Comment left here.

MS is a statistical outlier. A lot of its success was accidental and also built on allowing piracy in markets it could’t control in the early days. Ballmer/Gates so what?

You get one of these companies every generation or so and they hang around for a long time and Wall Street or the City of Lahndahn try to make everybody else be like them when that business model only works in a new market when no-one has any idea what to do next. It happens to be Microsoft because IBM’s leadership had no idea what they’d unleashed – it could have been IBM or any one of a number of other companies that have now gone to the wall because MS’s dominant position stifled them.

We have no idea who the next Microsoft even are. Ballmer’s just another guy managing a big company that succeeded despite itself. The market is changing and MS will do its best to protect its equivalent of the pianola until it disappears or is reinvented as a medium sized player in a different market. The idiom of the ice companies making sharper saws while ignoring developments in refrigeration comes to mind. None of the ice companies became refrigeration companies.

I think the next innovation will be in finding a way to consistently write large chunks of software that do useful things. MS are’t even trying to play that game, as their last disaster shows too clearly.