I saw this link on Fox today where it asks “Has Microsoft Lost Its Tech Edge?” and my only response is “You Just Noticed?”
My personal realization of this started over a year ago but was then repeatedly reinforced over and over again at trade show after trade show lat year. MS was there at all of them, CES, Computex, IDF – that’s no surprise. What was shocking was how pointless their presence had become. An example – at Computex I saw a dozen or more tablet computers in the Microsoft booth as if they were coming out with a bunch of new and interesting hardware. But 80% of them were locked away in boxes (more here) and the rest were just retreads of 8 year old tech. Beside the useless hardware was the pointless revision of Office. To see more of the same at CES this week doesn’t surprise me at all.
The worst moment was when MS joined Intel during the tech keynote at IDF. When asked “Does MS have anything exciting you are working on?” in front of thousands of tech fanboys and media reps the woman literally said “no…not really.”
I was shocked!
Nothing? Really? You can’t even lie about it and say “…nothing I can share. [wink, wink]”? It was embarrassing and it sure looked as though the answer took the Intel guy by surprise…but there it was.
In short – Microsoft appears to have completely lost any sense of vision for the future. Yes, the landscape has changed and new technologies have emerged. Can that possibly be a surprise?I should point out that I don’t see this throughout MS. I think XBox continues to be the best thing in gaming and the Kinnect is one of the coolest things I’ve seen in years. (I LOVE JoyRide – critics who panned it are morons) and what MS Game Studios did to make Direct X 9 super friendly to MMO gaming was a brilliant and industry-leading move. So I see those divisions totally rocking it. It’s these Windows/Office jackwagons who are dragging the whole thing down. And sorry Steve, but you’re sucking up a bunch of wind and failing where MS and the broader tech space need you to lead.
The Fox story nailed it when they say “Ballmer took over Gates’ role as CEO but not as company visionary.” The Word says “without vision the people perish” and that seems to be what’s happening at (most of) Microsoft. Ballmer is a manger and cannot seem to find any sense that MS is doing anything other than retreading what worked 20 years ago. I should clarify that I don’t doubt MS’s validity as a profitable company, clearly they still make a pile of cash…for a while still. But what is desperately missing is even a whiff of excitement or creativity or leadership. There was a moment in 2010 when Apple’s market valuation surpassed MS and Steve Jobs said it was ‘surreal.’ But looking at how MS has behaved since Gates walked…
It wasn’t surreal. It was inevitable.