Today's announcement that Google is buying BumpTop continues the string of Google and Apple buying up technology companies so fast you'd think they were, well, Microsoft, at least "Microsoft back in the day".
I'm reminded that ~10 years ago Bill Gates said about Sun Microsystems (and I'm paraphrasing here):
"Sun is dead, they just don't know it yet. Their business model consists of selling overpriced servers, and sooner or later the market will realize that."
Having watch RISC processors lose their speed advantage -- and then switching to Linux as a result -- I agreed with that assessment, and in 2009 it finally came to fruition as Sun was bought by Oracle.
Which leads to the question: If Bill Gates could look at it objectively, would he say the same thing now about Microsoft?
We've seen in the last year that despite everything Microsoft has tried, something like 95% of all their profit comes from Windows and Office. They've got their feet in a lot of different businesses, but they make the vast majority of their money on those two products -- every other business segment is either break-even, or a money loser. And with competition today, you can argue that Windows and Office are "overpriced", in the same way Sun's servers were ten years ago.
And now, at a time when Apple and Google are delivering products (iPhone, iPad, Android, and a potential Google tablet device) and buying up cool technology companies, Microsoft just told us their Courier device won't really be shipping.
(Oh, and besides the iPhone and Android devices, HP just bought Palm, and Dell is prepping Android-based phones, so it's fair to say the future of Windows mobile operating systems isn't looking too bright at the moment.)
Which again leads to the question, is Microsoft just like Sun ten years ago -- They're dead, and they just don't know it?
After writing this article this afternoon, I was surfing the web this evening and found that HP has canceled their Slate project.
The HP Slate was the big demo at CES that seemed to be planned to take attention away from the iPad announcement. So three days ago Microsoft told us the Courier was not going to happen, and now HP has dropped their Windows tablet/slate device.