> Frustrations....


Posted on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 | No Comments

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of Microsoft products – and whilst I’ve been frustrated with some of the problems that have occurred over the years and applied an endless amount of patches and service packs, I remain undeterred and love them for who they are and what they do.

Like many people this holiday season I’ve also been reading the Steve Jobs Biography on my number one device to gain an insight into the man, rather than the company (as a Microsoft kinda guy, I’ve never been an Apple guy).  What I found fascinating however was the amount of innovation and focus that has been instilled into the Apple culture, which doesn’t seem to translate into Microsoft products quite so easily.

The question of whether Microsoft can really innovate has been asked many times and answered many times by many people, who all have differing views.  My opinion is that Microsoft can innovate (Kinect and the ‘different’ Windows Phone concept being the most recent examples), but are often beaten to the punch by other companies or they fail to promote their wares in the right way (which result in other companies being perceived as beating Microsoft to launch – speech recognition in the mobile space being an obvious example, up against Siri).

Up until this point, I’d never really understood the criticism of CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft is a huge company that can’t be easy to manage, especially when so much is expected of them.  Let’s not forget that huge strides have been made in the last year; the three screens strategy Microsoft have long talked about is finally being unveiled in the form of Xbox (living room), Windows Phone (mobile) and Windows 8 (desktop be that PC, laptop or tablet).  But it’s been a long time coming (and is still coming when you look at the tablet market).

The frustrations with Microsoft is that they simply do not move fast enough – Bill Gates has long banged the drum for a world filled with tablet devices and yet only this year are they really in a position to deliver something into that market.

It would be far too easy to say that Microsoft are too easily distracted by things outside of their core products and services, but many of these are essential for the future; surface computing, holodesk, projector technologies and cloud services (Azure), are all likely to break out into the real world at some point and any patents granted between now and then are all money in the pockets of Microsoft.  But they do need to keep focus more on what’s happening now; mobile, tablets, Zune/iTunes entertainment services, etc. and keep these in line with their ‘three screens’ strategy.

In the meantime, they need to improve their marketing and communication.  I’ve written about this before, regarding how Microsoft need to scream and shout about their developments and market like crazy to ensure the world knows that they can innovate and still deliver technologies.
...they also need to stop frustrating me.

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