Let’s face it, the past thirteen years of Microsoft have been a lost decade for the company. Ever since Steve Ballmer took over from Bill Gates, Microsoft has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It severely miscalculated search engines and as a result, Google is the number one search engine on the planet instead of Bing. In addition to that, Microsoft missed the boat on portable music digital players and as a result, the iPod is a household word and nobody remembers the Microsoft Zune.
Never to break a losing streak, Microsoft then proceeded to miss the train on tablets and smartphones. The truth is Microsoft has become too big, too slow and too bureaucratic to truly keep up with innovations in the hardware and software industry. It is fighting several wars on several fronts except for the notable exception of some of its cloud computing properties and the Xbox. Microsoft has been pretty much out of the game. Of course, it’s still the number one operating system player in the world and nobody can sneeze at that market position. Regardless, we all know that in the tech world, everything moves so fast. Somebody who’s the top dog now may be on its way out tomorrow. If you don’t believe me, just ask the guys at Blackberry or Nokia. See a pattern there?
The truth is in technology, you really can’t take things for granted and apparently, as much as Steve Ballmer has been trying to push Microsoft to be more competitive and be more nimble, it has just been outmaneuvered by its competition. In fact, it seems like it’s completely out of its league because we are talking in the world of digital mobile and social networking. Companies like Facebook, Google and many smaller companies are just completely outclassing, outrunning and out evolving Microsoft. Despite all this grim prognostication, we tend to believe Steve Ballmer’s most recent letter to Microsoft’s shareholders. It is also his last letter to shareholders because as you already know, he is stepping down. Ballmer, in so many words, said that Microsoft’s best days or if you want to put it this way; its golden age is still in the future. We tend to believe him. Why? Microsoft is not exactly starting from square one. It has tons of money in the bank, massive name recognition, solid talent pool and a massive marketing network. In other words, it has all the parts it needs to create a Ferrari but it was contenting itself to produce Ford Pintos for so long. It just takes the right leadership and more importantly, the right vision to steer Microsoft in the right direction.
As much as Steve Ballmer haters want to bash Ballmer for the lost decade Microsoft is suffering from, we don’t think that it’s completely fair because as we’ve written earlier, one of the reasons Steve Ballmer was promoted and Bill Gates stepped down was the fact that Microsoft was facing a lot of political heat at the turn of the last century. As a result, we could say that Bill Gates was still exerting a lot of influence behind closed doors and behind the scenes so let’s not just put Microsoft’s dismal stock performance at the feet of Steve Ballmer. Sure, he is partly responsible but it’s not completely his fault. Let’s just hope that Microsoft can get its acts together. Another reason we’re hopeful is the fact that if Yahoo can get its act together, then Microsoft definitely can.