Nowadays, all the talk in the tech space is about Apple’s possible release of the iSlate and Google’s Android-based Nexus One smartphone. Many observers contend that the iSlate will be the most important product release of 2010. Others are saying the Nexus One could be the “iPhone killer” we’ve all been waiting for. But maybe it’s time to shift that focus to Microsoft and why it could dominate the industry in 2010.
The last year was a tough one for Microsoft. Its Windows Mobile platform sank to around 9 percent market share. Google was the first to build hype on Web-based operating systems. And Windows Vista still kept consumers and the enterprise from fully believing in the value Windows 7 offers.
But 2010 is quickly shaping up to be a much different year. With Bing offering a service that can actually stand up to Google Search, Windows 7 carrying the Microsoft banner forward and the possibility of an improved Windows Mobile, 2010 might just be the year when Microsoft regains its spot as the dominant force in the tech industry.
A colleague here at eWEEK, Nicholas Kolakowski, recently wrote that Windows 7, Microsoft’s pact with Yahoo and the cloud will determine how successful Microsoft is over the next year. He’s right. But he’s not quite convinced that Microsoft will be able to enjoy a solid year in any of those sectors. I’m convinced, however.
I believe that Microsoft realizes that the market is changing. It finally understands that it can’t simply coast and expect to be successful. And most importantly, it understands that it needs to work hard to compete with Google. That sounds like a recipe for success in 2010. Here are 10 reasons why Microsoft will dominate 2010.
1. Google obsession
Although obsessing over one company can be a bad move for many companies, Microsoft’s obsession with Google will likely help it in 2010. This year will be marked by a war between the software giant and the online giant. They will battle it out for dominance in the area of Web-based operating systems. They will go at it in Web services. And they will likely gun for each other in the mobile space. Microsoft is extremely worried (for good reason) that Google could supplant it as the dominant company in the tech industry. As a result of obsessing over Google in 2010, the software giant will likely do much better job of fending off Google’s onslaught.
2. Windows Mobile 7
Windows Mobile is on the ropes. The mobile operating system that once held a significant share of the market is now attempting to stay relevant. And so far, it hasn’t done a good job of it. But with the release of Windows Mobile 7 in 2010, all that could change. Microsoft is saying its latest mobile OS will have the features that users want-and then some. Assuming that’s true, it’s likely that Microsoft will regain some of its lost market share in 2010. That doesn’t mean that it will supplant Apple-that’s highly unlikely-but it should help Microsoft bolster its mobile division.
Microsoft’s Azure platform doesn’t receive the kind of attention Google’s Chrome OS is getting, but it really should. Azure will likely be home to many, if not all, of Microsoft’s cloud endeavors going forward. Azure will provide Web access to key Microsoft applications, while helping it face off against any Web strategies Google implements to bolster the appeal of Chrome OS. And that all fails to mention the impact Azure could have on the enterprise. The business world is moving slowly to the cloud. Microsoft is ready to greet it with open arms.
4. Windows 7
Microsoft’s latest operating system is arguably the best operating system currently available. Windows has historically been one of the most important contributors to Microsoft’s success or failure. For years, it was the banner product. But when Vista hit store shelves, all that changed, and Microsoft was forced to scramble. It fixed its mistake with Windows 7. In 2010, many more companies and consumers will realize that.
Microsoft Still Holds the Trump Cards
5. The Yahoo pact
Microsoft might not have gotten the deal that it wanted from Yahoo, but the deal it did get could significantly improve the company’s chances of competing with Google online. For now, Bing is trailing woefully behind Google Search. It’s unlikely that users will move in droves from Google to Bing. Microsoft knows that. And that’s precisely why the Yahoo deal was so important. With Yahoo in its corner, Microsoft can now compete against the leader with far more market share. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it can beat Google in 2010, but it does put Sergey and Larry on notice. It also makes advertisers think twice about only using Google’s advertising platform.
6. The enterprise
Too often it seems that it’s only Microsoft that sees the value of the corporate world. The company has made the enterprise a key factor in its success. All the while, its main competitors look to the consumer for cash and power. Expect Microsoft to stick with the business world in 2010. It might not be the popular decision, but it is an extremely profitable decision.
7. Lasting profitability
One of the main reasons why Microsoft will dominate 2010 is its ability to consistently generate huge profits. Unlike so many others in the space that rely upon new technologies and new initiatives to stay in the black, Microsoft has built a business that can thrive while it attempts to break into other areas of the market. Apple is taking a risk with the iSlate. Google’s Nexus One could cause the search giant to lose support from other vendors in the Open Handset Alliance. All the while, Microsoft is sticking to its core businesses to deliver profits, while innovating elsewhere without worrying about the impact on its bottom line. That should only help its chances in the future.
8. The iSlate isn’t revolutionary
The industry is buzzing over what Apple plans to do with the iSlate, but for now, a tablet device that allows users to access the Web, use applications and control the display with multitouch gestures just isn’t all that revolutionary. Think about it: The iPhone has the multitouch functionality and the apps. Microsoft and others have already opened up the tablet business. It seems that Apple is coming out with a product that probably won’t captivate the mainstream the way the iPod or the iPhone did. Realizing that, why should it receive all the attention in 2010?
9. The Nexus One is no iPhone killer
Folks who have gotten their hands on Google’s Nexus One have already said the device, while nice, won’t be able to supplant the iPhone as the leader in the mobile space. That shouldn’t come as a surprise. In 2009 alone, there were countless devices released that some predicted would be iPhone killers. In the end, they fell in line behind Apple’s product, quickly losing the limelight. The Nexus One is shaping up to be another in a long line of iPhone victims. It won’t rule 2010.
10. The wake-up call
If nothing else, 2009 was a wake-up call for Microsoft. The company came into the year attempting to address issues it was facing online and with Vista. It left 2009 having addressed several of those problems, while dealing with many new issues. Regardless, it woke Microsoft up. For too long, the company was complacent; it was content to stick with what it knew. But that led to a significant decline in market value and a loss of its dominance in the industry. But 2010 looks to be a much different year for Microsoft. It knows what it needs to do. And by the looks of things, this could be its most formidable year yet.