Microsoft missed every major new technology, innovation, and great idea of the last decade

“History informs us that leaders from prior bull markets do not lead in the next bull — and MSFT was a leader two bull markets ago,” Barry Ritholtz writes for The Big Picture.

“Consumers are migrating from desktop to mobile to handheld — none of which plays into their strengths,” Ritholtz writes. “During the past decade, MSFT returned exactly zero to investors, including dividends. They are a bloated bureaucracy run by bloated, bureaucratic CEO. The paradigm has shifted, and they have failed to make the turn. They missed literally every major new technology, every innovation, every great idea from search to social to handhelds to tablets over that period.”

Ritholtz writes, “The Kinnect is certainly a hit, but its not the sort of product that moves the needle for a $234 billion company. X Box is also a consumer winner, but the firm spent billions to grab the franchise from Sony — with far less ROI than such a massive investment would should ever warrant. Everything else from Online to Search to Social to portable music to even their well reviewed but 5 years too late cell phone — has been a bust. Their bread and butter franchises — Office, Windows and even SQL — are under assault from completely new product categories to which they have no response.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Scathing, but true. Their best hope is that the law actually deals Google’s Android what it deserves. If so, Microsoft will be standing there, ready to license Windows Phone to the iPhone wannabes of the world. Thanks to Google’s over-the-top hubris, Microsoft just might luck out still.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “cpbjr” for the heads up.]

28 Comments

      1. Because there wasn’t a viable alternative except for Apple, and with PCs, Windows jumped on the commoditization of PCs and therefore became the manufacturer’s favorite. Apple insisted on building its own boxes, therefore shutting out the likes of HP, IBM, Dell, etc.

        And don’t forget that Word started on the Mac.

        The difference this time around is that smartphones don’t cost the thousands of dollars that PCs did, and everyone has a mobile phone anyway, so why not get what you want? There are no port compatibility issues, and with Blackberry dying, very few “it’s what I use at work” issues. Price is really not a factor, so people are choosing the best system.

  1. Excel, Word, and Windows is what keeps that company going but people are wising up.

    Why pay $199 for an OS upgrade that gives you ????
    Why Pay $399 for an upgrade to the Spreadsheet and Wordprocesor that you can buy from multiple vendors for less than $50?

    Very soon MS will start charging “annual” license fees, to replace the revenue they can’t collect from customers because there isn’t really anything to upgrade. That will be when you know they are getting desperate.

    The end is coming…

    1. Because everybody’s still using word processors. 21st century is here and the intellectual fruits of Ballmers head are finally going the way of the mighty fax machine. A once popular but mostly disliked office fad that’s getting more irrelevant by the day. I’d guess they’re leaking users at a rate of a million a month and few if any of those satisfied users are ever coming back.

  2. Just think, were it not for PrimeSense, the Israeli company from which Microsoft licensed its Kinnect technology, Microsoft wouldn’t have a single success to show for the last decade’s efforts. (Pity Apple didn’t bite first.)

      1. IIRC, The people with the Kinect technology first approached Apple (being the more innovative company) but after months of negotiations and talks, got fed up with Apple’s secrecy and way of doing business so they said to heck with it, packed up their marbles and approached Microsoft. The rest is history.

        One of the rare times Apple’s penchant for secrecy and behind-closed-doors shenanigans cost it dearly and it lost what’s proven to be a popular and valuable technology.

        1. One of the rare times Apple’s penchant for secrecy and behind-closed-doors shenanigans cost it dearly and it lost what’s proven to be a popular and valuable technology.

          Oh yeah, Apple is kicking themselves in the ass for letting Microsoft acquire a controller-less UI technology that suffers from latency issues.

          1. Don’t knock a very hot technology just because of one or two kinks. Kinect is a game changing technology, literally, in its field.

            Siri isn’t 100% either, and don’t say it’s beta as an excuse– any network-dependent service will always be at the mercy of the servers at the other end and the pipes in between.

  3. MicroSoft’s strategy has always been:
    1). Copy any features poorly so they can say “we do it too”.
    2). Divide consumer costs into hardware + software + extras, to make the initial buy-in *seem* less expensive.
    3). Jack up insignificant specs so the sales person can say “We’re better because …”

    They were able to keep up with Apple early on because of their cozy relations with Intel that bought them far faster desktop CPU speeds, but thanks to recent green concerns and Apple’s switch (Intel + OSX), that luxury is long gone.

    Today the iPad/iPhone causes them real problems because the OS is included *without* up-saleable Premium Editions. There are also no historically profitable hardware upgrades, and the current restrictions won’t tolerate poorly conceived software add-on solutions which result in sluggish response.

    Apple designs every iPad anew from the ground up, making a sleek well functioning user interface. This is why (like it or loathe it) most new features are tied to new hardware. MS and Google try to add features to whatever hardware exists, causing UI sluggishness and poor battery life. This is what Steve Jobs meant when he said “We intend to make products other’s can’t simply copy with a software update.” It’s also why the iMac/Mac Pro we know today is doomed (it’s features are too easily copied).

  4. “Microsoft just might luck out still.”

    Microsoft is managed in 7 different divisions, only two of which are profitable. Microsoft would terminate 4 divisions (spin the of) and focus creating a desktop OS that isn’t confined to MSFT standards AND WORKS. In the interim they should do the same thing for a mobile OS. Win * may be that OS, but I don’t think so.
    In 5 years time MSFT will be irrelevant.

  5. Unfortunately, there are too many millions of Windows boxes supported by too many IT drones for Microsoft not to be profitable for the next 10 – 15 years. Microsoft will continue to pull dollars from its Windows and Office tits – which will in turn allow them to light it on fire chasing companies like Sony and Apple. People who understand this are the people who continue to invest in the company.

    Although Microsoft is officially a joke in the consumer market, Redmond burned its brand deeply into corporate backsides – and that scar is very resistant to fading.

      1. … Hoplites and unity

        From Serse

        Ombra mai fu (Never was a shade)

        Tender and beautiful fronds
        of my beloved plane tree,
        let Fate smile upon you.
        May thunder, lightning, and storms
        never bother your dear peace,
        nor may you by blowing winds be profaned.

        A shade there never was,
        of any plant,
        dearer and more lovely,
        or more sweet.

  6. Not surprised by Microsoft being behind and having nothing new to offer! Here is the problem: they made something great for only a few years… Windows and Office. Unfortunately, they are a one hit wonder. They made something great, but fizzled out. They are not a created, inventor, or a game changer! Now even office and windows get tweaks…. They actually don’t know how to listen to the consumer and make a great product… They don’t know how to make it anymore! Additionally, they got greedy on requiring “activation” of their product. That feature alone ties up lots of code and memory! Heck, probably why you get blue screens is because that locks up software… Can’t even do that right! Unfortunately, Microsoft is now the K-mart of the computer industry. They can find a way to hang on, but their true destiny is closing up shop and thanking their wonderful CEO for destroying a company…. Shouldn’t you at least be a creative thinker to run a company that is suppose to improve technology? It’s unfortunate, but I believe he could easily get confused just going to the bathroom! I am sure the new motion towel dispensers, faucets, and soaps confuse him….. How did they do that????

  7. To be fair, they were early in the handheld game but just didn’t do it right. But they totally missed the Internet. Back then, though, they were powerful enough to quickly take control of it.

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