Microsoft's Slide To Oblivion

Microsoft has been a behemoth among computing for the past 30 years. Most of us probably grew up with Windows 95 / 98 (Hover! anyone?) and have had Windows as the main part of our computing education. In the last 5 or so though they have become less and less relevant as the computing industry shifts more towards mobile, where MS is failing terribly. Their Surface tablet has debuted with less-than-stellar reviews and frankly terrible sales numbers. Windows Phones are not exactly shifting in massive bulk either.

When you think about it, Microsoft only really has two things going for it nowadays:

  • Windows (for desktop / laptop) - personally I think Windows 8 is going to be a bit of a flop and most people will just stick with Windows 7 but at least they're trying to adapt to the modern world with touchscreens, lower prices, more frequent upgrades etc.
  • Office - we all live in it, we all hate it, we all need it.

First things first, I think Ballmer needs to be fired as soon as possible; that guy is a moron and one of the worst examples of management I've ever seen.

Secondly, I think Microsoft needs to stop trying to do all these fancy things to do with building its own hardware / new operating systems etc and focus on what it is good at (see above). They need to:

  • Focus on making Windows as damn good as it can possibly be. Make it simple, cheap, reliable, able to run on a vast array of PCs, strong support for enterprise, user friendly etc. They will not lose the desktop / laptop market anytime soon and they should really take advantage of their market share there
  • Bring out an amazing cross-platform version of Office for mobile. I'm talking full features, wireless keyboard support, VBA, cloud sharing, multiple users at one time, etc. Enterprise will not be shifting away from Office anytime soon but they may wish to reduce their reliance on big clunky desktops - users certainly do. If Microsoft can make a top quality mobile version of Office at a reasonable price, it will be a home run among all users

So there, my brief thoughts on what is affecting Microsoft and how they can attempt to fix it. Your thoughts, as always, are welcome!

Comments (19)

Dec 12, 2012

I agree on Windows for PC and Office, but stepping outside of the finance world for a second, Xbox is another huge card for Microsoft and something that is clearly going for them now and most likely going forward

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Dec 12, 2012

I agree with everything milehigh said plus most of what is above. However, I definitely don't think they should completely stick with the same things... companies need to be expanding, trying new markets (i.e. surface), etc. I think the fact that they tried is a step (albeit tiptoe-sized) in the right direction as you said above.

Ballmer needs to be GONE.

The idea about a perfected cross-platform/mobile version of Office is perfect. If MSFT isn't working on that this second, they need to be.

Dec 12, 2012

Don't forget Xbox and C#/Visual Studio.

Dec 12, 2012

Also long MSFT

IlliniProgrammer:

Don't forget Xbox and C#/Visual Studio.

Their developer tools are great, .Net is just awesome. As is visual studio

Dec 13, 2012
nontargethustle:

Also long MSFT

IlliniProgrammer:

Don't forget Xbox and C#/Visual Studio.

Their developer tools are great, .Net is just awesome. As is visual studio

Do you guys realize that C# is just a Microsoft-branded version of Java? Microsoft has a long history of developer-unfriendly behavior. Listening to you sing their praises is like hearing someone rave about Comcast's great customer service.

Dec 12, 2012

Bite your tongue. I'm long MSFT.

Dec 13, 2012
BTbanker:

Bite your tongue. I'm long MSFT.

at what price?

Because when you're in a room full of smart people, smart suddenly doesn't matter--interesting is what matters.

Dec 13, 2012
ricky212:
BTbanker:

Bite your tongue. I'm long MSFT.

at what price?

Around 26.

I would vote Ballmer out in a heartbeat.

Dec 12, 2012

If Microsoft really wanted to build themselves up more, they really need to look at innovation, not imitation. For example, after the iPod came out, Microsoft came out with the Zune. Did anyone buy a Zune? Probably not nearly as many as the iPod. IMO, it is because the Zune was merely a copy of the iPod, and didn't really build upon/differentiate itself from the iPod. The same thing happened with the Surface tablet. Apple already had a strong product on the market, and Microsoft thought that Windows 8 slapped on a less than stellar tablet body would get people to buy them in groves (not to mention the crappy keyboard/cover thing to go along with it). Instead of making a product better than Apple or with a different take than the iPad, it runs into the same problem as the Zune.

If Microsoft, or any company really, wanted to gain steam in this economy, they have to start offering things outside the box. The iPod came out when everyone was sticking to CD players, the iPhone when there was very few touch screen phones, and the iPad when the tablet market barely existed. I personally don't own anything Apple besides an older iPod I got for graduation, but I do see why Apple has grown the way they have. Microsoft should be imitating THAT, and not their products (or anyone else's products).

Personally, Samsung is coming out with some exciting things that I think have a lot of potential. Indestructible screens. Flexible screens. And they've seen to be on par/one-up Apple with their Galaxy S3. Innovation, not imitation.

Dec 12, 2012

Dwight Howard picked up a Windows phone at the exact same moment that he began to play like garbage.

Dec 12, 2012

you're forgetting that their servers/tools/dev tools are second to none. office+windows make up like 2/3 of msft's business, servers and tools are the other 1/3.

My drinkin' problem left today, she packed up all her bags and walked away.

Dec 13, 2012

They are doing quite well in cloud computing as well

Dec 13, 2012

I couldn't be less excited about a stock. Don't have anything against the company (used Windows all my life, practically), but there's nothing they're doing from a user standpoint that Google isn't doing 10x better (with the exception of XBox - but look out if OUYA ever gets off the ground). Office 360 is a joke compared to Google Docs. I should be getting my first Chromebook in the mail in the next couple days and I'm looking forward to trying out the ChromeOS vs. Winders 7.

Ballmer used to be the man. Now he's just sad.

Dec 13, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

Ballmer used to be the man. Now he's just sad.

Really? Not when he was doing crazy Eddie style commercials in 1986 at least...

http://youtu.be/sforhbLiwLA

Dec 13, 2012
IlliniProgrammer:
Edmundo Braverman:

Ballmer used to be the man. Now he's just sad.

Really? Not when he was doing crazy Eddie style commercials in 1986 at least...

http://youtu.be/sforhbLiwLA[/quote]

Straight balla.

Dec 13, 2012
IlliniProgrammer:
Edmundo Braverman:

Ballmer used to be the man. Now he's just sad.

Really? Not when he was doing crazy Eddie style commercials in 1986 at least...

http://youtu.be/sforhbLiwLA[/quote]

I think I saw him selling ShamWows the other night.

Dec 13, 2012

,

Dec 13, 2012

MFST has many fewer problems then the rest of its comp universe, Apple and possibly Google excluded. Its a buy at any reasonable price (and a strong one as long as it yields 3.5%). Competition will push them to be more innovative, most of the company's failings are middle upper management related, not systemic. They have products and levers to push to get those products going.

Unless you believe they are RIMM, i.e. completely left behind not just slightly behind the curve, but they need to make a lot more mistake before that discussion starts seriously happening. More mistakes than, say, an O&G company yielding 4% would need to make.

Dec 13, 2012
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