Welcome!

PHP Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Hovhannes Avoyan, Lori MacVittie, Trevor Parsons

Blog Feed Post

Will Microsoft Survive until 2018?

Probably many of the readers of this post will read it because of the title. Provocative titles such as:" IT does not Matter" (Nicholas G. Carr, MIT), "The End of Corporate Computing"(Nicholas G Carr, MIT), "The End of the IT Department" (Neil MacDonald, Gartner Group) attract readers attention and sometimes trigger emotional reactions. By using provocative title you can make sure that your opinion and your arguments are read, noticed and commented at.

Many readers are probably sure that Microsoft will be a dominant market player on 2018; however my opinion is that the probability for scenario of that kind is less than 100%.

Let's go back in time to 1989. If someone would have written an article (no Blogs and Posts on that time) titled: Will DEC survive until 1999? And explain why DEC will not survive, he would have been mocked. Dec was the second or third largest IT vendor in the market. In the 90ths IT business model was changed from Hardware Centric Model to Software Centric Model. IBM, HP and DEC had to adapt to the new model. Adaptation required profound changes in business, organizational and technological aspects. For example IBM and DEC had to fire employees, which they never did before (DEC's CEO Ken Olsen resigned resisting the imperative firing). IBM and HP survived. DEC did not. It was acquired by Compaq which was acquired later by HP.

In analogy of the DEC case, one of the threats to Microsoft's survival is a Business Model change.

This threat and other threats were discussed by me in a presentation on 1995. Unsurprisingly its title was: Will Microsoft Survive until 2005?

My thesis was similar to the ideas presented in this post:

1. There is a probability higher than zero that the company will not survive (probably a very small probability).

2. A crisis will happen (e.g. Business Model change)

3. The company's ability to adapt to the crisis will decide its fate: survival like IBM or HP in the nineties or end of life same as DEC.

Following this thesis I tried to forecast future threats.

It is unrealistic to expect high correlation between IT predictions for 10 years and reality after that time.

Identified Threats in 1995

Let us look at the threats and reality:


Threat: Breakthrough in Desktop systems and/or Web interfaces which will question Microsoft's Desktop dominance.

Threat description and current status:

A new Desktop Operating System ("Doors") competing with Microsoft's Windows – Linux Desktop is only about 5% of Desktop market

Network Computer (NC) – NC failed but Server Based Computing and Thin and Ultra Thin Client architectures emerged.

Voice or other new Human Machine Interfaces as an enabler of a dominance of another Desktop Operating System – No significant change


A new Web interface as a threat to Desktop dominance – Microsoft survived the Browsers war. Netscape did not survive. FireFox is an alternative to Internet Explorer.

Web Services standards emerged and Microsoft (together with IBM) is a leader. Microsoft abandoned the unrealistic concept of Windows only World and opened interfaces to other platforms via Web Services and other methods.

Multitude of End User devices (e.g. Cellular, PDA etc.) are emerging, Mobile is replacing some of the PCs and it is no more a World of Servers and Desktops.

No conclusion yet about Mobile and Multi Devices effect on Consumer or End User devices market dominance.


Threat: Bill Gates. Microsoft's strategy was totally dependent upon Bill Gates. An Analyst described Microsoft's leaders at 1995 as chorus of monks' humming Bill Gates words. Dependence of Strategy Architecture and Roadmap on a single man is a threat because, everyone finally quit his job and even the most skilled can make strategic mistakes. Can the company remain a leading vendor when other people replace him?

Bill Gates is no longer Microsoft's CEO and his responsibilities are gradually transferred to other people. The results of Bill Gates departure from Microsoft should be evaluated few years after he will not be involved in the company's strategy and business. It seems like the gradual departure process reduce the threat.

Threat: Legal issues (Anti-Trust)

Other companies and governments could apply to court due to Microsoft's monopoly and binding strategy of products. This could lead to court decisions to divide the company or to restrict its activities.

The company had to address legal demands referring to it as an abusive monopoly. According to a judgment in the case of United States vs. Microsoft on 2000 the company should be divided into two companies Microsoft A (Applications) and Microsoft S (Operating Systems and Infrastructure). The company succeeded in settling it with no division to two companies.

It looks like after that traumatic verdict the company learned to better address other cases and build an image of less abusing monopoly.

Threat: Failures in new markets.

Microsoft's strategy is a growth strategy: entering to new markets and gradually becoming the 80 pounds gorilla of these markets. Multitude of failures may stop the company's growth and cause a crisis. In case of improper addressing of such a crisis the company's growth will be stopped and it could finally loose its leadership.

Remain to be seen.

Threat: Stock value going down significantly

The company employed young people retiring in their thirties. The employees worked hard and received high payments. Options were a significant part of the payments. As long as Microsoft's stock rate increased the options were attractive. If stocks rate will go down for a significant time then the model could be ineffective and the company could collapse .

The number of employees is significantly higher. No longer retirement in thirties.

Microsoft's stock rate did not decreased consistently.


Threat; Company Image changed to less attractive image

Less attractive company will not be able to attract the most talented young people. This threat could be correlated with Failures in new markets and Stock value going down significantly.

Younger and more innovative companies (e.g. Google) are more attractive but Microsoft is still attractive.


New threats and threats not identified in 1995

The current two significant threats which were not identified by me on 1995 are Internet as a Platform (see my posts on Web 2.0 for dummies) and the Open Source communities. These two threats are a Business Model change and are related to each other.

Ideally, Open Source change the model of software licenses fees to a model of software services incomes. If this model will become the dominant model it could harm Microsoft's core revenues.

Web 2.0 and future Web 3.0, Web 3D, Web 4.0 is platform independent and community model. Revenues model is usually not based upon software licenses.


Will Microsoft survive till 2018?

The probability that at least three of the four leading SOA Ecosystems vendor will survive is very high. Microsoft is one of these vendors. Looking at the future threats of 1995 it looks like the company coped well with many of the threats realized. Microsoft as well as other two SOA ecosystem leaders (IBM and Oracle) has a variety of product lines and is a leader in some of these markets (e.g. Operating Systems, Development Environments, Office Systems, Databases ). IBM is a leader in Integration, Development Environments, Mainframe, Databases, UNIX, Servers, Storage and Outsourcing. Open Source is not a significant threat to IBM due to its participation in Open Source projects and its ability to provide professional services in addition to products. Oracle is the database market leader, CRM, ERP, Development Environment and Integration leader (BEA acquisition strengthened its position in the integration market see my post Oracle BEA acquisition: SOA perspective). Oracle is also an advocate of Open Source and participates in some of the Open Source initiatives. The forth SOA Eco Systems vendor SAP is the ERP market leader and a CRM leader. SAP will probably also survive unless it will be acquired by IBM.


Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Avi Rosenthal

Ari has over 30 years of experience in IT across a wide variety of technology platforms, including application development, technology selection, application and infrastructure strategies, system design, middleware and transaction management technologies and security.

Positions held include CTO for one of the largest software houses in Israel as well as the CTO position for one of the largest ministries of the Israeli government.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...