What next for Microsoft?

The world is changing and so is Microsoft. Many might say “finally” and they’d be right on the money. It seems that ever since Apple’s “pirate ship” took off, Microsoft has been drifting without any sight of land in the horizon. Microsoft has had many mishaps in the past, but never this many in a row. It’s not like they weren’t trying, they are, but just not successfully. Apple, Google, Samsung and in some sense Facebook and Amazon have all come to Microsoft’s territory and the once so dominant and arrogant giant has gotten – well – confused.

Microsoft has been way too concentrated on fighting of competition by trying to be Apple, Google or whatever and in the process forgotten to be Microsoft. They’ve lost their vision, what Microsoft stands for, and so have the consumers. Apple has a clear image – you either love it or hate it, but the image is clear. The same goes with the Google. Microsoft is much more difficult. Xbox is kind of hot, Bing is blaah, Office and cloud services are generally perceived as positive things but that doesn’t really help when your cornerstone is as tarnished as anything can possibly be. Yep, I’m looking at you Windows.

In a sense Windows is even bigger brand or concept than Microsoft. It’s interesting how something as popular as Windows can have such a negative image. And yet majority of us keep using it daily. So, what should Microsoft do? Honestly, I think that Microsoft is trying to do too many things. They should concentrate on what they are best at and that is creating software that lets people to “get stuff done”. I’m hopeful that this is the direction CEO Nadella is leading the company, as the prior is a straight quotation from him.

Microsoft’s business products are a tremendous example. They’re all more or less excellent. They don’t make a huge fuss about themselves, but instead empower us to get work done. Clearly this is not the problem. The problem is the consumer side of things, where being innovative, sexy and appealing trumps being practical. Trying to be both can be problematic, just look at Windows 8.

Microsoft should not be afraid of concentrating more on the business side. I’m positive that by doing this they would eventually start to gain back consumer mindshare as well. Blackberry is a good example. Originally a purely business targeted product that was just so excellent that even soccer mums got excited and had to have one. This is what Microsoft should do. Target business users with excellent products that would empower them to “do more” – and eventually the excitement and positivity would dribble down, spread and reach even the most average Joe.

I think Surface is a good example. I personally used to use an iPad at work, but recently replaced it with a Surface RT. And I love it! It’s so much better for work and now I don’t feel like using anything else. Microsoft should realise that there is no difference between business user and consumers. We are all both. Charm the business users and you have charmed the world. That’s what Microsoft should do next.

Satya Nadella email to employees on first day as CEO