Are Microsoft's days numbered? – report

Despite the rise and rise of Apple over recent years, Microsoft has appeared to remain relatively unshakeable, its position cemented with the continued proliferation of Office and Windows.

One apocalyptic soothsayer has been providing fleeting vision of the firm’s impending demise for some time now. 

The Mad Hatter, aka Wayne Borean, certainly knows his stuff and is mighty persuasive.

In a recent post the Mad Hatter continued his predictions, musing on his enjoyment of “telling everyone that the most profitable company in the entire world will enter bankruptcy protection shortly. Just after the next Winter Olympics if I’m right.”

“Yes I’m crazy. But I know what I’m talking about.”

According the Mad Hatter, despite Microsoft being in the enviable position of its expenses being considerably lower than its sales and having “one of the best earnings to profits ratios ever,” he believes that the firm is still heading on the fast track down the pan. 

Though he adds a disclaimer to this: “Please remember that my prediction is based on the assumption that all of Microsoft’s staff are dumber than a fence post, and won’t attempt to do anything to stop the oncoming disaster.”

In one post the Mad Hatter points to the fact that it has just one spectacularly profitable product that all its many riches are founded upon.

“One,” he reiterates. “Microsoft Office is responsible for nearly 50 percent of Microsoft’s profits. Anything that impacts on Microsoft’s ability to sell Office, hits Microsoft hard.”

Microsoft, he says, is an artificial monopoly. The only way an artificial monopoly can survive is by destroying competition. Google is a natural monopoly. Google doesn’t need to destroy the other search engine companies to survive, all it needs to do is “continue to provide equal or better service, something that Google excels at.”

Interestingly Windows and Office take in roughly the same amount of sales, $18.4 billion and $18.6 billion respectively.

As Borean points out, nearly all PC are shipped with Windows installed – while Office is never this widespread. Essentially this means that if Office takes a hit then Microsoft is not in a good position at all.

The Hatter suggests that if businesses and government were to simultaneously move away from Microsoft Office software, which if you read here is a possibility, then perhaps the unthinkable could happen.  

Furthermore the Mad Hatter believes that Microsoft needs to change the way that it operates in order to keep up with a fast evolving market, with what was once a seemingly invincible “800 pound gorilla of the information technology business” now reduced to releasing a string of failed enterprises such as Windows Mobile 6, KIN, Zune, Windows for Tablets.

Indeed he contends that adversary Apple is the reason that Microsoft is on the ropes in terms of looking to modernisation: “First, by taking over the music player market, second by changing the smartphone market, and third by knocking Microsoft out of the tablet computer market.”

It is in the tablet market that he believes Microsoft could be dealt a final blow, after the firm spends years trying to get consumers interested in them.

“Effectively what Apple had done was redefine a tablet computer as something that didn’t run Windows.

“And now there are a ton of tablets on sale, none of which run Windows.”

He cites these further reasons as to why Windows is doomed:

1 Not one of those tablet computers can run Microsoft Office.

2 Not one of those tablet computers can run Microsoft Windows.

3 Windows Phone 7 was two years too late, and being outsold by Apple’s IOS and Google’s Android.

4 Kinect, Microsoft’s motion sensing add on for the XBox 360 is being outsold by Sony’s motion sensing add on.

5 The OEMs are learning that depending upon Microsoft is dangerous.

“Can Microsoft turn things around? Of course they could. The question is will the company make the hard choices that need to be made, and I think that they won’t.”

So, the ramblings of a mad man or the work of an insightful and prophetic genius? Have a look here and make up your own mind.