The head of the tech equities research department at Nomura Securities ... a guy named Rick Sherlund ... just issued a new report on Microsoft reducing his estimates due to the "awkward" debut for Windows 8. Funny. Back in November of last year, he liked the stock at $32. It's well below that today. Securites analysts are just prostitutes.
But this isn't an article about stock picking. It's an article about corporations, executives, and how they live and die. I've been a techie my entire life. It's important to me.
It should be important to you. Even if you're a tea bagger, corporations rule your life more than you know. The original Boston Tea Party happened because the British East India Tea Company, which basically owned the British Parliament at the time, had decided that taxing tea in America was the way to boost profitability. American smuggling interests decided otherwise and sponsored a lawless riot in the streets of Boston which resulted in the destruction of private property.
Corporations are still manipulating stupid people. We're reaching the end game of a century when tobacco companies profited by killing people with their product. A judge just ruled that they will have to publish the details of their own lies and willful manipulation of something they knew was addictive and deadly when they were doing it.
But technology companies ... like Microsoft ... have always been special to me. If I drove race cars, then the fate of auto companies might matter more. But I work with software. When the idiot management of IBM ... may the souls of Frank Cary, John Opel, and especially John Akers rot in hell for what they did to a great company ... drove the company right into the ground, I suffered along with them. For me, it was like watching the twin towers come down on 9/11 ... except that it took twenty years.
Today, it's the turn of Microsoft to be driven right into the ground by idiot management. Like T. J. Watson Jr at IBM fifty years ago, Bill Gates created a great company with brilliant insight and inspired management. Then Ballmer, a hyperventilating marketing guy, took over. It's been downhill ever since.
Windows 8 fails because Microsoft management has failed to imagine their own future. They're trying to copy the success of others and somehow simultaneously live on the glory of their own past. Windows, like IBM's System 360, will be seen as the high water mark of a company that surged to great heights, then fell back again. (Windows 7 is the last version of "Windows" ... I don't know what Windows 8 is, but it isn't "Windows".)
To me, it's incredibly sad. As Microsoft's management decisions steer the company onto the rocks, thousands of careers that depend on their technology will crash with them. Innovations that could have lived will die.
New companies, of course, will take Microsoft's place. Apple may be the one. Or maybe Google. In spite of the explosive success they're seeing right now, the jury is still out on both of them. In his book, The Road Ahead, Bill Gates predicted that the next wave will be something we don't even know about now. Remember, nobody predicted the Internet.
* Quo Vadis, Microsoft? Where are you going?