What's Wrong With Microsoft?

In a pessimistic article, a staff writer at CNN argues that Microsoft's major consumer products are in trouble, even going so far as to say that the Microsoft brand is dying. Come now, isn't that a bit premature?

According to CNN's David Goldman, the software giant needs to stop following and start leading its small-fish-in-a-big-pond competitors, who have so far beaten Microsoft in the mobile space, cloud computing and social networking. Microsoft's chief software architect, Ray Ozzie, who recently quit the gig, says himself that Microsoft is too slow and its products aren't competitive enough.

Let's have a closer look at the facts:

  • Internet Explorer's share of the browser pie has fallen to an all-time low of 49.9 per cent, and it's not Microsoft who's inventing things like tabbed browsing and extensions
  • Four executives have quit in the past 12 months, including Robbie Bach, J Allard and Ray Ozzie
  • The disaster that was Windows Mobile means developers are reluctant about Windows Phone 7
  • Bing is growing, but Google isn't shrinking
  • Social networking with Windows Live is a fail
  • Microsoft still hasn't responded to the iPad, and manufacturers say putting Windows 7 on a tablet won't work (as in, it's not ideal - the interface is designed for a mouse and keyboard, not touch)
  • Believe it or not, the Wii is outselling the Xbox 360
  • The GFC has delayed sales of Windows, and it's businesses who are buying, not consumers

Yes, they make some stupid ads, and yes, the whole Kin disaster was unfortunate, and there's no way I'd use Bing when Google does such a great job integrating my Gmail and calendar and RSS feeds and Picasa photos in Chrome... but I reckon it's gonna take more than that to kill off a brand that turns over $US62 billion a year, employs 90,000 people and has the dreamy Old Spice guy doing the selling.

After all, no other operating system even comes close to Windows in terms of sales, and Microsoft's bet on Windows Phone 7 looks to be a good one, especially with the Facebook partnership and social search thing. And let's not forget that real gamers play on Xbox, not Wii.

That list of problems is still worrying, though. What is Microsoft doing wrong? [CNN] Image via Gizmodo

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