The Microsoft Revolution

14 04 2009

I think I have fallen into the habit of telling huge companies who don’t listen to me what they should do. I do this with an outside perspective and relatively knowledge of the industries that they inhabit. What company am I opining on today? Well, I cannot believe I haven’t done this sooner, but the company is Microsoft.

I have seen Microsoft floundering around marketing-wise since the Windows Vista launch. Vista was so poorly received and had enough significant issues. Since then, it has been fighting an uphill battle to position itself as a lean, mean competitor. This, in my opinion, proves difficult when your company is all over the place. Microsoft has its hands in everything. They have an operating system, a game console, and make computer peripherals. They also have the Zune, an MP3 player that failed to live up to Microsoft’s expectations.

If you want to call me an Apple fanboy, that is fine by me. I do not think that there is any falsehood to any of the things that I stated here. Microsoft is killing itself by clinging to legacy code. They need to send a dozen people into a room at the edge of the Redmond campus to come up with a totally new Windows, built from the ground up. I understand that Microsoft feels pressure from the business sector to stick with legacy code, but that is no excuse. I think that Apple made the right call by scrapping the code that they had used in the Mac from 1984 through 2001 and created a completely new operating system, one based on BSD Unix, no less. A Unix-based Windows might make the PC more reliable and secure. That would definitely be a selling point strong enough to drown out the whiney CIOs who complain about having to learn a totally new Windows.

Another thing that Microsoft needs to do is to sort itself out. It has way too much stuff going on. Microsoft has got its hands in virtually everything relating to consumer electronics, apart from building personal computers themselves. Microsoft needs to figure out what it’s really good at and what it really wants to be good at. They also should scale down the size of their development teams to allow for more creativity to enter their products, where they would normally get drowned out be committees and huge groups.

Of course, I am relatively new to software development, so I could be wrong in all of this. On the other hand, these may be ideas that Microsoft should consider.

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