Charlie Demerjian paints a depressing picture of Microsoft’s past failings and how they all add up to a company that’s entering (or is close to entering) a death-spiral. This paragraph in particular is brutal in its summary:
So here we sit, Microsoft has utterly failed in phones, utterly failed in tablets, and is seen as a has been by the next generation. The company can point to technical superiority all day, but people aren’t buying. Windows 8 itself seems to be dropping sales of PCs too, and that will have a knock on effect to their server OS as well, something that is also losing share at a frightening pace. To stop the decline after only losing the majority of their marketshare, Microsoft took the unfathomable move of forcing a touch UI on servers. If this doesn’t make clear the depths of how lost Microsoft is, and how reactionary their fixes are, nothing will.
It’s really sad to see how Microsoft has been consistently failing to do almost anything right these last 10+ years (their XBox brand seems to be the lone exception). We need strong competition in the personal computing space to foster innovation, and it’s sad to see one of the biggest players fumble quite so badly in this regard.
And it’s hard not to point the finger at Ballmer and Microsoft’s insanely machiavellian office politics for an explanation why one of the richest companies in the world (both in terms of money and engineering talent) could appear to be so utterly incompetent. They were in a position to be first in both the smartphone and tablet race, but they fumbled it.