Consumer tastes have overtaken the needs of business as the leading force shaping technology.
Why is it that other “consumer-oriented” companies like Sony, Nokia and Phillips have not benefitted from this shift? As far as I can tell they are no better off (and sometimes quite a lot worse off) than Microsoft has been during this transition.
Clearly, although the paradigm did shift to consumers, simply being consumer focused is not enough to benefit from this shift.
Conversely, simply being Enterprise focused (like Cisco or Oracle) has not caused dramatic loss of shareholder value.
Thus focus is not causal to fortune.
From personal experience I can also recall that precisely at the time when the shift was beginning (think back to when “IT does not matter” was published) at least one of these companies was looking for ways to create “Enterprise Solutions”.
This hints at the cause rooted in strategy, or, more precisely, priorities and the courage to lead.