Microsoft needs to learn from BlackBerry. It needs to understand consumer psychology. If you're going to face the consumer you better be good at it. Because, if you stink, the consumer will eventually push you out of the enterprise all together. You do remember when we were told large organizations would never drop BlackBerries for iPhones, right?
If Microsoft exits the consumer business, it can focus solely on fighting Google (GOOG) and others in the enterprise. But it will do it -- and this is key -- without that BlackBerry-like overhang.
It won't have to worry quite as much about being uncool and unwieldy with consumers, who will then urge IT departments to dump both the enterprise versions of Microsoft's consumer products and Microsoft's more hardcore enterprise-only products. You don't see people running around demanding that their company stop using IBM (IBM) stuff. Not at all. Because when they think of IBM they don't think of it as a consumer company. There's no need for IBM to be cool. It performs critical functions -- nobody outside of IT knows or cares exactly what -- so it stays. Microsoft needs to become IBM.
Make a few acquisitions to pump up and diversify the Xbox business. Spin that off and, as Microsoft, exit the consumer business entirely. Make the message -- we failed horribly with the consumer. That's Apple's thing. They own it. And they own it well. But the enterprise is our thing and Google's nothing but a poser. We're the new Microsoft and we hope it will end up that you've never heard of us.
The tech geeks will hammer me for not knowing what I'm talking about. That -- just like it was with BlackBerry throughout 2011 and 2012 -- reaffirms that I'm 110% right. Tech geeks are losers. As I was writing geeks, I started to misspell it so the spellcheck (in Pages!) suggested "germs." Fine. They're germs as well. Bottom line -- if Microsoft's enterprise business is so good and so sustainable, it can and will stand on its own. And that's how it should stand.
Satya Nadella should be ashamed of himself for even going along with the introduction of yet another Surface tablet. He should be discredited for lame attempts at making it appear relevant. It's not. Microsoft knows this. If anything Nadella should blow up Surface and voluntarily report his company to the SEC for its past transgressions with previous failed iterations of this tablet (or is it a laptop ... or is it both!?).
To Nadella's credit, he reportedly scrapped plans for a smaller Surface tablet because it wasn't different enough. But he didn't go far enough. The thing he trotted out Monday isn't different enough either. Never was. Never will be. And on its present course, that's exactly what Microsoft's about to become -- a never was (unless you're still living in the 1980s and 1990s) and never will be.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.