currents.
In short, the bandwagon has often already left, by the time Microsoft gets around to hopping on it.
*FLOSS = Free/Libre` Open Source Software
It's time for ... BALLMERBOY!
Is he a bird, is he a plane or is he just crap?
Gotta suck to be an MS exec right about now. They've spent the last five years squandering just about every opportunity to remain relevant in the marketplace, and the analysts aren't going to let them forget it. Kind of sad to watch actually.
They need an IBM epiphany and the leadership to make it happen. Otherwise, they're going to be relegated to Novell status in ten more years, harvesting legacy support contracts and waiting for someone to buy them.
That will be the same Microsoft that sold ten copies of Windows per second last quarter, posted record annual earnings of $62.5 BILLION and posted net income of $18.8 BILLION which is, I think, the largest annual profit an IT company has ever made.
Yup, they are really struggling.
And as for the initial poster, you need to check your facts. For example, if you read the company reports, Xbox not only outsold the PS3 this quarter (which is hardly news anymore), it also outsold the Wii, which IS news as the Wii targets a much lower price point.
What the spanners that post on this site fail to realize is that MS is fundamentally an enterprise software company – it makes its money from selling to businesses. It has some consumer businesses, but the MONEY comes from enterprise customers. Windows is deployed on more servers within the enterprise than any other server OS. There is more SQL Server deployed than any other database. SharePoint is the most popular portal solution on the planet. Exchange has more users than any other email application in existence. Fifty percent of enterprise developers use Visual Studio as their primary tool.
Yet time and time again you hear the same naïve muppets trotting out the line that MS is screwed.
MS is screwed.
They upset me.
I put a hex on them.
They are doomed.
Yep.......I enjoy kicking MS to the gutter, 1 cent at a time.