10 Things Microsoft Did Wrong in 2009

News Analysis: Microsoft has had an up and down kind of year. The company released Windows 7, but it also was forced to lay off 5,000 employees. While it introduced new security products, it's still fighting an uphill battle against security vulnerabilities. It jump-started its online efforts, but failed to improve Windows Mobile. We take a look at those things the company did wrong in 2009.

Although Microsoft did some things right in 2009, the software giant also made some mistakes. The year was a story of ups and downs for Microsoft. It did a great job with Windows 7, but the OS still suffered from security issues. Microsoft launched Bing to much fanfare in 2009, but it still couldn't capture significant market share to take on Google.

Unfortunately, that has been the story for Microsoft as of late. Although 2009 did see some good things come out of the company's strategy, it couldn't overcome the same troubles that have continued to haunt it.

As we look ahead to 2010 and the issues it will undoubtedly face, there's no guarantee that the software giant will be able to overcome them. It's facing more pressure from Google, more criticism from Apple, and more anger from the European Union. Whether or not it will confront those problems more effectively than it did in 2009 is a question mark at this point.

But for now, we must take a look back at 2009 to see what Microsoft did wrong during the past year.

1. Not stopping Apple's onslaught

Over the past few years, Apple's "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads have been extremely successful. They helped Apple gain notoriety in the mainstream, while damaging Windows' reputation. For its part, Microsoft did try to combat those ads with some commercials of its own in 2009, but for the most part, they fell flat. Apple's ads still reign supreme. And it doesn't look like that will be changing anytime soon.

2. Getting caught up in Google

Microsoft is obsessed with Google. Rather than focusing on its key products-Windows and Office-Microsoft decided to take on Google however it could. Granted, the Web is the future and Microsoft needs to play a major role in that, but competing with Google negatively affected other services, like Windows Mobile, that were in desperate need of attention in 2009. Microsoft can't obsess over Google in 2010.

3. The multi-version fiasco

Microsoft had an opportunity with Windows 7 to totally eliminate the issues users had with Windows Vista. On the software side, it did a good job. But from a marketing perspective, it committed the same mistake of offering multiple versions of the operating system. By doing so, Microsoft only confused customers, making them wonder which operating system would suit their needs. One Windows version is enough.

4. Starter edition

One of Microsoft's biggest blunders during 2009 was offering Windows 7 Starter edition. Users looking to buy netbooks with the new and improved Windows 7 were in for a rude awakening when they found out that several features in the standard version of the operating system weren't available in Starter edition. Microsoft needs to spend time in 2010 optimizing the standard Windows 7 version to work with netbooks.

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...