Windows 7 is pretty good and Microsoft Office is really good. Any comparison of open office or google docs to Office is insane. Office is far far ahead of the competition. Microsoft Exchange is deeply entrenched in corporations. I am not looking for their demise. IE wiped off netscape and the current IE version is pretty competitive with firefox (BTW, who made any money out of browsers?). I switched fast to IE when netscape was the king and faster to firefox when it made its entry. However I find IE8 equally good (mostly because of firefox's addons slowing it down).
Any single company's domination is not good for the market whether it is Microsoft, Google or Apple. If ipad continues to dominate you will continue to pay premium on everything. They will keep a closed ecosystem and prices will never come down. I do not find it in consumer's interest to be a fanboy or hater.
Microsoft Research has some of the coolest people/inventors. I presume that these fellows are working om great things to be used in the future roadmap.
BTW most people don’t even know that Leslie Lamport the person behind Latex works now at Microsoft Research.
Companies who are dedicated to efficiency and productivity, not only for themselves but also for their customers, they are the ones who will continue to thrive. Microsoft is no exception. There is little doubt that Microsoft will still be around in ten years but doing what? How about an operating system that is 100 percent virus proof? How about an operating system that is hacker proof? How about an operating system that supports the new unERP technologies?
I do belive Microsoft is a long way off the mark when it comes to accomplishing any of these. There is one thing I understand very well about business. If you are not continually making your services better, someone else will.
The Microsoft operating system has been arond for a long time and deep down underneath the covers, it has not changed a great deal except for delivery methodology and complexity. unERP technologies are now many years ahead of what will ever be possible in Microsoft's current operating system, at least with Microsoft systems current level of engineering and performance. Changing the operating system and building the application to catch to the unERP for business appliucations is at least a twenty year project. I wonder how much money Microsoft really wants to throw at that? I suggest they stick with desk top tools. They definitely know that market extremely well.
Pubs I dont think Microsoft will ever take over ARM because (1) it isnt in anyway related to the products MS offers, and (2) even if it did try to do business in hte CPU market, ARM's key licencees would not lae that happen. For instance when Apple snapped up something like 15% of Imagination's shares Intel came forward and bought almost similar number of shares all just to ensure no one big player has monopoly over its technology. It is cruicial that companies with good technology capable of becoming industry leading should be left to run themselves rather than be aquired which in most ways would be restrictive. But I agree as you've pointed out, MS will need to constantly adapt its business if it wants to maintain its position as a provider of solutions in not just the PC market, but also in games, mobile etc, which I'm sure they are aware of.
heck, I'm much older and I dropped my allegiance to Microsoft.
other older folks look at it as a "Mac versus Microsoft thing" and I have to tell them: "No, this time there are simply many different viable alternatives!
and Microsoft would have to get me back by giving me a better lifestyle! but they can't do that since they'd have to compete with the web...
my iPhone, of course, is 1000x more useful than a PC. I was shocked to learn that my iPhone could show PPTX (powerpoint slides) files without needing a software upgrade! and PDF files too! without having to leave mail!
I was recently making a WPF ( Windows Presentation Foundation ) app on Windows and Windows looked really archaic... since Mac has top notch PDF support built in! and, in Keynote, you can export your presentation to Flash!
Microsoft has always been what some people call a "fast follower". In most areas they do not innovate, but bring out competiting products once a market is established--and crush that market.
And to this end they used their dominance in the underlying OS to create advantages. Now they do not own, nor are aligned with the underlying hardware, nor do they own the OS for devices outside personal PCs.
The poster MHK_#1 makes a good point. The current generation of teenagers and those even sligthly older know no such thing nor product loyality to something called "Microsoft". They are not interested in helping MS manage Windows after paying the price a decent cell phone for it by having to understand the underlying OS to achieve adequate performance.
They want a mobile applications engine which Apple has valided with the iPhone.
Here is a telling fact my son brought home one day about where electronic "things" are going. He went to a web building class and instructor said that only in the US are the majority of website hits done through a PC. The rest of the world is doing it with some sort of mobile device. I believe it. My son and his friends only use the PC as a "homework engine". The more applications get on their phones, the more they use them.
But MS has money, and if they want a role in this world, they will have to do something drastic like take over ARM or develop their own version of Linux to recapture the underlying system.
It seems improbable that Microsoft would die in the foreseeable future. They are too much a part of the computing infrastructure and to pose their death would also require posing the death of large segments of the hardware and software food chain. That being said, their growth rate can be much less and that is essentially what the loss in stock market value suggests. The problem Microsoft has is that none of their new businesses has the size and profitability of their core. Google has the same problem in finding a high-growth and profit complement to the internet search business. Apple has stood out recently for having successes similar or larger than their core Mac business.
Year after year Microsoft releases products that one reason or another fail:
*Zune Media Player - lack of coolness/fake hipster appeal (see any Apple media product).
*Kin Phone - no apps, no games, questionable marketing campaign.
But the bottom line is Microsoft's OS' are 90% of the desktop market and that's a cash cow. Plus they bundle their own products with the OS (FTC must be taking a nap) that are also questionable:
*MS Office 07 - horrible UI
*Any version of Internet Explorer - massive security leaks/ripping off of features (see tabs).
But once in a while with all their money they hit the jackpot:
*Halo with XBOX
There's no way that Windows is currently going away, but we can make small strides and move to more open source technologies such as Firefox (web browser), OpenOffice (desktop applications) & LAMP (web development).