10 Security, Quality Issues Microsoft Must Address Quickly

News Analysis: Microsoft is having a rough start to 2010. The company is facing criticism over a security issue in Internet Explorer, regulators have it under the microscope, and Windows Mobile 7 is still nowhere to be found. Microsoft needs to do something soon or see its credibility with customers continue to erode.

Microsoft is all over the news this week, but unfortunately for the company, it's for the wrong reasons. Early this week it was revealed that a security flaw in Internet Explorer caused opened the way for cyber attacks on Google users and some corporate networks. Now officials in France and Germany are advising its citizens it is best to avoid using IE until at least until Microsoft patches the IE vulnerability.

The company is also facing growing discontent over its handling of Windows Mobile and the possibility of it offering two versions of the smartphone software, rather than one. Even Microsoft's online division, led by Bing, is under fire over privacy concerns. Needless to say, it's a difficult time for Microsoft.
As difficult as it might be now, it won't end until Redmond gets its act together and starts working towards addressing the many troubles that are plaguing it. This isn't the late 1990s or the beginning of the past decade when Microsoft was unchallenged as the dominant force in the industry.

Today, its power is being challenged by other huge companies, including Google and Apple. Worst of all, those companies are doing a fine job of providing a compelling alternative most products that Microsoft offers.
Time is running out for Microsoft. The longer it waits to address its many issues, the worse its chance will be of overcoming them. But the first step is identifying those troubles. So let's take a look at the problems Microsoft needs to address in its operation.
1. Internet Explorer
Although it's still widely used, Internet Explorer enjoys far less clout in the browser space than it once did. That's mainly due to Microsoft's mistakes with the platform. Internet Explorer lacks many of the compelling extensions found in Firefox. It doesn't boast the lightweight speed of Google Chrome. And judging by the revelation that Internet Explorer caused the recent security issues plaguing Google users, it would seem that Microsoft's browser can't even keep users as adequately protected as it should. If Microsoft wants to offer a successful browser, it must get to work on Internet Explorer.
2. Windows Mobile
The current state of Windows Mobile is cause for alarm in Redmond. Although the company plans to release Windows Mobile 6.5.3 soon, which should boast some updates over the previous version of the software, it's Windows Mobile 7 that will be Microsoft's first foray into the touch-enabled smartphone space. The only problem is, Microsoft hasn't given any indication of when it will release the software. Moreover, recent reports are suggesting there will be multiple versions of the mobile OS-another mistake. Microsoft needs to work hard on delivering the best mobile platform it can and get it out to consumers as quickly as possible. There is no more time to waste.
3. Bing
According to Nielsen, the software giant's search engine, Bing, lost market share to Google in December, capturing less than 10 percent share. And now that Microsoft's data retention policies have caught the attention of privacy watchdogs at the European Union, it seems that Microsoft is spending more time trying to determine how to make regulators happy than figuring out how to compete. Bing is a key component in Microsoft's Web strategy. The company can't allow more missteps to stunt its growth.

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...