Recently, Fortune’s Gary Rivlin posted an interesting article about Microsoft. Apparently, back in 2009 (pre-iPad), some innovators in the company built a prototype for a killer tablet called Courier. “With its icon-rich user interface and multitouch, stylus-friendly screens, Courier represented ‘an astonishing take on the tablet,” Rivlin writes. But Steve Ballmer squashed it. Why? Well, because it wasn’t Windows based. Of course.
As I went on my morning run, I passed a shut down Blockbuster and pondered the connection.
Blockbuster used to be the coolest, hottest thing. Imagine, you could actually pick a movie you wanted to see, and for a small fee, see it that night in the comfort of your own home! Wow, revolutionary! Game changing! But then Tivo and Netflix came along with a new paradigm, and suddenly Blockbuster was not so much of a blockbuster anymore. Same for Tower Records. It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the market would go this way – Larry Ellison was talking about renting videos online in the ’90s – yet Blockbuster completely missed it while they bathed in their short-lived success.
“Glory Days” came on my iPhone as I ran (yes, my iPhone, which does almost everything I need for work or play and is decidedly NOT Windows based), and I felt like Springsteen was singing directly to Steve. The wars between iOS and Android are just getting going. Windows? Crickets.Stacey Epstein, VP of marketing at ServiceMax
And even Exchange is getting old. It used to be that Microsoft was necessary for scale in the enterprise. But the cloud has changed all that. My company, ServiceMax, has fewer than 100 people, and there is scarcely a MS product to be found. We do everything in the cloud – email, documents, calendars, web meetings, CRM. Yea, we use PowerPoint and Excel, but even those run nicely on our non-windows macs and iPads. And we don’t have any servers or a single IT person on staff. It won’t be long before the big companies can go this route as well.
Yep, mobile devices and cloud computing are where it’s at. And windows are what I look out as I stretch after my run. As Springsteen says (to Ballmer?), “They’ll pass you by in the blink of a young girl’s eye.”