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Saturday, October 23, 2004Joel Spolsky spoke with Microsoft Watch Editor Mary Jo Foley. Earlier we covered Joel's excellent piece about How Microsoft Lost the API War. In this lengthy and insightful interview , he is saying that Microsoft is just performing incremental changes (trapped in the Office/Windows paradigm and in spite of the for-so-long-delayed Longhorn launch). A key point made with the technologies addresed to the extended enterprise - Suppply chain, CRM,B2B spaces: they're at competitive disadvantages by their marginal me-to presence or no presence as the case may be, in terms of mind share than something that gets sold to the whole world.
Finally, about Google vs. Microsoft - "I think Google is orthogonal to Microsoft. Microsoft will be chasing their tail lights. I wouldn't say Google is really a challenge to Microsoft. Or maybe they are. Maybe Google is to Microsoft what Microsoft is to IBM. In the 1990s, Microsoft's nemesis was IBM. IBM was a boring, established company. (But then the PC revolution happened, and Microsoft sailed past IBM in that space.) Google is saying the Internet is the computer - it's the Internet computer in the sky. And Microsoft's not getting it."
Microsoft - Not scary these days, where we wrote,"Computing power is shifting away from the desktop, where Microsoft still dominates. Business customers more and more treat software as a commodity and a service. The inability of Microsoft's own massive research efforts to divine the next big thing in IT also has left Redmond in no better position to capture the future than small startups or smaller competitors.As innovations in desktop and laptop PCs lag while innovations in smaller, yet increasingly powerful, handheld devices continues to flourish. While Microsoft remains a front-runner to provide software for those devices, it has failed to lock up the dominant market share in any category. Equally important in Redmond's waning influence has been the declining profitability and revenue growth of the software sector as a whole".
Espen Andersen arrives at the same conclusion but by offering a different anaysis. He writes ," I think Microsoft needs to learn from IBM, and split itself into a collection of companies that cooperate with well-defined interfaces — technical, organizational and financial — between them. Look at what happened to Lexmark after IBM spun them off. Look at what happened to IBM when they finally got rid of the internecine strife that was the AS/400 people vs. mainframes. Microsoft can hold onto the integration between application and desktop, but I don't think they can hold onto the link between different markets — server and desktop, handheld and desktop, phone and desktop, just to mention a few. They can't because they are Microsoft, and the markets know it. American Airlines spun off SABRE when it became clear that the revenues of their IT division was hampered by the connection to one airline, and prospered for it. Middle age enters when it becomes clear to you that you are not the person that you want to be, when you realize that the skills that took you to where you are now will not take you further, when you need to switch from increasing your space to tending to what you have. I think Microsoft is entering middle age, whether it wants to or not (and who wants to, or even admit to it happening). Unlike people, however, companies can have youthful parts — and they need to be free to grow". Clearly Microsoft has a very tough environment moving forward. |
|Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld