What are Microsoft Thinking? Are their Days Numbered?


What’s happening with Microsoft at the moment?

I’ve been a long time Windows user, using Windows 3.1 at University and owning copies of Windows from Windows 95 to Windows 8. I do continue to feel that Windows 7 is a great operating system. But I do find myself asking where Microsoft going at the moment? They seem to be all over the place without any clear vision. You could say the same about Apple, but that’s another story.

Surface

SurfaceFirst there was the Surface with Windows RT which has had very mixed reviews with some saying it is very laggy in response and of course it has a limited number of apps when compared to Android and iOS devices. I love the idea of the Surface and I have to admit that it is very well designed. Perhaps it is easy to dismiss the Surface at the moment, but there are some who think it could be a force to be reckoned with in the future as Microsoft release new models. For a review, see this one from Forbes. Still, my feeling is that the Surface was a disappointment. The Surface was supposed to save Microsoft, but instead it made people put their hope in the Surface Pro (but more of that in a bit!)


Steve Balmer, Dropbox & Live Mesh

steve balmerdropboxSome people are expressing the view that Steve Balmer is the problem. He does seem like a nice guy, but some wonder what planet he is on! Recently he dismissed popular file synching service, Dropbox as a “fine little start up” with only 100 million users. For more information, see this article from The Verge.

live meshOf course, Microsoft has a fantastic service very similar to Dropbox called Live Mesh. In a very odd move, Microsoft are shutting down Live Mesh and asking users to move over to their cloud storage service, SkyDrive. The problem with this is that SkyDrive doesn’t offer the same synching service as Live Mesh did- SkyDrive is purely a cloud storage service. Why kill such a useless service? Sure it had a silly name, but that would have been easy to change!


Windows 8 Prices

Windows 8From 1st Feb, Microsoft are putting up the prices of upgrading to Windows 8 to $199. If you are reading this article on January 31st 2013 this is your last chance to upgrade for $40! I’d like to say this is madness, but I really don’t know what I think. Although Microsoft do have to increase their prices at some point, there are still many people who remain unconvinced by Windows 8. This doesn’t seem like a good time to bump the prices up.

There are a lot of negative reviews of Windows 8, but my feeling is that is an operating system in transition. Microsoft weren’t able to go totally over to where they wanted to go, otherwise their existing user base would complain (particularly the business sector). So what we have is a half baked product where things aren’t as seamless as they should be. I am hoping Windows 9 will go some way to fix this. Having said that I do have my concerns, such as going down the Apple route of locking down the operating system and potentially only allowing certain “authorised” apps run. They haven’t done that yet, but there are signs that that is where they are going.


Surface Pro

Surface ProThe Surface Pro is coming out next week (in the US at least). The Surface Pro is Microsoft’s high end tablet device, capable of running full Windows 7 and 8 applications like Office. Full reviews haven’t been posted yet since they most reviewers haven’t had their hands on the Surface Pro. However it has been reported that the amount of available memory is insanely low. In the 128Gb model there is only 83Gb of available space. That doesn’t sound so bad, but the 64Gb model only has 23Gb of free space!
What were Microsoft thinking?

Well I tell you what Apple are thinking- releasing a 128Gb iPad model! You have to admit that they have excellent timing.


Office 2013

office 2013And then there is Office 2013 which has just been released. The last version, Office 2010 wasn’t a huge update on 2007- but they did complete the ribbon interface for all applications within Office- something they started in Office 2007. I’ll be honest, I haven’t had much chance to play with Office 2013- although I did have the beta installed for a while.Despite that it is obvious things haven’t changed much. Yes, it has an updated interface, but other than that there isn’t much that is different. You have to ask, as tech website ars technica have, what the Office team have been up to for the past 2 and a bit years?


Conclusion

So, where are Microsoft going? Can they survive? Call me mad, but I do want Microsoft to succeed. They do make some great products and software. Windows 7 is a great operating system. They made the XBox and Kinect. I like the PC and I like Windows. Windows 8 isn’t actually as bad as people make it out to be. However with Apple iOS and Google Android devices becoming much more prevalent these days, you have to wonder if Microsoft’s days are numbered. Is that over stated? Perhaps. What do you think?


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About Ian Anderson Gray

Ian is a speaker, coach, social media consultant, web developer & Partner of Select Performers. In real life he is a husband, dad and geek and is rather partial to tea, coffee & Indian cooking. Find out more



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9 Comments on "What are Microsoft Thinking? Are their Days Numbered?"

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Patryk Poblocki
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Patryk Poblocki
2 years 9 months ago

Time will tell but comparing their services, products and most importantly pricing to alternatives I think it can happen. Maybe not soon but in the next ten years. I don’t agree with the previous comments regarding Linux. Linux is much more powerful and enterprise capable platform that you may think. People who thinks that Linux is hard to manage and implement just stuck in the nineties.

Paul Salmon
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3 years 7 months ago

At the moment, I don’t think Microsoft’s days are numbered. While the mobile platform is the place to be, Microsoft still has a huge enterprise footprint, and that is where a lot of the money is. I don’t see companies switching from Microsoft too quickly, mainly because they can usually get a bundled price with Microsoft – server, desktop, etc. – along with support. Microsoft systems seem to be less closed than Apple computers, and companies pay less for a PC than a Mac, and have more choices.

As for the Surface, it will be interesting to see what happens once the Surface Pro is released, and I’m thinking most people are waiting for that one to be released before they seriously look at the Surface. I agree, Microsoft needs to look at increasing the storage space on the Surface if it is to compete with the iPad. Also, if the Surface is compatible with many apps and devices that are currently available for Windows computers, then it already has an app market and device market that isn’t matched by any other available tablet – combined.

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