Is it too late for Microsoft?

Today was Day 1 of the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Orlando, Florida. In a keynote address, Gartner’s Peter Sondegaard made the statement that most enterprises won’t consider updating their PC operating systems until at least 2016. He said there is no compelling business reason to update sooner.  Four years. In today’s age, that’s a lifetime.

If you think that’s just Gartner that has this position, in a TechCrunch article just out today, Forrester stated that the switch to Windows 8 won’t take place for two more years. Two years. That’s half a lifetime.

Consider this, as recently as two years ago, Blackberry dominated the business smartphone market. Today, they struggle to survive as they watch their market share plummet.

Microsoft, it seems, has missed the window where the world decided that mobile and tablet are excellent alternatives to a fixed PC. They were probably two years too late in getting Windows 8 out the door. Even if Microsoft continues to dominate the PC market, what will it matter if the world has turned away from that format?


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Categories: Disruption

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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5 Comments on “Is it too late for Microsoft?”

  1. October 22, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Interesting post Chris,

    Historically, very few businesses that had such commanding leads in a technology can make the leadership transition to the next generation of technology. Several reasons for this – the oversized profits from a strong competitive position incent and speed up the creation of lower cost substitutes. The dominant firm initially doesn’t want to cannibalize it’s high margin line for the lower margin substitute. By the time the once dominant firm wakes up to an actual declining market, it’s often too late to get ahead of the curve.

  2. Max
    October 23, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    Tom’s point is very true. Kodak is one of the good example. They would prefer to be the market leader rather than the follower. It has the option of totally miss out a trend and jump ahead to create the next trend; or running behind playing the catch-up game. Depending on its strategy, in order to portray as innovative player, the second option is definitely not a smart move. However, is it possible to take the first option and totally ignore the second option? What are the risks? Can the company sustain them? There are whole lot of strategic questions. It is always hard to let go of the cash cow before a star is born.

  3. Craig J Willis
    October 23, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    Playing the skeptic here, Microsoft is far from being a one dimensional Desktop OS only vendor. Aside from their success in the business area they have a very large presence in the consumer games market and do very well through Android licensing.

    It’s true that there is no compelling reason to upgrade to Win8 in the very near future because they largely delivered what everyone wanted with Win7 a robust, easy to use and performant OS. That buys a lot of trust and, while it’s cool to speculate on the next tech casualty, there are still a lot of people out there that have not bought into the tablet market yet.

  4. October 23, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    But it is really interesting that when asked, Microsoft insists that Windows 8 is a consumer-facing product. They’re trying to capitalize on the consumerization of IT trend that has worked so well for Android and Apple. But the consumerization trend was against microsoft…so they can’t really expect to ride a trend that were already the loser of…

  5. October 24, 2012 at 6:05 am #

    It became too late for Microsoft when they put Steve Balmer in charge and killed innovation.

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