10 Mistakes Microsoft Made Over the Past Decade

News Analysis: Microsoft has had a rough 10 years. The company entered the 2000s with big expectations. It is leaving the decade fighting competitive and regulatory battles on multiple fronts. We take a look at the mistakes Microsoft has made over the past decade that has caused it to get to where it is today.

As the end of the decade nears, quite a few things have changed. Ten years ago, Bing, Chrome, Facebook and Twitter didn't exist. Windows 7 didn't exist. Not even the iPhone, the iPod Touch or the netbook were around. It was an exciting decade. But one thing that has remained relatively constant over that period is Microsoft's position in the marketplace.

The software giant that entered the 2000s is still a software giant. But over the past decade, its grip on the industry has slipped somewhat. It's no longer the invincible leader that some users expected it to be going into the 2010s. Today, Microsoft is less powerful than it once was.

That's mainly due to the mistakes the company has made over the past 10 years. Unfortunately, Microsoft believed that it could coast, easily dominating any market that it competed in. The company also failed to see the future, forcing it to play "catch up." Worst of all, Windows Vista severely affected brand loyalty. Suffice it to say that it has been a tough 10 years for Microsoft.

Let's take a look at the mistakes Microsoft has made to cause those problems.

1. Corporate lethargy

Microsoft walked into the new millennium on top of the tech world. The company had enjoyed unbridled success with Windows. Internet Explorer reigned supreme. It was a great time for the company. But over the course of the past 10 years, it quickly became clear that Microsoft believed that it could perform just as well without much worry of the competition or regulators. In fact, Microsoft engaged in the same strategies. In the meantime, the competition was innovating. It quickly put Microsoft back on its heels. But the damage was done. Microsoft believed the 2000s would be just like the 1990s. How wrong it was.

2. Windows Vista

Arguably one of Microsoft's biggest blunders, Windows Vista was everything a Windows operating system shouldn't have been. It was overrun with compatibility issues. Security was a major concern. And worst of all, companies thought better of deploying it in their operations. It was no small problem. With Windows XP, Microsoft was solidifying its presence as the dominant force in the operating-system market. But Windows Vista made vendors, consumers, and the enterprise think twice about the software giant. It has yet to repair the relationships with those stakeholders.

3. Follow the leader

When Apple released the iPod, Microsoft released the Zune. Once Google dominated the market with Search, Microsoft released Live Search and, more recently, Bing. As Google cornered the online-advertising market, Microsoft shot back with its own advertising platform. And that's just the tip of a very big iceberg. Microsoft did very little innovating over the past decade. For the most part, the competition did special things, while Redmond came up with a less-successful alternative. It can't make those same mistakes going forward.

4. Windows Mobile

Windows Mobile is another source of regret for Microsoft. The platform that once appealed quite well to the enterprise is now an afterthought. Both RIM's BlackBerry and the iPhone have made Windows Mobile devices obsolete. Worst of all, Microsoft's arch nemesis, Google, developed the Android mobile platform, which also stands above Microsoft's platform.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...