Very interesting article in Forbes on MS and Google: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2015/02/18/microsoft-google-swap/
I have a been a big Google fan and always knocked on Microsoft but they made interesting points. Google does spend a fair amount of time on less relevant projects though in my mind, it’s always been their approach.
They develop concepts and work on projects and see what sticks. Their focus is often purposely not on popular concepts. One reality remains, Adsense revenues are declining:
The knock-on effect: Adsense is declining and Google’s search market share is currently at its lowest point in seven years. Like Microsoft had done with Windows and Office, Google understandably still tightly holds onto the duo as its primary revenue pillars but the future implies only further slow decline with no obvious escape route.
Microsoft is trying to improve and making changes but they still on several important aspects. Their mobile game is irrelevant for one. Although they try to be an online and cloud provider, their offerings are often kludgy and integrate poorly with the desktop tools. Not to mention the annoying fragmentation in the Office 365 offerings (Personal, Small Business, Enterprise, etc with no transition path between the offerings).
Microsoft is a long way from being in a position to consider this ruthless second stage (or maybe not), but the first moves are well underway. The once ludicrous idea that Outlook and Windows Calendar could cause disruption on iOS or Android is now no laughing matter as Microsoft bought and effectively rebadged best-of-breed email and calendar apps Acompli and Sunrise.