Aside from the Xbox 360, there's not much going on at Microsoft these days, leading tech columnist John Dvorak claims this morning.

In an opinion piece for MarketWatch, Dvorak talks about eight signs of the company being "dead in the water". This doesn't mean the company won't be making money, just that what it's engaged in isn't very interesting.

He rails against the late-shipping Microsoft Vista OS, complaining: "All its promised cool features have been removed and it appears to be little more than a gussied-up version of Windows XP."

Dvorak also slams Office 2007 as offering "nothing new", and argues that the software publishing company has no need to become a media publishing company through MSN. "Microsoft should have abandoned MSN a decade ago," he complains.

Microsoft's Dot Net plans have been eclipsed by a slew of powerful solutions from open source competitors, he notes, observing: "Microsoft has been unable to cope with Open Source except to complain about it."

Recent news that Microsoft plans a strategic tie-up with Yahoo to help it prevail against the success of Google isn't a good thing, Dvorak argues. It's a bad thing because it shows how Microsoft focuses on successful competitors more than it does on its own important work.

"Microsoft is about to do a deal with Yahoo to flank Google. This old-lady-like skittishness is unbecoming for a company this size," he warns.

"This only scratches the surface of the Microsoft malaise. Now if the investment community sees light at the end of this tunnel good for them. I sure don't see it. I see a company that has settled in and has become big, profitable, and unexciting, lacking real focus or spirit," he concludes.