It’s not like Microsoft didn’t foresee the changes ahead. With a staff of almost 90,000, the company has many of the tech world’s smartest minds on its payroll, and has incubated projects in a wide range of fields that later took off. Experiments like Courier (tablets), HailStorm/Passport (digital identity), and Windows Media Center (content in the cloud) show the company was ahead of the game in many areas — but then it either failed to bring those products to market, or didn’t execute.
“In this age, the race really is to the swift. You cannot afford to be an hour late or a dollar short,” says Laura DiDio, principal analyst at ITIC.