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Microsoft Death Spiral

The latest article by Information Week's Senior Editor Paul McDougall is well written and cites example after example of Microsoft's incompetence and inability to gain traction in virtually every market they've tried their hand at recently. His article, "Microsoft Looking Like An End-Stage Company" is spot-on and well worth reading.

Paul notes the rapidly declining market share for Internet Explorer (under 60% and dropping), the instant failure of the Zune, the dreadful Kin fiasco, and Microsoft's reaction to threats like Android. (Since they can't compete in the smartphone market Microsoft has chosen to "litigate instead of innovate", and is suing Motorola and Google in an attempt to prevent them from succeeding.) CEO Steve Ballmer's performance over the past fiscal year has been so poor that Microsoft's board took the unprecedented step of slashing his bonus. Ouch!

To be frank, Microsoft has always been behind the curve when it comes to doing anything interesting or new…the official Microsoft motto should be, "Wait For Us, We're The Leader!"

Microsoft  waits until a market is established and then eventually produces a rushed, lame copy, hoping to dominate through sheer numbers. The Zune was DOA, the Kin was DOA (pulled after 90 days!), their iPad copy (when it finally arrives) will be a lame knockoff, and the phones they're (finally) making are not terribly interesting or compelling.

In the software arena, Microsoft has fared poorly in recent years. Windows Live Journal was dumped in favor of the open source alternative WordPress, which should make anyone stop and think. It seems that the largest software company in the world can't code a decent blogging platform. In case you don't know, blogging software isn't terribly difficult to write- hundreds if not thousands of blogging programs have been written, yet Microsoft and its gigantic teams of programmers are so hapless that they couldn't even manage to do that.

Remember when Steve Ballmer said that open source software is a "cancer"? Remember all the derision and scorn he heaped upon it? Now Microsoft is hanging on for dear life in the blogging space by using WordPress, one of those awful "cancerous" open source products. Steve must feel pretty stupid right about now, but don't hold your breath waiting for any apologies to come out of Redmond.

In addition Linux is steadily eating away at both their server and desktop market and Google has squashed them like a bug in search. Ballmer simply has no idea what to do.

Things are no different in the mobile marketplace. As mentioned before, Microsoft's clownlike attempt at entering the smartphone market was in the form of the Kin. Despite spending well over one hundred million dollars on development, the phone was so bad that sales were stopped after 90 days. I've had jars of peanut butter that lasted longer than that.

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 has just been released, but no one seems to care. There's no market buzz, no excitement, no nuthin'. Windows Phone 7 comes off as a desperate copy of the iPhone, but with different icons and mixed up menuing system. Microsoft is so desperate to have it succeed that they plan to give all 89,000 employees one, but most are expected to stick it in a desk and keep right on using their iPhones. What does that say about Windows Phone 7?

Microsoft has truly lost the plot. In a couple of years Ballmer may be remembered primarily as the guy who drove Microsoft into the ground and then presided over the bankruptcy yard sale.
 

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