So now Microsoft is putting all its chips on Windows Phone 7, due to arrive some time this fall -- though InfoWorld's Galen Gruman reports it's also laying aside a few Ben Franklins for Windows Embedded Handheld OS, to support those poor enterprises saddled with Windows Mobile 6.5.
Here's what one anonymous Softie had to say about that at Mini-MSFT:
Windows Phone 7 has two years of development under [senior VP Andy Lees'] watch. Based on his past performance, 99 percent chance this is also going to be a total catastrophe. It further doesn't help that much of the Windows Phone 7 leadership team was kicked out of Windows when they screwed up Vista.
Ah, so now Microsoft is betting its future on the braniacs who came up with Vista. Do you still own any Microsoft stock? Now might be a good time to sell. Go ahead -- I'll wait.
In the past, Microsoft has always been able to rely on the corporate market to bail it out. IT departments don't want to support multiple operating systems across different platforms, so they imposed Windows Mobile on their BlackBerry-packin' road warriors. Business types generally used Windows phones because they had to, not because they wanted to.
But with the iPhone and Android, most of them don't have to do that any more. Once again Microsoft will have to compete on the merits of its products, while attempting to overcome the huge advantages of the RIM operating system (market share), Apple iPhone (mind share), and Android (sheer quantity of devices), as well as the enormous disadvantage of being, well, Microsoft.
I think Microsoft will remain dull and profitable for decades to come. But unless its mobile division separates from the mother ship and becomes an independent entity, the company will be increasingly irrelevant. Soon it won't even be fun to mock the company any more.
What other products do you think Microsoft should kill? Nominate your candidates below or email me: email@example.com.