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Microsoft Looking Like An End-Stage Company
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 01 November 2010 17:46

From Information Week

Our columnist argues that Steve Ballmer needs to pull out all the stops now and instill radical change, because Microsoft remains stuck in the PC era.

I believe that Microsoft as we know it may not be around in another decade--maybe not even in five years. There's hardly a single tech industry trend line pointing in Redmond's favor right now, and some of those curves are about to get a lot steeper, real fast.

So it's hardly surprising recent Microsoft-related news has been pretty much on par with where things stand for the company these days—mostly all bad.


Explorer's market share has fallen below 60% for the first time in recent memory, the software maker has largely conceded the only way it can compete in smartphones is through the courts, and so it sued Motorola (and, by proxy, Android developer Google), and Microsoft's board deemed CEO Steve Ballmer's performance over the past fiscal year so mediocre that it slashed his bonus.

Most significantly, Microsoft waived the white flag on social media when it pulled the plug on Windows Live Journal, dumping the blogging platform's users onto the open source WordPress system. Think about it: Microsoft, still the world's largest software company by revenue, is so clueless on Web 2.0 it can't make a simple blogging platform people will actually use. There's probably thousands of middle-schoolers creating blogging software in their spare time between Social Studies and Gym class, but Microsoft can't compete in the space?

What's that say about its chances in mobile, or search, or tablets, or any of the other growth markets that are driven by younger professionals' demands for tools that are social, collaborative, instant, and always on?

Microsoft's defenders, and Microsoft itself, point to the company's lock on the PC operating system market (more than 90%) as proof it's still a dominant player that controls a bunker from which it can generate piles of cash and withstand reversals in other segments.

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