The End of Microsoft?
Could Microsoft die in the next 10 years? Possibly. Here's why. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made some noise recently when he predicted the demise of newspapers by 2018. "There will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network," he told The Washington Post. "There will be no newspapers, no magazines that are delivered in paper form. Everything gets delivered in an electronic form."
So a newspaper columnist from Microsoft's backyard fired back, detailing how Microsoft might die first.
Bill Virgin's logic goes like this:
First, the Yahoo takeover collapse exposed Microsoft's weakness. "The effort to buy Yahoo to accomplish what it couldn't on its own speaks volumes about how successful Microsoft has been at dominating Internet content, delivery channels and ad sales (although to be fair, it did squash Netscape like a bug)." The company's efforts in gaming, portable devices and computer-TV convergence haven't failed, but other players have seen bigger successes (and have greater potential).
Then there's Vista. It's true that Microsoft practically owns the operating system market, but it's newest offering isn't exactly drawing rave reviews; and as Virgin points out, Microsoft knows it. And the coming onslaught of cloud computing presents a huge challenge for makers of boxed applications. (More on that here.)
Virgin doesn't quite spell out what will cause Microsoft's demise, but he fairly casts a spotlight on the tech giant's well known weaknesses. Users have made their feelings known, too.
But companies don't just disappear. Time will tell if innovations like cloud computing and SaaS will really make a significant dent in Microsoft's armor--or if they can harness those innovations for their own gain.
It'll be fun to watch, that's for sure.