Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do not write Microsoft Off!

Google is cool. Facebook is cool. Salesforce.com is cool. So is Twitter.

SAP? Oracle? HP? Microsoft? Forget about it!

We have a common tendency - out with the old, in the new. But as Microsoft has proven over the past year or so, Elephants can dance! Let's examine some places where it has been playing catch up for a while, but now seems to be getting somewhere:

1. Windows Mobile - One of the biggest announcements of MWC? The announcement of Windows 2010. With integration with Zune AND XBOX Live, Microsoft seems to have gotten the concept of a phone for the user (rather than the enterprise) right finally. As show in this screenshot, Windows Phone has a rather cool tile based dashboard for messages, people etc. which can help you keep on top of your social and work life from the same place. And with a Windows Phone probably being something easier to digest for IT Departments than the iPhone, I think it will be a strong contender in the Mobile Space. What is the one factor that can prevent it from succeeding? Apps.

2. Search - I like Bing. Not more than Google, but so many parts of it are easier to use. Especially the Image and Video Integration that is so much easier to use than Google, combined with restaraunt reviews from Yelp and the integration with Farecast, Microsoft Bing is a strong contender for sure.

3. Windows 7 - I tried to load Windows Vista as a virtual machine on my MacBook. It sucked. Windows 7 worked beautifully. Enough said.

4. Cloud - The cloud is where the future lies, correct? Well, yes and no. I like MSFT's strategy of three screens and a cloud. Why? Just like how Blogs did meant a decline in magazines, but NOT the end of magazines, I believe that the cloud will coexist with desktop applications. A lot of systems - especially Enterprise systems that are not super compex, like Email, should move to the cloud sooner than later. More complex systems like ERPs might follow long long after, especially given the investments companies have in existing installed versions. But would everything move to the cloud? I am sceptical. I like Steve Blamer's recent comments on how he doesnt see cloud as one big opportunity for Microsoft, but more as a necessary layer of all the other big opportunities that Microsoft has ahead of it, namely Search, Natural Computer Interfaces, Advances in Personal Computers, Enterprise etc.

So my final take? Apple, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Facebook and salesforce.com. All will do well, in their own way.

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