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Still waiting for the Microsoft vision

A former colleague, who has worked the tech beat for more than 20 years, had some interesting thoughts the other night on the new-look Microsoft under chief software architect Ray Ozzie.

His rant went something along the lines of: “Geez, [expletive deleted] where’s this vision we hear so much about? What’s the next big thing? All we’ve seen is me-too stuff about the cloud. What’s beyond the cloud? What’s next?”

There was a gut instinct to defend Ozzie, home-town and Lotus Notes hero. After all, it’s hard to blaze a trail into the future while protecting a huge installed base of products, customers and partners. 

But then again, the rant rings true.

In tech everyone gets caught up in the latest thing–to such an extent that they may ignore or miss something truly exciting. Obviously, Microsoft can’t avoid the cloud, but is its Google fixation blinding it to other opportunities?

Microsoft has always played catchup to early innovators–to Apple, to Lotus, to WordPerfect, to NetScape, to Apple again, now to Google. As a current colleague said in Microsoft’s defense: “At least they’re playing catchup now on cool, cloud stuff.”

But when it was chasing NetScape Navigator, that was cool stuff. Ditto the Mac OS. Ditto iPhone.

Is that good enough for this self-proclaimed innovator?

What do you think? Send email to: Barbara Darrow.

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