Episode 30 – What’s up with Microsoft?

Microsoft that giant of the tech world appears to be having a case of the wobbles which has not been seen by any of the big players in the tech arena.

First up is the job cuts, the huge ranging slice across the bow of employment with around 18,000 jobs going. Not fully unexpected as with the takeover of Nokia, some jobs were bound to go but this amount was something of a shock particularly as it was the largest amount of job cuts in the history of the company.

Secondly was the closure of the Xbox Entertainment studios, which rumour had prevailed that the studios was disorganised and had no real structure. Coupled with a supposed lack of strategy that could not compete with Netflix as it wanted it’s originals series to push the hardware side of the business.

Change, change and more change

Ok!so fairly straightforward business decisions you may think. But lets look closer at what we, as a consumer driven tech blog see. The Xbox One launched to major derision and immediately Microsoft back peddled away from the negativity and rapidly changed its mind over the price and the always online requirement. Almost a year later they strip off the paywall feature that had Skype locked behind it to name but one point. Change, change and more change to decisions that a tech giant has put in place is something quite shocking and not really seen before. The Entertainment studios get canned before they have really had a chance to produce anything is more of example of panic almost being written into the DNA of the Microsoft.

Its is genuinely hard to think of Apple, Google, Samsung or even Amazon (make a profit quick, please) rushing to market without being really sure of themselves or even panicking at the launch and then changing their minds and products to satisfy the market. And here is the thing that I firmly believe. Consumers, like wild animals sniff out and support the strongest company/pride member and similarly no wild animal or human would support the weaker part of the pride or a company.

Microsoft is showing weakness

Microsoft by showing its weakness to make good decisions or even adhere to the ones they have made is not good for the company and they really do need to buck their ideas up fast. The days of there being no alternative to them are long gone and they cannot simply rely on the existing behaviour of the market to allow them to continue. Consumers will remember that it was Microsoft that brought Vista and Windows 8 to the table and that the bad experience was their fault.

Microsoft too seem to have forgotten that we are part of a consumer society now and its not all business and enterprise. Their new ads in the UK centre around the windows phone and its function within a business for the man that set up own company.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world IBM has got the hint and the scent of weakness and has rocked up to the Apple camp to make enterprise apps for iOS. No mention of the Mac in this deal? no of course not, Apple does not need to worry about this as the plan to work with IBM is genius and a very shrewd one and shows that Tim Cook knows how to run a business.

Tim Cook knows how to run a business

Let me explain my thought. Here I am writing this up on a Macbook Air the latest Apple purchase of a journey that started with the iPod, to the iPod touch and 3 generations of iPhone and 2 iPads led me to the Air. Why? Simple, its the ease with which they all operate together and with Yosemite later in the year it will get even easier and it’s this which I am thinking Apple are banking on. In enterprise, directors and managers are the consumers of the IT department. Supply these people and the rest of the staff with iPhones and iPads and assist with enterprise apps that have the IBM and Apple seal of goodness then it makes very little sense for these people to return to a Windows PC. Microsoft had better wake up soon as its crazy panic laden decisions are not helping it to react to genuine threats like this. Office is the tool which drives business but with Microsoft writing Office for the Mac and iOS are they really writing their own swangsong?

Would Gates and Ballmer have allowed this?

This is not what I would have expected from the Gates and Ballmer era of Microsoft and the speed with which Microsoft seems to be unravelling is quite shocking. Businesses grow by making a decision and running with it. Look at the speed with which Netflix has grown and to an extent the way Apple has made itself one of the largest profitable companies ever when prior to the iPod it was close to bankruptcy.  Google is now synonymous with search and the term Bing is not likely to soon replace it. Companies are made strong by the decisions they make and stick to. Evolve a product but don’t publicly panic to negative social media. Microsoft, we need you as a player for competition sake, but come on get out of this funk you clearly are in at the moment.

Hear our debate on the latest pod

Episode 30



Debate is what we would love to hear from you so please feel free to drop your own comments here.


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