Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce.com writes in a CNN Money article, that Microsoft is dead.
He writes Today’s customers do want far more. In contrast to the innovation stagnation at Microsoft, Apple is delivering in a profound way. And, having taken a music player and transforming it to change the way we all use the Net, Apple (AAPL) dominates the current mobile paradigm. Facebook, as the single most popular app on the net today, is also training the future users of computing. In many ways it is becoming the new connector of everything on the Internet with universal like. And as it nears half a billion users and is growing faster than ever before, it’s only a matter of time before a billion people use this new way to communicate. Everything about Facebook, the app, the entire ecosystem around it, and all of the user’s data and metadata is in the cloud. It’s a 100% pure Internet app. Most importantly, none of it is written with any Microsoft software. (That’s universal unlike.)
I’m not so sure about this, for a few reasons.
1. Indeed, the reliance on Microsoft Office and traditional servers is lessening in favor of more cloud based work (such as eGnyte, Google Apps, ZOHO and other cloud based computing offerings).
However, the PC is still a strong computing platform and therefore the reliance on Windows (XP and now 7) is going to continue.
2. Although more and more of us are using hosted applications for our productivity suites, there is still a LARGE reliance on Microsoft Office by millions of businesses.
3. Keep in mind that although Google and others (including the iPad) are attracting a lot of BUZZ, Microsoft’s dominance in traditional corporate offices and its huge based on IT consultants and channel partners for growing businesses (see SMB Nation for more on that) is still quite a compelling force.
Microsoft is NOT sitting still but aggressively moving to a world of cloud based computing.
You’ll see three types of business professionals emerge.
1. Those who will ditch Microsoft completely. Maybe Apple and the web.
2. Those who will have their PCs and some software in addition to cloud based computing from non-Microsoft vendors.
3. The final group, and it will be quite substantial, will move to Microsoft’s online platforms.
My point: I definitely do NOT think this is the “end of Microsoft”. I think it’s the beginning of a new era for Microsoft as it shifts to the reality of cloud based computing, on PCs and other devices.
Read the full Marc Benioff article here.