Insightful commentary on Microsoft’s decline from John Dvorak got caught in a time and space vortex only to be released for publication five years later. Noteworthy:
Try to remember all the crazy directions Microsoft has gone in over the past few years. Note the dizzy remarks by Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who recently insisted that online advertising would soon account for the majority of Microsoft’s income.
Microsoft is a software company who profits by Windows and Office, and not much else; especially investments. Contrast Apple’s steely discipline to Microsoft’s child like inability to focus:
Let me restate it. Microsoft is a software company. It has been distracted too easily by the success of others in essentially unrelated fields.
Dvorak goes on to list the fields where Microsoft stumbled:
- Copied AOL with MSN; lost money
- Copied Netscape browser; lost money
- Copied publishers; lost money
- Copied AOL-TV; lost money
- Copied Yahoo! and Google; lost money
- Copied iPod with Zune; lost money
Meanwhile, as Microsoft’s Nero fiddles around, the cash cows die of neglect.
Now comes the latest fiasco: Microsoft wants to open retail stores, all of them next to or near an Apple store. This strategy is reminiscent of the defunct hamburger chain from the 1970s that was a McDonald’s copycat. McDonald’s would do all the research, and then the chain would open a location around the corner. It did no other real advertising or marketing. (At least Microsoft is trying to advertise with its “buy a cheap laptop” ads on TV. Too bad the company doesn’t really sell laptops.).
It’s a slow motion train wreck that we’ve been watching for years. Sad, but somehow it all just fits.