Michael Gartenberg thinks that the delay of LongHorn (2006 at least, quite possibly 2007 or even 2008) is a sign of trouble for MS. His evidence?
Microsoft touts Longhorn as revolutionary and says it will make Windows XP look as pale as Windows XP made Windows 98 look. All well and good, except for one thing: A good deal of the market never made the leap to Windows XP. That's amazing when you consider that Windows XP is probably the best operating system Microsoft has ever released, whereas Windows 98 was one of the worst. That stall in the market -- a large number of customers holding on to old operating systems such as Windows 95, 98, NT and 2000 -- is combining with the delays for Longhorn to put Microsoft at potential risk.
A stalled user base is perilous, especially when users are sticking with a product as poor as Windows 98. That means they're saddled with lousy performance, unreliable systems and unsecured ones as well. The second troubled front that Microsoft faces concerns a market that's starting to look for alternatives.
Now admittedly, inertia accounts for a lot of this - but still, his point that the stall on Win 98 is a marketing failure is a good one. XP is a big improvement over 98, and there's really no good reason to stick with it - and yet people are. This does tend to point to a marketing failure at MS. In Gartenberg's words:
It's not about bad product, but rather poor marketing and evangelism, the third troubled front. Let's face it: If you can't show the market value of Windows XP over prior efforts, you're not doing an effective marketing job.
Ouch. Can't say I disagree with him, either. Over to you Scoble :)