Threats to this revenue stream have to be explained regularly to US shareholders in 10-k filings.
The change in a 10-k filing from year to year can be quite revealing.
It's official - what everyone suspected - Microsoft now sees Google and Apple as it's main threats to revenue. But a more important question is left unanswered*
How Google and Apple can threaten Microsoft business model:
Here is a question that you can answer just be reading Microsoft latest 10-k and without any regard for any competitor.
Which of Desktop/Server, Cloud, or Mobile is Microsoft's 'main' revenue stream?That is the *unanswered question which you should answer for yourself.
Firstly it is important to pick your pitch - Desktop/Server, Cloud or Mobile
...which of these 'spheres' you select has a separate set of arguments.
My feeling, Microsoft is trying desperately to reposition itself and wants a foothold in all three, but it is unsure of none of it:
- Could be that Desktop/Server takes a profit hit soon - many have speculated this is coming in 2012/2013. Hence the rearguard in the 10-k declaration?
- Could be that Cloud (BPOS and Azure) never really dents Amazon/Rackspace/Google App Engine
- Could be that Windows Mobile continues to be a resource drain, and despite ridiculous media blitz in Fall 2011, still fails to dent Android market share.
Considering each of those 3 spheres by company - here are some future fictional headlines - any of which could be true in 2012 / 2013
- Google Chrome takeup amongst SMEs in Europe shows healthy growth
- Google Apps deployments accelerate
- Android app store - new submissions rate is 50,000 per month
Linux gets a breather - all good news:
Previously Microsoft only had one 'arch' rival which it liked to talk about in it's 10-k filings - Linux
Microsoft has very few tricks up it's sleeve, that it hasn't already played out in it's attempts to deny market access to Linux.
Foundations have been launched and the GPL3 drafted, in direct response to some of these tricks.
Now Linux can just get on with the job of being the preferred server operating system of High Performance Computing, some of the larger startups, and those who want a secure desktop experience.
In short Linux can take a breather from being the most targeted operating system in history - it's main enemy for the last 10 years, is now turning it's attentions, to it's neighbours in America's West.
Notes and Further Reading: