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Feeling Bad For Microsoft

I don’t normally spend much time feeling bad for Microsoft. As a longtime Xinu/Unix/Linux fan, I have long maintained a skeptical attitude towards them. But last week I read something which made me pause for a moment.

At the All Things Digital conference, sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft had to glumly sit by while the whole world told them that they were dinosaurs. Steve Jobs and his revolution are going to destroy the desktop hegemony enjoyed by Redmond, and the world will never be the same.

This may or may not be true, and part of me even wants it to be true. But there is one thing that my 30+ years in the technology space has taught me: innovation cannot be denied.

Microsoft may be looking at a bleak future; we shall see before too long.  But one of their employees sitting at their desk, either in Washington or California or China or India, is inventing a new future for Microsoft. Innovation has a way of doing that. Just when the future looks one way, a spark of an idea jumps up, the clouds part, the seas calm and a new race is begun (pardon my mixed metaphors).

Microsoft, for all of its warts, has transformed the word in more ways than Mr. Jobs has or probably ever will.  And I would bet Redmond will do it again.

Now, if they could just keep my Vista box from crashing every other day…


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