It seems like only yesterday when Apple’s pedigree critics, members of the technorati elite politburo (am I spelling that right; how about ‘burro?’), were calling for the head of Tim Cook on a platter. Up the road a bit from Cupertino, CA the tech press was fawning over Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia to help shore up its flagging smartphone business.
7,800 jobs and a $7.6-billion write off later Microsoft’s numbers and strategy have not fared well. Not only was the hare asleep while tortoise Apple reinvented the mobile device industry, the hare has completely lost its way.
Math don’t lie.
Apple is basking in record revenue and profits, and though the company is more iPhone-centric than ever, every major product division is rolling in cash, while Microsoft cannot fire people fast enough. What’s interesting about Microsoft’s $7.6-billion write off is that the number is about the price it paid for Nokia, which indicates plenty of restructuring going on among the hallowed halls (or, is it ‘haunted?’) of Microsoft’s campus.
It was George Santayana who said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s possible that one of Steve Jobs’ greatest gifts to Apple is that his checkered past is embedded into the company’s 21st century DNA. For now, Apple remembers the bad old days. Microsoft is living them today.
Microsoft coasted along for years on untold riches and profits tied up in Windows and Office, spent lavishly and foolishly on one failed venture after another in ill advised attempts to diversify itself by checkbook. Ask Google how that works out. Now the chickens have come home to roost.
So far, Microsoft’s strategy to re-invent itself as a cloud player and purveyor of fine free software has failed to offset lower revenue and profits as both Windows and Office face decline; a failed strategy exacerbated by the money spent on Nokia, Skype, Mojang, Yammer, Danger, aQuantive, and many others.
Math don’t lie.
Why doesn’t Microsoft get the same scrutiny and criticism that Apple receives on a daily basis? Where were the insightful questions about the Nokia and Skype deals? Did anyone outside of Microsoft’s executive ranks put a spreadsheet to the mobile and cloud strategy? It’s becoming completely obvious that Microsoft is ready to exit the Windows smartphone business. Nobody saw that coming?
Maybe the critics had their attention diverted to nonsensical stories which seem to capture top tech news sites.
Headlines regarding a dubious survey about slumping Apple Watch sales made the rounds this week, and probably provided more digital pixels (the internet’s version of column inches) than all of Microsoft’s enormously terrible news pixels combined. Supposedly, Watch sales are 20,000 to 30,000 a day! Anemic. Horrendous.
Microsoft should be so lucky. Do the math. Even those Watch sales rates mean more than 10-million Watch units a year (more than the Mac sells each year), and probably more than $5-billion in revenue. Can you name another competing company that wouldn’t fire their CEO to have those numbers?
While Microsoft, Google, Samsung are in a bag of financial hurt, Apple thrives, because math don’t lie.