Can Microsoft Resurrect Itself As A Consumer Brand?

David Goldman writes that Microsoft is living in the past. One of his sources is outgoing chief software architect Ray Ozzie, who has posted a heckuva farewell salute to his 90,000 comrades in the cubicles and cafeterias.

"Our early and clear vision notwithstanding, [competitors'] execution has surpassed our own in mobile experiences, in the seamless fusion of hardware & software & services, and in social networking & myriad new forms of Internet-centric social interaction," Ozzie wrote.

Analysts agree. "In this age, the race really is to the swift. You cannot afford to be an hour late or a dollar short," Laura DiDio, principal analyst at ITIC, tells Goldman. "Now the biggest question is: Can they make it in the 21st century and compete with Google and Apple?"

The poor executions include Internet Explorer Web browser, the Windows mobile platform (although Windows Phone 7 shows "promise"), the Zune media platform, Bing, Xbox, which was "outdueled by Nintendo," and, of course, Windows itself. Etc.

Ozzie's not the first to write about not working on Bill G's Farm no more, though he's certainly the highest on the food chain. Remember Encarta? Jennifer New certainly does. Check out this farewell from 1997. One wonders if superior products can really gain traction in a culture where fear and loathing pervade the halls.

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