Excerpts from a stark Microsoft reality check
To some longtime Microsoft veterans, Ballmer's swift termination of Courier symbolizes a shortsightedness that has plagued the company's top management in recent years -- and has left the company eating Apple's dust. (And Google's. And Amazon's (AMZN).) Ballmer, a preternaturally optimistic man not inclined to second-guess himself, has been forced to publicly acknowledge many of the company's biggest misses. The Vista operating system frustrated users. The MP3 player, the Zune, has proved a dud. And then there's Microsoft's costliest blunder, its also-ran status on the device that is emerging as the personal computer of the 21st century, the mobile phone. "We were ahead of this game, and now we find ourselves No. 5 in the market," Ballmer said at a tech conference in June. "We missed a whole cycle." Or two. Or three.
The article also notes that Apple’s stock is worth more than 20 times its 2002 price.