The Microsoft Worldwide Partner conference starts on Monday at a time when many people inside and outside of the company are wondering what the company is doing and where it is going next. Ever since AAPL passed MSFT in market cap everyone has raised the issue -- is Microsoft doomed?
The announcement last week that the KIN was dead did not help. The Mini Microsoft blog really lit up with that one and the lay off rumors.
The consumer geek world has been amazingly silent about Microsoft -- which may be a good thing but says a good deal about where the excitement is in the industry (not at Microsoft). John Dvorak wrote a column on Marketwatch about what Steve Ballmer should do.
The list of people giving Microsoft advice is long. Here is a post I did summarize some of it last month.
Mark Anderson did a short interview on KPLU this week where he boiled it down to this:
- Microsoft has to decide if it is going to be in the consumer business or not.
- If yes, it needs to create a new division and get outside leadership.
- If no, it needs to double down on the enterprise.
I could not agree more. In fact, I think Microsoft's strong position with the enterprise has been under appreciated and undervalued for a long time and mostly because Microsoft under-appreciates and undervalues it.
Microsoft has 9,000 products -- most of them are aimed at the enterprise, and many of them are quite good. Microsoft has hundreds of thousands of partners that are in place and driving billions in enterprise business. These are partners with substantial and established businesses with big revenues and loyal customers. They are a significantly different group than could be found at the Google partner conference or the Apple Developer conference.
So this is it. Monday morning Ballmer gives the keynote -- its showtime.