Microsoft makes an easy target for criticism. The problem is, it is easy to be a fan boy when your idol can throw away a billion a quarter on a worthless search engine that did not even need to be born. Mr. Ballmer does seem to be having a problem getting his company focused, but that is because Microsoft tries to do everything. This is what kills monopolies, not anti-trust laws.
My sons are gamers and they spend a lot of time with some serious gamers. Of the limited (less than 50) survey I have conducted so far, I have not found a single one who sings the accolades of Xbox. In fact most of the ones who use it, do so for exclusive titles not the quality of the experience. Every single one of them are Sony fans, partly because they get a very good Blue Ray player with it. And they all love their Nintendo.
I do not know anyone who uses Bing on purpose. It is not that there is anything profoundly wrong with it, it is just irrelevant. While I am not a huge fan of most of the business practices of IT corporations, at least they are not selling me the same old cur dog and telling me it is champion.
I have an iPod. I did not buy it for myself -- it was a gift. While I recognize that digital music will never be as good as analog, I have gotten used to having my entire music library with me all the time. The only Zune I ever touched was a freebee that was given away at a Microsoft show. It was a tragedy. Microsoft should stay out of the hardware business. They do not know enough about it. They are just not very good at it. I have used three Windows phones and will not own another. They don't understand telecommunications either. I am currently using a BlackBerry and when it is due to be replaced, it will be with an android, most likely. I do not surf the Internet on my phone and I have an iPad that have not figured out what to with yet. My teenage girls like to play games on it and it does have a nice keyboard but I am not a person who needs a digital interface for society. If Microsoft spent less time chasing the latest consumer junk and more time mapping a clear direction for its products, including how to make them work with the new stuff, it would be better off.
What I see is a company that has regimented all creativity out by off shoring its imagination. I too find the political references tedious. I do not believe Fortune is some iconic bastion of good journalism. In the end it is a business and it could not stay in business if it did not tell people what they want to hear. It is not about truth, it is about money. If you got through all that, I am impressed. Most people stop after the third sentence.