Fortune’s David Kirkpatrick has a love story praising the innovative stuff coming out of Microsoft. The stuff he talks about doesn’t sound particularly innovative to me, although the OneNote application for note taking does sound pretty neat. More importantly though, it’s stupid to talk about Microsoft’s innovation without talking about the innovation stifled by Microsoft. I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but note taking applications and displays you can carry around the house don’t make up for the lost innovation in the areas of operating systems and even worse, productivity suites, thanks to Microsoft. Most people live in their browsers, office apps, and email clients, and yet competition here is almost dead. Now that Mozilla is finished, browser innovation is again creeping forward, and hopefully Chandler will do the same thing for email clients, but we’re not there yet in terms of competition.
When you look at competitive software markets, you realize how much is being lost to Microsoft’s monopoly. The pace of innovation in Java IDEs is staggering. Intellij, Eclipse, TogetherSoft, and Borland are moving the ball forward at an unbelievable pace. Microsoft’s development tools and J2EE are also advancing at a very rapid pace. Competition drives innovation, that’s the bottom line. As much as Microsoft spends billions of dollars on research and they want to make lives better for their customers, the lack of head to head competition leads to stagnation. The fact that we’ve suffered under Microsoft’s monopoly for so long leads to people forgetting that.