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I see that slightly differently. Oracle is huge in government, world-wide. But while it used to be "Oracle is the answer. What was the question again?", there's a shift towards F/OSS, open standards, and commodity hardware. This hurts Oracle. And yes, the exact same thing hurts Microsoft, too.

Microsoft, however, have three products that will ensure their continued profitability[1] - Excel, Exchange and (probably most importantly), Active Directory. This is over and above their insanely cohesive ecosystem, from SCCM all the way to Dynamics.

Active Directory is so critical because of the vast amount of legacy code that depends on it. Want to guess how many fortune 500 companies rely on AD?

[1] Nothing is guaranteed so yes, unless they evolve as the environment they generate value for inevitably evolves, they'll go.

Back in late 1990s and early 2000s, enterprises were much more dependent on MSFT than today. Windows machines were in server rooms, Windows machines were on desktops, Exchange was everywhere.... Companies really depended on Microsoft: they had the entire stack.

Fast forward to 2013 ... what do you see? Did Ballmer really improve Microsoft position in enterprise comparing to Oracle and other competitors?

And how much growth potential is there in selling Active Directory, Excel, and Exchange?

Every sizable company already has these things installed. Smaller and new companies may choose to spend their dollars elsewhere and that's a change of events for Microsoft. Projects that previously would go on Sharepoint are now done less expensively with cloud services, for example.

In tech, growth is in consumer, and with consumer tech drifting in to the enterprise, even enterprise IT spending may not go to Microsoft.

You can't really blame people for abandoning sharepoint, it's really an excellent display of why you shouldn't try to interbreed all your gui applications with internetexplorer iframes. It's literally the worst MS have ever produced.

That said, Im amazed at the volume of seemingly smart people that choose to implement that steaming pile of poo.

Who knows? What I do know is that this is exactly what I was hearing in the late 90's.

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