Microsoft’s recent quarter definitely wasn’t one of its best, at least on the surface, reporting a $492 million loss thanks to its acquisition of aQuantive, but aQuantive’s failure to change Microsoft’s position in the advertising market isn’t the only problem in the financial results. The Windows Division took a pretty big heat, too, with sales dropping 13%.
Now, that sounds like a pretty big number, but make no mistake – Windows is still a huge business for Microsoft, and it means big money. They’re not lowering their commitment to the venerable OS any time soon, and it might even be possible to chalk up the lower sales to anticipation of Windows 8.
Yet Preston Gralla, over at Computerworld, thinks that Window’s shrinking place in Microsoft’s product portfolio could be ‘one of the best things that has happened to it in a while.’ His article is pretty interesting in its own right, but the gist of it is that Microsoft is at its best when it’s willing to step outside of its comfort zone and not worried about cannibalizing itself, and when it’s willing to spread itself out across a variety of products and services.
Windows’ dominance of the desktop OS market is not one of those cases. And yet Office, which represents an even bigger chunk of Microsoft’s revenue, is, and so is the Online Services Division, and the Xbox Division. Gralla says that Microsoft’s lost decade – if there really was such a thing – was mostly due to Microsoft’s reliance on the Windows empire. But Office is the Microsoft division with the greatest potential for growth, thanks to great new products like Office 2013.
On one hand, Microsoft is really dedicated to Windows, and for good reason. But on the other, Office and other divisions do offer a lot more potential for growth. Microsoft has shown that they’re willing to take risks when it comes to Windows, too, but do you think they should be focused on putting ‘Office everywhere,’ and potentially move towards being a more ‘open’ company. Maybe it’s finally time for Microsoft to move on from the Windows era?