2Windows 7 Is Still Tops
When it became clear that Windows Vista was a market failure, many folks wondered if Microsoft would restore confidence in its desktop operating system with the release of its successor, Windows 7. With more than 240 million licenses sold, it seems clear now that it could. Windows 7 is far and away the top operating system in todays market. The chances of Mac OS X even coming close to matching it are zero. Until a company can supplant Windows, Microsoft will be the company to beat.
3Office Reigns Supreme
Microsoft Office is still the go-to product for students, enterprise customers and just about everyone else that wants to get work done. Thats precisely why Office is still so important to Microsofts bottom line. Its also why the company enjoys such a strong position in todays marketplace. Google and Apple try to steal some market share away from Office, but theyve failed time and again. Office is simply keeping those companies at bay—and Microsoft on top.
4Azure Isn’t So Bad
Theres little debating that Microsoft isnt doing all that it should to dominate the cloud, but the companys Azure platform is adequate for where the cloud market is right now. Plus, its important to remember that Microsoft already has a captive audience, thanks to the hundreds of millions of Windows users around the world to whom it can sell its cloud services. If Microsoft can continue to improve its cloud efforts, the company will be in good shape to confront the changing tech landscape.
5Office 365 Is Extremely Important
Microsofts Office 365 is scheduled to be available to enterprise customers next year. The offering is easily one of the best products Microsoft has sold in years. For a relatively cheap price that depends upon the size of the organization, companies can get Office Professional Plus, access to the companys Web Apps and much more. Its Microsofts way to lock the competition out of the enterprise. And it will likely go a long way in achieving that goal.
6Windows Phone 7 Has Some Vision
Windows Phone 7 has little chance of beating iOS or Googles Android platform anytime soon. But if nothing else, it has some vision. It delivers a unique design and with the right adjustments, it can be a fine enterprise-focused offering. The software wont dominate the mobile space by any means, but it could very well help Microsoft bridge the gap between the enterprises desktop and its smartphone.
7Windows 8’s Promise
Windows 8 is still a couple years away, but already Microsoft is saying that it could be an extremely important release for the company. In fact, Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft is planning to potentially take some risks with the OS. What that means for its customers is anyones guess. But if Windows 8 delivers the same kind of success that Windows 7 is enjoying, its tough to see how any company will come close to supplanting the software giant anytime soon.
8Internet Explorer 9 Is Coming Along Well
Internet Explorer 9 is still in beta, but already its delivering the kind of experience that most users have been waiting for from Microsoft for quite some time. In fact, most folks say that its the best release of Internet Explorer in years. Thats a good thing for Microsoft. But its a bad thing for the companys competitors. If the world still opts for Internet Explorer over the competition, Microsoft will be controlling how most people access the Web. Until a competitor can stop that, it will be difficult to overcome Microsofts influence.
When Microsoft started offering Windows Vista, the company ostracized vendors that were trying desperately to turn some kind of profit on the new operating system. After realizing it wouldnt be easy, HP, Dell and others started offering downgrade rights that allowed customers to buy computers with Windows XP installed. When that happened, Microsofts competitors thought they could capitalize. In some cases, they did. But now that Windows 7 is so appealing, Microsoft has restored the vendor support that was eroded by Vista just about to where it was prior to releasing Vista.
10The Facebook Component
Microsoft is an investor in Facebook. Because of that, its Bing search engine not only includes access to more content from Facebook, but it powers several services across the social network. That might not seem all that important, but considering how popular Facebook is, Microsofts partnership with the social network could prove to be an integral component in its online plans.
Its easy to view Microsoft solely as a software company, but the firms games division, which includes the Xbox 360, is quickly becoming a key component in its success. In fact, during its last reported quarter, Xbox 360 sales were up 38 percent. That success has helped Microsoft stay ahead of the competition. And it could mean that going forward, with similar success, few companies will have a chance to catch up to the software giant.