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TechWeek: The Trouble With Being Microsoft

Microsoft needs to do something different. Its core business is a cash cow, but everyone knows that the days of hyper growth for PC-related businesses are over. The way I see it, Microsoft either follows through on its commitment to the Internet and related businesses or goes the way of Bethlehem Steel and the West Coast ship-repair industry.

If you don't think the company should spend serious bucks in the Internet-advertising space, what's the alternative? Email your suggestion to me at and I'll try to find the space to reprint a few next week.

RIM Shot

The embattled management of Research In Motion (RIMM) didn't get much time to savor the end of legal hostilities with NTP. Within 10 days of the settlement, nearly all of the gains made by the company's shares had been erased amid worries over fundamentals like subscriber growth. The stock has yet to recover from the mid-March slide, and there's no indication that good times are just ahead.

The lawsuit initiated this week against RIM by privately held Visto "may be obscuring important competitive dynamics working against RIM in its efforts to step market share losses to rivals," says Rich Williams, chief software analyst for ICAP. (It's worth noting, by the way, that unlike NTP, Visto ships real products and its patents have been upheld.)

On its latest earnings call, management talked about pent-up demand for the Blackberry, which sustained stalled sales due to the threat of an NTP injunction. But Williams says his research shows no such thing. "The pent-up demand appears to be focused on Motorola's (MOT) 'Q' product, a smart phone competitor to BlackBerry that supports Microsoft's Windows Mobile v5 for smart phones."

What's more, "various customers in the process of acquiring and deploying mobile email and Connected Device capabilities, according to industry experts we polled, are no longer viewing BlackBerry as the go-to provider. Instead, rivals like Palm (PALM), Nokia (NOK) and Motorola are garnering significant interest and landing deals."

TechWeek Scorecard
Index Closing Change
Nasdaq Composite 2343 0.9%
Philadelphia Semiconductor 529 2.3%
Goldman Sachs Software 171 -2.3%
TSC Internet 218 -0.9%
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