Michael S.Malone writes,"Business reporters, analysts and venture capitalists - develop over time a set of diagnostic tools for analyzing the relative health of companies.
Great, healthy companies not only dominate the market, but share of mind.He points out that Apple is having better mindshare,opensource is getting stronger and Microsoft is just busy patching and plugging holes. Even MSN and the new search recently launched by Microsoft have not created waves. Microsoft has always had trouble with stand-alone applications,but in its core business it has always had good track record in rolling out in time. Now the company seems to have trouble executing even the one task that should take precedence over everything else: getting "Longhorn," its Windows replacement, to market. Longhorn is now two years late. That would be disastrous for a product like the Macintosh, but for a product that is universally reviled as a necessary, but foul-tasting, medicine, this verges on criminal insanity. Or, more likely, organizational paralysis.
In the mid-90s Gates shrugged off the claims that Microsoft was unstoppable by noting that the electronics industry was so cyclical that no company ever stayed on top for long. In that light, Microsoft had a longer run than most. It is still a well-run company, which argues that its fade will be long and slow, like DEC, rather than a sudden death like Wang. And it may yet come back - there may already be something revolutionary under way in a back lab - but, like Yahoo! and Apple before it, Microsoft may have to die in order to be reborn. Scobeliizer provides a spirited defence and writes about new MS initiatives that are getting ready and writes quite insightfully "the next big idea in our industry is going to be a small idea. Something that we all ignore. For a while at least. Blogging was sorta that, wasn't it? Heck, even I didn't think it was important enough to put on the CNET Builder.com Live conference schedule back in 2000. There were only a few hundred people doing it back then. Who knew that just five years later we'd be seeing 40,000 new blogs per day? Apple started as a small idea. Woz's bosses at HP and Atari thought it was so small that they told him to go away. Google? Small idea. AltaVista thought they had a monopoly in search all sewn up. eBay? Small idea. Which brings me back to Michael's article. The crux of his argument is that we're not doing the small things well anymore. We're not seeing small things. We're not investing in small things. We're not executing on the small things.Michael is at least partly correct and it's a cautionary tale for Microsoft.It's the small things that will kill you. It's the small memory-leaking bug that'll lose you customers in droves, for instance. It's the lack of investing in small ideas and small companies that'll kill your product pipeline. Today's tiny idea is tomorrow's Google".
Mark Morford asks ,why are we still tolerating windows? infested with so much of spyware etc..raising key concerns about using windows. In a separate piece,the CTO of opera ridicules MS initiative about interoperability in the piece titled - "Get real about interoperability". Truly tough times ahead for Microsoft - to be fair they are also trying to execute well in new areas like digital lifestyle market - but they defintiely have a challenging time in core computing areas- where they currently dominate - which means exciting opportunties ahead for all other players!