Whatever your thoughts on Microsoft, the Surface tablets, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and all of that, I think we can all agree that the once-mighty MS is no longer quite the unstoppable force it once was.
That much is no big deal: things go up, things come down. Such is the way of the world. But the more interesting question is what would you do to change things if you were put in charge of Microsoft right now?
Under current boss Steve Ballmer, Microsoft is in the middle of evolving from a pure software company – think Windows XP, Office, Hotmail etc – into a “devices and services” company – Surface, SkyDrive, Bing and so on.
Broadly speaking, it seems a fairly sensible evolution to make, as the “old” Microsoft model just doesn't fit the way the technology industry is moving. But is Redmond's reinvention going to plan?
Not according to former exec Joachim Kempin, who gave his thoughts on the matter to ReadWrite in an interview this week. The real story, Kempin suggests, is one where Microsoft has consistently lost out by failing to pounce on opportunities, then has caused further damage by treading on its supposed partners' toes when trying to play catch-up down the line.
“It seems to me that Microsoft is basically malfunctioning,” said Kempin, a Microsoft employee for nearly 20 years who joined the company in the 1980s.
“Back in the late 1990s we had our own tablet under development,” he continued. “It never saw the light of day. When I left in 2002 people were talking about social media. We were selling phone software. But we didn’t take advantage of any of that.
“I’m not a big fan of Facebook. I’m on Facebook, but the program is so confusing and user unfriendly. Its value lies in over one billion people using it and the network which runs it. The user investment is immense.
“Microsoft should take advantage of that and do a next generation of Facebook and do it right,” Kempin said. “People would use it if they could transfer their posts with one mouse click. A Metro-like Facebook clone, and Microsoft would look way cooler than it does today.
“Instead the company produces its own hardware [i.e. the Surface tablets] and tries to compete with Apple while pissing off its loyal hardware manufacturers. Oh my God.”
Indeed. Need a ladder to get down from that soapbox?
It's easy to point fingers and criticise in hindsight. It's also easy to tell others what they should do, since you can do so without having to work out how to do it.
But leaving that aside, do you agree? Is Microsoft "malfunctioning", as Kempin suggests? If you had the chance to plot the next five years for Microsoft, in which direction would you steer the ship? More Surfaces? Bingbook? Something else entirely? Head for the Comments below and have your say.