Microsoft Rising

An interesting thought came to me this morning: could Microsoft be resurgent?

It seems that for the better part of the last decade Microsoft has been reeling. It started with the Clinton administration’s anti-trust efforts and the EU’s constant fines. While in the end Microsoft wasn’t broken up, these proceedings seemed to leave a deep scar on the company. Then the heart-and-soul of the company stepped out of day-to-day operations when Bill Gates focused his attention on philanthropy.

Looking at its operating system business, Windows Mobile was a piece of junk that people used only because they had to and Vista was eviscerated as a horrible operating system. Both lost mind-share and market-share to other systems. The Office suite has stagnated and Microsoft’s excellent developer software means nothing if you aren’t writing software for Microsoft systems. For twenty years Microsoft followed their noses to enterprises but suddenly the world became consumer heaven, elevating Facebook, Twitter, and Apple into the spotlight. Their online division has lost billions (with a b) during this time period while Google’s revenue went the other way.

But then came XBox 360 and slowly, it seems, the company is turning a corner. Windows Phone 7 is an interestingly designed operating system that, I think, has finally found the hardware it needed to be successful. Windows 8 also looks interesting in its early incarnations. And the Office 360 online suite, if coupled with some really good contact and calendar management that doesn’t take an IT department to manage, could turn the tide back to the company.

But the real kick here is whether Microsoft can take advantage of Google’s constant mis-steps, particularly there is a huge opportunity to market search and Bing as the product that will return results we can trust for the services we use the most. There’s an opening Microsoft. Are you going to exploit it?