Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coffee shops

I'll admit that I live in Seattle, a city lucky enough to have weathered the recession better than most. And yet, Seattle is the home of Microsoft. As such, I would expect to see mostly Windows laptops when I wander into coffee shops. Historically, this has been true. There were always a few trendy folk (or well of dorks, such as myself) with some for of Apple laptop, but they were the exception. The tide has been trending toward more and more Apple products though. Today, I was struck as I walked into my neighborhood coffee shop and counted 5 laptops, with not a single Windows machine in the bunch. Soon, there-after one laptop user left and was replaced by the lone Windows laptop in the shop.

Has Microsoft mind-share fallen this badly? I know that when I talk with co-workers, many of them have Macs at home (or Linux... I do manage a team of software developers after all). This is despite the fact that many of them are ex-Microsoft employees. Many of us use Windows at the office, but it is telling that given the choice, more and more people choose Mac. I realize that Seattle is its own little microcosm, but I fear that this does not bode well for Microsoft. How long before the average person's only 'computer' is an iPad or Android type device?

We are moving to a world where everything is on the web. You don't need a large hard-drive because you can archive everything into the cloud, or maybe store everything on a computer that sits in your closet, or (more likely) next to your TV. Near ubiquitous internet connectivity fundamentally changes the game. Web applications for all your core tasks fundamentally changes the game.

Microsoft is just like the other dinosaur industries mentioned in Innovator's Dilemma. The pillars upon which their business depends are eroding. I fear that soon they will discover that they will wake up and discover that even their precious enterprise market is no longer safe.

Time to start think about selling my remaining MSFT stock.


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