I hate responding to crappy, sensationalist blog pieces like ‘7 Reasons why Microsoft is DOOMED‘ but seeing as though I’m hoping to finally write up my thoughts from my recent interview with Microsoft’s local Live guru, Harvey Sanchez, it’s probably a good-way to get the ball rolling.
So here are my seven reasons why Microsoft is far from Doomed
1. Windows is an immovable object
Windows isn’t going anywhere. It’s withstood all competitors and Linux for all the huff and bluster has made almost zero impact. Apple is the IT darling and even though they have better marketing and arguably a better product, the Windows cash cow continues on unabated. As for the Vista sucks, ho hum, I’ve heard it all before. A service pack or so later and everything’s doozy again.
2. Office is immovable in corporations
You’re a CIO. You have 10,000 employees who are all trained and used to using Office. Do you 1) throw out Office and move to something like Google Apps and risk the fact that even if 10 per cent don’t like your decision that means you’ve got 1000 users gang-tackling your help-desk. Get real. Even if it takes a hit in the consumer space, it’s going to take 10,000 forklifts to start moving Office out of corporates.
3. Microsoft is a BizTech company
The afore-mentioned blog is typical head-up-your-own-arse style of commentary you tend to get around the blogosphere. So Microsoft is sucking at Web 2.0. Who cares? Businesses? No. If your one of those CIO folk, you don’t really give a rat’s testicle about folksonomies, microchunks, OPML, blah-dy, blah, blah. You’ve got transactional systems to keep running 24/7, compliance and governance issues. Gonna bet that on a start-up? I don’t think so Sam. Microsoft is more of a biz-tech company than it is a consumer-tech company these days – a fact too many people with too loud an opinion fail to recognise.
4. More opportunities than threats
So while Microsoft’s cash cows continue to tick along, especially at the big-end-of-town, the company is coming from a position of not having anything to really defend in the online advertising and subscription space. It’s all upside in this brave new world and even if Microsoft establishes itself as a strong second player it’s going to make a shitload of money.
5. Potential for move to subscription revenue
Microsoft doesn’t actually like selling software licenses – it much prefers subscriptions, because it means it’s not constantly under pressure to produce a version that’s so much better than the last that people are compelled to upgrade. Web service adjuncts to its software is going to open up huge opportunities for Microsoft to move its customers to subscription models. For example, pay $200 annually and get your operating system, a synchronised online drive, ad-free Live mail and a domain name. That kind of software+services business model will make a killing for Microsoft and it’s better positioned than anyone to offer that kind of software and services bundle.
6. Xbox is a winner
Microsoft is kicking arse with Xbox, thanks primarily to Sony’s poor launch of PS3. (One should note the article linked to in the blog is a 2005 piece and comes even before the launch of Xbox 360). Gaming is massive and getting bigger and Microsoft is now in the box-seat to be THE gaming platform – something I didn’t think was possible even a couple of years ago. In fact, Windows continues to spread its tentacles – when I go into mobile phone shops I see more and more devices using Windows mobile. Windows Surface looks to have huge promise (and of course people haven’t bought it yet, it’s not for prime-time consumption). Windows appear to be more omnipresent than ever to me, even as the number of devices grows and grows.
7. Microsoft has lots and lots and lots of money
Even when it doesn’t get it right, Microsoft has lots of money it can splash out on acquisitions as the recent Aquantive purchase proved. If it wanted to buy Salesforce.com it could. Facebook same deal. It takes a hell of a lot to bring down an industry goliath like Microsoft. Certainly a lot more than seven un-researched paragraphs from a blogger.
All this said, Microsoft clearly has a lot of challenges in front of it, but they’re challenges that are going to dictate how fast the company can grow not whether it can survive or not. Please. More on Microsoft and its challenges with Live very soon. I promise!