Microsoft is Dead

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

Paul Graham notes that Microsoft is Dead, but he can’t help but think about what it could do to come back:

The surprising fact is, brilliant hackers — dangerously brilliant hackers — can be had very cheaply, by the standards of a company as rich as Microsoft. So if they wanted to be a contender again, this is how they could do it:
  1. Buy all the good “Web 2.0″ startups. They could get substantially all of them for less than they’d have to pay for Facebook.
  2. Put them all in a building in Silicon Valley, surrounded by lead shielding to protect them from any contact with Redmond.

I feel safe suggesting this, because they’d never do it. Microsoft’s biggest weakness is that they still don’t realize how much they suck. They still think they can write software in house. Maybe they can, by the standards of the desktop world. But that world ended a few years ago.

I already know what the reaction to this essay will be. Half the readers will say that Microsoft is still an enormously profitable company, and that I should be more careful about drawing conclusions based on what a few people think in our insular little “Web 2.0″ bubble. The other half, the younger half, will complain that this is old news.

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