Reports of death are greatly exaggerated
Nothing like a bit of flame bait to get the blogsphere talking, especially if it contains the word Microsoft, and at first glance it’s difficult to see Paul Graham’s piece as anything else. You might as well claim IBM is dead or Oracle or BT, so you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘dead’ in the Y Generation’s dictionary actually means ‘trendy’ or ‘ not Web 2.0 bubble approved’. Despite the provocative headline claiming ‘Microsoft is Dead’ it wasn’t actually not what Paul was saying, surprise, surprise, but that startups and VCs not longer have to include MS in their thinking. In fact so misconstrued does Paul feel that he’s felt the need to pen/type a second piece to clarify his position.
Fellow ‘Softie Steve Clayton has blogged already about this and I have a few ideas of my own although some do concur with Steve’s.
I agree about Google, they are a tough competitor and lead the way with search no question. Microsoft has a lot of catching up to do.
The server vs client app question has been around the block more than once, I was at Lotus when IBM spend a huge amount of money developing and pushing Network Computing with eSuite (anyone remember that?) but no one was convinced and many still aren’t. Steve mentioned security and connectivity as two reasons for server side apps not cutting it and I’d like to add two more, trust and privacy.
Broadband isn’t broad enough for many applications or reliable or ubiquitous enough. One day…maybe…and for the foreseeable future the ability to do stuff disconnected from the Internet is a given, nay a blessing.
Jeff Ventura agrees with Paul Graham’s assertion that Apple, particularly OSX, has been key in ‘the downfall’ and this is where I think both are flat wrong. You’d have to be a fan of Columbian Marching Powder to think that OSX’s 4% marketshare vs Windows 96% marks some kind victory for Cupertino, in fact many of the Apple Acolytes don’t want OSX to become more popular because it’ll make it a target for hackers (oh yes it will) and nothing destroys the cache of being a member of a tight knit community than going mainstream. Also Apple’s turn around is due to the iPod not OSX and the truth that dare not speak it’s name is that Windows is the most popular OS to plug an iPod into not OSX.