Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Is the Microsoft ship sinking?

In the vein of the sinking ship at sea with the rats leaving, seems many of the smart people are leaving Microsoft.

The latest is David Stutz

He rather blasts the former employers speed of uptake on the important technologies of the future.


Sunday, February 16, 2003

fyi: the same was mentioned 5 topics below yours.

Prakash S
Sunday, February 16, 2003


Sunday, February 16, 2003

What makes you say that this guy was "one of the smart people".  (I don't know either way, it's just an assertion to me at this point)

IMO, I think that ship can take on an awful lot more water before it starts to sink...

Sunday, February 16, 2003

I'm sure there's an article somewhere under all that prententious verbiage.

it has to be said
Sunday, February 16, 2003

Am I the only person who thinks that article is a load of unreadable drivel?

Robert Moir
Monday, February 17, 2003

The MS ship might be taking on water but I imagine that they have enough money to handle what ever may come along as far as market and products are concerned.

There are torpedoes in the water though. EU court rulings might be one of them. They may also be painting themselves into a corner with the whole DRM + palladium thing.
They may suffer the fate of all empires so far.. they reach to far and grab more land than can be managed by their own structures and so the structure breaks.

Eric DeBois
Monday, February 17, 2003

I read somewhere once that Bill Gates keeps enough cash on hand to be able to operate for an entire year, even if they brought in no revenue for that entire year.

Now there's a company with good cash flow stability.
Monday, February 17, 2003

I do believe they have something like $40,000,000,000 cash on hand. At least I thought I remembered reading a financial statement to that effect, or at least hearing about it.

"Not even God himself could sink this ship!"

Brian Hall
Monday, February 17, 2003

Note for the above post: Cash on hand = cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments.

Brian Hall
Monday, February 17, 2003

I think that the Microsoft are slowly losing their monopoly.

Up until now they have been able to use the Windows tax to make buckets of money. 

Now less computers are being sold, and people aren't upgrading like they used too.

Now they have competition.  The key threat to the open source movement is that they cannot be brought out by Microsofts fortune.  If they were a commercial company, Bill could buy them out. 

The anti trust legal people are breathing down their neck.

Its worth repeating that Microsoft are now in the same position as IBM were.  The only difference is they are handling it better.  I'd say that the way such a big company has shifted focus so quickly is remarkable.

Even though IBM were unprepared for the rise of Microsoft and the Desktop, they are still a big healthy company.  I'm sure that Microsoft will continue to thrive without the gray train.

Ged Byrne
Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Take away Microsoft monopoly advantage and I think they will still have a huge market advantage: Microsoft Linux (with $40B pushing it) versus Red Hat Linux (in the black using accounting tricks).

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Yes, Microsoft has serious problems:

1> Their strongest competitor in the market place is a bunch of free products that are very high quality and support 99% of all the business need of most companies. No, I am not talking about OSS, I am talking about Windows 2000, Office 2000 and its kin that were already paid for. This is why a successful transition to the subscription system is make or break for the company.

2> OSS is a problem. While in many (most?) cases it lacks the maturity of the Microsoft offering, the reality is that it is often close to good enough, and the acquisition price is (short term) very low compared to the MS offering. This is the same situation we saw in the 80's with the PC/MS-DOS offering. Sure, it was not as nice as the Unices or Big Irons, but the price/features balance was very appealing. Same arguments could be made then about how TOC was really higher for a network of PC's, and how undeniably superior the traditional offering was etc., but we all know who took the market.

3> Europe is a serious problem. The European software scene is very different from the US market. In Europe the software industry is 100% consulting or in house shops. There is no off the shelf business to speak of. European economists and politicians will use the whole OSS model as an excuse to try to divert funds to the local industry. They will be more than happy to destroy Microsoft if they think they can get away with it without US trade retaliation.

4> Litigation. Microsoft has cash, and has become the major target of the US litigation industry. The legal scene is a huge and powerful industry that has to be fed, and it will not rest until it has emptied the trough.

5> Microsoft has for some time been taking the high road with innovation. This is a risky gambit. The market has to educated to be able to exploit these new technologies. To hit the sweet spot on this is very difficult. It will take most companies several years to come to grip with the stuff that is already in the current offerings. By that time these could be already commoditized.

6> Education is a problem. Most universities are, as one previous poster put it, breeding grounds for the anti-MS Jihad. This means the new graduates coming into the market (read low-cost) are trained in competitors’ products (Linux, Java, ...).

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, February 19, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home