Microsoft has positioned itself at the top, a top that is targeted by hundreds if not thousands of companies. They have spread themselves from their core identities and they are opening themselves up for a loss of market share. For this article market share is defined as a broad term where Microsoft will lose users from its user base to its competitors.
Reason #6: The Juggernaut
Microsoft has always been viewed as the corporate beast that it is. It's always easier to degrade those that are on top than those who are up and coming. Microsoft is in a position of corporate and personal dominance. With total control of the Windows environment and the Microsoft Office platform, they can determine exactly when users are able to upgrade. People, in general, like choice and as it stands at this current time there is no competitor to Microsoft Office that is widely accepted. It can be argued that Open Office is a competitor but it has not been taken as serious as Microsoft Office has been. It's easy to target those on top but it's even harder to please all of those below you.
Reason #5: Lions, Tigers and malware Oh my!
It's a simple idea that if you're going to try and destroy something you target the largest audience; Microsoft has the largest user base of any software company. When a hacker or cracker decides to target a group it makes the most sense to target the Windows platform as it dwarfs all of the other competitors. Microsoft works diligently to combat these threats but with an ever changing environment it's nearly impossible to thwart all tangible threats. Also, the tech world expands rapidly which creates more drivers, languages, protocols, and lines of code to be written that are expanding the possibilities of vulnerabilities in software. Microsoft has to work twice as hard as the hacker or cracker does to keep them out, defense is much harder than offense, predicting as opposed to directing makes Microsoft's job endless.
Reason #4: Google
Google is no longer the underdog and is now a behemoth of a company, a company with a large pocketbook and resources. Google grew up right before many of our eyes. Starting out small and blooming into the massive corporate empire it is today. One thing Google has been able to maintain is that its name has never been tarnished by poor quality products, not to mention most products are free. It's the free mentality of Google that is the threat to Microsoft. Google has dominated the online landscape and is now moving into more traditional Microsoft territories. With the launch of Google Chrome and Android, Microsoft finds itself on the offensive against free products. While it is true that IE does not cost the user anything; the powerful and well trusted name behind Chrome will eventually give it the leg up on its Microsoft competitor. Android is a new mobile phone OS that Google is distributing for free as compared to the pay for OS, Windows Mobile. Free to a manufacturer of cell phones is a lucrative idea as they are able to have a greater margin of profit per handset sold. Google continues to slowly dig into Microsoft's market share on several different fronts with free products that are of high quality.
Reason #3: Open Source
The open source community continues to grow. From an OS offering of Ubuntu to the web browser Firefox; the community backed programs are beneficial and free option to the consumer. It's these types of initiatives that as they mature will become direct threats to Microsoft's offerings. One could argue that open source projects are vulnerable and inferior and that argue is made only by those who have never tried the products. There isn't much to be said about open source other than its free, community backed, growing daily and is quickly becoming a viable alternative to Microsoft.
Reason #2: Vista
Regardless of what state Vista is in today it launched to a very rocky start. When Microsoft lowered the initial PC requirements it shot itself in the foot. It allowed many users to install Vista on laptops that were not suited for the OS. It also gave users a very negative notion of Vista as compared to the rock solid performance of Windows XP. Today Vista has matured enough to become a well usable and stable OS but the consumer has already decided, regardless of its current state, that Vista is not acceptable. Microsoft has sold boatloads of copies of Vista but it would have sold a lot more if initial public reaction was that it was the hot new OS that everyone needs.
Reason #1: Apple
Although we said last week that OSX would never become mainstream, Apple has taken a huge leap in marketshare in the wake of the Vista fiasco. Apple saw an opportunity to advance its market share and directly attacked Microsoft's most recent offering. It's these attacks, or advertisements for OSX, that landed Apple at the number 1 spot. No other company spends millions of dollars to directly reduce Microsoft's presence in the home PC market like Apple does. It is also the best option, in terms of an OS, available to the consumer for a problem free PC experience. Apple has built itself on the legacy that "it just works" for there hardware and operating systems. If Microsoft produces another big blunder with Windows 7, Apple may be able to take a considerable stake in the market share.