As for what this means to Microsoft, its important to remember the companys most serious competition doesnt come from any external sourceeven Linuxbut from all the Microsoft products customers already own and have learned to live with more or less peacefully. Microsoft needs to create upgrades that dont cause customers to worry about messing up something that already works just to get features they may not want or need and are, in any case, a pain to implement. In short, if Microsoft wants customers to upgrade and especially pay to upgrade, the company needs to concentrate on providing features customers get excited about. This is especially true of applications, where users could at least theoretically prompt a recalcitrant IS department to buy an upgrade theyd otherwise skip if it did something interesting.In short: If Microsoft wants to sell software, it needs to make software exciting again and make that excitement easy to access. Microsoft must either dramatically increase the size of its global market or find a way to persuade customers to pay more money for software in the future than they do today. To achieve this, Microsoft needs to bring a significant boost to customers productivity and bottom line thats available nowhere else. For more insights from David Coursey, check out his Weblog. I am not sure how Microsoft will do this. Clearly, the billions spent on R&D are an investment in inventing this future and, if you watch the company closely, the outlines of a Web services tomorrow are beginning to appear. Knowing Microsoft, however, the greatest challenge wont be the new technology itself, but packaging it in ways customers can easily take advantage of it. In short, Microsofts future must be an easy upgrade. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
But when is the last time users petitioned their CIO for a new version of Word that implemented a much-needed feature?