A year old, but interesting — Michael S. Malone for Silicon Insider: R.I.P. Microsoft? Malone detects a whiff of decay in the air around Microsoft, both in its inability to execute:
Now the company seems to have trouble executing even the one task that should take precedence over everything else: getting “Longhorn,” its Windows replacement, to market. Longhorn is now two years late. That would be disastrous for a beloved product like the Macintosh, but for a product that is universally reviled as a necessary, but foul-tasting, medicine, this verges on criminal insanity.
… and in its perpetual inability to really capture the public imagination:
Great, healthy companies not only dominate the market, but share of mind. Look at Apple these days. But when was the last time you thought about Microsoft, except in frustration or anger? The company just announced a powerful new search engine, designed to take on Google — but did anybody notice? Meanwhile, open systems world — created largely in response to Microsoft’s heavy-handed hegemony — is slowly carving away market share from Gates & Co.: Linux and Firefox hold the world’s imagination these days, not Windows and Explorer.
Of course marketshare will carry you a long, long way when your company is failing in other ways. But I think he makes some valid points. Whether it matters to the market is a separate question.
Also interesting: Managing a Megaservice — a technical / QA peek inside the sausage factory at Hotmail.