Worth reading: BusinessWeek has a good package on what ails Microsoft--innovation stagnation, slow product development, sagging morale, too much bureaucracy and slower growth (but record profits). Included in the package in an in-depth interview with CEO Steve Ballmer, who of course disputes the notion that Microsoft is struggling. "We've got the greatest pipeline in the company's history in the next 12 months, and we've had the most amazing financial results possible over the last five years, and we're predicting being back at double-digit revenue growth in fiscal year '06'," Ballmer said. He also talks about 'winning' the Web, which means beating Google, Yahoo and other Web-centric companies like it vanquished IBM and others in previous decades.
Microsoft has always stood out as the most competitive company in the business--win at almost any cost. This time around Microsoft isn't the small, fleet company in the equation. The DOJ, which didn't do much to curb Microsoft's appetite, can't protect the company from new computing models that encroach on the sacred Windows and Office franchises. The next five years will be a tipping point--either Microsoft manages to radically morph itself once again or it will become a legacy company milking its installed base. My bet is that Microsoft won't win the Web (no one should or can monopolize the Web, given it is an open platform that belongs to the users), but it will be in the thick of the fight for delivering tools, applications and services over the next decade.