Has Microsoft Peaked?

At its periodic (if not quite annual) PDC conference last week, Microsoft took the wraps off of quite a number of initiatives, from the Oslo model-driven development roadmap to long-awaited announcement of Windows 7, its Azure PaaS (platform as a service) platform, to a variety of languages and tools that are bound to keep developers busy reviewing more technology previews over the coming year.

But overshadowing Microsoft’s technology announcements is whether the company has peaked. In an era of compact, agile technologies, emergence of Web 2.0, the cloud, and open source, can Microsoft adapt as readily as it did when Bill Gates convened a retreat nearly 15 years ago to turn around and embrace the Internet? For most ISVs, CY Q3 ended before the triple whammy of the bottom falling out of credit, stock, and housing markets.

The big story during Q3 was still a rapid escalation of energy process not seen since the fall of the Shah -– significantly, a trend that became past history with subsequently crash of world financial markets. So technology industry earnings have not reflected the financial crash that has since turned the world — not to mention the U.S. election campaign — upside down.

During Q3, Microsoft showed Ok but not stellar results. Specifically, Microsoft trailed IBM, HP, and Oracle, but topped SAP. In all likelihood, Q4 will be another story.

We sat in for another BriefingsDirect podcast last week hosted by Dana Gardner, discussing whether Microsoft was ahead or behind the curve. We were joined by Forrester Analyst Jim Kobielus, analysts Brad Shimmin and Mike Meehan of Current Analysis; and independent analyst and megablogger Joe McKendrick.

Click here for a transcript, and here for the podcast.