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Incredible Products that Change the World


Microsoft maintains that its growth prospects are strong. The company will be coming out with “incredible products that change the world,” Microsoft Chief Financial Officer John Connors said at an analysts conference last month in New York.

Still, Connors acknowledged the question that has been hounding Microsoft lately — whether “those products translate into the kind of profitability we’ve had from some of the very incredible products we’ve done historically.”

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The reason I’m not a successful businessman is that I would be hard-pressed to promise my investors that I would be coming out with “incredible products that change the world” with a straight face. I’d then start laughing my ass off when I had to explain that even though I was about to release “incredible products that change the world” that they may not make us much money as the other incredible products I have released before.

The fact that I haven’t encountered a Microsoft product that I’d call “incredible” or that I expected “would change the world” probably doesn’t help. Historically, Microsoft hasn’t relied on releasing incredible products that would change the world, they take an existing product that looks set to make a lot of money, perhaps because it will change the world, and appropriate one of their own to make money off of.

You’d think the CFO would at least be honest. If I were an investor, I’d get excited by news that “We’ve found some excellent software products in the Open Source world that we can re-implement and bundle with Windows.” Even that, though, sounds like another Microsoft strategy employed to manipulate the market: vaporware.

Microsoft has a history of observing a new software product emerge from somewhere else that they can’t compete with, so they squelch it by announcing that they’re already developing an alternative that will destroy their competitor. They don’t actually have to ship anything, they just have to scare away the competing investors and potential customers who would be reluctant to purchase the new software before they knew what the more-likely-to-win-marketshare alternative would be. The promise of “incredible products that change the world” sounds like some sort of blanket statement to cover whatever the next innovation in the high-tech industry will be. “I can’t tell you what the next big thing will be, but you can rest assurred that we will 0WN it.”

Which they have to say with a straight face, because they’ve run out of new products to force down our throats.

It seems like Google has a solid track-record of creating new services that rule. I wonder if the reason they haven’t gone public yet is because they’d prefer not to be bought out by Microsoft. I’m curious to see what they will do with blogging.

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