Microsoft is 30

Microsoft is 30 today, officially entering "middle age" (at least for a software company).  I was called up by a journalist from the Norwegian version of Computerworld wondering if I thought MS would be stronger or weaker 10 years from now. Of course, it would be hard to get much stronger than what MS is now, but I could quote myself:

Middle age enters when it becomes clear to you that you are not the person that you want to be, when you realize that the skills that took you to where you are now will not take you further, when you need to switch from increasing your space to tending to what you have. I think Microsoft is entering middle age, whether it wants to or not (and who wants to, or even admit to it happening). Unlike people, however, companies can have youthful parts — and they need to be free to grow.

The recent reorganizations seem more like a firming up than any sign of change in strategy to me – and the company seems tied to exploiting its dominance on the desktop in any other market it can enter. It could be argued that this is, long-term, a risky strategy, but then again, it seems to work.

But, as I asked in a conference panel about six months ago – what can Microsoft offer me if I am a large company that has just decided to go Linux on the desktop. Server, middleware, database, even office applications – when Windows is not there to provide that well developed link in?

Oh well. My computers are still running Microsoft. Most of them at least.