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Old Age and Legacies

by Jack Santos  |  July 23, 2012  |  Comments Off on Old Age and Legacies

That’s what happens when you get old – that is, anything beyond adolescent.  You suddenly wake up one day and find that the rest of the world has passed you by, and you have become irrelevant.

Sometimes it’s just because you have grown too fat – who hasn’t heard of the obesity problem. And it’s way too hard to slim down.

Sometimes it’s just  that the way to use things and interact with the world has changed – and you haven’t bothered to keep up – or you spent too much time really getting good at what you know.  Like using a hammer instead of a nail gun.

….and sometimes it’s just because you aren’t “cool” anymore.  Look at Madonna vis a vis Lady GaGa.

But as a has-been, you have choices: Reinvent, reincarnate, or retire.  BTW – Die  is not a choice.  and it doesn’t begin with “R”…so it’s not an option.

Reinvent yourself. But your body has limits with which it could do that.

Believe in Reincarnation, and start young again, maybe in multiple lives.

Or just ride it out in Retirement. Keep that income streaming in until it fades or stays self-sustaining.

And that, my friends, *could* summarize Microsoft’s options.  Surface, Win 8, Office 2013. Microsoft is choosing to reinvent. Not many companies are successful with that route. Nokia did it once from mills to cells.  It may not happen again for them.

AT&T, with a little help from Judge Greene, went the reincarnate route.

Some say IBM is a picture perfect image of retirement.

Microsoft’s problem is less about old age, and more about legacy.  There’s an awful lot of legacy, on many fronts.  Legacy software, legacy UI, legacy perceptions.

We at Gartner have this concept of technical debt – decisions made that add to our IT burden, decisions not made that add to our burden.  Everyone has technical debt, and everyone wants to leave a legacy, but not have to deal with legacy.

Brad Anderson of Microsoft will be at our Catalyst conference, and on the hot seat. I am sure he’ll disagree with this assessment.  Or will he?

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Category: catalyst-12  windows-8  

Tags: catalyst-na  mergers  mobility  vendor  

Jack Santos
Research VP
7 years at Gartner
40 years IT industry

Jack Santos is a Research Vice President with Gartner, part of the Enterprise Architecture and Technology Innovation team within the Gartner for IT Leaders product. He focuses on enterprise architecture and technology trends. Mr. Santos' specific area of research covers individual development, leadership and management practices for enterprise architects, EA innovation, and collaboration approaches. Read Full Bio

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