I salute my formidable dueling partner, Chuck Saletta, and his solid defense of Microsoft
However, I still can't help but take the bearish stance. It's true -- a company should stick with what it does best. For Microsoft, that is being the name behind the Windows operating system. And Apple
There are side effects to power. Call it hubris, complacency, or simply size. Whatever you call it, the fact remains that there have been significant tactics Microsoft used that made users feel the software maker didn't have their interests in mind. Examples? (1) Bundling its own software and making it difficult for users to use other applications (see: Netscape, which lost the browser wars and is now owned by Time Warner's
Furthermore, I must disagree with Chuck's "good enough" premise. It reminds me of the old adage, "good enough for the government." That implies that a task has been accomplished, but in a sub-optimal way. It also brings to mind that great danger to some large companies (and governments) -- bureaucracy. Change sometimes can't come quickly enough because of too much bureaucratic complexity. Think "TPS reports" of dread in the movie Office Space. "Good enough" solutions from lumbering giants can easily be outdone by hungrier companies that "do it better" -- and that doesn't look good when it happens to a company like Microsoft.
Oh, yes, indeed, Microsoft will always be with us. After all, it's a major company with a great history. But the market's faith in Microsoft as an investment has eroded, judging by its rather dull stock pattern over recent years, and I believe that will continue as Microsoft struggles for better catalysts for growth and tries to make headway against formidable rivals.
Wait! You're not done. This is just a quarter of the Duel! Don't miss the Bull and Bear opening argument and the Bull rebuttal. Even when you're done, you're still not done. You can vote and let us know who you think won this Duel.