Vanity Fair: ‘How Microsoft Lost Its Mojo: Steve Ballmer and Corporate America’s Most Spectacular Decline’

Kurt Eichenwald’s feature-length takedown of post-’90s Microsoft:

Years passed. Finally, on November 14, 2006, Microsoft introduced its own music player, called Zune. Fifty-four days later, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, which combined a mobile phone, a music player, Internet capability, a camera, and other features not available on Zune. But the iPod was still around for customers who didn’t want a phone. In fact, Apple had already introduced its fifth-generation iPod, its less expensive iPod Mini, and was about a year away from marketing the least costly of its music players, the iPod Nano.

Zune was blown away. By 2009, iPod maintained an astonishing 71 percent of the market, the kind of numbers rarely seen anywhere outside of a North Korean election. Meanwhile, Zune limped along with less than 4 percent. Last October, Microsoft discontinued it, in hopes that customers would instead purchase a Windows Phone that, like the iPhone, has a music player.

Never thought about it that way: by the time Microsoft caught up to the iPod, Apple was on to the iPhone.

Thursday, 26 July 2012