“A few years ago, few analysts would have predicted that Microsoft might share the key computer code that powers its dominant Office productivity software with dozens of foreign governments and international agencies. Yet in late September, the industry barely blinked when the world’s largest software outfit announced it would open the code to one of its crown jewels. Ostensibly, Gates & Co. coughed up its code to keep customers happy and maintain a lucrative line of business with governmental organizations. A host of alternatives from StarOffice, OpenOffice, and other pretenders can do much of what Microsoft Office now does, and at a fraction of the price,” Alex Salkever reports for BusinessWeek.
“The move to defend Office is one more sign that Microsoft is no longer an unstoppable force. ‘It was going to be the company that had the operating system for everything, and they were going to win the game. Today when you ask people about this, they are not sure,’ says Jim Mackey, director of development at the Woodside Institute and a research who studies the performance of very large companies,” Salkever reports.
“Microsoft declined to comment for this story. But many analysts now see the Colossus of Redmond losing influence in the IT universe. No doubt, some of that perception among competitors — and their new sense of courage — comes from witnessing the bloody, multiyear battle waged in the 1990s against Microsoft by the Justice Dept. for alleged antitrust violations. Also important: broad structural changes in the IT sector that play against Redmond,” Salkever reports. “Computing power is shifting away from the desktop, where Microsoft still dominates. Business customers more and more treat software as a commodity and a service. The inability of Microsoft’s own massive research efforts to divine the next big thing in IT also has left Redmond in no better position to capture the future than small startups or smaller competitors. ‘You look at the earnings numbers and they are not doing badly,’ says Merrill Lynch software analyst Jason Maynard. ‘But competitors and customers don’t feel the same threat. There are definitely some dents in the Death Star.'”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Someday the world will look back upon the years where Microsoft dominated the operating system and business markets as computing’s dark ages. Which brings us to our MacDailyNews related article, “Bloor research: ‘Apple is out-innovating the competition in a remorseless way’” from September 10, 2004, in which analyst Robin Bloor talks about “The Continuing Renaissance of Apple.”