News Analysis: Microsoft is still hugely profitable and has an immense amount of cash in the bank. But its profits depend mainly on long-established products such as Windows, Office, XBox and others. Here are 10 products, its own and from competitors, that will determine whether Microsoft retains its powerful position in the software industry.
Microsoft is still an
important part of the technology industry. Currently, the software giant
delivers the software that powers the vast majority of the computers around the
world. What's more, its Office productivity suite is the standard in
enterprises around the world. To say that Microsoft is an integral component in
what makes the technology industry so successful would be an understatement.
However, Microsoft is
currently under attack. Companies like Apple, Google, and countless others are
trying desperately to marginalize Microsoft in the industry and drive their own
brands to the top of the market. In order to do so, they're delivering
innovative new products, acquiring companies, and spending boatloads of cash on
research and development. It's an open question whether any these efforts will
reduce the wealth, power and influence of Microsoft in the software industry,
but there can be no disputing their desire to do just that.
With this in mind, there are
10 products that could assure Microsoft's success or bring on a marked decline
in its fortunes the current decade. If Microsoft makes the right investments
and decisions, the company will continue to be a success. But if Microsoft's
competitors get their way, the software giant could be in for trouble.
Read on to find out which
products will determine Microsoft's fate over the next decade.
1. Windows 8
Windows 8, which is
scheduled to launch next year, could prove to be a huge factor in Microsoft's future success
. If the
operating system fails to take off, Windows' importance on desktops and mobile
devices could go into decline as hardware makers shift to other platforms. But
if PC users rapidly upgrade to Windows 8, Microsoft will hold onto its dominant
After getting off to a slow
start in the mid-90s, Microsoft has been putting ever more development effort
into Web and cloud products. In response to the challenge posed by Google, the software company has turned Bing into a real competitor
in the search
market. But Google is still dominating that space, and if it can continue to
solidify its position there and further consolidate its power in advertising,
Microsoft's online hopes might be dashed.
Microsoft's Xbox 360 has
been gaining in popularity over the last several years. And now, it's easily
outselling both the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. Over the next 10 years,
that device could become a cash cow for Microsoft as more people turn to
streaming services to be entertained in the living room. Currently, Microsoft
is aiming at providing live TV through its Xbox 360, which also has Netflix and
Hulu Plus support. Simply put, the Xbox 360 is more important to Microsoft than
4. Mac OS X
Microsoft's future success
doesn't rely solely upon the software giant's products. Quite the contrary,
competing software products like Mac OS X could play into it. For instance, if
Mac OS X continues to gain on Windows due to the popularity of Macs, how will
Microsoft (and its vendor partners) respond? Furthermore, if developers
continue to have success with Mac OS X's App Store, there's no telling if they
might focus their efforts on that operating system, rather than Windows. Mac OS
X is a real threat to Microsoft.