Tuesday, September 20, 2011

MSFT: Another Partner Skewered

Microsoft's recent news – that its billion-per-quarter losing streak with Bing has continued another quarter and is set to keep the same path – is highlighted by another report that partnering with Microsoft is bad for your health. Microsoft's share gain against Google has not only not been at Google's expense, but it has been at the expense of Yahoo! – the search function of which is ... drumroll please ... provided by Microsoft's Bing.

The theory that partnering with Microsoft is bad for the health of a technology enterprise is not novel. The recent "MSFT kills its search partner" sounds a lot like the company's earlier hit, "MSFT kills its music-store partner".

This isn't to say MSFT is doomed: it's finally figured out how to make money on its once laughably-losing XBox, and it's got a huge cash flow based on operating system and productivity software that is fully capable of sustaining it through the effort to succeed at other things. The question at Microsoft is whether top management will allow Microsoft's smart folks to do things successfully, or whether good ideas will be killed to protect legacy business.

Only the shadow knows.

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