Why Google and Apple Should Fear the new Microsoft

Publisher's Outlook

Why Google and Apple Should Fear the new Microsoft

By Rich Tehrani, Group Editor-in-Chief, TMC  |  June 11, 2014

In decades of covering Microsoft (News - Alert), I don’t recall the company enjoying so much positive press at one time. They are literally transforming before our eyes. Here’s how:

Expanding its mobile presence: Office is universally used by hundreds of millions and finally making it available on iOS/iPad is a smart move, which came many years late. Perhaps the most important takeaway from this evolution is that Microsoft finally gets it – it has lost in the mobile OS war and had to buy Nokia (News - Alert) as a last-ditch effort to not totally lose out on this space. But it is finally making the right moves to be relevant in a mobile world.

Expand software offerings to win: Microsoft, through its Office on iPad success, has learned that software is the key to getting into new markets and expanding its reach. Certainly Google (News - Alert) knows this and has a wealth of apps and services which are fantastic – allowing it to entrench itself in a user’s life like no other entity. If Microsoft is reading the world correctly, it understands it has to do the same thing.

Finally, Windows is free… sort of: This is in part why the company has decided to give Windows away for free on devices smaller than nine inches. It really is hard to compete in this highly commoditized space – especially when you are competing with Android, which is essentially free. It is worth noting MS recently cut the price of Windows 8.1 and Apple (News - Alert) has stopped charging for its OS as well – charging for OS market seems to have a limited shelf life.

Finally, the world learns Microsoft is a major speech player: In fact, it has been in the speech market since pre-2000, if you count their TellMe acquisition. It has some of the best tech in the world, yet it hasn’t really pushed it beyond Xbox. Finally, Cortana has been released as the company’s Siri-killer.

MS “gets” ecosystem now? Microsoft has tried for a long time to tout its ecosystem – it tied its Xbox platform to its mobile devices, which didn’t have the effect it hoped for. By bringing Office to iOS, it seems to understand the importance of the ecosystem is greater than the platform.

The cloud is the ecosystem: It’s true that Microsoft’s OneDrive (a name that changes too often) and Office 365 are wonderful central services to help drive the company’s entire strategy. I felt like I was being robbed having to pay a significant amount for software I had already purchased on other devices, but Office is so much better than the alternative that there was really no choice.

But, the company is on the right track. These recent moves shows leadership finally understands cloud, mobile, ecosystems and how to leverage the brand’s key strengths. The good news for users is more software choices. It took many years for Microsoft to acknowledge that Google and Apple know what they are doing… Now it seems to have both companies in its sights. Your move, Apple and Google.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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