The admission by Microsoft executive vice president Steve Ballmer that his company?s stock market valuation is ?laughable? because of the short life cycles of high-tech products is the final act in the drama about the fall of a once great company, Microsoft competitors confirmed last week.
As analysts rushed to revise their previously positive ratings of Microsoft?s future prospects, market watcher Total Nonsense Inc of Buena Vista, Disneyland, hastily issued an addendum to its report Bill Gates Is A Christ-Like Figure Who Should Be Worshipped, published three weeks ago. ?We now realise our report was too positive and overlooked certain structural weaknesses in Microsoft?s future strategy,? said Bart Nonsense III, the CEO and creative force behind Total Nonsense. ?I can predict with certainty the demise of Microsoft within a year. Unfortunately, I cannot say at this time which year that will be.?
Total Nonsense is well known as a bell-wether for many other analysts in the industry. Already, the prominent investor relations tip sheet Heard Instinct has reported ?certain structural weaknesses in Microsoft?s future strategy? and newsletter Big Deal has gone on record to predict ?Microsoft?s demise within a year?.
Meanwhile, Eric Blather, lost causes evangelist at IBM, announced at a hastily convened news conference: ?This appalling, and may I say most un-American, admission shows that NT is a busted flush and that Warp OS/2 is the operating system of choice for those companies that are really serious about wiring the enterprise for the 21st century, apart from those we?re selling NT applications to. Hang on, I?ve got that the wrong way round. No I haven?t. Anyway, we?re putting all our weight behind the winner, who we believe in the future will be us. Well, it?s us already, isn?t it??
On the West Coast, San Francisco-based Derek Photoshop, rector of user group the First Church of Latterday Macintosh Saints, added: ?Only one week after Apple posted better-than-expected losses we have this thunderbolt from Seattle. How like the martyr Gil Amelio to get out at the top, knowing that his vision of a strong Apple Computer would come to pass after his leaving. I can tell you, no one in this industry wants to be Bill Gates, who is now exposed as a false prophet whose proprietary commands, or should I say, commandments, have enslaved many millions of innocent Macintosh users and converted them to miserable PC users. Can I sing my song now??
Dave Dee, creative director of advertising agency Dave Dee Dozibiki Mikantich, and the man responsible for the ?who?s sorry now?? advertising campaign for Novell that is credited with putting Microsoft in the position it is in today, criticised Microsoft?s marketing strategy. ?It?s all very well their using saturation marketing techniques to generate sales when things are going well, but I?d like to see Microsoft perform a major product introduction and still have change from a tenner, like we do. If Mr Ballmer or Mr Gates is reading this, we would of course be happy to demonstrate how this would be possible.?
Art Burke, founder of internet startup BurkeNet, added that Microsoft had little or no understanding of the realities of the internet. ?It beggars belief that he could call a share price too high. Just because Microsoft is valued higher than General Motors, he?s saying it is unrealistic. Well it shows that Microsoft?s thinking is rooted in the past, when high values were given to companies according to what they had actually done. In the internet age, the true measure of a company?s worth is in what it promises to do three years from now, and I can tell you that?s nothing to do with money. We?re valued at $400 million on the back of three product white papers, a strategic agreement with two other companies whose combined sales total $85.99 to date, and a positive report in an investment magazine run by my brother in law. That?s the new economics, not some outmoded notion of sales, profits and earnings per share.?
Dr James ?Jimbo? James, hailed as the genius behind at least 41 of the versions of Unix running at the University of Guarana?s medical school, said that Microsoft?s Windows NT operating system was doomed never to surpass Unix. ?Mr Gates has one version on one CD. We have at least 70 versions of Unix in this building alone, some on 8in floppy disks, one even programmed by a graduate student by tying knots in a piece of string over a period of 12 years. Microsoft simply cannot compete with that level of creativity.?
Microsoft?s last quarterly results show profits increased by 89 per cent.
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