Microsoft Needs to Meet Customers Desire for Quality

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-07-13 Print this article Print


5. The consumer space

The consumer market has been one of the most perplexing sectors for Microsoft. Although Windows 7 is doing well, Microsoft's efforts elsewhere just aren't stacking up to what the company would like to achieve. As noted, it isn't performing well in the mobile market, it's failing to deliver tablets, and even its personal media player can't compete on any level with Apple's iPod. Microsoft's only success in the consumer space is its Xbox 360 platform. That's not a good thing. If Microsoft wants to stay afloat in the consumer market, the company will need to start bringing products to the market that customers actually want. Apple is doing it. Why can't Microsoft?

6. Vendor relations

Vendor relations continue to be a major problem for Microsoft. The issues started when Windows Vista was released. At the time, vendors realized quickly that Microsoft's operating system couldn't compare to Windows XP. And as consumers and enterprise customers continued to opt for alternatives to Windows Vista, vendors decided to offer downgrade rights, which allows customers to use Windows XP preinstalled on the PC, rather than Vista. By doing so, it strained relations between Microsoft and vendors that have yet to be fully repaired. Until recently, customers could still opt to buy a Windows 7-capable device from a major vendor and run Windows XP instead. Realizing that, it sounds like Microsoft still has some fence-mending to do with hardware vendors and customers.

7. Financial investment

Thanks to its billions of dollars in profit, Microsoft has more than enough cash to invest in just about anything it wants. If it wants to try its luck in the hardware industry, it can. If it wants to throw money at cloud computing, it has the ability to do so. In other words, it can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants with the cash it has on-hand. And yet, Microsoft doesn't do a thing that makes any sense with all that capital. It hasn't invested well in the mobile market, it's failing to deliver a viable alternative to Chrome OS, and it can't stop its losses in other, non-software-related industries. Meanwhile, it's acquiring second-rate firms like semantic-search service Powerset. As Microsoft continues to spend unwisely, it's only hurting its chances of competing in the marketplace.

8. The Web

The Internet has become Microsoft's Achilles' heel. As more and more companies move online and Google continues to dominate, Microsoft is leaving itself vulnerable to what is sure to be a seismic shift in the way the enterprise and consumers use the Web. Rather than confront the future, Microsoft has instead played catch-up as the rest of the market capitalizes on Web services and Web applications. Microsoft's Web strategy is not working. And the longer it tries to cling to the past, the further it will find itself behind in just a few short years.

9. Leadership

Microsoft's leadership has been abysmal ever since Steve Ballmer took over as CEO. Yes, Microsoft is still profitable, and the company's stock price has stayed relatively constant over the past few years. But given where Microsoft stood in 2000 and how it's positioned in today's marketplace, it's impossible to say its leadership is doing a good job of preparing it for the future. The company is a mess in far too many areas. And because of that poor leadership, people at Microsoft are losing their jobs. Microsoft needs a breath of fresh air from someone with a real vision. And it needs it soon.

10. Necessity trumps desire

For years, Microsoft has been the company that delivers the products enterprise customers and consumers need, and not what they want. For a while, that worked out well, since companies and consumers need to run, say, Windows in their homes or places of business. But that need for tech products has given way to a desire for products that do something special. Apple has capitalized heavily on that. But Microsoft, with its unending desire to be a necessity, has not. And it's hurting the software giant. Going forward, Microsoft will need to realize that in today's crowded tech space, desire and quality trump simple necessity.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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