Michael Malone (Forbes, WSJ, Economist, Fortune, NYT high tech writer) claims Microsoft is dying.
A few highlights:
"When was the last time you thought about Microsoft, except in frustration or anger?"
Eh, go check out some of the innovation on display over at Channel9. You can't judge Microsoft as a company, and conclude it is "dying", by how often your PC crashes. But yes, I completely agree that the average consumer tends to have a love-hate relationship with Microsoft, and it's something the company needs to work on -- their "Brand Harmony", if you will.
When was the last time you thought about your cell phone provider or cable company, except in frustration or anger? Is it a problem they need to fix? Yes. Are their businesses dying? Probably not.
"He's [Bill Gates] been devoting more time to philanthropy than capitalism."
Sorry Bill, damned if you do, damned if you don't.
"Does anyone out there love MSN? I doubt it; it seems to share AOL's fate of being disliked but not hated enough to change your e-mail account"
I'm not quite so sure on this one. My mom loves (and needs) AOL. AOL and MSN have appeal to a certain demographic, which clearly isn't Michael Malone or me, so it's difficult to make sweeping statements that aren't backed by hard numbers.
"And do college kids still dream of going to work at MS? Five years ago it was a source of pride to go to work for the Evil Empire -- now, who cares? It's just Motorola with wetter winters."
Ouch! I realize I'm a bit biased on this one, but looking around within the Computer Science program here, everyone dreams of going to work at MS. It's one of the few innovative companies (along with Apple, Google, and Amazon.com) that recruit at the University (and actively seek recent grads in general). I'm going to save my breath here, since Scoble wrote a great response to this that was right on the money.
For now, though, none of that is obvious. Microsoft is still the dominant company in high-tech, the cynosure of all those things people love and hate about computing, the defining company of our time. It is huge, powerful and confident.
But if you sniff the air, you can just make out the first hints of rot.
Uh huh. You could be right. I hope you're not. Microsoft, like every other company, has quite a bit of room to better itself, and always will, as did Apple 4 years ago, when you claimed it was dying too.