Microsoft has essentially admitted that it cannot function any more. They obviously didn't send out PR announcements proclaiming this, but nonetheless, they have now made it clear.
First and foremost is the CEO selection. They are now saying February at the earliest and apparently only a few insiders have any interest in the job at all.
Microsoft: Waiting For New CEO Decision In Order To Buy - Seeking Alpha
Basically it is clear that no white knight is going to ride in to save Microsoft. It is not clear at this moment that they can find a reasonable CEO at all.
The most damning evidence of Microsoft's impending demise is from Windows uber-pundit, Paul Thurrott:
"Threshold" to be Called Windows 9, Ship in April 2015
Paul makes it clear that Windows 9 development won't even start until April 2014. Worse, the April 2015 date is clearly absurd. The relatively modest Windows 8.1 update took Microsoft about a year to develop. They claimed it took 9 months, but it was extremely buggy and they spent an additional 3 months desperately trying to get it into shape before the Holiday 2014 season. In the end, most systems were still shipping with Windows 8, simply promising the free upgrade.
Here's the sort of thing Microsoft is promising for Windows 9:
- Unification of Windows Phone and Windows RT.
- "Metro" apps run in windows on the Windows desktop.
- Start Button returns for real.
All of this sounds great... one wonders why they did not do this to begin with. But they simply cannot deliver this by April 2015. April 2016 is much more likely. Part of the problem here is that Microsoft is bound to be bleeding employees (especially the talented ones). The longer this goes on, the less talent they have to work with. Ask yourself, would you take a job with Microsoft at this point?
Back in July, I wrote Microsoft Begins Death Spiral, predicting that things would come to a head in February 2014 (with the release of sales figures and earnings). I really don't need to wait for the numbers. Whether or not the stock market sees this in February, it is now clear that Microsoft is past the point of no return. When the best they can promise is to fix everything in April 2015 (a date which no developer will believe) it is clearly over. It will take a while for Microsoft to truly die, but at least at this point it appears to be happening faster than I would have predicted. Most enterprises already have at least some Linux in house for servers. All of the big names (Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc.) use Linux, not Windows. Consumer software is already moving to tablets and the web. Enterprises have been switching to web-based internal apps for quite some time. We all just need to realize that we really don't need Windows anymore.
As a long-term Windows developer, this stirs up a lot of emotion in me. I really need to stop covering Microsoft. They will of course appear in Market Share news and I might write an article like how to access legacy systems from your Chromebook, but I just don't want to write about Microsoft's death throes. I really thought they would go out fighting, but it looks like they'll go out with a whimper.
And again, from the perspective of this blog... it is for developers and related people... Microsoft really isn't very interesting anymore. It make sense to largely stop coverage.
Here's a selection of news from the last two days showing Microsoft dying:
Is it Game Over for Microsoft? - January 10, 2014 - Zacks.com
CES 2014: Microsoft and the PC have seen better days | Microsoft - CNET News
Reports: PC sales decline by 10% but Chromebooks climb 112% - Liliputing
Biggest hurdle to overcome with Windows 9: The dead end | ZDNet
Now, understand this is the rather pro-Microsoft "The Verge" dissing Microsoft:
Closing Windows: Microsoft and its platforms are nowhere to be found at CES | The Verge
This next is one of many articles saying Windows has to be made free, at least for consumers.
Windows 9, price and Microsoft's Innovator's Dilemma | ZDNet
Here's a post that tries to paint a good face on Microsoft's chances in 2014. Read it for yourself; see if you find even one of the things he is touting as a reasonable chance for Microsoft to improve things in 2014.
What to expect from Microsoft in 2014 - The Next Web