“The new Microsoft is nearly unrecognizable. Years ago, when Windows was dominant and the smartphone era had yet to arrive, Microsoft was often the epitome of all that is wrong with a powerful company: They were accused of monopolistic tendencies, their arrogance made them miss the mobile era, and they stagnated for years while coasting on their most lucrative products,” Navneet Alang writes for The Week. “But Microsoft is now born again, adaptive, forward-looking, and with products like its augmented reality HoloLens, occasionally almost cool. So when it was recently announced that Microsoft is entering into a deal to make its Cortana voice assistant work with Amazon’s Alexa, barely an eye was batted.”

“But the deal with Amazon is actually far less positive than it might appear. In fact, it comes from a position of weakness,” Alang writes. “As analyst Jan Dawson points out, both Amazon and Microsoft’s voice assistants are dwarfed in usage by Google and Apple because those companies have their own massive smartphone platforms that literally put their assistants in people’s hands. For Microsoft in particular, this deal is an attempt to make up for the fact that, without a real smartphone base of its own, its assistant is limited to Windows PCs — a category that is diminishing in importance. And that simple fact signals a bigger trend at Microsoft: that while the company may continue to survive and even thrive, once-unassailable Windows is likely doomed.”

“Apple’s massive success with the iPhone led to both the iPad and the reinvigoration of its Mac sales. Developers often create for iOS first, which means that the services that came to dominate the digital world — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. — are better on those platforms, which creates a virtuous circle for Apple,” Alang writes. “Platforms are like networks, and without the core node of mobile in a mobile-first world, Microsoft’s Windows cannot last. The network effects common with platforms will occur, and momentum and interest will continue to rally around Apple… Microsoft may well continue to thrive. But Windows — once the core of the company and seemingly central to so many of our lives — is likely beyond saving.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Even before iPhone, a few hearty souls foresaw that the Dark Age of Personal Computing was drawing to a close:

As we have always said, even as many short-sightedly waved (and continue to wave) the white flag, the war is not over. And, yes, we shall prevail… No company is invincible. Not even Microsoft. — MacDailyNews, January 10, 2005

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Okay, it’s past 5 o’clock on the Friday of the long Labor Day weekend here is the U.S.A., so, interns, do what you do best: Tap those kegs! (Yes, plural!) 😉

Have a great weekend, everybody!

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