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There are now a number of companies — Apple, Google, Amazon, and others — that have Microsoft in their rear-view mirrors, disappearing quickly on the horizon in a cloud of dust.[More from Mashable: Mother’s Day: 10 Digital Gifts for Last-Minute Shoppers]That kick of dust in the company’s face is being emitted by Apple’s iPhone and iPad, Amazon’s Kindle, and Google’s search and cloud domination. Microsoft’s own wild lunges into various technology segments are also contributing considerably to it being left behind. Take the company’s recent acquisition of 18% of the Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader for $605 million in cash and future guarantees. This was a move to compete with Amazon, but can it really compete?If you want to know why Microsoft’s share price has been flat for 11 years while Apple, Amazon, and Google shares have soared, this is why. Microsoft is not innovating aggressively. It is not leading categories or blazing trails. No, it’s acquiring aggressively as a shortcut to innovation. That isn’t working. Its own history suggests as much.