Arguably Microsoft's biggest threat is its irrelevance to Web developers. Though the company dominates personal computing and is a major force in enterprise computing, it remains a distant also-ran to LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Python/Perl) development for the growing Web ecosystem. On Thursday Microsoft announced its WebsiteSpark program to build inroads with the Web crowd, but the program is unlikely to make a serious dent on LAMP's dominance.
The reason? There are some big strings attached. Microsoft has gone after Web developers before, but products like Expressions haven't made much headway with Web developers, as The Seattle Times reports.
WebsiteSpark, following on the heels of successful student (DreamSpark) and start-up (BizSpark) technology seeding programs, will likely make more of a dent. Free, high-quality tools to Web developers, as TechCrunch suggests, are going to be a big win. But it's not going to be enough.