updated 10:25 am EST, Thu December 24, 2009
MS seen slow, outpaced by Apple and Google
Microsoft has reversed positions with IBM and is no longer fast or innovative, former executive and now Google employee Don Dodge says. He views the company as "like IBM was in 1985" and ready to be passed by a nimbler company such as Apple, Facebook or Google. It still has an advantage in some areas, particularly development and software, but it now has major competitors in most areas and in some cases has been eclipsed.
"Very few companies can dominate an industry for more than 20 years," Dodge explains to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "It is just the natural competitive cycle."
He adds that having the company founders active and in charge is important to the company dynamic and that Microsoft has lost this with Paul Allen and more recently Bill Gates having left their daily roles. Google is helped by Larry Page and Sergey Brin still working at the company, while Steve Jobs continues to helm Apple.
Of the failures, he points most directly to Windows Mobile and says it's "obviously behind" not just the iPhone but Android as well, as both have more modern interfaces and in Android's case uses a significantly different licensing model. Windows Vista is also considered a "disappointment" but has been somewhat redeemed by Windows 7.
Dodge nonetheless predicts that Microsoft will face trouble in other areas and in 2010 is likely to lose many traditional Office customers to web-based Google technologies like Gmail and Google Apps as they decide to use the cheaper, more frequently updated web tools in place of costly offline software.