Microsoft is still an important part of the technology industry. Currently, the software giant delivers the software that powers the vast majority of the computers around the world. What’s more, its Office productivity suite is the standard in enterprises around the world. To say that Microsoft is an integral component in what makes the technology industry so successful would be an understatement.
However, Microsoft is currently under attack. Companies like Apple, Google, and countless others are trying desperately to marginalize Microsoft in the industry and drive their own brands to the top of the market. In order to do so, they’re delivering innovative new products, acquiring companies, and spending boatloads of cash on research and development. It’s an open question whether any these efforts will reduce the wealth, power and influence of Microsoft in the software industry, but there can be no disputing their desire to do just that.
With this in mind, there are 10 products that could assure Microsoft’s success or bring on a marked decline in its fortunes the current decade. If Microsoft makes the right investments and decisions, the company will continue to be a success. But if Microsoft’s competitors get their way, the software giant could be in for trouble.
Read on to find out which products will determine Microsoft’s fate over the next decade.
1. Windows 8
Windows 8, which is scheduled to launch next year, could prove to be a huge factor in Microsoft’s future success. If the operating system fails to take off, Windows’ importance on desktops and mobile devices could go into decline as hardware makers shift to other platforms. But if PC users rapidly upgrade to Windows 8, Microsoft will hold onto its dominant position indefinitely.
After getting off to a slow start in the mid-90s, Microsoft has been putting ever more development effort into Web and cloud products. In response to the challenge posed by Google, the software company has turned Bing into a real competitor in the search market. But Google is still dominating that space, and if it can continue to solidify its position there and further consolidate its power in advertising, Microsoft’s online hopes might be dashed.
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has been gaining in popularity over the last several years. And now, it’s easily outselling both the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. Over the next 10 years, that device could become a cash cow for Microsoft as more people turn to streaming services to be entertained in the living room. Currently, Microsoft is aiming at providing live TV through its Xbox 360, which also has Netflix and Hulu Plus support. Simply put, the Xbox 360 is more important to Microsoft than many think.
4. Mac OS X
Microsoft’s future success doesn’t rely solely upon the software giant’s products. Quite the contrary, competing software products like Mac OS X could play into it. For instance, if Mac OS X continues to gain on Windows due to the popularity of Macs, how will Microsoft (and its vendor partners) respond? Furthermore, if developers continue to have success with Mac OS X’s App Store, there’s no telling if they might focus their efforts on that operating system, rather than Windows. Mac OS X is a real threat to Microsoft.
Changes in the Cloud, Mobile, PC Markets Are Enough to Scare Microsoft
5. Google’s cloud apps
Google provides a host of cloud services to the enterprise, including Gmail, Google Docs, collaboration software and many more. So far, Google hasn’t been able to cut into Microsoft’s productivity application suites or cloud offering in Office 365. But over time, as more companies warm to the cloud and realize that Google has attractive pricing, that could change. Expect the cloud product race between Microsoft and Google to only intensify as the years go by.
6. Windows Phone 7
There is a lot riding on Windows Phone 7 for Microsoft. Currently, the software company lacks a notable presence in the smartphone market. Microsoft says that it will change, but so far, it hasn’t followed through on that promise. If it can’t get Windows Phone 7 into more consumers’ hands next year, it might be lights out for Microsoft’s mobile division.
7. Nokia devices
It’s important to note that Windows Phone 7 likely won’t be a success without help from Nokia’s upcoming line of handsets running the software. The problem is that Nokia devices have been losing market share at a rapid rate lately, and by the look of things, that situation won’t change any time soon. But if Windows Phone 7 can reverse that trend, it will help Microsoft’s mobile standing dramatically. If not, the future looks dark forMicrosoft in the mobile space.
Speaking of the mobile market, it’s also important to note how important Android is to Microsoft’s future. Currently, both Microsoft and Google are following the same strategy by creating an OS and letting vendors use it on their devices. Android is the winner so far, but Microsoft thinks it can change things. If Android continues its meteoric rise and solidifies its ownership of the space, as expected, Microsoft might be left to pick up the scraps-an eventuality that could negatively affect Microsoft’s financial performance.
9. Apple’s iOS
If Android is a threat to Microsoft in the mobile market, Apple’s iOS must be, as well. The operating system is running on the world’s most popular smartphones and tablets. What’s more, many people believe it could be coming to the Apple TV, thus paving the way for the companies to battle it out in the living room. If it weren’t for iOS, Microsoft wouldn’t have so much trouble in the mobile space. But it is having trouble, and there’s no stopping iOS.
Over the last couple of years, we’ve been seeing many PC vendors think twice about Windows. The trouble started with Vista and became a concern when some PC vendors started offering desktop Linux as an alternative. Then, HP said it would consider offering WebOS on its PCs. Another majorthreat emerged when Google launched Chromebooks. If Windows 8 is a success and PC vendors see less value in other platforms, Microsoft will be just fine. But the changes going on in the PC market are enough to scare Microsoft-and for good reason.