Yes, Redmond, I am talking about the number one software company in the world.
This was before the time Google cooked up their search engine algorithms, around the time Apple was finding just how hard the hardware market can be. The middle of the 80s to start of 2000s. No one did software as well as Microsoft back then. Few, if any, came close.
But then something happened.
Hot on the heels of one of its biggest successes ever (Windows XP), the company messed up development and then delivery of Windows Vista. Was it because of the fact that they had a bean counter at the helm instead of a true software visionary; Steve Ballmer as opposed to Bill Gates? Or was it the case of aiming for the sky? The original feature set of Vista was stuff of dreams, after all.
Not all features shipped with the retail copy, many were discarded. Microsoft was forced to do a painful little development reset in August 2004 to put Vista back on track.
It was around this time that they lost part of their magic. Software magic.
It was around this time that they allowed their current competitors latitude. The refreshed Apple, the resurging Google, the rushing Amazon. The groundwork for what these companies, even Samsung, HTC and friends, were to become was laid in these years.
The years before the turn of last decade.
The years Microsoft toiled away fixing Windows Vista, releasing Windows 7.
But now with Windows 8 out, now with the foundation laid (and then some), it is time for Microsoft to stand up and start delivering innovation. All of its platforms are now almost on par with competitors, at least when it comes to core feature sets. Or will be at par this summer.
It is time to be great again, Redmond.
Will we see the real Microsoft at BUILD tomorrow? The best software company in the business? The one that shows others how it’s done? No more catchups. Just plain good coding.
No better time than now, as they say.