5. Focused more on the cloud
The cloud has
become a key battleground for Microsoft. However, the company didn't
necessarily see so much value in it this year. Sure, it offered up Office 365,
but what else is Microsoft really doing to ensure that companies like Google,
IBM and others don't block it out of the Web? The cloud is the future. And it's
about time Microsoft makes a strong move to prove it understands that.
6. Leveraged Windows' success for mobile
sitting on a desktop operating system-Windows 7-that, at last count, has 500
million licenses running all over the world. And yet, Microsoft didn't even
consider trying to leverage that to help out with its mobile platform.
Surprisingly, Apple did just that this year with the launch of the Mac App
Store. It also links its desktop and mobile operating systems with FaceTime.
When will Microsoft do something similar?
7. Dumped cash into the Web
Bing is an
integral component in Microsoft's plans. If the search engine can continue to
nab market share, it could put Google's business in jeopardy. Even better, it
can help Microsoft generate far more in advertising revenue. However, Microsoft
seemed to ignore Bing for much of the year. And in the process, the company did
little to make Google scared. That's a problem.
8. Less focus on Windows 8
Microsoft's focus on Windows 8 this year was rather odd
. The operating system, which isn't expected
to launch until next year, could have waited to be unveiled at, say, the
Consumer Electronics Show in January. With that plan, Microsoft could have made
Windows 8 the focal point of its presentation and allowed for several more
months this year of companies and consumers buying Windows 7 computers. Now
that they know Windows 8 is launching next year, many customers will likely
wait for that, rather than buy a computer now that will be obsolete in a year.
Microsoft still needs to learn the art of maximizing revenue opportunities.
9. Attack Android
recently made the smart move to offer a free Windows Phone 7-based device to
Android owners who had experienced security woes. But it should have done much
more of that this year. The time has come for Microsoft to go on the offensive
against Android and prove once and for all why it believes Windows Phone 7 is
superior. If it doesn't start attacking Google's mobile OS, Microsoft might
never catch up.
10. Fire Steve Ballmer
Look, Steve Ballmer needs to go
. Yes, Microsoft is still generating billions
of dollars every quarter, but that shouldn't be attributed to Ballmer. The fact
is, he has watched Microsoft's mobile market share plummet, he has yet to lead
the company into tablets and, perhaps most worrisome for investors, he hasn't
been able to give a jolt to the stock. Ballmer has been largely ineffective
over the last few years, and it's about time the board sees that.
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