What better way for Microsoft to ensure its dominance going forward than by investing heavily in Windows? Windows Vista was a major failure for the software giant. But it has regained its standing as a premier OS developer with Windows 7. Going forward, it needs to continue developing must-have operating systems to appeal to consumer and enterprise desire. The more people using Windows, the better.
Although the European Union is now making Microsoft give users the option of choosing between Internet Explorer and another browser, there’s little chance of Internet Explorer losing its standing as the top browser on the market anytime soon. Internet Explorer is synonymous with Web connectivity. And as long as Microsoft continues to improve that platform, few users will have reason to switch.
Windows Azure might just be the future of Microsoft’s business. The company’s online hub is home to several of its cloud-computing services. It will also be the hub by which users connect to the company’s eventual Web-based operating system. Microsoft realizes that the future is in the cloud. And with the help of Azure, it can work toward dominating that space, as well.
Microsoft Office is an integral part of Microsoft’s business. The world’s top productivity suite currently faces little competition on the desktop. But on the Web, Microsoft is forced to contend with products like Google Docs and Zoho. Admittedly, Office is still far more powerful than those competitors. But as Google and Zoho update their offerings, it’s incumbent upon Microsoft to do the same. The company can’t lose sight of just how important Office is.
6Windows Phone 7 Series
Prior to the announcement of Windows Phone 7 Series, Microsoft’s mobile business was floundering. Windows Mobile was losing ground to competitors at an astounding rate. But Windows Phone 7 Series can change all that. The software trumps iPhone OS on several fronts. It also boasts integration of entertainment and gaming to further the user’s reliance upon Microsoft products. Windows Phone 7 Series has substantial promise.
When Microsoft first got into gaming, most folks wondered why it would do such a thing. Years later, Microsoft is now a major player in the gaming business and the top provider of online gaming in the space. That’s no small feat. The gaming business is a huge, growing industry. By capitalizing on it at the right time, Microsoft has positioned itself to dominate a market that could soon become bigger than the movie business. The Xbox 360 is extremely important to Microsoft.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, Google Search is far ahead of Bing. But Microsoft’s search engine is nothing to scoff at. It boasts outstanding results that test the relevancy of Google’s service. And thanks to extra features, like Bing Visual Search and Bing Maps, the company is poised to steal some market share away from Google.
You might wonder why the Amazon Kindle would be included in this roundup. It’s simple: Microsoft recently signed a patent-licensing deal with Amazon for several of its Amazon products, including the Amazon Kindle. It’s an extremely important development. The Amazon Kindle is the top e-reader in the world. There’s also speculation that the online retailer is planning to revamp the Kindle to compete more effectively against the iPad. If Amazon’s device continues to sell well, Microsoft might just have its own Trojan horse in the e-reader market.
Now that regulators in the U.S. and the European Union have approved Microsoft’s search pact with Yahoo, Redmond can leverage Yahoo’s search share. Granted, Microsoft’s new search market share will pale in comparison to Google’s. But we can’t forget that the real value of having more than 20 percent share is the advertising revenue. Finally, Google has a somewhat large competitor with a highly regarded advertising service. Microsoft has officially entered the Web war with Google.
11Mac OS X
Apple’s Mac OS X might be one of the last products expected in this slideshow, but Microsoft can capitalize on it. Apple’s software doesn’t fare well when compared with Windows 7. But in recent years, Apple has marketed its operating system as a better alternative to Windows. Now that Microsoft has an upperhand, the company can use that to exploit issues with Mac OS X, including its general lack of security monitoring. Mac OS X provides an opportunity for Microsoft that it can’t ignore.