IBM 1980 = Microsoft 2000 ?

by Volker Weber

Aaron Goldberg is writing about the same parallels that I have used in many discussions:

Microsoft has contracted the same disease IBM had in the mid-'80s. It's called screw-your-customer-itis. The symptoms go from the ill-timed price hikes last year disguised as license changes to the poorly executed, capricious end-of-life announcements for key products to the carnage they've left in the "Windows-compatible" software business.

I also think that Microsoft will hit a downslope like IBM did in the 80s. It isn't going to happen next year, but if they continue on their current path it might hit them five years down the road. Currently they have pissed off so many people that in some cases they actually have to buy back their business from organizations on the way into the Linux camp.

Adding new features won't help. In many respects they are feature-wise way above their customers. Most of the people I know don't even care to enter any metadata like author, title, abstract and so forth into their documents. Are those people ready for digital rights restrictions management? I don't think so. Yes, the entertainment industry is. So if they are Microsoft's customers, everything is in fine shape.

Of course this is all not inevitable. IBM has proven that you can turn that ship around and I have no doubt that Microsoft can do the same. But they need to be serious about it and they will need a long time to regain trust.


Had?...what do you mean, IBM had??? IBM still have this mentality - the extraordinay price increases of Lotus Notes licences over the last 3 years are a testament to that!

Colin Williams, 2003-05-23

What if people started to use Windows alternatives and subsequently MS core business suffered? What other products does MS have to offer to keep up it's business? Keyboards and y-boxes? Passport? Hotmail? MSN? MS-Office? Groove?
Every MS product is Windows-related. If it's core business sneezes, the whole MS corp starts to catch a bad cold. In a year or two from now, I wouldn't be surprised to find MS trapped in a accelerating downward spiral. That's why MS representatives try everything they can to stop the trend.

Moritz Schroeder, 2003-05-23

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