Microsoft Needs to Build for the Future

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-03-02 Print this article Print

5. Advertise

It might not be the Microsoft way to promote Internet Explorer through conventional advertising avenues, but it's the smart move. Windows users need to be reminded that, according to Microsoft, they should use Internet Explorer before any other browser. They also need to be reminded that it's the browser they have likely been using for a long time. The value of advertising can't be underestimated.

6. Start acquiring

Microsoft has billions of dollars in its coffers. If the company loses browser market share, it should acquire some competing firms to ensure that, going forward, it won't need to worry so much. Admittedly, such a move might raise some red flags with the EU and other government regulators. But if Microsoft starts losing major market share, they might be less likely to take offense.

7. More extensions

Part of the value of Mozilla's Firefox browser is the availability of extensions. Whether it's social-networking integration or productivity apps, the browser accommodates developer desire to expand their Websites or services beyond their own domain. It also improves the experience of using a browser. Internet Explorer has some extensions available, but they pale in comparison to Firefox. Microsoft needs to work harder at delivering extensions before Firefox gets new users to see value in them.

8. Find Google's weakness

If Microsoft should be worried of any company in the browser market, it's Google. Even before the EU imposed its regulations, the search giant's Chrome browser was gaining ground on Internet Explorer. Now that the EU has practically started a new browser war, Google could gain significant ground in a short amount of time. Realizing that, Microsoft needs to analyze Chrome and attempt to find its core weakness. It can then exploit that both in its advertising efforts and by improving upon that weakness in Internet Explorer. That might be the only way Microsoft can stop Chrome before it's too late.

9. Think simplicity

A key reason why so many users pick a browser like Google Chrome is its simplicity. Users need only to load it up and browse with little interaction with menus. Internet Explorer needs to be simpler to use. Prior to the EU ruling, Microsoft didn't necessarily need to make Internet Explorer simpler because it knew few users would switch to other browsers. But now, switching is much easier and they might find a viable browser in Chrome. Make Internet Explorer easier to use, Microsoft. It's for your own good.

10. Stay focused

Although making other browsers available to European Windows users will hit Microsoft hard over the next few months as it loses market share, the company needs to stay focused on the bigger prize: browser-market dominance. It might lose market share in the near term, but if it can work hard at improving Internet Explorer and advertising its value, the company can come out on top. This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. Microsoft needs to remember that.

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

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel