Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What Can Microsoft Do

The king has died. As a result I expect a flurry of articles about Apple in the coming weeks. When people talk about Apple they can't help but talk about Microsoft. Why hasn't Microsoft, which a decade ago had undeniably better positioning not become the force that Apple has?

Cultural Change
Microsoft is still the go to brand for a P.C. controlling over 90% of desktop operating system market share. People by Macs for specific reasons, like photo and video editing, but for a business owner or the average Joe on the street windows is still the go to operating system. But in today's culture that doesn't matter.

When I was a kid and people were talking about the wonders of technology they were talking about all the new ways people could use P.C.s.

In today's culture the P.C. has lost it's mystic. Right now the wonder is all about mobile technology, which is a field, that Microsoft is playing catch up on.

There are a number of things that Microsoft does, and is a leader in, but culturally we take most of them for granted. Nobody cares that the standard word processor taught in schools and colleges was Microsoft Word, which brings me to a secondary point.

Internet Service
I loved walking down the software aisle growing up seeing all of these amazing pieces of software that would do cool stuff. I loved Encarta, an entire encyclopedia that was searchable in seconds. I loved Streets and Trips. All of these were premium services. Many of which were supplanted by free services on the internet.

In the days these services were in their prime it was impractical to use their internet equivalents because they either didn't exist, or they were in their infancy like the rest of the internet.

Today however that is not the case. There is less and less of a problem with using the internet for major computing functions. People have access to more bandwidth and many computers automatically sign in to the internet.

The main advantage that services like Microsoft Office, Streets and Trips, and Picture It have over Google Office, Google Maps and Piccasa is disappearing. It used to be a pain to do work over the internet especially since before broadband which is a relatively new development (Broadband over took dial-up only in 2006) people had to either deal with not having a phone connection or get a new line. People needed to be productive while only being online in short bursts. So anything that could be done through local computing was a godsend.

That's not the case anymore. People don't mind working in the cloud as much as they used to. In fact some people welcome minimizing the hard drive space. As a result many of the programs that Microsoft used to create have become obsolete as we move more and more towards doing things on the internet.

See What's Cool and Make it Better
Apple didn't create the MP3 player, the Smartphone , or the tablet, but it did find ways to make these products better. If Microsoft wants to better position itself in the marketplace it needs to keep it's ear to the ground and figure out where computing is heading. For example, As mentioned before it seems to be headed for the cloud. Microsoft has the money to develop a web service platform not unlike Google where in clicking a icon in windows would take you to sort of an personalized online desktop where you could access web services and applications developed or at least supported by this cloud interface. If Microsoft did it well they could develop them in a where they worked well together like Apple and Google products already do. The main draw of it would be the interface, having a variety of cloud applications like photo editing and office solutions and in sort of a mini-desktop that could be accessed by tablets, phones, and P.Cs.

Note: This is hopefully what's going on with Windows 8

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