Is Microsoft going the way of the Zune?

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Fortune’s Jon Fortt reports that when long-time Microsoft-basher Larry Ellison (the CEO of Oracle) was asked this week if Microsoft was still relevant, his answer was:

They make a lot of money. I think they’re clearly relevant. I divide the computer industry into two groups. And I know for a long time I was constantly picking a fight with Microsoft. Now Oracle’s constantly picking a fight with IBM. Because you’ve got to pick your enemies very carefully, because you’re destined to become most like those enemies you select.

Microsoft, culturally now, is a very consumer-centric company. They’ve got the Xbox. They’ve got Zune. … I think they are obsessed with Apple (AAPL). They’re obsessed with Google. … Under the new administration at Microsoft, I see all of their energies going into being successful in the consumer space.

Adam Lashinsky, who pointed me to Fortt’s post, says Ellison may be exaggerating a bit (exaggerate? Larry Ellison?!?) but is still onto something. Microsoft’s profits come mostly from business-oriented software (Windows, Office, Outlook, etc.), but its dominance in all those areas is under assault. So it’s been trying to succeed in the consumer space, with limited success and even-more-limited profits. And now Larry Ellison seems to think IBM is the bigger force to reckon with going forward.

That’s two major instances of IBM emulation in a week. What’s up with that?

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