If you were ever looking for evidence that Web 2.0 is a bubble because its leading players live in a fantasy land, a world were reality and Venture Capital rarely meet, much like the players in Web 1.0 land did, let me introduce Paul Graham from Y Combinator who thinks Microsoft is dead.
If Microsoft is dead then I’m the Queen of England and I hereby demand that you all bow before me and call me “Your Highness”.
1. Google killed Microsoft
3. Broadband Internet
Now try this quote on for size:
“The last nail in the coffin came, of all places, from Apple. Thanks to OS X, Apple has come back from the dead in a way that is extremely rare in technology.  Their victory is so complete that I’m now surprised when I come across a computer running Windows. Nearly all the people we fund at Y Combinator use Apple laptops. It was the same in the audience at startup school. All the computer people use Macs or Linux now. Windows is for grandmas, like Macs used to be in the 90s. So not only does the desktop no longer matter, no one who cares about computers uses Microsoft’s anyway.”
Firstly, as a Windows user, my immediate message to Mr Graham: f*ck you.
Secondly, lets step out of fantasy land and take a look at the real world, the one in which Graham quite clearly doesn’t live.
According to PC World April 6, Apple’s marketshare: 6.08%. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, it declined in March.
Now that’s not to take away from the Mac, it’s clearly a good product, however over 9 out of 10 people use Windows. Does this sound like Apple has killed Windows? Graham thinks it does, but he probably believes in faires at the bottom of the garden as well…that and that 9 out of 10 people are grandmas.
Micorsoft is alive and mostly well. Has it clearly failed in a range of endevours? absolutely, Microsoft’s internet strategy sucks and most people will take that for a given. Zune? do most people even know what a Zune is? probably not. Was the Vista development program a shambles? yes.
But take a look past this: Windows still powers most computers, at nearly monopoly levels. Windows dominates non-console gaming (try playing the latest game on a Mac). The XBox 360 is a huge success, and in 2-3 years time may be in a duopoly market with Nintendo. Office, despite the threat of online alternatives, still powers along, and certainly in the real world has nothing to fear in the next couple of years at least. Microsoft hardware (keyboards etc) must sell pretty well because you can’t walk into a store and not see them. Developer choice? most, nearly all programs are written to run on the Windows platform first and foremost, and whilst there is a pick up in Mac development, Windows software development continues to thrive…conversely if it was slowing this would be a sign of a move away from the platform, simply there isn’t.
I’m sure I could list a pile of other areas that Microsoft thrives that aren’t internet or Zune related, but surely this is enough.
Microsoft is alive and kicking and has many years left in the marketplace. Has it passed its glory days? possibly, but there’s a world of difference between a mature company that’s passed its peak and one that is dead or dying.