Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Where is Microsoft going ?

One of many anti-Microsoft stories on slashdot.

To sum up the story, Microsoft had put up a promotion site for students to buy their Office suite at a 93% discount.
But when folks go there, Microsoft's own anti-phishing software warns that this may be a phishing site !!!

What is going on with Microsoft, I say ? As a college student, I always admired everything that Microsoft created. (It was not actually until I was in college that I used any of their products, but you always heard great things about them even before that !). The Windows operating system looked such a neat piece of software when compared with the rest of the command line horror stories that you heard about as a novice. As college kids, we had a choice between Windows and the comand line Unix. It wasnt really a tough choice with Windows winning hands-down.

Innovation after innovation came out of the MS stable every passing day. They were creating a new paradigm for computing. Unix, in its old form, would never have reached the home PC market. Moreover, MS had the entire suite of products: an OS, a browser, an Office suite, a media player and so forth. You did not need anything else to run your PC. In short, they had shut out all competition.

But once you overrun competition, it is the beginning of the end for yourself. It looks like complacency and arrogance has stepped in for this great company. Probably, all great companies go through this phase --- it happened to Apple in the mid to late nineties, it happened to IBM, it happened to Bell. You see the same pattern in sports: in cricket, West Indies were a major force in the late 70s and early 80s. But then they went through an unbelievable slump. (maybe it is happening to Australia now !)

Maybe, all this is good for MS in the long run. Maybe they will learn from this and tighten up their belts and pull up their socks.
But I am waiting (as I am sure are millions of others) to see if this happens with Google. Would love to see how they would handle it then.


Viswanath said...

I used to also have a feeling that Microsoft's software is the best out there. But now, I strongly beleive that it's just a lousy OS which is most popular.

To draw an analogy, Microsoft OS is like one of those very popular Shahrukh Khan movies which is extremely popular and is a big hit. But we all agree that being a big hit doesn't mean that it's the best movie.

May be it depends on individual taste as well. But may be taste is not that subjective as it may seem to be, and as suggested by this author in his essay (http://paulgraham.com/taste.html)