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Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling

Going back to Microsoft in a Google World..

microsoft-business-officeBefore I write the bulk of this post i think a brief understanding of where I stand on Windows as an OS is probably warranted to put some perspective out there.

To put no too finer point on it, I honestly feel Windows in all its desktop (important to understand i do mean desktop) forms it one of the most terrible, bug ridden, insecure, overused Operating Systems ever created. It is not the number one Operating system because of popularity, functionality or usability it is the number one operating system because of underhanded tactics, pressure put on hardware manufacturers in the 80’s and 90’s which lead to it taking a foothold in the business and thus the consumer world. If I honestly could get the years back i’ve wasted because of Windows Desktop OS over the years i’d not be 40 i’d be 18.

Users have been lead like sheep to think Windows is THE operating system and they must put up with 6 monthly slowdowns, rebuilds, crashes and poor driver support. This sheep like flocking is made all the more amazing when you see consumers actually try other Operating systems and realise they are usable, friendly, work, don’t take 15 minutes to power up and hand for 5 minutes at a time when you try and open files..

Windows, and my total distain for it however should not be mistaken for being the whole of Microsoft…

As a company Microsoft will often get painted with the brush which is Windows, there is more to this giant however than Windows, it seems deep in the boardrooms of Redmond’s largest son there have been some very deep and heartfelt discussions about who and what Microsoft are.

There is a myth, legend call it what you will that Disney created Touchstone Pictures because people wouldn’t go and watch movies designed for 20 somethings when they were branded as Disney movies, Disney was Cartoons, Mickey Mouse and uncool when you were a post teenager. The same to a degree can be said of Microsoft over the 2000 to 2010 period. Sure they were dominant, making money however as Apple grew in stature then profitability it was leaving Microsoft a company seen as your Dad’s computer company for dust. Google were (and still are) matching Microsoft product for product, and in most cases giving it away for free and attracting the new generation of IT users with browser based cross platform software and just as Disney were seen as uncool Microsoft were having an image problem.

As i said, this must have caused some late nights, chinese takeout and pizza and long hard chats which are staring to provide fruit as it seems where Microsoft are very aware that the time of the Desktop OS is close to an end from a profitability stand point, it is learning to use the web, it is rebranding and while not yet cool is getting people who would have never used a microsoft product like me to sit up and take a look again.

wp8A good case in point is Windows Phone 8 which while its big brother Windows 8 is getting not the sort of press Microsoft may want at launch, and keep in mind this is often the case in the tech world Canonical got ripped a new one by the Ubuntu community when it ditched Gnome and went down its own path, now slowly the haters are seeing the bigger picture, the phone OS is turning heads all over the place. even Sir Ive he of Apple Design fame and British Mockney Accent has described the interface as something of a design plus on the WP8 devices, Nokia can’t make enough to ship and slowly there has become a third player in a space which the industry feels is only big enough for 2 if you are to agree with the potential demise of Blackberry according to the popular tech press.

The Windows phone has gone from being the 1990/2000’s stylus miniature start menu to the large screen, high resolution, touch screen device while not without its flaws is still able to turn heads and woo customers away from the rather staid looking IOS interface and it’s bastard child Android.

A good example of a company who knows they need to do something radical, willing to take some risks, putting them into the market and while not getting the plaudits on the desktop are getting them on the mobile platform, which long term is the most important place to be. I would not be shocked if we start seeing Windows Phone 8 on tablet sized devices before the end of 2013 and the app library grows.

And its not just in the OS and hardware Microsoft have been ringing the changes, its in their software as well, seems like they are learning a leaf from Google’s success and through some canny branding and a lot of hard work have pushed out two interesting products in Office365 and Outlook.com.

The latter is the rebranding of Hotmail and Live into Outlook.com and Microsoft has been moving hotmail users over to this new design for a mail client over the past few months.

325282-outlook-com

It may also see itself getting a few more users going by the number of posts which have sprung up on the web explaining to users how to migrate to Outlook.com from gmail due to Google’s rather self serving move to drop ActiveSync (push email) on their non Android/Google Apps systems.

Outlook.com shows Microsoft are focusing on a unified interface experience on desktop and web and with this and Skydrive are doing a good job in the consumer space.

Office365 however is an example of Microsoft showing the world why they are just so damned big and why it’s too early to count them out in the war on services.

office365

In putting this OfficeSuite as a service up on the web Microsoft have stamped a huge size 12 boot on the Web based office suite wars lead up until now by Google Docs. Providing familier interfaces (which much like Windows 8, the Office Ribbon was lambasted by many just a few years ago, starts to make a little bit more sense now) for users, on a cross platform system again showing that Microsoft are aware thant the days of the Desktop OS are slowly leaving us and they need to be providing services cross platform as they may not be winning the hardware/os wars long term however they can win the Services war.

Who is possibly going to be the big looser in all of this? Ironically Google could be, Ironically because it is google who created this market, has trained us in using the browser for everything, for our documents, email, even our desktop. It’s Google which has taught us how to search and be creative on other OS’s because you can run Google everywhere. Google have matched Microsoft product for product, and while doing that it seems Microsoft have watched, learnt, branded and thrown a sucker punch which is marketed correctly could in the next few years leave Android for dust and because just like Google, Microsoft can provide the complete solution sweep in and pick up the customers.

Google has an image problem, sure in a consumer sense its going great guns its Nexus 7 is the biggest selling android tablet ever, Samsung’s Phones are everywhere. The more lucrative corporate market however won’t touch a phone OS which is reported in the broadsheets accurately or not as having an App store infested by malware. No IT manager worth his salt is going to invest in phones which Apple or some other company is constantly battling on patent issues, or phones which might not support the next version os the OS with the security fixes in them.

Microsoft on the other hand, well there is little retraining to do on the userbase, its a brand no one is trying to patent troll on and while it does still have an image problem for many lont term sufferers of Windows and Desktop support, thats nothing a few free pizza’s and software isn’t going to sort out very quickly.

So while you are looking at this in Google Chrome, with your DNS pointing through Google DNS, maybe on your Android device because you found the article using Google Search.. Do you wonder how Google became so much of your life? Maybe, even if its not Microsoft then it might be time to look at another way?

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