PC Dominance Is So 1995
The problem with Microsoft today, and historically, is that they base much of their business around Windows. This worked really well over the last 30 years as the PC gained dominance in computing. Our current enterprise Information Technology industry’s growth and success is a testament to that.
In fact, my entire career of 25+ years in IT is built around and upon Microsoft technologies and how they’re implemented in large and small businesses. I depend on the quality and success of those products to make a living. Moreover, I like them – Windows included.
While Windows is still a strong OS, and will continue to be a significant player in the server and personal device space for years to come, the future is not about the local operating systems we use. It’s about what your “PC” can do.
As we continue down the path of cloud computing, Microsoft has huge potential to be so many things for many people. Their online productivity services are strong, and will likely outpace Google’s in the long run. As many of us are already invested in Microsoft Office, it’s not much of a leap to follow the progression to Office 365 and beyond.
What Microsoft needs to do is to embrace every platform. From Linux to Mac to Windows. From BlackBerry, to iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Firefox OS, and Ubuntu Touch. If there is an emerging or popular platform, Microsoft must be there. Period.
This includes browsers too, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera need to be first class citizens with IE as they develop and roll out all their products. Microsoft must be pervasive. Development tools as well need to adhere and participate in non-Microsoft standards. Why can’t there be a variant of Visual Studio that focuses on LAMP development, or Ruby, or many other new technologies instead of just C++, C#, etc…
I also see to divergent paths for Microsoft. One continues to be their “bread & butter” enterprise products and services. The other is consumer-focused, with an emphasis on providing secure services (without being arrogant like they are today with the ‘Scroogled’ campaign). With Microsoft’s background in enterprise, and meeting many strict compliance requirements for business, this can be an asset to many consumers that worry greatly about online security.
In any case, I do see a bright future for Microsoft, but only if they put less emphasis on the PC and more on providing the services that our growing data hungry, instant satisfaction world demands. The stake in the sand for Windows was important 25 years ago… not as much today.