Last Words Before Closing Eye on Microsoft

"And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…."

Ok, perhaps that's a little dramatic. But I have an announcement. After nearly five years of using this space to comment on the ups and downs of a certain software company from Redmond, I am now using it to say goodbye. I am leaving for a new opportunity after a great run with CIO.com and IDG Enterprise. This will be my last Eye on Microsoft post.

I've held three different positions at CIO.com and the Eye on Microsoft blog has been by my side throughout. When I was senior writer, the blog was a welcome break from the labor of news and feature writing (the phone calls, the interviews, the time-consuming transcribing, the rewriting). It was a platform where I could put on a different hat and have fun while still delivering some quick perspective and opinion.

As Assistant Managing Editor, the blog became something I would jump on while doing 10 other things. But I always tried to make time for it, and always relished being part of the conversation. Sometimes that meant being called an idiot, or worse, in the comments section by readers who begged to differ (The Microsoft Surface Pro was a particularly heated subject). My skin got thicker, and that's a good thing.

Microsoft always provided something to write about. More than any other company, it has its hands in all aspects of technology, both on the consumer and enterprise sides. It succeeds big, and it fails big. It's a force to be reckoned with in the enterprise, but it's also disorganized and dangerously behind in critical markets like mobile. The PC market it once dominated is shrinking and giving way to tablets; Windows 8 is struggling to catch on with consumers despite abundant advertising. But Microsoft won't quit, not ever.

Recent news about the company restructuring to become a "devices and services company", if it proves to be true, is encouraging (Microsoft's track record as a device maker and distributor is horrible, with the Xbox being an exception; it is better at the "services" part). The company will definitely need to streamline -- or maybe divide itself into two separate consumer and enterprise companies -- if it wants to weather the sea change toward cloud, social and mobile.

But this is not the time for such analysis. This is a time for thanks.

So thanks to the Microsoft PR team and execs for their enthusiasm and availability. Thanks to the industry analysts who provided context. Thanks to my CIO.com colleagues, past and present, for the editing and encouragement.

And thank you for reading.

All the best,

Shane O'Neill

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