Facing an increase in competition from the likes of Google and Yahoo, Microsoft is expected to announce on Tuesday that it has plans to move ahead in the online software and services market. With a recent increase in free consumer services being provided by it's competitors, and the successes of web based business class offerings from the likes of NetSuite.com and Salesforce.com, Microsoft has acknowledged that it must introduce more web based product offerings if it is to remain competitive.
While the move to increase web based offerings is a must, it could be a tightrope act for the software giant. On the one hand, the company needs to fill the needs and wants of the consumer by providing them with the online resources that they desire. On the other hand they have their Windows and Office clientele and they certainly don't want to detract from those markets. Can the company pull off the expansion of its online offerings without pulling the proverbial "shoot yourself in the foot" routine? Some analysts believe that it will take a complete "recreation" for Microsoft to do so.
Even though the company has had success in the past with web based offerings such as its Hotmail e-mail service and Xbox Live online gaming service, it hasn't gone without its share of failures as well. Two projects, bCentral and another code named "Hailstorm" both aimed at providing consumers with online personal information storage, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and contact information, were scrapped due to widespread security concerns.
Still, Microsoft has several advantages over its competitors who are also trying to establish a foothold in the burgeoning online services market, most prominently its name recognition and its capital. With somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 billion in cash, not many competitors can afford to wager successes and failures on the same scale as Microsoft.
News source: The CaÃ±on City Daily Record