Microsoft Gets It Right Sometimes: 10 Recent Smart Moves

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-07-05 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Microsoft has gotten a lot of criticism about the lack of success with some of its business units. But the company has made several smart moves over the last few years that have helped it grow.

Microsoft has inked a deal with China search engine Baidu, allowing the software giant to bring its Bing technology to all English language searches on the Chinese search giant's service. The move should help Bing improve its presence internationally, and at the same time, help Microsoft achieve the single goal it has been after for years now: competing on the same level as Google online.

Microsoft's Baidu deal is the latest in a string of smart moves the software company has made over the last few years. Though critics would argue that Microsoft has made more poor decisions over the years than good ones, the company has done some things that have not only helped it grow, but cemented its position as a top technology company.

Read on to find out which moves Microsoft has made in the last few years that have proven most beneficial for its operation.

1. Its recent Baidu deal

Microsoft's decision to ink a deal with Baidu could be one of the smartest moves the company has made in the online market in a long time. Baidu is China's largest search engine, and an increasingly important force on the Web. With a partnership with Baidu, Microsoft now has another bit of ammo to take to Google. Will it topple Google's search dominance? Of course not-but it will help Microsoft -s chances of eventually achieving that goal.

2. Working with Yahoo

Though Microsoft tried in the past to acquire Yahoo, its decision to ink a deal that has Bing powering Yahoo Search was a good one. As recent market-share figures have shown, the deal has improved Microsoft's competitive positioning against Google. The search market is vastly important to Microsoft. If the company loses to Google, it could miss out on a valuable online-advertising revenue stream. But if it can start growing and reduce Google's dominance, it can start generating some of the much-needed online revenue it's currently lacking.

3. Launching Windows 7

Microsoft's decision to launch Windows 7 sooner rather than later was a good idea on the company's part. Windows Vista, the operating system that Windows 7 replaced, was a nightmare for the software company. Vendors balked at selling it, the enterprise was against deploying it, and consumers were loath to use it. But Windows 7 is the OS that Vista should have been. Now, it's the fastest-selling version of Windows ever released. By getting it right with Windows 7, Microsoft saved its software business.

4. Improving Internet Explorer

Just about everyone who has followed Microsoft remembers the issues the company experienced when it offered up Internet Explorer 6. In subsequent years, Microsoft has released new iterations of its browser and for the most part those versions haven't been as nice as those from Firefox, Chrome and Opera. But with Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft decided to change its luck, get back to quality and deliver something that people wanted. It worked. Now, Internet Explorer is a fine browser for anyone to use.

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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