On the slide

Microsoft has announced that it’s cutting the retail price of some versions of Vista. Here’s Nick Carr’s take on it:

The real threat to Microsoft has always been that the battle would shift away from its turf, that its traditional hegemony over the PC would begin to matter less. The threat, in other words, wasn’t so much that Microsoft would lose its control over the operating system and the personal productivity application, control reflected in market share numbers, but that its control would simply fade in importance. And that phenomenon – the loss of importance – would be revealed through a loss of pricing power, not a loss of share.

That’s what we’re beginning to see today. At the edges of its vast and incredibly lucrative market, Microsoft is losing pricing power. As the center of personal computing moves from the PC hard drive to the web, people’s reliance on Windows and Office begins, slowly, to fade, and as a result their motivation to buy or upgrade the programs weakens. To maintain its market share, Microsoft has no alternative but to cut prices…