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Microsoft cuts its losses... Did they learn anything

Microsoft finally puts its kin phone to rest. The product that symbolizes Microsoft's desire to emulate all of the worst aspects of GMs badge engineering with none of the benefits, reasons or even excuses is no longer for sale. This is certainly a good move on Microsoft's part. The last thing they want right now is more reinforcement for Apple's marketing.

Their dominance in the office suite, desktop operating system, and server operating system markets gives them a huge advantage over their competition. They have the resources to commit to a project and see it through regardless of early success or failures. However, Microsoft has proven itself unable to capture and exploit new markets. They had some success in the console market. However, it is considered an open secret that their profit from the original Xbox has been wiped out by their current Xbox 360.

Their original attempt at MP3 players PlaysforSure was a reasonable first effort at creating a digital music market. The problem it ran into was people didn't see the digital music market the same way as the offline world. This included not only consumers but also music executives. The advantages of the Playsforsure ecosystem made it more complex. The advantages of the iPod were rooted in its simplicity. These hurdles were difficult by not insurmountable. In retrospect, Microsoft would have been well served by creating a better iTunes for its hardware partners to work with. Any possibility of this was eliminated when Microsoft turned itself into a competitor to its partners. The Zune was by most measures a good product. However, it has failed so far because it has little to differentiate itself from the iPod. Potential partners are wary of being abandoned in the same way Microsoft's Playsforsure partner's were abandoned. It also gave Apple far more time since Microsoft was starting over in the market from scratch.. Time to solidify its place in the market, expand the number of people reliant on Apple, eliminate competitors and time to make it the *standard*. A standard Apple can use to invade other markets.

They have done the same thing with phones. They were too complex too soon and are now are starting over twice. Giving Apple and other competitors time to solidify their lead.

Microsoft's inability to focus has caused it to blow billions of dollars over the last decade or two. This kind of incompetence was forgiven for a long time because of the constant rise in stock prices. However, new markets, open source and good old fashion competition have been slowly eroding their position. Microsoft so far seems unable to drop its dead weight and focus on its strengths.

Finally back from Higgin's Lake

We're finally back from Higgin's lake. It was good to get away but it is nice to sleep in your own bed too. The kids had a lot of fun having more kids to play with. Melissa got to spend a bunch of time with family she doesn't normally get to see very often. Than of course there was the massive amount of reading that everyone did, it was interesting to see how people settled in and what they chose too do with their time.

The lake was kinda odd in that it was shallow for quite a ways out. If you wanted to get to water even up to your chest you were in for a hike. One of the days Melissa's dad and uncle rented a pontoon boat so we got to take a tour of the lake. That was pretty fun although I think some of the people were starting to get bored. I guess there's only so much shore watching you can do.

The one thing I learned was that bringing food from home makes only so much sense. They have grocery stores almost anywhere you go and you' going to visit them several times. It makes more sense to pack a minimal amount of food and plan a trip to a real local grocery store. The prices are about the same as what you'd find at home, if you avoid the tourist oriented stores.

Does IBM's usage matter?

I'm not really sure how much IBM matters anymore. I understand that they're huge but does the browser they use matter that much. They seem like they're mostly a consulting company at this point and in that regard they're going to have to stay compatible with everybody else. If folks switch back to Internet Explorer than IBM will probably have to follow suit.