Microsoft, Past and Future: Gruber provides some remarkable analysis of Microsoft’s heydey, and what happened.
“A computer on every desk and in every home” was incredible foresight for 1977. It carried Microsoft for 25 years of growth. But once that goal was achieved, I don’t think they knew where to go. They were like the dog that caught the car. […]
No company today has reach or influence anything like what Microsoft had during the golden era of the PC. Not Apple, not Google, and not Microsoft itself [emphasis mine – Deane]. I don’t think Ballmer ever came to grips with that. Ballmer’s view of the company solidified when it dominated the entire industry, and he never adjusted.
He’s right. Microsoft did some amazing things in the 90s – as far as technology goes, I’d wager that they simply owned that entire decade. But where do you go from there? I don’t think they knew.
I remember them fumbling around about a decade ago with what “.Net” meant. Remember Hailstorm? Then ASP+. Then a bunch of other iterations. They kept running around in circles, and essentially abandoned the decade of the singles to Google, Apple, and Facebook.