Microsoft Must Start Thinking Beyond Windows, Office: 10 Reasons Why

News Analysis: Microsoft continues to rely on efforts on its flagship Windows and Office products as its corporate cash cow. But in order for Microsoft to prosper into the indefinite future, it must think about truly innovating in the most important of today's markets.

Microsoft remains one of the richest, most powerful and fascinating companies in the technology space. When one looks at its financials, the software giant is nothing short of impressive. It generates billions of dollars in revenue and profits each year and is easily one of the most dominant firms in the world.

However, a deeper glimpse into Microsoft's operation reveals that, behind all of those dollars, it's a company that seems uncertain about where to go next. The majority of its revenue and profit is generated from its flagship Windows and Office products. Beyond that, it's having a difficult time keeping up with the rapidly changing times that are a-changin'.

It's time for Microsoft tostart thinking beyond Windows and Office. Read on to find out why:

1. The stock price problem

Microsoft is undoubtedly doing a fine job at generating boatloads of cash off Windows and Office, but it's proving to not be enough. As a public company, Microsoft's job is to maximize shareholder value. That typically happens through improving the stock price. Over the last several years, however, Microsoft's shares have been stagnant, with its shares languishing between about $15 and $35 a pop. That's not a sign of a healthy company. The time has come for Microsoft to take some risks, think beyond Windows and Office, and try to get its stock price moving again.

2. The cloud is a threat

Microsoft can bank on Office and Windows all it wants, but until the software giant acknowledges that the cloud could be the future, it will find itself in deep trouble. Google, the quintessential cloud-computing company, is committed to extending its reach into the enterprise-applications market with its Chrome OS and Google Docs app. Those programs won't hurt Microsoft in the short-term, but, over time, if they can improve and begin to really compete with Microsoft's options,Steve Ballmer might have a serious problem on his hands.

3. Android is the Trojan horse

Although Microsoft likes to keep a brave face in its battle with Google, make no mistake that Android has proven to be Google's Trojan horse as it tries to take the software giant down. Through Android success, Google is improving its relationships with consumers and enterprise customers. Most important, it's playing nice with vendors. All that could combine to become a major issue if Microsoft doesn't start to focus its efforts in other markets.

4. Vendors are straying

Speaking of vendors,companies like Dell and HP have proven extremely important to Microsoft's success. Without their support, Windows wouldn't be Windows. But as HP prepares to bring WebOS to its line of PCs and Dell cozies up to Google, Microsoft is facing more threats from vendors than ever. The time has come for Microsoft to find a business that doesn't require it to rely so heavily upon other companies.

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...