Nadella’s challenge: Saving Microsoft | ZDNet

Nadella’s challenge: Saving Microsoft | ZDNet.

So, here’s how I see it coming out. Microsoft will continue to be a giant company, but it will prove unable to dominate the mobile and cloud markets the way it has the desktop market. Without that domination, Microsoft will stagnate and start to fall behind the other technology giants.”

I agree. Only I think its stagnation has been going on longer than suggested, and I’m basing my argument on the difficulty it’s seemingly had in attracting and retaining effectual talent. I don’t doubt that the company appeals to many around the world who have other choices. But are those then hired and, better yet, listened to? Do they write to their friends and express the intense excitement they feel working for a company that’s doing interesting and even adventurous work and making them feel important doing it? (Is there anything that MSFT has done recently that would catch the eye of a brilliant developer who wants to make a difference and feel good about doing it? Any new or novel technology that is not just a copy, an emulation, a Disney-fication of something a little wilder–“disruptive”– but so much more original?)

Sure, enterprises, public sector and private, will continue to buy Microsoft. And SJV-N is right about Azure and Excel, and these will continue to earn MSFT money. But no one complained or complained that Blackberry’s network was terrible or that its email system failed. They critiqued it and first consumers then, massively, enterprises, stopped buying its products because the company demonstrated an inability to be relevant, even to understand what being relevant meant. Yes, I’m echoing the student complaint of the 60s. But they were approaching education–probably not for the first time–as consumers demanding products that mattered to them.

I don’t think MSFT can do what I did with OpenOffice, if only because the brand is so deeply etched into modernity’s consciousness and its size is so vast, much larger than empires: Which was to take a dull office suite a tool for office worker oppression and turn it into a tool for all workers’ freedom.