A month or so ago, the world got a chuckle when Microsoft’s British arm announced plans for portable toilets with Web access. The product, called iLoo for the British term “loo”, gave comics some good material for a few days before corporate higher-ups killed the idea.

A friend inside Microsoft Business Solutions wrote off the flurry as a blip. But what if iLoo represents a sign that Microsoft is losing some control? This is not the kind of idea that companies in control let onto the market. Microsoft is still an incredibly strong player. But what if Microsoft is losing control of the ability to set the agenda for the market? I’ve compared Microsoft’s dominance IBM’s in the 1980s. IBM lost its position of overwhelming leadership, but still maintained its role as a powerful player, the likely course for Microsoft.

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