Is Microsoft a fuddy-duddy company? Passé? Over the hill?

On Jan. 27, Microsoft released its latest quarterly financial reports, showing that its net income was US$6.6 billion—more than 10% above analyst estimates. Total quarterly revenue was $19.95 billion, compared to analyst estimates of $19.2 billion. This represented significant growth from the same quarter a year earlier.

When listening to the financial news that morning on radio station WCBS in New York, a Wall Street analyst described the House that Gates Built as “stodgy old Microsoft.”

The analyst (I didn’t catch his name) went on to say that much of the profit increase can be attributed to the Kinect, an add-on to the Xbox game system—a major shift, he said, from the company’s overwhelmingly enterprise-oriented business model.

What a change that is. A couple of decades ago, analysts (myself included_ said that Microsoft’s weakness was that it didn’t know how to play in the enterprise market, which was dominated by IBM.

In fact, not long ago, Microsoft was a red-hot, innovative technology company that was going to take over the world. Stodgy meant IBM.

How times change. Microsoft isn’t consumer-oriented or innovative. It’s stodgy, says the analyst. I’ve heard people talk about Google as a has-been, and everyone wants to work for Facebook. But then people are starting to say that Facebook has “peaked,” and that the world belongs to some next generation of innovators.

Okay, let’s have some fun. I’ve set up an online survey. It’s not scientific and it’s not statistically significant. But it asks about a whole bunch of big software development companies and organizations, and whether you think they’re stodgy or not. That’s all.

If you get a minute, take the survey. If we get enough responses, I’ll report back in a few weeks.

Alan Zeichick is editorial director of SD Times. Follow him on Twitter at Read his blog at