It’s not the same, though. The point that Ray Ozzie is trying to make is that, at some point, Microsoft needs to stop following the industry and become the one the industry follows again.
Windows Phone 7 is great, but Apple was the one who popularized smart phones as we currently know them. Tablets are coming to the market with Microsoft software on them, but Apple was the one who popularized tablets. For years, before the iPod changed Apple, Apple made ends meet because they had a fervent fan base and catered to them. It didn’t hurt Apple that they were always playing catch up because they had total control over their environment. They made money on software and hardware. Microsoft is in the unique position of being a primarily software based company. If sales of Windows plummet, they don’t have that kind of closed system like Apple has to keep them chugging along. Additionally, Microsoft is such a huge company at this point, they have to be an industry innovator again or face crumbling apart.
I agree that Microsoft is making waves to change their image. They’re the “cool” company (in the US) when it comes to videogame consoles and no one EVER saw that coming. Zune has its diehards (and rightfully so, the Zune HD is terrific hardware). Windows Phone 7 might get its following, that’s yet to be seen. And Windows 7 is just a pleasure to use, IMO. But the PC market is shrinking at a rapid pace and the only other market that MS is #1 in right now is videogame consoles…and that’s not the cash cow that Windows and Office are.
Microsoft is literally sleeping on the chance to expand the xbox brand and make it the only box you need in your house for entertainment. Xbox SHOULD be the industry leader in iptv right now, but they’re not. And that’s a crying shame…because our other two players are Google (who’s going to eventually throw something free on the table and leave it to a hundred vendors to shape it into a usable product) or Sony (who’s going to try to tie everything into purchases and season passes, not true iptv) and I think that Microsoft, as a company that’s not tied to advertisement (Google) or owns huge assets of media (Sony) could shape this market in a way that’s good for consumers and runs off of hardware that’s already existing. It would also secure Microsoft’s spot as console leader for generations to come.
Microsoft is sleeping on all sorts of opportunities now. Ray Ozzie, stating this as an insider, is really a doom and gloom statement from an investors standpoint.