Let’s call it what it is. A massacre of epic proportions. Apple led the effort that ended up killing Microsoft’s mobile device business. Windows Phone, Microsoft Surface Pro, even the various flavors of Windows 8.x. All dead on arrival.
Who’s to blame for Microsoft’s near mortal wounds? To be fair, many wounds are self inflicted, easily blamed on former CEO Steve Ballmer who failed miserably to diversify the Windows and Office giant.
The Comatose Giant
Microsoft hasn’t been a lumbering giant in the 21st century. It hasn’t even been a sleeping giant. No, Microsoft is best described as a comatose giant.
While Microsoft seemed paralyzed by a wicked combination of success and failure (making tens of billions in Windows and Office profits, only to lose tens of billions on ill-advised ventures and projects which yielded only financial losses), Apple rebuilt itself and the future.
Think about what Apple has done in the 21st century, so far, and, by comparison what Microsoft has accomplished.
Apple launched a chain of successful and profitable retail stores throughout the world. Along came iTunes, the iPod, the iTunes Music Store, a switch to Intel CPUs for the Mac, Apple TV, the iPhone, the iPhone App Store, the Mac App Store, the iPad.
Meanwhile, Microsoft spent tens of billions on various and sundry acquisitions which yielded no profits or return on investment. Xbox, Bing, Zune, Surface, Windows 8, Kin, Bob, Windows CE, Windows Tablets and Pen (not to mention the failures in the last century).
Apple led the revolution of mobile devices and set the standard for smartphones and tablets in the 21st century, and Microsoft has yet to recover. Microsoft’s mobile device business is all but dead. Windows Phone and Surface tablet notebook hybrids have negligible marketshare and mounting losses.
Despite mobile and online versions of cash cow Office, Microsoft’s mobile business is dead. The company needs to stick with what it does best. Milking the past, following Apple, and losing money on non-Windows and Office ventures.