In 2007, venture capitalist Paul Graham declared “Microsoft is dead.” He later posted a clarification of his comment, but the gist remained the same: Microsoft, far from being a driving force for innovation in the technology industry, had become a lumbering dinosaur. It wouldn’t disappear — it was far too big for that — but it had become an irrelevant company.
Bold words, but I hear them echoed a lot lately. Microsoft, people argue, has made most of its money through underhanded business dealings and by driving its competitors out of the market. Its products aren’t competitive because it doesn’t need to compete. It’s the largest company in its industry today simply because it was the largest company in its industry yesterday; no other reason.
I’m not sure I agree. There’s a new challenger in town — Google — and there’s every sign that its presence in the market has given Microsoft a much-needed kick in the pants. Ray Ozzie, Bill Gates’ successor as Microsoft’s chief software architect, has put in motion an ambitious plan designed to beat Google on every front — and it just might work. Read my complete analysis in my latest article at InfoWorld.com. This one’s a biggie (single-page version here) but I think it will be worth your while.