I salute my formidable dueling partner, Chuck Saletta, and his solid defense of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). I certainly can't argue with his premise that Microsoft is a company with many positive attributes despite its maturation, like paying dividends to shareholders. Indeed, in my own opening arguments, I had to give credit where credit was due, and I note that Chuck and I seem to agree on many measures about 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 (NASDAQ:AAPL) user though I might be, I do know that Windows is still the operating system that resides on most people's PCs, and that is no small advantage. However, there are times when one could argue that Microsoft has rested on its laurels just a little bit too much, and maybe that's one of its Achilles heels.

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 (NYSE:TWX) AOL in its second lease on life), or (2) moving too slowly on security issues (see: security vulnerabilities over the years when viruses and worms wreaked havoc). Such things have come back to haunt Microsoft in terms of public perception and competitive outlook.

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.

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. To find out what other stocks Philip Durell has identified as underappreciated and undervalued, try a 30-day free trial.

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.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.