Editorial

Editorial: Microsoft has nothing to fear

Microsoft has nothing to fear. There have been many rumors, reports, and news articles lately talking about the Redmond company. Journalists and bloggers have covered all of Microsoft’s latest efforts in the marketplace and some of them just love to make predictions and yell “FAILURE”.

They've made comparisons between products, some good some not so inspired, they've analyzed market data, again some accurate some just pure speculation, they've posted, listened to, analyzed, debunked and flourished rumors regarding upcoming products all the while wondering and asking: is this good for Microsoft, does the company have what it takes, will this new/old OS kill Microsoft’s efforts and so on and so forth.

But I personally want to say Microsoft has nothing to fear. 2012 was an amazing year for them as we have pointed out many times before. They launched two brand new operating system, both of which are far superior to their predecessors. They launched new Surface hardware to some excellent reviews, albeit on the hardware side of things, and have started transitioning as a business. They refreshed what is arguably their most important product, the Office suite. They have also greatly improved their services such as Skydrive, Outlook and so on. They've set the foundation for their upcoming push into the living room with such services as Xbox Music, Video and Smartglass. Now they’re saying they will foray into the video content creation market to give them a stronger lead against competitors. They also have extremely good relationships with developers as well as OEMs even though the latter seem to be somewhat strained at the moment.

And despite all of these pretty incredible achievements most folks still look at Microsoft as a bumbling giant with a very unclear future. These are the same people that love to say that Windows 8 isn't selling (it is!) and that IE sucks (it doesn't!).

Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying all of their products work great or that they don't have a lot of work to do. That's just the point: they have a whole lot to do and they seem to be doing it. Lately we've seen Microsoft take a very real interest in what their users are saying. We've seen them acknowledge mistakes and shortcomings and that is very encouraging.

Microsoft has nothing to fear because they have a great suite of products. They are innovating and iterating and that's exactly the way to go. They now have a very solid portfolio, therefore don't need to launch new products or go after what other companies are doing. They need to "double down" on their own work and make their products best in class.

This has always been Microsoft's problem but now, finally, they seem to get it and they seem to be more focused than ever. Let's hope this lasts.

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Maybe not for a short while; but, a company can only do the "smoke, mirrors, and laser light" show for so long. Then, it has to come up with something that is widely useful and tangible. They have lost focus over the past several months. How soon will they regain it?

Microsoft is here to stay - get used to it. But there's one popular misconception about Microsoft that needs to be hit on the head:

Bill Gates great! Steve Ballmer sucks!

If you look objectively at what's happened to Microsoft over the past few years you can see that the company and its products have dramatically improved since Gates left. In fact, they are now only just starting to flex their muscle. Singular. Microsoft's great strength is that they can do software FAR more and FAR better than any of their rivals. If it's managed correctly.

Of the two companies that are pitched as Microsoft's greatest rivals, Apple and Google, I state categorically that neither is good at software. Apple are now a consumer products company. They've effectively abandoned Mac - and their customers - and have simply stopped innovating on the software front. Can anyone remember the last time Apple introduced any new software they developed themselves that had anything innovative in it? I can't.

Google are, from a software perspective, a joke. They just don't get it. Apart from their original search algorithms (which they refuse to disclose or discuss), everything they've done has been a rehashed version of someone else's idea. Either that or they bought it cheap and give it away free to try to undermine the real software products their rivals are creating. I live in China and here, Google is already dead. RIP. It's only a matter of time before the rest of the world follows.

This leaves Microsoft as the last remaining pure software company. Over the past two years their products have gone from mediocre to good to excellent to innovative. Who else can say that?

This is what I see today

Google Chrome OS is maybe basic and still a joke, but if you happen to follow the OS development you may have notice that it got a Windows Manager and about to get a new App 2.0 framework for offline apps development.

The Google Chrome OS is now about 2 to 3 years away to match Windows or Mac feature by feature, but that is inevitably coming, in a very short period of time.

Google Android is getting closer to a PC, it now supports Mouse, External Monitors and Keyboards, it is very beautiful mobile platform, and it is getting a bit by bit closer to the PC, give it 2 to 3 years as well.

Google Docs is not pretty basic anymore, and it works offline, it is still in the process, but it is happening relatively fast, the UI is ugly and limited, but it looks like it is gaining a feature after another.

Internet Explorer is faster on some tests, but in general, Google Chrome is faster in every other test, the IE API is limited to internet browsing, the Chrome API is actually a mini operating system inside Windows, if you look at the changes in every Chrome release, you will just realize the amount of API going there, Chrome will be an Application platform in 2013, and a very powerful one in 2015.

C# is updated once every few years, the language is maybe fast, but the .NET framework is not, you will understand that if you happen to use the .NET framework for long time, on the other hand, Google implemented Ecma 5 (under the name JavaScript) and in the process of implementing Ecma 6 (under the same name)

The new JavaScript is object oriented, and it is not at the same time, it is up to you to use it the way you want, but that is not what it is important, what is important is performance, JS in Chrome today is faster than C#, and it continues to gain tiny performance improvement every 6 to 8 weeks, something a C# developer cannot even dream for.

Microsoft lost the Mobile consumer to Apple and Google, they lost the mobile developers as well, they are in the process of losing most of the corporate desktop consumers to Google or / and Amazon, and on the Xbox and home entertainment, 2013 is the year of Miracast, it will be slow a bit in the beginning, and eventually in a year or so will improve, so why do I need an Xbox when my Phone is much more powerful, and can stream the game to the TV instantly over Miracast?

Microsoft is about to lose all markets at once, they are just too …… to realize that.

But, but, but.... Google is already dead here in China - the world's largest market. Nobody - and I mean nobody - gives a damn about what dinky little companies like Google get up to in washed up backwater markets like the USA. Here in China we already have much of your money, most of your jobs and all of your market. And we don't want stupid companies run by kids trying to pretend to be businessmen like Google involved in our markets. Google RIP.

Grow up.

I agree with @Major Plonquer. Seriously, grow up.

Google docs, with offline support, is still minuscule compared to what MS Office is capable of.

Google has Javascript. Microsoft has C/C++, C#, Javascript, VB.NET, J++, Silverlight, etc.

Try developing anything for Android. The IDE is complete crap. Now try the same in Visual Studio. You will not be able to close your eyes. THAT is the difference.

"Microsoft is about to lose all markets at once, they are just too …… to realize that." - Right. Lets come back in 12 months and see which markets Microsoft has lost.

john.smith_2084 said,
bla bla bla pointless google delusion bla bla

And i thought your previous post is bull...
Common dude, get a reality check, if it's not too late...

They have nothing to fear, Windows 8 was adopted on ALL PCs from day 1, their programming languages are updated every 8 weeks, every 8 weeks C# becomes faster and better (oh no wait, that was Google JavaScript), every 8 weeks their browser becomes faster and better and gains more API (oh no, that was Google Chrome), their Phones instantly understand your spoken words in all popular languages (oh no, that was Android), and the passwords are things from the past, Windows can see you and login immediately (ops, this was Android too)

Their server products like SharePoint are built with their C#, you can just imagine how good and fast they run, and using the new Full Screen Only API (called Modern UI) you can only build full screen apps that do not run in their own “Window” for Windows 8. the way you did back in the 90's.

Their corporate products are extra cheap, and the licensing so easy to understand (ops, that was Google Docs), and the installation of things is now so automated that you do not need an IT department anymore (nooo, that was Google Cloud)

Microsoft is getting eaten by everyone else, one bit at a time, and this will continue until they boot Ballmer out if Microsoft.

I get your sarcasm, but you are way off target here. Windows 8 WAS adopted on all new PCs from Day 1.

They don't need to UPDATE programming languages because they are robust from day 1. The fact that Google has to update javascript, in your opinion, every 8 weeks is more because their version is crapfull of bugs that need to be fixed.

Sharepoint. Have you ever used Sharepoint to even begin talking about it?

Windows can see you and login immediately (ops, this was Android too) - NO. That is the most pathetic feature on Android. I used it and got rid of it as it never worked for me. I had to enter my PIN all the time. Facial recognition isn't that big a deal anymore.

Every 8 weeks their browser becomes faster and better and gains more API (oh no, that was Google Chrome) - Right. Still IE is the number 1 browser in the world. Despite lagging behind. And IE10 works faster than Chrome. I don't use chrome at home anymore.

You have no idea how Microsoft prices corporate products. And don't even begin to compare a toy like Google Docs to Microsoft Office. Google docs is the worst office suite in my view.

When talking about the cloud, have you ever tried Skydrive. I use it all the time. And its integration with Microsoft Office 2013 means that I don't have to worry about copying and moving my documents.

The installation of things is now so automated that you do not need an IT department anymore - Good luck with that. This is the biggest pile of garbage in your comments. Are you telling me that you trust a company like Google to manage your entire company's IT needs? Once again, good luck with that.

john.smith_2084 said,
...

Ooo, where to start...
1. C# is an awesome language, in every way (performance great, dev. tools the best in the industry...)
2. Are you seriously even remotely comparing C# performance to javascript... lol
2. Chrome is on webkit; for everyone who has common sense that should say a lot... as a developer, I don't want to contribute to that disaster in any way...
3. IE10 outperforms Chrome...
4. lol @ google docs ... and lol again

..... Sorry, lost the will to give a proper response. That comment is so full of bull* that it's pointless...
But hey, good for you...

“C# is better than JavaScript because C# is awesome”, wow, such a good scientific comparison.

I guess you have absolutely no clue what is Ecma Scrip 5 and what is Ecma Script 6, absolutely no clue

If I were you, I would at least try to learn a bit about javascript (or it's official name, the standard name), maybe even read a bit about harmony and stuff (since you mention ecma6 on multiple occasions), before trolling like that... And I hope that by "google javasctipt" and "google implementing ecma5/6" you mean their v8 engine... Or maybe you confused it all with dart... Don't care. Anyway, I'm not gonna dignify your trolling with any more attention...

Edited by nenki31, Feb 15 2013, 4:39pm :

Actually I don't agree with that. RIM is doomed in my book. Microsoft will continue to be the underdog for years to come but this will be good for them. Google, however, will quickly take Apple's crown. Google is actually the only company that is innovating and researching at least as much as Microsoft is. And they have some incredible products: Google Now, self driving cars, Google Fiber, not to mention the omnipresence of Android. Google is the only company that Microsoft is actually competing with.

Vlad Dudau said,
Actually I don't agree with that. RIM is doomed in my book. Microsoft will continue to be the underdog for years to come but this will be good for them. Google, however, will quickly take Apple's crown. Google is actually the only company that is innovating and researching at least as much as Microsoft is. And they have some incredible products: Google Now, self driving cars, Google Fiber, not to mention the omnipresence of Android. Google is the only company that Microsoft is actually competing with.
I agree RIM has a fight. But frankly, even today, they have a huge foothold in business. I mean, that's after the insane outages and the compelling alternatives.

The reason is simple. Their UX is the most productive, to this day. So many things RIM does hasn't even been copied on other platforms. If they can get their **** together they will be just fine. I agree its unlikely, but Doomed is way to harsh.

Your right about Google being the competitor. However, everything you listed is just data collection vehicles into their datacenters which just scares me... and I'm not a typical tin-foil hat wearer. Everybody is excited to hand of their information to Google. I've nearly completely stripped myself of their services of late and you'll never see me on their fiber or in one of their self driving cars until they demonstrate some clear segregation of data.

Here we go... Let the 'experts' on this article give their 2cents to this... Microsoft has been doing this for 30+yrs on a high level...raking in $$$BILLIONS$$$...and all of a sudden after 2 (and thats being generous) or so down yrs gonna lose all those $$$BILLIONS$$ just like that... Yes Balmer is a over ecentric suit...But the man know numbers ($$$)...What do you see in a majority of hospitals? Xp....Whats starting to become the norm in hospitals? W7...What OS is used on most ATM's in the USofA?...Xp...What Suite are lots of towns and States for that matter...365... What device was useless for games but sold 25million of them...kinect... Yes they lost millions on the Xbox consoles...but thank goodness the attach rate is high and they actually turn a profit (well at least the past 2.5yrs they have)...

Windows ME was suppose to do Microsoft in... XP was also suppose to be their doom...Vista was suppose to cave the company...W8 is suppose to cause some kind of rapture/apocolypse....

The rise of Apple's iOS/OSX (iDevices/Mac) and Android were suppose to be their over night demise... but yet here they are...

Microsoft isn't failing... Others have just gotten better which is good for consumers and business alike...

The reason so many people feel that MS is a failure is because some of their most visible products are probably not doing as well as the company had hoped. Meanwhile Apple and Android products are still blowing the doors off retailers. And yet other products by Ms aimed at business are rolling in tremendous amounts. When it comes to databases, office productivity, application development, project management and a slew of other areas, MS is still king, and that won't change any time soon.

Whatever your love or hate on MS and Windows is, some people just don't have a choice.
In some cases you can get away with OSX, in lesser case with Linux.

But for some applications and work related stuff you're stuck to the Windows OS.
Just saying.... ;-)

Dutchie64 said,
Whatever your love or hate on MS and Windows is, some people just don't have a choice.
In some cases you can get away with OSX, in lesser case with Linux.

But for some applications and work related stuff you're stuck to the Windows OS.
Just saying.... ;-)


Thanks to virtual machines, you're not locked into using Windows as your main OS.

Shadowzz said,

Thanks to virtual machines, you're not locked into using Windows as your main OS.

And wine. You can run photoshop under linux, if one day you have enough of windows.

Ye, there are some "alternatives" to windows now. They are however just that, "alternatives" (not even particularly good once)...

While I agree that having options is a good thing, I just don't know why any sane person would ditch windows and go to Linux... other than protesting (which isn't a compelling reason at all)...
To each their own i guess...

Dutchie64 said,
Whatever your love or hate on MS and Windows is, some people just don't have a choice.
In some cases you can get away with OSX, in lesser case with Linux.

But for some applications and work related stuff you're stuck to the Windows OS.
Just saying.... ;-)


Exactly that was my point. people at google or every other companies, they all have Windows OS installed on their machines to work. whether they like it or not.

bigmehdi said,

And wine. You can run photoshop under linux, if one day you have enough of windows.

Q: How do you tackle color calibration under wine?

nenki31 said,
Ye, there are some "alternatives" to windows now. They are however just that, "alternatives" (not even particularly good once)...

While I agree that having options is a good thing, I just don't know why any sane person would ditch windows and go to Linux... other than protesting (which isn't a compelling reason at all)...
To each their own i guess...


Oh yea? if you were in charge of a company would you prefer your employees work on an Linux box?

bigmehdi said,

And wine. You can run photoshop under linux

Yes, and run it at 0.25x of the original speed. Brilliant idea, chum.

I run Linux too, actually I use Linux more than Windows 8, however Photoshop's performance under Wine is an abysmal failure.

javagreen said,

I run Linux too, actually I use Linux more than Windows 8, however Photoshop's performance under Wine is an abysmal failure.

Well, perhaps. With old version of photoshop 6, it was fine for me.

S3P€hR said,

Oh yea? if you were in charge of a company would you prefer your employees work on an Linux box?

I don't really see why that comment is pointed at me?

I'm not exactly in charge of a company, but I am in charge of IT in a smaller company, among other things... And of course I'm pushing Windows (other MS products as well, where applicable). Unfortunately, still stuck on XP (financial reasons), but I'm hoping to upgrade to W8 in the next few months.

Like I sad on multiple occasions, I really don't see Linux as a worthwhile OS for the average user (personal or work), and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
I do use Linux quit a bit though (when I absolutely have to)...

These same people would still be yelling "FAILURE!", even if Microsoft played it safe with Windows 8. Because then, of course they wouldn't be doing enough, blah, blah, blah...

Dot Matrix said,
. Because then, of course they wouldn't be doing enough, blah, blah, blah...

Rejection is worse than complaining of not "enough blah blah blah".

bigmehdi said,

Rejection is worse than complaining of not "enough blah blah blah".

And there is no indication Microsoft is being rejected any time soon.

Dot Matrix said,

And there is no indication Microsoft is being rejected any time soon.

I still have some serious doubts that the "windows 8 pill" would be swallowed by the average user. It's not just about "public image", or "communication". There are "invasive" , change in habits.

bigmehdi said,

I still have some serious doubts that the "windows 8 pill" would be swallowed by the average user. It's not just about "public image", or "communication". There are "invasive" , change in habits.


Average users around me seem to be doing just fine with Windows 8.

Bing lost MS over $360 billion dollars last quarter alone...just Bing

Windows Phone LOST market share last quarter

Last year MS lost money in a fiscal quarter for the first time in their history

Microsoft's xbox division loses hundreds of millions EVERY quarter

Sonne said,
Bing lost MS over $360 billion dollars last quarter alone...just Bing

Billion hey? Please provide a citation for that claim.

Sonne said,
Bing lost MS over $360 billion dollars

Right. So the Bing division spent roughly the same amount of money as the US did on defence last year?

Sonne said,
Bing lost MS over $360 billion dollars last quarter alone...just Bing

$360 billion ?? Where the hell did you get that from??

Sonne said,
Windows Phone LOST market share last quarter

Not true. Windows Phone market share increased over 100% last quarter. They just lost some US market share...

Sonne said,
Last year MS lost money in a fiscal quarter for the first time in their history

Q4 they did have a profit loss (of what $490 million), but that isn't a too big deal imo (other than the fact that it is their first quarter loss ever). They still had their revenue increased quite a bit in Q4... However, since they had a huge launch going on (windows 8, wp8, surface, office, opening ms stores and so on), along with some acquisitions (failed or not), it's not surprising that they also had huge expenses...

Sonne said,
Microsoft's xbox division loses hundreds of millions EVERY quarter

I wont argue about that, entertainment division all over the place are reporting losses... But I wouldn't say that Xbox really has a negative impact on them, when all is taken into account...

Numbers are meaningless, it is like the China GDP, every one puts numbers to make everything look right, but at the end of the day it is software adoption.

Microsoft has a lot of tricks, they can sell Windows 8 licenses for OEMs and add them to this quarter, they can sell Windows 7 licenses to OEMs with upgrade rights and declare them as 8 after a few months, they have tons of corporate licenses (which permit Windows Vista, 7, and 8) and declare them as 8, etc.

Numbers are meaningless when they are presented as one final number by someone who wants to look ok, look at the market and OS adoption, Windows 8 it is far worse than Vista so far (note: I loved Vista on my Tecra tablet then)

I had a coworker that switched back to Windows 7 yesterday and he told me that it is amazing, this is not something you want to hear about Windows 8

Even if Microsoft does fail, they're sitting on bucketloads of money. They can downsize their Research division. They have thousands of employees.
Microsoft is a company that can withstand failure.

billyea said,
Even if Microsoft does fail, they're sitting on bucketloads of money. They can downsize their Research division. They have thousands of employees.
Microsoft is a company that can withstand failure.

MS lives on that research division, the whole technological world lives on the MS Research Division. its insane how many products, idea's, technologies came from MS research and are left free into the world for others to use.
Even if MS takes a fall and is forced to cut expenses into research, I feel like then its time for other companies (OEMs/competitors) to jump in and save the MS research budget, cause who hasn't benefited from MS research?

Shadowzz said,

MS lives on that research division, the whole technological world lives on the MS Research Division. its insane how many products, idea's, technologies came from MS research and are left free into the world for others to use.
Even if MS takes a fall and is forced to cut expenses into research, I feel like then its time for other companies (OEMs/competitors) to jump in and save the MS research budget, cause who hasn't benefited from MS research?

Modern processors, the internet, OS's and just about everything to do with computers has been influenced by Microsoft Research. The work they do there is phenomenal! The top systems, electrical and software engineers work there as to the top mathematicians, logic experts and bare metal explorers! It pains many to know that without MS the IT world would be very very different.

They are definitely still the #1 major force in computing and technology but its no secret that their once iron grip on the industry is loosening. Their image has taken a beating in the past 10-15 years, the industry is shifting from desktop to mobile and for the first time in 20 years theres viable alternatives to Microsofts Products (albeit Office is still untouchable).

I think there exists a lot of people who are fed up and still frustrated with either the idea that MS was their only choice and or were not happy with MS's products. Now that there is this huge shift from the desktop into mobility and ultimately into cloud computing theres choice and more and more people are discovering that. I can't see it as anything other than positive to not have a monopoly in the industry that I love.

Sonne said,
They are definitely still the #1 major force in computing and technology but its no secret that their once iron grip on the industry is loosening. Their image has taken a beating in the past 10-15 years,

That's a heck of a long time period to quote!
Aside from the rise of tablets and smartphones post iPhone I don't really see it. Linux and OSX has gone nowhere (as usual) and they've built a solid core Windows platform answering the concerns over security and stability in the XP era. Now they're expanding NT across tablets and phones too, as well as looking to bring xbox into that same sphere. Seems to me they're going from strength to strength and arguably targeting the future very well (and for the first time in a while). MS' weakness was their failure to capitalise on their profitable markets - sticking NT and office everywhere does just that. They own business, desktops, laptops and consoles (xbox came from nowhere and being completely derided by Sony to where exactly?). So onto Phones (which looks solid and interesting to me as an Android user) and tablets (Surface Pro yes please..) next. Want a phone that integrates with your IT structure - I wonder if MS can leverage exchange? Want office integration, or just office? Yup. Underestimating MS is a bad idea - and in whole (very) significant areas of the market they're utterly pervasive (still). Not that i'm arguing this is a good thing, but that's the truth of it.

Mobility (tablet, phone) still remains about consumption in largesse and cloud computing sounds brilliant till you realise how backward the infrastructure is even in the 'modern' western world to make it viable. For reference I live in the UK and I can't get HSDPA in the town I live in (20k souls live there) and 4G has only just launched (read: available nowhere near me and prohibitively expensive where it is). No wonder Google seems to be playing with improving that infrastructure eh?

The battle for mobile is significant - and yes MS really are the underdog here, but they've been there plenty of times before and (at least to me) seem to have some pretty solid products in 2013. I'm still buying desktops, my company is - we're still buying laptops too. We can't get our work done on an N10 (love mine) or an iPad (sold my 3). We've all got blackberries because they fit our IT infrastructure but there's a planned move back to exchange (thank god) which might mean WP8 might get a look-in. I can't get my boss to buy me an iPad, or a droid tablet - but he's signed off on two Samsung Activ Pros and we've setup financing to order two Surface Pros as soon as their available.

I'm not, generally, unhappy with MS right now - their stuff works, i'm not urked by W8 (to me it's a quicker W7 with some nice features) and pretty much does what I need it to do. It supports my daily work and covers my gaming needs. I've got a GNex phone because iOS didn't do what I needed and I sold my iPad 3 because of the same problem and got the G10 - neither can I work on, neither can I 'game' on (mobile gaming is not my idea of 'gaming'!).

Just some thoughts!