Brad Feld thinks so: “Microsoft has been kicked around plenty the last few years by the likes of Google, Yahoo, the press, and many participants in the software industry. However, during this time, the Microsoft money machine has continued to generate cash at a prodigious rate. The home of build it cheap and stack it high is about to have two major project releases (Vista and Office 12) that will be relevant to over 500 million computers during the next few years. Vista, Office 12, and all the supporting technology, dev tools, platform layers, and web services equate to a massive force of change which if history is a guide will result in a huge amount of money flowing to Microsoft and many of the members of the Microsoft ecosystem.”
Fred Wilson likens Bill Gates to a cat with nine lives and says:
…software is becoming “organic”. I believe Google started this movement. They released a free web service that people responded to in an emotional way. That created a phenomenon that drew developers and users to the Google franchise. Google opened up their APIs so people could build businesses on top of them. Now they have a whole ecosystem. This has happened with other software platforms too – Craigslist, Flickr, Skype, etc.
Microsoft may want to be part of this “organic” software world, but its not in their DNA. And I think many of their leading technology minds get this new way of being and want to be part of it. So they leave, some to Google, many to do startups.
Consumers get this too. They don’t want to be locked in any more. Microsoft is the master of lock in. They want open software, open source, open potential. You don’t have to look any farther than Firefox’ market share to see this happening in the consumer market.