10 Things Microsoft Did Right over the Past Decade

News Analysis: Microsoft had an interesting decade. The company made some mistakes, but it also did some things right that helped it maintain its position as one of the world's largest software companies and a top influencer in the global IT industry. We take a look at those 10 things Microsoft did right over the past 10 years.

Although Microsoft made some mistakes over the past 10 years that adversely affected the company's position in the industry, the software giant has also done a lot of things right. Over the past 10 years, Microsoft has been able to maintain its position as the dominant software developer in the world. It has also stayed relevant both in the consumer space and the enterprise. That's a feat that few companies have been able to achieve.

Perhaps that's why discussions surrounding Microsoft and Windows are so heated today. Although many like to rail against Redmond, it keeps coming back stronger. With each bit of adversity, it seems that somehow, in some way, Microsoft is able to overcome the problem and offer something to customers that appeals to their desire. Of course, it hasn't succeeded every time. And the past decade has shown that Microsoft needs to be more diligent in its decision making. But the company has also done a number of things right that it can use as a foundation for all the future decisions it will make. Let's take a look.

1. Windows 7

Windows Vista was a nightmare for Microsoft. Consumers hated it. The enterprise wouldn't even adopt it. And vendors, once the partners that did Microsoft's bidding, were forced to offer downgrade rights to customers that wanted to run Windows XP. Microsoft knew it had to do something to repair the damage that Vista caused, so it quickly released Windows 7. Microsoft's latest operating system is everything Windows Vista should have been. It's innovative. It's far more secure than previous versions of the operating system. And it appeals to customers. It's a great comeback product.

2. The move to Bing

Microsoft was in deep trouble toward the latter part of the decade. Although it commanded the software market, Google was cornering the search space without any worry of competition. Microsoft's Live Search was largely inconsequential. But rather than wave the white flag, Microsoft released Bing. Microsoft's latest search tool is outstanding. Its results match Google's search results. And thanks to some extras, like a visual search feature, it's a fine alternative to anything Google is offering up.

3. Get in on the gaming

When Microsoft first announced that it would break into the gaming space, some wondered if it could make it. As 2009 gives way to 2010, that question has been answered with a resounding affirmation that yes, indeed, Microsoft can take the gaming industry by storm. Over the past decade, Microsoft has turned its Xbox platform from the "other" console on the market into a gaming leader. The Xbox 360 is now even more popular than Sony's PlayStation 3. That's no small feat. And it should be commended.

4. The enterprise focus

As Apple and Google turned to the consumer over the past decade, Microsoft stayed true to its base-the enterprise. Windows is still the dominant force in the business world. Microsoft has so firmly cemented its position there that most companies wouldn't even consider deploying any other software. Going forward, Microsoft has almost ensured that the enterprise will be its playground.

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...