Microsoft Against the World
Microsoft, the leader in software application’s, with a growth
rate of a mere 11% is in desperate need to find a new growth market. This comes from years of ignoring the importance of other markets and just focusing on maintaining its Windows operating systems, Office word processing, and spreadsheet monopolies.
Companies like Google Inc., who is a leader on the web, and
Apple Computers Inc., innovative designer of the iPod which dominates the digital music industry, are Microsoft’s biggest challengers. Microsoft has responded to the challenge by shifting its strategy towards hardware development and a higher presence on the web with the help of two key people, J. Allard and Ray Ozzie.
J. Allard, vice-president design and development for the
Entertainment & Devices Unit, helped develop the Zune to challenge Apple’s iPod music player. Knowing that he couldn’t beat Apple by merely mimicking its best features, Allard led the effort to include
Wi-Fi inside Microsoft’s Zune Music Player. The last feature would allow Zune owners to beam songs to friend’s devices. The Zune, offered with its own music-selling service, is iPod’s closest challenger today.
While Allard is working on coming up with new ideas to beat
Apple Ozzie is working to Web-ify many of Microsoft’s products. Under the “Live” strategy, Microsoft is blending services it launches on the web with the programs consumers run on their PC’s. This gives consumers a better experience when they use Web services and harness Windows and the processing power of PC’s. Microsoft will
give away e-mail and web hosting while making money from
advertisements and subscriptions.
Few would consider that Microsoft is making a strategic mistake by moving from software products to hardware development, but with new business models emerging such as low-cost “open-source” software, this is a clever move by the company’s bosses. In the early years of this decade,...