Robert Cringely writes a backgrounder to Microsoft’s challenges:
Right now in computing and the Internet, there are four fundamental forces to be reckoned with — Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Yahoo. I know there are a hundred or more companies that sprang to your mind, but they can each be factored in terms of these others. AMD, for example, is more like Intel than it is any of the others.
Microsoft tends to assume that if the PC goes away it will be replaced by something — ONE thing — when in fact it looks like the platform will be at least bifurcated between televisions and mobile phones, neither of which Microsoft dominates and neither of which it is likely to dominate.
Here’s a question I hope Bill Gates has asked himself: “What’s the likelihood that 10 years from now Microsoft will have 70-plus percent market share in; a) television software, and; b) mobile phone software?”
In both cases the odds are very much against Microsoft, yet Microsoft’s theory of business absolutely requires that it succeed spectacularly on at least one of these platforms and preferably both.