Ok, so it is official; Apple has passed Microsoft in Market Cap. In layman’s lingo, Apple is now more profitable than MS. Is this really so? Going Microsoft now the way of IBM of the 80’s?
I think it will definitely happen if MS does not re-invent itself, and stop being a re-actionary company and become revolutionary. We’ve said it more than enough, "A lie repeated long enough becomes the truth". MS has allowed Apple to tarnish its image for so long, and with a company policy of "We don’t comment on other people’s product" of Bill Gates et all, Apple has stolen the mind of the masses with its "I’m a mac, I am PC" switcher ads. MS reaction was too little too late, now they’ve been relegated to the second or even third position behind Google.
The ability of the management to see and understand the tide determines the success of a company. MS failed to see the importance of the Internet allowing Google to pass them by, they made the same mistake in the mobile space allowing Apple to pass them by. Has anyone asked themselves why is it that MS is a poor Me-First company? How many areas of technology has MS not pioneered only to see copy-cats run with it and become the market giant. MS has a reputable Me-too record, when they copy, they do it good and surpass the market leader(think of Netscape); but when they are first it the market, it seems luck is just not on their side. Note I use the word Luck, not that I believe in it, it all depends on the ability of the leadership of such company to know where the market is going.
Skype passed Netmeeting by, Apple iTunes passed MSN Music by, Google passed MS by in Search, iPhone passed WinMo by in device arena, iPad passed Tablet PC by, MS Surface in first in Multi-touch products, but you never-heard of it anymore; and does anyone remember MS Encarta, left behind by Wikipedia. And the list goes on and on and on. Microsoft in a second-place position pursues the leader with such tenacity and alacrity that they eventually catch-up and lead, if only they will apply the same zeal to their Me-First situation. See my comments here below about MS Reader!
For me, the current predicament of MS is purely a management issue. Anyone can search the Net to hear/see how Ballmer reacts to innovation, how he reacted to iPhone introduction for example. It seems MS Management doesn’t know what hits them, and by the time the realize it is too late. How long has iPhone been in the market? Still there is no competing product from MS. I know Windows Phone 7 is in schedule, but for me, it is not a product till I can buy it in the market. See what they did with Courier, so don’t tell me they have anything till Best-buy put a price tag on it.
The current re-org of MS is also too late, and as far as I know will not succeed given the kind of people being laid off at the moment. All I can see is Ballmer consolidating his power-base. The independence of the devices unit led by J. Allard allowed for innovation and success we see now in X-Box and Zune, therefore for Ballmer to fire these people and place his stooges in their places is pure politics and will not result in any success for Microsoft. Time will prove me right or wrong, but I have been in this sector too long, I can see the writing on the wall here for MS.
If Ballmer is not removed, I don’t see any innovation coming from MS that will result in the tech-community trusting MS again. That is why J. Allard has to remain an adviser to Ballmer till innovation like Natal comes to market later this year.
How do you win the minds of geeks all over the place? We know that the success of products these days depends on how much mind-share it gets. And who are the people promoting your products? Right, the geeks of the world. So how do you win them over? By not stifling innovation; like killing the Courier. We know Ballmer only read the Dollar sign, and looking at the Courier, there will probably be no money in it because it is a product for a niche market, but you know what, it starts as products for the niche markets: see how X-Box has done! It wasn’t also profitable in the beginning.
And what’s in a name? I have always find it ridiculous how MS names its products. I am sure Ballmer’s influence is heavy in the naming of products, else I don’t see why every product has to have "Windows" or "Office" in it. So, we have a new phone product, what should we call it? Aaah, "Windows Phone 7 Series!" What the $@#@!#$ is wrong with you people? Your competitions has a single word names for their products, you can only come up with 4 words?! Is anyone afraid people will forget that MS Windows exists if we don’t couple the name to every product on earth coming from Microsoft? Again, I see Ballmer’s influence here.
See how products that come from J. Allards camp are called: Zune, X-Box, Natal and so on. See products that come from Ballmer’s camp: (Microsoft Forefront Client Security), (Windows Live Search(thank God it is now Bing)), (Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation), (System Center Operations Manager(SCOM)) and the list goes on. Just do search on MS product names, you’ll be shocked. Microsoft uses an average of four words for naming products, and we eventually result to concatenating the first letters of the words for the product name in the tech-community; for example the SCOM here above. So why MS for these long names? Why use product description as names? When a baby is born we don’t give them long words for name do we? What is wrong in using a single chique name, something that rings with people like "Natal"? It is like NASA that first concocts a name, and then finds the words that fits for the name.
So Microsoft you have to realize you are fighting a psych war now. No doubt, we know you can produce, the question is can you dazzle with your product. Apple has raised the bar in product hypes, can you come up to the same level, I doubt it if you keep firing your innovators. The position of Ballmer is no more secure, that is why he is firing the intellectuals of the company, and silencing critics. At least Bill Gates knows when to leave, does Ballmer know it too? This guy has been running the company now for how many years? It is humanly impossible that he will be able to respond to modern challenges. So I say, companies should take an example from the politics; change the CEO’s after a fixed term. If Ballmer is ruling a country, he will now be called a dictator. He’s been there for so long, now he is standing in the way of development and the future of Microsoft.
Therefore Save Microsoft, remove Ballmer! If you love MS you should pass this on. The tech-community is fed up with Ballmer, MS is now a joke to the Blogs community. He cannot no more win the mind of the people, no matter how much dance he performs on the podium or with the stars. As far as we are concerned, technologically Ballmer is out, it is a matter of time before MS is also out from our minds.