Microsoft the Switcher

By the way, $900 million write-off could amount to over 3 million devices, more if Microsoft is assuming some residual value in the inventory. Misjudging demand to such a degree that more units are disposed of than sold implies a basic failure of understanding of hardware businesses.

Which brings up the question of what Microsoft will do. They are likely to double down on hardware (also signaled by their re-org) simply because in a device world (read: post-PC) the economics of licensing Windows and Office are evaporating. The price points of EULAs simply don’t hold and there are good enough alternatives in use by the hundreds of millions of iOS and Android devices out there already. By withholding Office from iOS and Android, Microsoft has shown a billion people that they can live without it and they already knew they could live without Windows.

So rather than fight, Microsoft chose to switch. Switching from software to hardware, however, is proving very hard. I’m sure quite a bit harder than management  thought.

Switcher | asymco.


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