Some Adversity Will Bring Renewal to Microsoft

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-05-27 Print this article Print


5. The pressure is now on Apple

One of the greatest benefits to no longer being the top company in the industry is that the pressure is off. But that pressure doesn't just go away. In fact, it's now shifted to Apple, which is forced to carry that torch and lead the industry forward. But it goes beyond that. Apple and Steve Jobs will now face increased scrutiny. It might also be forced to deal with lawmakers and other critics that like picking on the big companies in an industry.

6. Marketing might come in handy

Time and again, Microsoft's competitors have used the company's standing as the biggest company in the industry to look like the underdog and get on the good side of consumers. Now it's Microsoft's turn. The software giant should embrace the fact that it's now less valuable than Apple and use it to its advantage. Commercials and Web ads would be a good start, but a full marketing campaign would be best. The company can make the point that Apple is now the big, brooding company. And consumers should beware. Hey, it worked against Microsoft.

7. Government regulators might go elsewhere

For more than a decade, government regulators have had their sights set firmly on Microsoft. Whether it's Windows or Internet Explorer, they have been able to take issue with just about everything Microsoft offers. But all that might change now that Apple has taken the top spot in the tech industry. They might finally feel that their work is done with Microsoft, and it's time to take some of its competitors down a few notches. That could mean Apple and possibly even Google will face increased pressure from lawmakers. Meanwhile, Microsoft will be able to enjoy regulators ignoring it.

8. It can play the weakling

For once, Microsoft can be the weak company in the tech industry. That's a good thing. For years, companies in the industry that have played the weaker alternative to a major, dominant player have performed relatively well, as long as they have products and cash to maintain their position in the market. For example, Apple has played it up that it's the weak, small alternative to Microsoft. And that strategy has worked wonders, both from a business and a fan-base perspective. But it can't cling to that anymore. Now, it's bigger than Microsoft, and it won't be able to hide it. But Microsoft can be that small firm. And it can capitalize on it. 

9. Innovation is now a necessity

Microsoft's loss of the top spot in the market should make it abundantly clear to the company that it now needs to innovate. Apple has become the industry's most valuable firm because of its willingness and desire to bring products to the market that few other companies in the industry would even attempt to offer. That can't be forgotten in Redmond. If Microsoft wants to regain its standing as the industry's most valuable company, it needs to take a few pages from Apple's book. Innovation is what consumers and even enterprise customers covet. And Microsoft should have learned that lesson by now.

10. It offers a fresh start Microsoft should be welcoming the fact that it's no longer the most valuable company in the tech industry. Gone are the days when it needs to be the same company for the sake of its investors and its supporters. Today, Microsoft has the chance to start over. It can become the company that it needs to be, rather than the company that it's expected to be. Things aren't working at Microsoft right now. And maybe its decline is exactly what's needed to give the company (and its investors) a jolt.

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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