Friday, July 31

Editorial: Is Microsoft dipping into too way much?

When building a house there are many aspects that demands extreme attention. In fact if not done carefully, your home could suffer from lengthy damaging problems, (I know, I worked in our family’s construction business for years). The most important though is the foundation. Other portions could allow defects but if the foundation is not properly constructed, the house will eventually crumble. When you’ve built a solid foundation, the rest is not as painstaking, you can now structure the house following the plan and build a beautiful home.

But what is a foundation if you’re left without a roof over your head? The home then becomes useless, rain would inevitably destroy all your belongings. You would die come winter; and the summer’s heat would make you feel like it’s hell on earth! These facts stand true not only in the construction arena, but in almost every other field; if your start is not solid, your end will come down crashing. And if you don’t take could care of what protects your foundation, you will lose almost everything.

Microsoft has a solid foundation, let’s not twist the facts here. Their operating system (Windows) is embedded in almost all computers globally and because of this lucrative monopoly, it’s ultra hard to dethrone the OS king. But as I stated in the second paragraph, if you don’t take care of what protects your foundation, you will eventually come down like a careless kingdom who thought it could rule the world, waving it’s power to the masses and eventually being despised, hence attracting much negative attention. People love when the strong fall; but many times it’s not the people who cause the fall, the strong often bring down themselves.

In today’s world with companies like apple and especially Google, Microsoft should solidify it’s software department to a point where the rivals would deem it futile to mount a fight against the giant. But now it seems too little too late. The company is stretched so thin taking on so many fronts that while they may be making a few gains in those battles, they’re losing prime real estate on there most important field, there software department. Rest assured if Microsoft was to lose significant software market share which it now dominates, the company would go into shock and eventually spiral down into chapter 11. Vista failed. Terribly. And in part because the company is not focused. Windows 7 is upon us but the market is reluctant to embrace it, (vista fatigue) and please don’t forget the other company with the funny name that’s breathing down their necks. Microsoft is undeniably dipping in way too much, here are some examples:

Microsoft-Yahoo Search deal - another move to try and compete against Google, Microsoft will suffer an initial loss of $300 million in first 1-2years, as it takes over the costly operation of yahoo's search business. But will it pay off is another question left unanswered. Yahoo shares fell a disheartening 16 percent since the partnership was announced, magnifying wall street's disappointment.
MSN - It’s distracting the company from it’s main role as a software giant.
MSN search - What?
BING - but it’s not Google.
ZUNE - the failed answer to the ipod.
Xbox 360 - It’s a great product, I enjoy the console, they’ve made great strides. But what will the share holders conclude? Is the Xbox360 really worth the billions poured into it? Remember the company lost 7billion dollars in just 4years on the original Xbox. What about that money? These are the questions share holders will be asking.
RETAIL STORES - this fall the company will open a string of retail stores right next to apple’s.
GOOGLE OBSSESION - hence my next point.

If Microsoft was focused on protecting what made it strong, (Software) they would’ve been ahead of the curve in innovation, design, ideas, clarity and execution. They can’t execute well because there’s just too much to execute. Now Google (the company with the funny name) has made giant leaps in the software department. Their Android OS currently running on many cell phones with multiple happy customers is gaining popularity by the second. In fact HTC the premier manufacturer of windows mobile cellphones is rumored to be shifting half of it’s handsets to Google’s Android OS in 2010. This cannot be good news to Microsoft. Even sprint is now joining the Android OS bandwagon, with the carrier shipping at least one model with the OS onboard this year. And that’s just the beginning…

Again, if the team Microsoft was focused on their bread and butter, they would have better insight on the signs of the times. Cloud computing is the way of the future and although the giant has been in the front seat, Google is driving the bus; Google’s executives have long been preparing for the change, change that was inevitable and is here now. Google is about to launch the biggest challenge to Microsoft yet. The year 2010 will be packed with new innovations but the one that holds most promise is the new Chrome Operating System Google is set to launch. That’s a direct assault on the foundation of the Redmond company that has dominated the software market for over 30yrs. Remember what I said about protecting your foundation? Sometimes even if your foundation is not fully unprotected, just the fact that you left an opening is neglect that never should’ve been acceptable. Microsoft as we know will change because of these mistakes and miscalculations, but is it a bad thing? No one company can dominate forever. But I would have to admit, I would not like to see such an American Powerhouse fail. Not now, not ever.

07/31/09 Ernice Gilbert

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