An interesting, but flawed, New York Times article. The comparison between Cisco and Apple is not valid. Cisco’s market capitalization peak came during a bubble in 2000. Apple’s current price was attained with the world economy still mired in the effects of a recession.
Microsoft Is Forgetting History
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” — George Santayana
Let’s talk about the past. Windows 3.0, released in 1990, was the first version of Microsoft’s GUI OS that PC users actually wanted to use. It was the beachhead of the Redmond invasion. But in 1990, Microsoft was an outsider in the office productivity market. WordPerfect and Lotus 123 dominated word processing and spreadsheets in the DOS world.
Unfortunately, both of those companies failed to grasp that a paradigm shift in the way that people interact with computers was underway, a shift pioneered in the marketplace by Apple with the Macintosh. When they finally did release Windows versions of their products, both were poorly received because neither company “got it” when it came to GUIs. This product void was quickly filled by Microsoft’s Word and Excel and the market leadership of WordPerfect and Lotus virtually evaporated overnight.
Today another shift is taking place and Microsoft is the company that doesn’t “get it”. Actually, they haven’t gotten it for awhile, but the popularity of tablet computing, and the iPad in particular, is the tipping point that they are blind to. People are discovering that Office is no longer a “have to have” necessity.
I misread the tile of this blog post the first time I read it — it’s ‘miss’, not ‘mess’, but my misinterpretation stands. Patrick Rhone perfectly explains something that has been percolating in my mind for awhile now. I’m not a casual user; I use spreadsheets and documents every day in my work. But in a year of using my iPad, I’ve found that the iWork suite meets my needs the majority of the time. Even when I’m not using my iPad, I now find myself firing up iWork or Google Docs more frequently than Office.
Ironically, thanks to Microsoft, I don’t need Microsoft Office. By not offering an iOS version of their productivity suite, Microsoft has inadvertently weaned me off of my addiction.
You need a very product-oriented culture, even in a technology company.