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Microsoft the frozen gaint
Once upon a time, Microsoft dominated the tech industry; indeed, it was the wealthiest corporation in the world. But since 2000, as Apple, Google, and Facebook whizzed by, it has fallen flat in every arena it entered: e-books, music, search, social networking, etc., etc.
Anyone who has watched the technology industry over the last decade has seen that Microsoft missed the boat on mobile and web. Sure they have ‘maintained’ and still make good money from Windows and Office, but they’ve missed the two major growth areas while their competitors have grown massively..
Apple was a niche player before iPod, iPhone and iPad and now they’re the largest of all the companies. Microsoft could have, and should have been there during that growth and they’re only just getting into the space now. Think of the 90’s. Even when Microsoft was under fire from the gov, it never had as bad of times as Apple. Its hard to think about right now, but if Apple doesn’t innovate again sometime soon they are going to have the same troubles in the long run.
Google owns the web and has also caught up to Apple in terms of mobile OS. Nobody else approaches Google in terms of web search and related ad revenue.
Microsoft is the biggest disappointment given all the opportunities they squander. They completely lack innovation or vision. Did they ever investigate why Zune or their Kin phone were such disasters. No. Instead they proliferate these mistakes and push ahead with destroying Windows with Metro on Windows 8.
Web developers hate IE, particularly IE 6, as once Microsoft achieved market dominance, it did nothing. IE 6 refused to adhere to web standards, and made coding web pages annoyingly difficult. Microsoft singlehandedly held back the advancement of the web by about a decade with IE 6 and their refusal to fix bugs and cooperate with the rest of the web. IE 6 was released in 2001; IE 7 was not released until late 2006 (unbelievable! a squandered half decade on the net), and seemly done so only because FireFox had become a threat.
Now, Google Chrome has surpassed them. Good riddance. IE’s dominance was never about innovation or quality; it was simply because MS leveraged Windows to force it upon everyone, killing Netscape in the process.
So why is Microsoft struggling now? The environment has changed. Innovative companies are less likely to trust and partner with a company like Microsoft after so many betrayals — think: the OS/2 con and so many others already mentioned in these comments. Those innovative value-adding companies are implementing market strategies that don’t play well with Microsoft.
Well Ballmer has his own problems, look at MS’ growth during Bill Gates’ time and compare that to when Ballmer took over.