More Doom 'n' Gloom for Microsoft
Wow! After yesterday's ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek blog (see Vista Sales Disaster?) the big guns have been piling into Microsoft.
First off, blogger Quentin Stafford-Fraser in a piece titled The Slow Death of Microsoft lists three key problems the company faces. First, operating systems are simply commodity items that you can now obtain from a number of sources. He likens them to phone company networks: "They provide a useful service, so you hand over the money. But all the interesting stuff... comes from whom you contact and what you say to them, not from who provides the wires. The wires ceased to be a novelty some time ago."
Second, "Microsoft Office is becoming less and less relevant. Almost everything I write now ends up in electronic, not paper, form. On the rare occasions when I want to write a letter, I use Apple’s Pages, not Word. If I wanted to write a book, I would almost certainly use OpenOffice. Both are arguably better suited to those tasks."
And finally, he concludes with a tale about a friend who developed a whizz-bang new feature for Outlook/Exchange back in 2004. It was due to be incorporated in this year's release, but "then it was deemed to be a little too aggressive to include it so quickly, so it was postponed until the following release, which will presumably be in 2009/10. Six years after he finished it! When he moved to Yahoo, he would implement a new feature and it was not unusual for someone to ask, 'Could this go live this afternoon?'”
Stafford-Fraser concludes with a suggestion that Microsoft's future may be in making games consoles because "that seems to be going well for them".
Or perhaps not...
Over at business mag Forbes, Roger Ehrenberg in an Advisor Soapbox column writes;
"After taking a step back and looking at some objective numbers (taken from Microsoft's own financial statements and comparative console sales figures extracted from VGChartz.com and Wikipedia.org), I have concluded that gaming has been a disastrous endeavour for Microsoft, particularly from an investment perspective."
After throwning $21 billion bucks at the Xbox and their Home and Entertainment (H&E) division over the last five years, all Microsoft has to show for it is "$5.4 billion of cumulative operating losses".
He concludes: "Microsoft needs to take a long, hard look at its gaming strategy -- and, in fact, its entire H&E strategy. At what point, regardless of its virtually endless financial resources, does it say 'enough is enough'? Would we have been better served by returning the extra cash to shareholders rather than investing it in a franchise that seems to have questionable prospects for turning around?"