Icons, Iconoclasts and Amnesia

There are those who are still want to think that macro technology decisions are based solely on performance, or benefit to human kind.  They need to be reminded from time to time that the only thing that decides which technologies are adopted -at a macro level- is the choice made by those who purchase it to pay a particular price.  No greater case for this fact can be made today than the case of Apple vs Google, and both vs Microsoft.  While Mr. Softy and its leaders were still riding high about last April, they’ve since been shot down in May and may even be buried by the end of the year.  It may just be a case of the wrong head at the top or the wrong-headedness of those consumers making the choices to allow Apple back into the game.  In spite of today’s earnings of 48% in quarterly profit, 22% rise in sales and strong computer sales, the market has yet to reward the Windows leader of the pack.

How is it, you ask, that a “consumer” brand is stealing the show from the, formidable, putative, owner of the modern business desktop?  And how did Google, the favored foe for gaining some traction in that space, lose its edge in the mix?  My guess is to find the short answer, follow the money.

The erstwhile Steve Jobs’ consumer savvy has vaulted the company, once reluctant to get into the fray for top business supplier, to new heights.  Not with its glitzy phone features, or its soon to be forgotten notepads, but with its ability to acquire a market edge with a meager cash supply of around $25 billion as compared to Microsoft’s war chest cash supply of $37 billion and Google’s meager $26 billion.  What is it about Jobs’ presentation that imposes a pulse on the rest of the marketplace?

Chrome in conjunction with Android and Linux free software may just be the kicker in the battle to replace Mr. Softy for the king of the desktops of the world.   In spite of the fact that on any given day, Microsoft has a war chest in cash on hand to grab up companies that have leading edge technologies, MSFT has been unable to convince investors that they are a “growth” company, as opposed to a “value” company.  Their stock price has been teetering close to its book value for nearly ten years.  Growth companies, as you might expect, promise folks that your dollars will increase as opposed to remain stuck in the funk as the share price of MSFT has done low these past ten years.  I know, I know, this is a tech blog and why are we discussing share price and this other gibberish about ROI on investments?  Well, it sure does seem that the threats we’ve been hearing about these last years that maybe Open Source will steal those desk tops and convince big business they really don’t need to spend millions on licensing, the “Brand” and other non-essential ingredients to keep their offices communicating, may actually be finding a welcome audience.

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Buyer’s Checklist: Open Source CRM
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I’d just like to say that MS Office is replaceable, the unspeakable,  and that a spreadsheet is a spreadsheet, and unless you can conjure up Descarte himself, things aren’t likely to change.   Whereas, Microsoft had plenty of opportunities to own or overwhelm Marc Beniof, and others, Bill got married and decided it was time to play politics, from a different vantage point.  In losing the CRM piece, not to mention the entire cloud, Outlook and its tentacles are in jeopardy.  Microsoft also failed to make a browser that favored consumers, their paying customers, as opposed to advertisers and their vulnerable offers.

The fog is lifting over the  playing field for the global business desktop.  No one believed it would look as it does, with TV streaming and wireless geekiness everywhere.  The growth remains in the unique technologies that level playing fields and birth new landscapes for bold opportunities.  Those who wish to play, climb aboard and share your tales.

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