News Analysis: Microsoft is in a difficult position. As it lays off more staff, the company is trying to find a way to compete in a market that is leaving it behind. Then there are some areas where it continues to miss the mark.
Microsoft is in trouble. The
software giant was recently forced to lay off hundreds of employees
was likely a move on the part of Microsoft to eliminate jobs in areas where
divisions aren't performing as well as they should. Microsoft's decision to lay
off employees is somewhat suspect, considering the company is still generating
billions of dollars in profit every quarter.
But perhaps there is more to Microsoft's decision to lay off
employees than simply needing to free up some cash to invest in other areas. Perhaps
it speaks to the company's current inability
to see what it needs to do in
every area of its operation. After all, Windows Mobile is still drowning as the
competition gains market share, HP has opted for WebOS over Windows in its new
tablets, and the company is still battling security issues. There are
other areas where it keeps making missteps. Here's where they are.
1. The mobile market
The mobile space could be one of the biggest issues facing
Microsoft. The company's Windows Mobile platform is still toiling away in a
market that's being dominated by innovative, touch-screen platforms, like Apple's
iOS and Google's Android operating system. Microsoft plans to release Windows
Phone 7 later this year to compete with those providers, but it's debatable
just how viable the company's platform will be. By being late to the new mobile
market, and forgetting what consumers really wanted, Microsoft has some serious
explaining to do when it finally delivers Windows Phone 7.
Although Steve Ballmer talked about tablets at his company's
Worldwide Partners Conference, it's quickly becoming clear that Microsoft doesn't
have a tablet strategy in place that can even come close to rivaling Apple's
iPad. Part of the fault for that can be attributed to HP, which originally
planned to offer a Windows-based HP Slate but recently announced that its
tablet will run WebOS instead. Some might believe that HP's decision to go with
WebOS has more to do with its recent acquisition of Palm. But it might also
tell the market that Windows isn't as ready for tablets as Microsoft wants
everyone to believe. After all, HP would have gone with the best platform it
could. It may be saying that the best platform isn't Windows.
continues to be one space where Microsoft misses the mark
both in the
consumer market and the enterprise. With each Patch Tuesday, the company is
forced to deliver several updates to protect Windows users from potential harm.
It has even been forced to patch Office, Internet Explorer and other software
products. That's not a good thing. And it hurts its chances of fully appealing
to consumers and enterprise customers that are deeply concerned with losing
important data. Security means the difference between success and failure in
today's marketplace. And so far, Microsoft isn't doing well enough.
Innovation has always been a problem for Microsoft. Although
Windows was an extremely innovative product when it first launched, Microsoft
has failed to deliver anything that even comes close to matching the innovation
its competitors have developed since. As much as the company wants to be
considered a major player in the tech space, it will not achieve that if it
continues to deliver iterative updates to products that customers don't want.
Innovation reigns supreme in today's tech market. And it's on Microsoft to
start innovating to meet those demands.