Space Ramblings

Prematurely Burying Microsoft

Microsoft has been behind the game for a while and it’s considered almost irrelevant in some circles, but no, it’s a long way from dead

“I believe that Microsoft as we know it may not be around in another decade–maybe not even in five years.”

Barring an alien invasion, Microsoft will be around in 5 and 10 years. 20 years is a possibility. 5 years is not. Unless you foresee everyone jettisoning PC’s in the next 5 years.

Most significantly, Microsoft waived the white flag on social media when it pulled the plug on Windows Live Journal, dumping the blogging platform’s users onto the open source WordPress system.

Wait… wait. In the age of Facebook and Twitter, Microsoft giving up on a blog platform that no one cared about is significant? Yahoo did the same thing. Google has a blogging platform only because it bought one.

But that’s just whistling past the graveyard, spouting a tune written from backward-looking data not particularly useful for gauging the impact that hugely disruptive new products like tablets and smartphones and even tablet-smartphone hybrids are about to have on Microsoft’s place in IT. Market research group NPD recently found that 13% of iPad users bought the Apple OS-based device instead of a Windows PC.

Anyone who actually thinks an iPad can replace a PC is completely ignorant about what an iPad can actually do. An iPad is a supplementary device. It’s not a PC replacement. If the survey said that people bought the iPad instead of a notebook, there might be a point here. All this survey says is that more than 10 percent of iPad buyers are idiots. Probably a too conservative figure.

It’s not that the mobile marketplace isn’t going to have a big impact on Microsoft, but so long as businesses are office based and people primarily use PC’s in their homes, Microsoft isn’t just going to go away. Because it still controls the core platform. Smartphones are nice, but you can only do so much on them. Tablets are cute, but there’s also only so much you can do on them. The idea that the tablet will wipe away the PC is like believing that the notebook computer, which unlike the iPad actually could do much of what a PC does, would do it.

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