16 June 2006

The Decline and Fall of the Microsoft Empire

The announcement that Bill Gates will "transition out of a day-to-day role" at Microsoft is no great shock: he was gradually inching in that direction. But once he has gone, and Steve Ballmer is left completely on his own, things are likely to go downhill pretty fast.

After all, Ballmer is not a man of vision (Gates may often have had the wrong vision, but at least he had one). He's a salesman. As this article suggests, he may well go soon too. That would leave the company even more adrift: it would simply become a huge, hugely-successful, convicted monopolist, adrift in a world very different from the one that it exploited so successfully.

The acme of the Microsoft empire was August 24, 1995, when Windows 95 was launched. Since then, it's been sliding. Soon it'll tank.

Update: It seems that Scoble has some related thoughts, together with a nice graph of the plunging share price.

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