Software gets no respect. It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of the tech industry -- always the underdog, and yet somehow, always around.
Microsoft has monopolized the PC industry for decades. Google’s control of Websearch is uncontested. Adobe and Symantec may as well be unmovable objects, and despite the perennial threat from cloud competitors, SAP and Oracle are as profitable and healthy as ever. Not exactly a tough audience.
The hardware industry hasn’t been nearly as kind to HP and Dell Chinese competitors have grabbed market share from HP, while Baidu has failed to dent Google. Dell and Microsoft were both challenged by a change in consumer trends, but Microsoft has remained afloat while Dell hasn’t.
Hardware isn’t easy, and IBM only survived the last 102 years by walking fast and carrying a packed suitcase; the 2005 sale of its personal computer business to Lenovo was just the latest in a long history of well-timed exits.