Depending on what matters to you, it's been a tough decade for Microsoft. The company's stock price has stagnated as it matured from a quickly-growing upstart into a slow-moving, comfortable, behemoth. But in recent years, faster-moving companies such as Apple and Google have stolen the limelight, thanks to innovative and exciting consumer products. And despite the fact that these companies are behemoths themselves, they've generated significant excitement with shareholders as well.
o here's my suggestion: While Microsoft has spent much of the past decade trying to prove that it is somehow a company that can equally attract consumers and businesses, it has failed to make any headway with consumers at all. And its competitors, which are better able to meet the needs of this market better—indeed, able to anticipate and even invent these needs, as Apple has done—show no sign of slowing. There's only one course of action that makes any sense.
Microsoft should abandon the consumer market.
Relax, relax. This isn't as dramatic as it sounds. Indeed, as I've already discovered, most of Microsoft's revenues are already derived from non-consumer products and services as it is. And its future growth is already tied to the migration away from business-oriented traditional software packages to business-oriented cloud services. Why continue muddying the waters?