There has been much hubbub and ado about the announcement that Ballmer is stepping down from Microsoft. Although I don't understand why it should be a surprise to anyone that a successful giant nearing the age of sixty with billions of dollars would want to stop working and relax on a beach somewhere. But I digress.
The funny thing to me was not all the "Is this the end?" or "Microsoft failed" commentary. That type of silliness will always persist because people are adversarial, petty, and generally not very bright. Instead I laughed every time it became clear that these *ahem* journalists or editors didn't really have a very clear picture or had skipped the non-obvious research.
For example, on TechCrunch there was a call to shakeup the Microsoft board. Which I fully understand and quite frankly agree with. But reasons were just silly. In one case the mention was made that even with the failure of the latest hardware releases, Microsoft should still be okay because they have 1 or two other businesses that produce some revenue. That's funny.
- One third of the worlds telephone traffic is driven by Skype.
- One half of all server revenue is driven by Windows Server.
Don't get me started on XBox, the game console that sold more units this holiday than any other manufacturer.
Has Microsoft been sitting back pushing out products at a sluggish pace? Certainly. Are they behind on the innovation curve? Absolutely. But just because revenue for consumer devices in the midst of bubble has outstripped corporate spending, don't discount the ability of corporate spending to catch up. Don't for a minute ignore that holding those patents that bring in big bucks every time an Android sells is negligible. If you want to make a case of demise, it has to be more than top-line revenue. It's about explaining motivations, potential and positioning.
Does Microsoft have this? Who knows. I'm hardly a proponent and ardently a critic of their bloated, boorish, and bland offerings these days. I just get agitated when I see one-sided conversations, and shallow analysis masquerading as some deep insight.