Even Ozzie couldn’t save Microsoft

There’s an interesting sidebar in Wired where Chris Baker makes the point that even “Software genius Ray Ozzie was unable to drag the Windows behemoth into the 21st century.”

It seems that the genius behind Lotus Notes and Groove was not enough to raise Microsoft out of the hole it is in. Now, don’t get me wrong. Active Directory is one of the most wonderful things around. No one else has built an enterprise directory service that let’s us do so much but really, is that all that we’re going to get?

In the day-to-day world that most businesses live, Microsoft is no longer relevant. What kills me is that Ozzie brought Groove with him to Microsoft and they destroyed it making it a SharePoint client. I guess that’s OK given that services such as DropBox has given us the best of Groove by way of synchronized storage to all of our machines, including our mobile devices. I do recognize there are significant security concerns about DropBox, but those aside, it’s a service that’s hard to beat.

So, where does that leave Microsoft? Gates’ vision of the knowledge worker and their tablet PCs has never been realized… that is until Apple rocked the tablet market with the iPad last year (and that was only 9 months from April to December) and blew the doors off of every other tablet device that had ever been made selling 15 million in 2010. 

In 2008, Ballmer belittled the app store concept in an interview stating there wasn’t revenue in that, yet in the iPad’s first year over 65,000 apps were developed for it. Additionally, Apple stated today that iTunes has 200 million accounts and Apple has paid out over $2 billion dollars to App Store developers. Now, Ballmer is working to build the Microsoft App Store but is several years late to the game.

Where does that leave MS? I’m not saying they don’t have amazing technology but they are growing more and more irrelevant. It’s no longer required that you use a Microsoft-based operating system to be productive, to innovate, and communicate. I’m typing this right now on a Google Chrome Cr48 laptop that was given to me by Google. It’s one of the best and nicest notebook computers I have every used. There are very few things that I can’t do with it.

Where is Microsoft’s iPad or Cr48?


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