Reality Check

Reality Check

April 19, 2013

Is Microsoft back?

By Robert Hashemian, Vice President of Web Development

The answer to that headline question is "not really". Microsoft (News - Alert) reported quarterly earnings last night that slightly beat the average street expectations and beat by 19% its earnings from the same quarter last year.

Obviously the company continues to mint money ($6.06 billion during last quarter), but does that mean that its future is rosy? With the PC sales down 14% in the first quarter and Windows 8 hardly being a favorite of the masses it is difficult to project thriving times ahead for Microsoft.

It's true that the company has retooled its products to serve the emerging and fast growing mobile market with Surface and RT but a 5% market share is hardly something to get excited about for a company that commands a 97% market share on desktops. Of course 82% of those desktops and laptops sport Windows 7 or Windows XP and many (including myself) have no desire to migrate to Windows 8.

The fact is that Microsoft is good at spotting trends and trying catch a ride on those waves, but its success record is spotty as evident by its online ventures (read Bing) which to this day bleeds  money.

Microsoft may recapture its glory days again, perhaps if Bill Gates (News - Alert) is brought back to drag it out of its current doldrums. But some recent examples seem to point at a company that is trying hard to be everything to everyone and faltering along the way.

Take Silverlight, the much ballyhooed and promoted product positioned to compete with Flash and other Web technologies. It failed to capture the interest of most users and developers (myself included) and with companies such as Netflix dropping support in favor of the newer technologies such as HTML5, Silverlight is now headed for oblivion, purportedly in 2021 when Microsoft will end support for it. Something tells me the end for Silverlight is already here.


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