Paul Graham recently published an article entitled Microsoft is dead. He claims that Microsoft is no longer a threat to other companies and mentions four things that supposedly killed the company: Google, Ajax, Apple and broadband.
Even though I find the article interesting, I don’t subscribe entirely to his point of view. Yes, Microsoft is a lesser presence these days than a decade ago, but far from dead. They are one of the most profitable companies in existence, their browser Internet Explorer is arguably the most widely used software application in the history of computing and they are continuously releasing new software with a ridiculously large user base.
In fact, Internet Explorer 6 is cursed by developers all around the world, including me, but six years after it’s release it is still the most popular browser with almost 50% of the users.
Graham also states that the desktop is dead as a target platform. Again, I beg to differ. Even though very advanced things can be done on the web with great interactivity and efficiency, I still think that desktop applications will survive for several years to come. I believe applications such as WPF and Apollo are leading the way to a place where the desktop and web can co-exist in a friendly manner. Even Jason from 37signals writes I’d rather be Microsoft than Yahoo.
The death of Microsoft? More like another step in the reformation that took off with Ray Ozzie a few years ago.