Microsoft Have Had An Interesting Year:
2013 Has seen a variety of ups and downs for Microsoft but where is it taking us?
Here are a few things we saw in 2013 from Redmond: -
- Windows Phone demonstrated the sharpest adoption rate of smartphone platforms.
- Microsoft buys Nokia.
- Many of the major apps missing from Windows Phone decided to rectify this situation delivering Vine, Instagram, Waze to name a few.
- A group of lawyers decided to offer a class action suit to shareholders based on misreported costs of Surface RT sales.
- CEO Steve Ballmer announces his vision for One Microsoft.
- CEO Steve Ballmer announces his retirement.
- Microsoft delivers Windows 8.1 with stronger Bing integration, an astoundingly fast Internet Explorer 11 and the return of a Start Button.
- Nokia delivers a variety of innovative devices including the game-changing Nokia Lumia 1020 with its 41 mega-pixel camera.
- Nokia also gave us the 6″ Lumia 1520 Windows Phone with its dazzling 1080p HD display and the Lumia 2520 10.1″ 4G Windows 8.1 RT Tablet.
- Microsoft delivered the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 whilst other Windows tablets began arriving from various OEMs.
- Microsoft announced and launched the Xbox One and managed to clarify much of the confusion around the existing Xbox games.
- Bing delivered a huge revamp and a rethinking of the concepts of discovery and context / relevancy of content.
- Rumors began to arise regarding Project Cortana as Microsoft’s answer to Siri and more.
- December gave us a 13 year high for Microsoft stock.
- Office announced the much anticipated versions for iOS and Android including a separate One Note App.
- Microsoft FUSE Research Labs boldly gave us full cross-platform mobile Apps for Socl after meshing it with some marvelous content creation apps and the KODU Game Creation Platform.
- Developers received Visual Studio 2013 (and online) and the awesome TFS (Application Lifecycle Management suite) incorporated Git amongst other new features.
Is It All Sunshine And Roses?
No it’s not. Steve Ballmer’s retirement was not seen as positive by everyone, meanwhile there was the aforementioned class action suit and no CEO replacement has been found yet. Microsoft can also be justifiably criticized for not iterating fast enough and continuing to miss opportunities but that said we saw a greater willingness to listen to consumers and a strong desire to deliver improved products faster. Things are moving in the right direction.
As a Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 laptop user I have been testing the Windows Store and have discussed some of my early findings with other users. We are in concurrence that there is a need to fix several issues that detract from the Store (I will dedicate a post to this hopefully in January 2014 when I can tie all my research together).
The Warptest POV
With the anticipated Windows Phone 8.1 update and its expected foray into enterprise it is reasonable to expect that Windows Phone will continue to encroach into the market share of other platforms. With the end of life for Windows XP / Office 2003 and more OEM’s releasing a variety of Windows 8x tablets, touchscreen laptops and hybrid devices things are promising.
The biggest challenge Microsoft continues to face is evangelizing to Startups so that Windows Phone and Windows 8 are not the last platforms they develop their Apps for.
The huge strategic advantage they have is that in acquiring Nokia’s Mobile business, patents and mapping, Microsoft bought a company with a strong culture of building communities with phone developers and with experience creating the Ovi (Nokia App) Store and making it work well.
The big question is who will Microsoft’s next CEO be and how will they perceive and address the challenges facing the company whilst building on the momentum of 2013?
Personally, I have high expectations of Microsoft in 2014. How about you?