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TheStreet Open House

Nobody Can Save Microsoft, It's About to Die

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Read this excerpt from a study that made the rounds earlier this month. And then dig a grave in your backyard next to your kid's dead hamster for Microsoft (MSFT):

Also today, SoftWatch is releasing its benchmark study which analyzes real usage of Microsoft (MS) Office in dozens of enterprises comprising over 150,000 total users. The benchmark shows that on average an employee only spends 48 minutes a day on MS Office applications, most of it on Outlook for email. It also reveals high numbers of inactive users in the organizations; in particular PowerPoint was not being used at all by half of the employees. In addition, most of the users of the other applications used them primarily for viewing and light editing purposes, with only a small number of heavy users: 2% in PowerPoint, 9% in Word and 19% in Excel.
These results are in line with what industry analysts have stated that companies overspend on licenses that are not being used ... by transitioning light users from MS Office to Google Apps, companies can save up to 90% on their Microsoft licensing fees. (emphasis added)

That's a study conducted by an Israeli firm called SoftWatch. And it represents the writing on the wall.

I'm not going to say much more here. Because not much more needs to be said. I've already made the case that the one thing that keeps the charade alive for Microsoft -- an entrenched consumer and enterprise installed base for Office -- is hanging by a thread. Here's a background article -- With or Without Apple, Google Will Crush Microsoft -- that includes links to even more background.

I made the call on this a couple of years ago. Google (GOOG), and if it wants to, Apple (AAPL) will eventually put Microsoft, for all intents and purposes, out of business. There's no passion for Microsoft software among employees and recreational users. No loyalty. No excitement. In fact, it's just the opposite. There's angst, disdain and a sense of inconvenience ... of going through the motions and using these unwieldy and uninspiring products simply because they're there. As better solutions -- such as Google's suite and Apple's (hopefully) improving options -- become more heavily promoted and known, more individuals and businesses will do what needs to be done to unwind from Microsoft.

Microsoft's akin to George Costanza. It's like the company left its hat in some girl's apartment in a lame attempt to weasel a second date. But just ask BlackBerry (BBRY). Being entrenched doesn't guarantee survival. The unwind from BlackBerry took place much more quickly than the exodus from Microsoft will, primarily because it's less complicated. But that doesn't mean we -- investors and non-investor readers alike -- can't learn from it.

It's riveting history. And, in some fashion, it's about to repeat itself. The writing's on the wall. Don't ignore it. No matter how much you want to jump on the media-induced, hype-filled Satya Nadella bandwagon.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a full-time columnist for TheStreet. He lives in Santa Monica. Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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