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Back to the Future, Microsoft is IBM, circa 1980’s-early 1990’s

March 23, 2006

In 2012, my prediction has come true, although IBM is guilty of the same process of stacking reviews of people killing employee morale and innovation.

Original Article here:

History is reliving itself.

Take a dominant company with a large market share with essentially a proprietary product and have it grow to a large enough size based on a subscription or renewal/upgrade model, and you have either pre-Gerstner IBM or Microsoft today.

Peter Drucker has made very relevant descriptions of how companies reach plateaus and either change, tread water or decline. I’m not an analyst, but I can’t help notice that Microsoft is following a similar path that IBM lead in the late 80’s/early 90’s .

I have questions after hearing Vista is delayed, like how long can you miss your product introductions and keep credibility happy customers before they search for options (Linux, Workplace, name your new desktop platform here)? Um Bill, when Lou Gerstner took the reigns, people who missed deadlines had a career decision made for them as opposed to the pre-Lou years when things just went as they went. Look where that got us.

How long before external issues begat internal strife? Mini-Microsoft describes some management issues here calling for the leadership to be fired now.

How long before it affects your other products like Office? (StarOffice, OpenOffice anyone?)

Peter would be rolling in his grave right now to see this happening all over again. IBM went through this and almost didn’t survive. I’m not predicting a company death here, but if something doesn’t change, the market will change it for them as we vote with our dollars. Doesn’t anyone learn from history?

There are too many competitors out there today Microsoft, I know Steve Ballmer is firing shots across the bow at IBM, but I think that Oracle, Apple, Google and a host of others have more marketshare in mind than gathering crumbs under the Microsoft Thanksgiving table. Next time you shoot at IBM, you should look in the mirror and think if the following words mean anything to you? They do to the customers, the industry and history…..

Proprietary, Monopolistic, Bureaucratic, Schizophrenic about the competition.

Competition is good. It promotes Innovation and lower prices, oh yeah, it delivers your products on time or you get a career decision made for you.

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