7/14/2009 8:42 AM
Recent survey by eweek suggest that despite Windows 7 being technically better than Vista, 6 of 10 will skip the upgrade. The question becomes will the wave of Vista to Windows 7 upgrades expected be enough to sustain Microsoft while the PR machine is put in place? I suspect not.
It seems that Microsoft has been making numerous strategy blunders in the Ballmer era. I suspect there are going to be lots of late nights for the new Windows 7 Czar as he tries to fix from appearances, a very poor marketing strategy and plan. Mary Jo Foley has reported about the in-fighting between the Gates and Ballmer factions within the corporation and it appears the Ballmer factions have won, but maybe not what they had hoped for.
During the OS/2 development days a similar battle and conditions existed within IBM. So busy trying to protect their existing turf, in true Innovators Dilemma fashion, the shut off all discussion and disconfirming messages that what they were developing was not where the market was going. The end result Microsoft ate IBM's lunch, had them pick up the tab, open the door and pay for the Limo ride home. Google appears to have read the playbook rather well and appears to be on the verge of eating Microsoft's lunch from the bottom up also.
As Microsoft scrambles to field the AZURE Cloud Computing model and lock in Enterprise Class customers, they've been slowly abandoning the small business and departmental computing that provides them the annuity revenue stream. What happen when they've pushed everyone to the Cloud? Does the desktop OS and applications become obsolete? If so then Linux and Chrome appliances become very attractive devices for the mass market.
Couple that with the increasing complexity of maintaining a desktop caused by code and feature bloat, Microsoft maybe planting the seeds for its own destruction in the 201X era. One wonders if becoming a super ASP via AZURE be a viable business model in the future? Microsoft strategist must think so as they've been investing serious capital to build out massive data centers around the globe.
The big question becomes will these strategies and conditions create the perfect storm as was apparent at IBM in the 80s? What this means for ISVs is to seriously consider how strongly they will exploit Microsoft technology in the future?
Currently, Microsoft is putting great emphasis and reliance on the Microsoft Partner Channel, the question becomes as they continue to tweak their partner model will it encourage to push away partners. From a very un-scientific survey I conducted this year many ISVs, even those who are quoted as saying "We've drink the Kool-aid", are preparing or executing a dual technology strategy; MS and Google, MS and IBM, MS and Linux, etc. What this suggest is that the Partner community is starting to question MS strategy. No a good sign when most of your sales force are not in your company.
Does it mean an end to Microsoft? Most likely not. However, the MS juggernaut appears to be stumbling under its own size similar to how IBM shot itself in the foot, right down to the DoJ case they allowed to endure and distract the corporation for so long. While internally Microsoft prides itself for changing and adapting all the time. However, the truth of the matter only the technology and markets they've gone after has been changing. This strategy change maybe the first time they've really had to seriously confront real change to the corporation itself. In the following few quarters after Windows 7 availability we'll see if these strategies prove out for Redmond.