Now that 2009 is coming to a close, it’s time for Microsoft to look ahead to 2010. The software giant will be met with several challenges during the year. It will need to face off against Google, an increasingly disconcerting competitor that seems to have its sights set on Redmond.
It also needs to take on Apple, which has enjoyed unfettered growth in the mobile space. It gets even worse when one considers that Microsoft also needs to worry about regulators that have major problems with the strategies Microsoft follows. Needless to say, it will be a tough year for Microsoft.
That’s why Microsoft needs to be smart about the moves it makes. It can’t simply expect to maintain status quo by offering services and solutions that don’t appeal to user desire. It also can’t expect to run roughshod over the market without the European Union having a few things to say about it. So as Microsoft prepares for the challenges that it will face in 2010, it’s important that it has the right strategies in place to ensure it will be successful.
We have 10 strategies Microsoft should follow in 2010.
Let’s take a look.
1. Drastically improve Windows Mobile
It’s not enough for Microsoft to simply address the problems users have with Windows Mobile. The company needs to drastically improve its mobile OS if it even wants to stay relevant in the space. Right now, Windows Mobile is little more than an “also-ran.” It lacks multitouch support, it has none of the features users are looking for in next-gen offerings today, and the number of apps available to the platform pale in comparison to anything Apple offers. Windows Mobile is in desperate need of improvement.
2. Leverage Bing
If Microsoft wants to be successful online, it needs to do a better job of leveraging Bing. In 2010, the company must integrate Bing into just about everything it does. Bing Search should be in Windows Mobile. It should become a key component in Windows 7. It should especially find its way into Microsoft’s many online services. Bing is the centerpiece of Microsoft’s online strategy. It must be leveraged.
3. Adhere to the EU’s demands
The European Union has a major problem with Microsoft. It believes that the company is engaging in practices that the governing body finds unacceptable. When Microsoft made the deal to offer users the opportunity to download up to 12 different browsers, it was the smart play for the software giant. It can’t spend 2010 trying to find ways around that agreement. Microsoft needs to do what the EU wants and move on with other strategies.
4. Get to work on Azure
It’s unbelievable that Microsoft would allow Google to be the first company to move into the online-operating-system space. As a software firm, most expected Microsoft to lead the way to the Web. It hasn’t. That needs to change in 2010. The company needs to work hard on Azure and get it to market as quickly as possible. It can’t allow Google to steal the online-OS spotlight. Microsoft could easily find itself trying to catch up to Google, rather than leading it.
Microsoft Needs to Keep True to the Enterprise
5. Create a solid marketing campaign
Apple’s “I’m a Mac, I”m a PC” ads have proven extremely successful. Over the past few years, Microsoft has tried to match their success with marketing campaigns of its own. Unfortunately, they never worked out. Microsoft needs to spend time in the new year developing marketing campaigns that appeal to consumers, shed its products in a good light, and make them understand why they want to buy Windows or use Bing. It’s not easy, for sure, but the software giant needs to do its best.
6. Stay true to the enterprise
As Google and Apple attempt to steal operating-system market share away from Microsoft, it’s in the enterprise where the software giant can solidify its power. In the software space, the big money is made in the business world. Google can’t break into that space. Apple has had very little success. Microsoft rules the enterprise. In 2010, it needs to maintain that rule. It can’t simply switch gears to appeal to consumers because the competition has. By controlling the enterprise, Microsoft can keep its stranglehold on the market, no matter the competition’s offerings.
7. Get rid of Starter edition
Microsoft made a mistake offering Windows 7 Starter edition to netbook users in 2009. Many of those consumers were upset to see that they couldn’t get the same experience on a netbook that they might otherwise enjoy on a standard notebook or desktop. In 2010, Microsoft needs to optimize Windows 7 to work with the netbook, so all versions of the software have the new features users want.
8. Don’t forget Web advertising
For too long, Microsoft’s Web-advertising efforts have been poor. When compared to Google’s advertising platform, Microsoft’s service falls short in almost every area. Microsoft needs to drastically improve its Web-advertising platform in 2010 if it wants to be successful on the Internet. Advertising is the way Microsoft will pay for many of its services going forward. Without providing a good alternative to Google’s advertising services, it won’t have much of a chance.
9. Get to work on security
Microsoft has done a better job of confronting the many security issues that face its operating system, but it has much more work to do in 2010. This year, the operating system faced zero-day vulnerabilities and far too many unpatched items that could have wreaked havoc on the user’s computer. A better security initiative (and more services like Security Essentials) will increase Microsoft’s stock in the security community. It has an opportunity to secure its operating system even more effectively in 2010. It can’t miss that opportunity.
10. Don’t obsess over Apple
Microsoft has a tendency to obsess over its competitors. It had an unhealthy obsession over Apple and Google in 2009. The Google obsession is understandable (after all, that company could cripple Microsoft), but the software giant’s focus on Apple is a bit much. There’s no debating that Apple can have a direct impact on Microsoft’s bottom line. At the same time, its OS market share is small, at best. And although the iPhone is beating Windows Mobile badly, Microsoft can still fall back on the enterprise. Apple is a large, powerful company, but it’s not nearly as big of a threat to Microsoft as some want to believe.