Apple has become the 3rd largest computer manufacturer, with a 6.6% market share, and the top two manufacturers, Dell and HP, are beginning to offer Linux alternatives to Windows. Their operating system, Windows, is being undermined by the rise of Apple’s OSX and the sophistication of Linux as a commercial operating system. With the bad reception of Vista, people are losing faith in Windows or refusing to upgrade from XP. Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc…) is being attacked by the popularity of web applications. Google Docs and Zoho, are both able to offer many of the feature Microsoft Office has, for free and without the need to install software. The Windows Mobile platform is being attacked by RIM’s BlackBerry and Apple’s iPhone. And the Microsoft Xbox took a hit this year when HD-DVD, the format Microsoft supported, lost the next generation format battle to Sony’s Blue-Ray. So should Microsoft Worry?
It seems that Microsoft is getting competition on all front, something the company has grown accustomed to. For as long as I can remember, Microsoft has been the company to beat in the technology industry. They are the largest and most influential to almost all aspect of the industry (many have suggested that they should split into several smaller companies because of their size and diversity). They are no stranger to competition and are very good at riding through any problems. They have more capital than almost any other tech company and are able to use that to weather any storm that comes their way. They have also been able to adopt the more web 2.o strategy of buying smaller companies and not changing much, just integrating it into current activities. Most of what Google and Apple does makes the news but not Microsoft. For such a large company they are doing a good job of staying relatively under the radar, as to what they are working on behind their corporate doors.
Also, much of what Microsoft does is not seen by the average consumers simply because it’s not relevant to them. Microsoft is the main player in the corporate world. A lot of Microsoft’s competition come from the consumer market, but Microsoft still has a relative stronghold on the flow of technology in the corporate world.
The web app craze is very popular but storing data on your own hard drive is something that will always be needed. You need to have access to your data and that is what desktop applications allow for. If you trust everything to online storage you lose the safety is something every happens and you need to quickly access the data. Microsoft controls the desktop application game. Most of their software is used by both consumers and corporations. There will always be a need for Microsoft software, it would take a large unified change by everyone to make Microsoft software no longer needed. It is such an entrenched part of our technology life that we incorporate their software to everything we do. Their software is able to adapt to the latest trends, i.e the iPhone comes out and Microsoft develops Microsoft Exchange support for the iPhone. No matter what the company, if it has to do with technology they conform to the Microsoft standard.
This was written as something to think about and make us consider how big Microsoft really is and how much we rely on their software, maybe more than we think we do. Try thinking about how many Microsoft products you use or how much you conform to the Microsoft format.