According to the Associated Press, Microsoft may be posting their first quarterly loss in the 26 years since they’ve been traded as a public company.
Is this the beginning of the end? If so, the “end” of Microsoft as we know it still won’t come for many years. But, as many industry insiders have predicted, the string of bad decisions and lack of innovation had to catch up to the corporate behemoth at some point.
Unfortunately, the only emotion I can convey is one there is no English word for…but there is a German word…you may have heard it: schadenfreude. It means to take pleasure in the misfortune of another. How can I possibly feel this way? What about potential jobs lost? I believe in the technology industry, as it still continues to grow at an outstanding rate, any lost jobs will be recovered in more successful sectors of tech. There will be minimal or no net loss in the end, as if you stop buying Microsoft Windows, you will start buying Mac OS (for example).
So why the deep feelings of joy and happiness? Microsoft has been profiting hugely off the misfortunes of others for many years. Including school systems (which they were ordered to pay reparations to for illegally overcharging them…schools?! Really?!). Also, the QuickTime video code stolen from Apple in the 1990’s. Microsoft was able to shield themselves legally from this by hiring a small firm called “Red Canyon Software” to develop its “Video for Windows” product. Why would a multi-billion dollar software giant with the largest R&D budget of any tech company in the known universe need to hire a 3-person company to develop such key technology? Deniability. Losing market share to Apple’s QuickTime video technology needed a “no holds barred” solution…Steal it, I imagine were the words between the lines in that RFP.
Finally, Bill Gates, sitting in front of US Lawmakers when defending Microsoft from findings that they abused their market dominating monopoly by unfairly “weaving” their Internet Explorer web browser deeply into the OS. Effectively locking out any competing web browser (e.g. Netscape). What did Mr. Gates tell them when they threatened split their browser business from the rest of Microsoft as a punishment? Bill Gates sat there with a straight face and explained that by decoupling Internet Explorer from the OS and making the browser technology modular, they would be “setting back” technology progress many many years.
Don’t we always like to believe what goes around comes around…
Welcome to the red zone guys.