Thursday, September 12, 2013

Microsoft Died at the IDF

I don't mean that you won't be able to get Windows for the next several years, or that very large enterprises won't still be sending Microsoft a lot of money for a while. What I do mean is that Microsoft's death spiral, that I've been talking about for a while, is likely no longer stoppable. Microsoft might live on as IBM did after its fall, but their plunge, destroying Windows and its entire ecosystem, is now pretty much a given.

Take a look at this slide from the second keynote at Intel's Developer Forum Wednesday. You can be certain that the ordering is not an accident. Look where Windows is!

Now you might say that I'm making too much out of one slide. But things like this went on the entire event. Simply put, Intel and the OEM's have rebelled. They have made it clear they are not waiting for Microsoft to fix its Windows 8 mess... they are moving on to other platforms _now_. They haven't abandoned Windows yet, but are making it very clear that could happen.

I'm far from alone in believing Intel was sending that message. Consider these articles (I've shown some excerpts, but I strongly encourage you to read the full articles to get the full effect):

First let's take a look at a report from someone that attended the whole show... you really need to click through to this, the text is hard to summarize and there are numerous pictures:

DailyTech - IDF 2013: Intel Distances Itself From Windows 8, Microsoft

He makes six major points about the deterioration of Wintel.

The major point is that Intel and the OEMs were clearly down playing their relationship with Microsoft.


Now let's turn to another source, Windows pundit, Paul Thurrott. He's recently realized that Chrome Apps + Chromebooks represent a serious threat to Microsoft, so his first article is about his alarm at seeing Intel feature Chromebooks:

In New Attack on Windows, Chromebook Heads to Intel "Haswell"
The most troubling aspect of this to me, and the reason I will now watch this much more closely, is that so many of Microsoft's PC maker partners—Acer, ASUS HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba—will be shipping devices that are essentially PCs by the end of 2013 ... that do not run Windows. I assume that the new Haswell-based machines will be fairly expensive—$500 to $800, or whatever—and that they will complement the low-end (and very inexpensive) devices currently in market. They will in other words represent a new front in this suddenly expanded war against Microsoft and Windows.
He'll probably go catatonic when he learns that the HP Haswell Chromebook will sell for $299.

The next day, he turns to Tami Reller's bad job of defending Windows at IDF:

With PC Market Shrinking, Microsoft Looks Again to New Windows, New Intel Chips
Last year, Microsoft shipped Windows 8 and Windows RT, as well as Surface Pro and Surface RT, and partnered with Intel and various PC makers to deliver a first generation of touch Ultrabooks and so-called hybrid PCs. This year, Microsoft is shipping Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1, and Surface Pro 2 and Surface 2, and is partnering with Intel and various PC makers to deliver a second generation of touch Ultrabooks and so-called hybrid PCs.
Albert Einstein is widely quoted as saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And the past year has been a bloodbath for the PC industry, with the worst year-over-year sales dropoff in the history of the industry. Where analysts were once expecting PC makers to hit annual sales of 400 million units, total sales in 2013 will be just above 300 million units.
But Intel, like the PC makers, is no longer putting all its eggs in the one Windows basket. Haswell chips will power a new generation of Chromebooks based on Google's Chrome OS. And Google has signed up more PC makers to make these devices, too: Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba are all shipping, or will soon be shipping, Chromebooks. 
That's right: Six of the world's biggest Windows PC makers are selling competitors to Windows. You know, maybe this year isn't anything like last year.


And there are others:

Indeed almost any mention I've seen of Chromebooks at IDF mentions a fading of Wintel.

Now combine this information with other recent news stories like these:

What you see is a Microsoft that is out of control. It's CEO is a lame duck. The board seems to support the strategy of "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Even IF they can find someone who wants to take the CEO job, AND IF the board doesn't tie his/her hands, AND IF the CEO quickly forms a plan AND IF they company gets behind it and pushes hard, they still cannot have a better holiday season in 2014 than the bad one they will have this year. There just isn't enough time to fix things. One could easily believe they couldn't fix things even by holiday season 2016.

By the end of 2014 the bulk of the Developers, Partners and OEMs that made up the Wintel ecosystem will have moved on, leaving Microsoft to milk the rapidly dwindling remnants of once great Wintel duopoly.

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