Dvorak Details Eight Reasons Microsoft is 'Dead in the Water'

Tech columnist John C. Dvorak, who is no stranger to Mac users, on Wednesday seemed determined to perk up a slow news day by proclaiming of Microsoft: "Eight signs that the software giant is dead in the water." He said that he has been saying this privately during the past year and feels that the time is right to now say so publicly.

While he doesnit think Microsoft "is about to stop making gobs of money," he thinks "there is virtually nothing interesting or exciting happening (with the lone exception of the Xbox 360) with anything the company is doing." On top of that, planned Windows and Microsoft Office upgrades lack the "imust-havei qualities needed to boost sales in a meaningful way."

Appropriately, those issues lead off his list. Of Vista he wrote: "Even when it does [ship], all of its promised cool features have been removed and it appears to be little more than a gussied-up version of Windows XP. It appears as if it is going to be a great disappointment." And he had this to say about Office 2007: "There is nothing in this new suite that is going to do much more than sustain the product as a dominant office suite."

Even the Xbox 360 shows up on the list. Mr. Dvorak dinged Microsoft for not meeting demand when the console shipped, thus losing a potential opportunity "to become the dominant game platform and an eventual and enviable profit center."

Other issues he cited include: MSN, which "Microsoft should have abandoned a decade ago;" MSN Search Engine, which is "again more of the same and pointless;" pad-based computing, which hasnit fulfilled the promise set forth by Bill Gates; the Dot Net initiative, which "is being killed by Open Source systems that are free and almost just as powerful;" and preoccupation with Google, which he characterized as "old-lady-like skittishness [that] is unbecoming for a company this size."

Mr. Dvorak concluded that his list "only scratches the surface of the Microsoft malaise ... I see a company that has settled in and has become big, profitable, and unexciting, lacking real focus or spirit."