Pieces Are in Place For Microsoft's Death

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The comments I received in response to Monday's Apple Will Put Microsoft, HP Out Of Business sound much like the comments Blackberry (BBRY) bulls made throughout 2011.

Now the artist formerly known as RIM is fading faster than the Toronto Maple Leafs' playoff chances.

Before you get all emotional about my Microsoft (MSFT) criticism, as I, admittedly, fanboy all over Apple (AAPL), let a few things sink in.

First, from the above-linked article:

We never asked for all-in-one devices. Steve Ballmer pulled that from one of the random Microsoft rear ends without a clue. Quite possibly his own.
Desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones aren't like motor vehicles.
Most of us only have the money, time, space and patience to deal with one car. So, let's say, 90% of what's on the market pretty much works for everything most people require an automobile for. You only need one car ...
Electronics -- computing machines, gadgets and mobile devices -- are smaller and less expensive. Not sure about you, but I like having more than one. I like that a company such as Apple thinks of their products as distinct, specialized vehicles for productivity, creativity and consumption.
There's no need to roll them all into one. In fact, it would be pretty disappointing if that happened. My life would be less rich. But, more importantly, I reckon we would see quite a few jack of all trades, master of none devices that cut seemingly small corners on a whole bunch of operations, producing a weaker all-encompassing experience.

That's critically important to consider.

The notion of an all-in-one strategy simply isn't resonating with consumers. And I reckon I have explained at least some of the variance as to why.

So, it's within this context, you have to consider Microsoft's present situation as it pertains to the future. And it's anything but comfortable.

In 2011, Blackberry ardents told me the company would be OK because of its installed base, a base that couldn't leave -- especially in the enterprise -- because of RIM's apparent security advantage. I countered with BYOD (bring your own device) is real and it would win out, making the enterprise market look a lot like the consumer one with respect to device(s) of choice.

The Blackberry people responded with IT departments will never let what you're saying happen. I told them -- with a straight face -- that the cats in IT departments are powerless losers, who take orders from executives in the rest of the company. It's not the job of an IT lackey to object; it's his or her job to implement what he or she is being told to implement.

We all know what happened there.

So, not by the same, but by a similar token, that's what we have happening at Microsoft.

Yes. I know what Microsoft's business is. I even know what Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ) business is. People in the comments' section of Monday's article felt the need to remind me as if I didn't know or somehow glossed over the relevance.

The Windows/Office installed bases Microsoft has today -- they're in jeopardy.

I first wrote about this in October 2012. I followed up several times, most recently, in detail, in September 2013. The Motley Fool brazenly ripped me off in 2014.

Just a little late to the thought party.

These shifts don't take place overnight. They're gigantic transformations. Massive unwinding has to happen on one side and pieces put in place on the other. And, of course, consumer and enterprise behavior needs to morph.

That's why I stress that I write about the long-term, not the day-to-day or even quarter-to-quarter or year-to-year. Irrational gyrations of the stock market and associated sentiment do not influence my perspective.

Big picture thinking.

Few folks in this business take that type of view. It's markedly easier to say something in 2014 that somebody else was visioning in 2012. If it sounds crazy today, imagine how nutty it sounded then. But it's getting less nuttier. The fact that it hasn't happened yet doesn't render it loony.

Again -- think in geological time, not through a CNBC commercial break.

For as clueless as Microsoft is, it sees the writing on the wall.

All-in-one was a strategy to salvage Windows and Office. That's not working so we're already hearing about Windows 9 as a means to rescue Windows 8 from the jaws of defeat, which, for all intents and purposes, could portend the the first visible signs of Microsoft's pending death, beyond the crashing PC market and its failure in mobile (as if these things aren't enough already!).

At this point, the Microsoft apologists and delusionists are set to loose it in the comments' section. That's fine. It's entertaining as much as it's troubling. But don't tell me I haven't supported my argument. I put the links in these articles for a reason.

I have limited space to work with ...

So, again, see ...

Office Will Determine Whether Microsoft Can Beat Apple

and ...

Apple Killed Microsoft: The Media Buried The Lede

as well as ...

Gogole's 'Sneak Attack' Could Devastate 'Software Companies' Apple And Microsoft (though I'm less worried today about Apple getting hurt than I was a year ago).

Apple, not to mention Google (GOOG), is coming for Microsoft. And, the way it looks right now, there's not much Microsoft can do to stop tech's dual pictures of competence and domination.

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

Rocco Pendola is a columnist for TheStreet. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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