Beleaguered Microsoft is now irrelevant to computing, and they want the world to know it

“With two major cave-ins in the past few weeks, Microsoft is screaming at the top of its lungs about how irrelevant it is,” Charlie Demerjian writes for SemiAccurate. “For the past few decades, Microsoft has been a monopoly with one game plan, leverage what they have to exclude competition. If someone had a good idea, Microsoft would come out with a barely functional copy, give it away, and shut out the income stream of the innovator. Novell, Netscape, Pen, and countless others were crushed by this one dirty trick, and the hardware world bowed to Redmond’s whims.”

“The company sucked the life and innovation out of the industry for so long that eventually no one innovated because it was pointless, if the idea was good, Microsoft would end it,” Demerjian writes. “Ask Gateway about doing something as basic as making the initial desktop and installation process more user-friendly. Microsoft killed them for the sin of trying to make the user experience better. Everything stagnated as a result of this misuse of monopoly power.”

“What are the two recent cave-ins which show that Microsoft wants the world to know that they are irrelevant? XP and XBox, X marks the spot really. Both have recently been the focus of major Microsoft policy shifts that the company swore would not happen,” Demerjian writes. “Both were a line drawn in the sand that Microsoft was hinging their future on, and like Office and Exchange on mobile, the world said no. Once again there was no backup plan either so Microsoft had to publicly crawl on their stomachs to apologize. Mis-management indeed… For any onlooker that still doesn’t realize how irrelevant Microsoft is, these latest two should be quite direct proof. Microsoft wants you to know they are irrelevant, and you have to give them credit for at least trying to get the word out, loudly.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: We love the smell of Microsoft’s irrelevancy in the morning.

If for some reason, we make some giant mistakes and IBM wins, my personal feeling is that we are going to enter a computer Dark Ages for about twenty years.Steve Jobs, February 1985

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


    1. History has repeated itself; Google is the new Microsoft.

      Apple found its way around the battle of the Desktops regarding Windows. Call it re-inventing itself, Apple, with the return of Jobs reignited its passion with iMac (painting a path for an eco-system) for iPod, iPhone and iPad… as Apple inc.

      1. Only reason Google ascended is because of Microsoft’s lack of vision and execution. Like Samsung they follow trends, don’t lead them either because their too fat & lazy or just stupid. At some point that was always going to be their downfall. They were caught with their pants pulled down one too many times.

        1. And Apple can easily cut off Google’s oxygen supply by creating their own Search service. May it happen and happen soon. To me that’s the kind of “thermonuclear” action that needs to happen – strategic slaughter.

      2. There is A LOT of history repeating itself right now. The best category I have for the phenomenon is ‘Desperation Mode’. It’s a repeating theme in history with remarkably similar bad choices and bad consequences. It need not happen. But that’s nothing new either.

    2. As long as MS keeps targeting the audience they have lost years ago, the consumer market, and neglecting the sole audience that sees a role for MS in the future, business, they truly are doomed.


    1. It absolutely was not a “stolen product”.

      Sculley gave away the keys to the kingdom (including Apple’s system software source code!) to Microsoft in exchange for MS continuing to develop Word, Excel, etc. for the Mac. Most believed Gates was bluffing. MS has more to make off the Mac than Apple had to lose. Sculley, and a few key others, didn’t see it that way. They bought Gates’ bluff 100%. They believed the Mac could not survive without MS software. They believed that giving MS the actual source code to the Mac’s system software would not hurt the Mac platform that much.

      Sculley was wrong. The Mac ecosystem suffered for his bad deal for almost two decades.

      But, Gates got the Mac system software 100% legally (and the courts ruled that they used it legally for many years — up through Windows 3.11). MS did not steal anything.

      1. Sculley was pressured into by the board.
        And as a forgiveness to his actions, I am thankful that Sculley continued with Newton development. Newton is the birth place for iPod, iPhone and iPad.

      2. Microsoft deceived Apple. The Toolbox routines that were handed over to Microsoft were for the purpose of being able to create a GUI Office suite for DOS to match what they were developing on the Mac.

        Microsoft used that same code to create a new operating system, Windows. That was not part of the original deal and why Apple sued Microsoft. Microsoft won that case due to the ruling that code can only be considered copied, if more than 90% is the same. Microsoft changed just enough code for it to be ruled in their favor.

      3. I’m not trying to defend MS here, but they didn’t use the macintosh source code to create Windows. Apple sued Microsoft for using using visual graphical user interface (GUI) elements that were similar to those in Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh operating systems.
        Sculley had agreed to license certain parts of its GUI to Microsoft for use in Windows and that’s why Apple lost the case.
        Apple wanted to have lots applications available soon after the mac was released so they gave MS access to early Mac prototypes as well as documentation on how to write applications using the Mac APIs. They were even given some some sample “application” code.
        MS had direct contact with the Mac development team, they were allowed to ask for extra features to be implemented.
        Andy Hertzfeld remembers that MS had a guy named Neil Konzen in charge of of the development of the Multiplan spreadsheet (Excel’s ancestor). Konzen asked a lot of questions on how to use the APIs and sometimes even complained about the way something was done.
        Andy gradually began to notice that Konzed increasingly asked about system internals so he realized that there was no reason to know such details unless MS was trying to write their own version of a GUI.
        In a nutshell MS had no access to the Mac system code source but did take some ideas from their developers.

        For more information:,_Inc._v._Microsoft_Corporation

  1. The beautiful thing about the Death of Microsoft is how it happened. Not by Apple revenging Microsoft over stolen IP but at exactly doing what Apple does best… making insanely great products that are easy to use and better the experiences for all.

    1. Unfortunately the carcass is huge and it has tentacles into many living entities. Extricating it takes care and planning. And, unfortunately, it will take the vast majority of the population and many years to fully bury that massive dinosaur’s remains.

  2. “Ask Gateway about doing something as basic as making the initial desktop and installation process more user-friendly. Microsoft killed them for the sin of trying to make the user experience better.”

    I searched for something about this, and I didn’t find anything. They’re still in business.

    1. Sorta kinda. Gateway used to have Cow Stores all over in all the big box stores, now gone, last one I remember was in Office Max, delisted from NASDAQ in 2000, what was left sold off to Acer and trades on the Taiwan exchange. They are a withered husk of their former self.

      I haven’t seen a computer with the Gateway logo “in the wild” in many years.

    2. Try this for starters:

      The article mentions Microsoft’s infamous “two strikes and you’re out” policy that they indeed regularly implemented on any company (e.g., their own customers such as PC manufacturers) who dared to go against them. This is fact, not fiction.

      Another example of Microsoft’s abuse: Up until late 2004 when IBM sold its PC Division to Lenovo, IBM was unable to purchase Windows OS licenses in any variant to install onto their own PCs. This was a conscious decision on Microsoft’s part, as they were still PO’d at IBM for attempting to continue to develop and sell their own OS (namely, OS/2, which had been a joint venture between the two companies until 1990 – when Microsoft made it clear that they no longer any wanted competition against their own OS). I know for a fact this is true as I worked at IBM in the 90s, and saw the invoices where IBM had purchased huge quantities of Windows licenses from third party companies/distributors.

      To this day, I have absolutely no sympathy for Microsoft. Their monopolistic and vindictive behavior is simply unparalleled in the modern business world. Let ’em eat dust.

  3. Michael Dell (in)famously suggested years ago that Apple should shut down the company and sell the stock back to shareholders. Obviously that was so way off that he sounded like a complete turd.

    However, I think it’s safe to say that comment applies to Microsoft now in every respect. MS is dead – they’re just not willing to accept it yet. Look at the dearth of “modern UI” apps in W8 and that’s just the tip of the iceberg – the OS itself BLOWS.

  4. I agree with most of the article, however I see one big omission; Vista and Win 7. Both are XP underneath and MS still supports them. MS has been telling everyone for years that they were going to stop supporting XP and they needed to upgrade. Of course Vista was a disaster and Win 7 was a desperate attempt to save it. When MS could not get IT heads to switch to Vista and had to keep extending XP support was one of the first signs they were in trouble.

    1. Microsoft originally re-released XP for extremely cheap to fight off Linux in the netbook market. If I remember correctly the hardware specs for netbooks were so dismal, Vista couldn’t run on them. They had no choice. They certainly didn’t want users aware of the fact that Linux could most of what they were using Windows for.

      Unfortunately for Microsoft, Apple played their hand well, completely side stepping the netbook market and releasing a true tablet computer, the iPad. Which has gone on to demonstrate to the world that Windows is absolutely not necessary.

      1. Microsoft released XP months later than the first version of OSX in March 2001.

        I prefer XP over Windows 7 at work running Parallels on a Mac.

        Fortunately, that is the smallest segment of my computing day.

  5. There’s one point this article didn’t make was that while others like Microsoft stagnated and did nothing innovative, Apple thrived and has kept it up with new and innovative products. Lots of doubters in the world right now about Apple’s innovation however I think were gonna see more innovation from Apple really soon. Mr. Dell was cocky and put his foot in his mouth. Now he has to swallow it as he had to do exactly what he claimed Apple should have done. Eat crow Dell, how does that taste?

  6. The sad part of Jobs quote from 1985 is that he was about 10 years off. The dark ages of computing will last about 30 years rather than 20 years. But the Renaissance is on the way.

    Also, if you want to have some fun, the next time you are in a meeting with corporate IT guys tell them that MS will not be around in 5 years. Most of them look down at the table at that point and admit that that statement is likely true.

    1. Unfortunately, not quite all. At my company, when I say this, they think I’m delusional. Companies that resolutely tie their fortunes to Microsoft will find themselves much smaller companies by the end of this decade. If you are working for such a company, you have at most a three-year warning to get out before the signs become unmistakable.

    2. I disagree. Steve wasn’t stating that IBM (and Microsoft) had won and that Apple had lost in 1985. His statement was an “If…when…then…”; he was pondering what the tech future would be like if companies (like the aforementioned) became the dominant hardware and software standard.

      Based on Apple hitting its nadir in 1997 (the year they almost went under), with worldwide Mac sales at less than 0.3% of personal computers and US sales of Macs at just 1.2%, I’d make the argument that the 20-year cycle started at that point in time.

      As we see evidence of Macs and iOS devices taking even large businesses by storm in the past few years, it seems logical to conclude that Windows boxes may very well become a minority player by 2017. Some will remain, merely because a few “trucks” are still needed.

      Steve really was a true visionary.

  7. I hope Apple’s paying attention. With all the lame updates to OS X that Apple has been foisting on users since Snow Leopard, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Apple suffer the same fate. At some point, users might just say no to Apple as well; the non-disciples anyway.

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