Is Microsoft's software-as-services strategy the right strategy to pursue?
Microsoft still owns the desktop space, but they are convinced Google is heading in the right direction where the Google is establishing itself as the ubiquitous interface to software applications. So, their response is to pursue that approach - and ensure that Microsoft is the destination of choice for consumers for online applications.
Clearly Microsoft has the cache and expertise to execute the product side. But, is this the right consumer play?
I don't know, but it occurs to me that they are missing the point of Google's rise. Google got to where they are because they did something different. Not that being different is a guarantor of success, but taking on Goliath is sure suicide. Just as Microsoft set a standard, and associated their brand with it, Google has done the same.
It's an interesting paradox. Bill Gates's vision was "a PC in every home." For all intents and purposes, that's been realized. Perhaps that's why the reins have been passed from Bill to Ray Ozzie - Bill doesn't have a vision beyond his original, and as such Microsoft has struggled with the paradigm shift of the Internet. Now's it's Ray's turn to embark on a new vision. I would hope Microsoft could do something more ambitious than follow Google.
I think Microsoft would be better served looking into its crystal ball and figure out what's "beyond Google." No doubt they are doing that at the R&D level, but perhaps their corporate strategy should follow suit. After all, that's the approach that got them to their perch that they've owned for the last 15 years.