These fears are overblown. First, the PC era is not ending, not for quite a while anyway. Secondly, all of the applications threatening the survival of Wintel as the Intel, Microsoft alliance is famously referred to, have PC-related applications and products supporting them.
I'm not hearing the wheezing sounds of a company about to croak from Microsoft Corp. In any case, before we write Microsoft’s epitaph in anticipation of its demise, we perhaps should ask a few rather simple questions about the company.
Let’s start with this: How fast is Microsoft growing or is it already experiencing severe sales slowing down?
Here are some numbers to chew on: In fiscal 2009 ended June 30, Microsoft’s sales were $58.4 billion, down 3 percent from the prior year – at a time most technology companies were reporting sales declines in the low to high 30 percent range. In fiscal 2008, the company posted sales of $60.4 billion, up 18 percent from $51.1 billion in 2007 and $44.3 billion in fiscal 2006.
For fiscal 2010, analysts forecast sales of the software company will rebound to $61.7 billion. That doesn’t sound like the last gasp of a dying company.
There’s a stronger reason not to bet against Microsoft and this comes from another critical question about what exactly the company does and the range of products it offers. When we discuss the end of the computing age and imagine Microsoft biting the dust as a result, we forget the wide range of applications and technologies it supports.
Microsoft’s software products go into PCs and while the personal computing market may be under threat from smartphones and the like, the fundamentals of the company’s business remain strong. These, according to Microsoft, include “servers, intelligent devices; server applications for distributed computing environments, information worker productivity applications, business solutions applications, high-performance computing applications, software development tools and video games.”
That’s not all. Microsoft is into game console, digital music, other entertainment devices and peripherals. The company has a hand in numerous other business applications, competes in online advertising and offers a raft of other proprietary products.
In other words, the equipment serving up content for and supporting your iPad, the iPod, the smartphones, the GPS, tablet PCs and whatever else is coming down the pike are servers for which Microsoft makes software products. Without those servers, the iPad is just a piece of chalkboard.
Microsoft’s bread and butter is the computing business but this is not a one-trick pony company. If you still want to bet against Microsoft, take a peek inside its vault. Microsoft closed its March quarter with $40 billion in cash and short-term investments plus $9 billion in long-term investments and only $3.75 billion in long-term debt. That’s a lot of ammunition for acquisitions, product development and whatever else the company wants to do.
I don’t doubt the ferocity of the competition but if anyone is going to cave in first, it won’t be the folks over in Redmond.
A 5G interoperability test system developed by Qualcomm, ZTE and China Mobile, combined with the pending development of the first 3GPP 5G-NR standard, are good indicators of the pending frenzy over 5G; it’s a good time to take a Boot Camp course on 5G.