GOOG) and, very admirably, by the likes of Oracle ( ORCL) and IBM ( IBM). While some combinations of the four overlap and compete, each has staked out its own territories where it dominates and continues to, by and large, grow revenue and profits. Then you have startups and perpetual startups. Thousands of new startups exist throughout Silicon Valley and elsewhere. If you follow venture capital flows and such, you can clearly see what an exciting time it is in the space. Perpetual startups -- Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook ( FB), Pandora ( P) and Amazon.com ( AMZN) lead this category. Of course, you can logically include Apple and Amazon -- dominators and perpetual startups -- in both categories. And then you have a category that, in some respects, Microsoft ( MSFT) leads. It's a group of have-nots -- Research in Motion ( RIMM) leads the pack -- and companies already moving or at serious risk of moving in that direction. Microsoft, in many ways, controls that segment of tech society. It's creating "a town full of losers," but it doesn't seem as if anybody has made a true play to "pull out of here to win." For several decades, Bruce Springsteen has weaved a common theme through his writing. No matter how many challenges and/or demons the characters in his stories face from psychological, environmental and other standpoints, they seek a way out. There's always a chance at redemption, but you've gotta take it, you've "got to get out while you're young." Companies such as Dell ( DELL), Hewlett Packard ( HPQ), Nokia ( NOK) and even Intel ( INTC) rely, to varying degrees, on Microsoft and Windows 8's success way too much. In a search for redemption, I'm not sure how much sense it makes to hitch your carriage to Microsoft. That approach could simply leave them begging for mercy from consumers as well as Apple, Google and a smattering of others.