Microsoft Tries to Rebuild Strained Relationships
5. EU compromise Microsoft has been forced to deal with government regulators for far too long. Its battle with the European Union was arguably one of its worst. The EU had big plans for hurting Microsoft and its operating system. But through a series of tough negotiations, Microsoft worked out a relatively beneficial deal: It needs to give users the option of using one of 12 different browsers. No biggie. They're still buying Windows.6. A stronger focus on securitySecurity has long been a thorn in Microsoft's side. Windows has been inundated with malware that has not only ruined some users' computers, it has pushed some consumers to other operating systems. But in 2009, Microsoft did a better job of confronting security issues. It released Security Essentials. It also did a better job of patching problems. Microsoft's focus on security is improving, but it still has a long way to go. 7. The death of Vista Vista might be Microsoft's biggest blunder of the decade. The operating system that was supposed to carry the torch after XP was a disaster. It damaged Microsoft's relations with the enterprise, consumers and vendors. But 2009 was the year Microsoft could finally put Vista in the past. And it did that the right way-it ignored Vista and tried to shift everyone's attention to Windows 7. Smart move, Microsoft. 8. Opening retail stores I always felt that Microsoft was leaving money on the table by not opening retail stores. In 2009, the company finally did. We don't know yet just how successful those stores will be, but they should substantially improve customer relations, PC availability and Microsoft's ability to offer support. It's a good first step. 9. The retaking of the enterprise The enterprise was most negatively affected by Vista. Companies were forced to keep outdated hardware running XP out of fear that Vista would wreak havoc on their operations. When Microsoft prepared for the release of Windows 7, it offered an Enterprise Edition for a trial period. Once those users tried it out, they found that Windows 7 offered more "enterprise-friendliness." XP Mode is arguably the best proof of that. 10. Control of the netbook market The netbook market is the next frontier in the PC space. For a while, Linux reigned supreme. But over the past year, Microsoft has consolidated its power in the small PC space, making Windows 7 Starter Edition a practical must-have for those who want the best netbook experience. Kudos, Microsoft.