Thanks to @lizasisler for point this out to me. Frederic Paul at CIO.com has a nice slideshow on 11 Things Microsoft is Doing Right. Like Frederic, I prefer to focus on the positive and mention areas where there is room for improvement. Frankly, no major company lacks opportunity to improve in many different ways so it is pretty easy to beat up on Microsoft, especially with the recent Steve Balmer announcement. The truth is, Microsoft has made some significant investment that are either paying off handsomely or are starting to pay. Let me comments on the 11 items but before I do, take some time to read the CIO.com article.
You have to hand it to Microsoft. As Frederic notes, Office still rules. I volunteer for a non-profit kids ski group and we use Google Drive but guess what Google does? It seamlessly takes my Excel and Word docs and uploads them from my hard drive to the cloud. Many of us dabble in OpenOffice or equivalent packages but the reality is that from a feature standpoint, Microsoft office rules.
Microsoft is Warming to Open Source
Yes. I’ll let you read more at the post.
Windows Phone Brings Innovation
OK, I’m an Android phone user but it has more to do with the right price on the right network more than anything else. I will say this, I know a lot of happy Windows phone users. It seems the more involved they are with social networking and social media, the happier they are with the phone. The nice integration to social is a plus and is something competitors choose to emulate. Remember also that Windows Phone has eclipsed BlackBerry and I still know a lot of those users.
Microsoft Developer Tools and Relations
This is interesting. It’s absolutely true that those who code in C# and other MSFT related tools like both Visual Studio and the tooling in general. I recently opened a position in my strategy practice and had a hard time getting people from our Microsoft Practice to express any interest in the position. They all REALLY like what they are doing, the tools they use, and the fun they have already. That says a lot and bodes well for continuing faithfulness to the platform.
The Enterprise Still Runs on Windows Server
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OK, I’ll give this a mostly true rating. Yes, Exchange rules the mail roost and it runs on Windows. Yes, you can find SharePoint everywhere and it runs on Windows. Put together, that’s a lot of Windows servers in your data center. I do see a lot of Linux servers as a default or general server though.
Internet Explorer and Bing Are No Longer Jokes
OK, I had to laugh at this one but it’s true. It used to be that testing took a lot of extra time just to iron out bugs that occured only in IE. Firefox and Chrome didn’t have a problem. Today though, that seems to have disappeared and I give kudos to the IE team for that. In addition, Bing really has become a lot better. My Amazon Kindle Fire HD users Bing by default and I have no complaints. (and yes, I love my Kindle mainly because I treat a tablet as a content consumption device and there’s none better.) As Frederic Paul pointed out, Bing’s market share continues to grow.
SkyDrive Has Improved
I partially agree with this and will get into more detail in a forthcoming post on SkyDrive Pro. Suffice it to say that SkyDrive rocks at working on Windows platforms and in integrating to Office. The Office integration is a huge plus when I consider how I try to do that with my Kindle and Android phone. Yes I can make it work but I wouldn’t call it seamless or easy without some setup. If only SkyDrive would cross the great Google Divide and support Android. Then Dropbox and others would need to be really worried.
Kinect for Xbox 360
As a way to show my agreement let me tell you about a trip I made to a major hospital. I showed up in an IT Director’s office and saw the Xbox 360 with Kinect just sitting there. They are actively developing remote capability using Kinect. That lends credence to Frederic’s statement
Microsoft’s Hyper V is Giving VMware Fits
I’ll let you read what CIO.com has to say about this. I will say that I see two options at many organizations and it’s VMWare or Hyper V although VMWare is more common.
First a stat,
$1 billion in revenue is a lot of money. It shows both the huge investment made by Microsoft and the huge potential. The recent Oracle and Microsoft announcement about Oracle running on Azure represents a continue investment in the platform and opens up even more opportunity on Windows and other OS’
“Microsoft is deeply committed to giving businesses what they need, and clearly that is the ability to run enterprise workloads in private clouds, public clouds and, increasingly, across both,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “Now our customers will be able to take advantage of the flexibility our unique hybrid cloud solutions offer for their Oracle applications, middleware and databases, just like they have been able to do on Windows Server for years.” (taken from my other post on the Oracle, Salesforce, and Microsoft announcements.)
Microsoft is Hinting at Willingness to Change
Read Frederic’s comments for more information. The huge cloud shift including the Yammer acquisition and willingness to let Yammer be Yammer shows that willingness.
As you can see, I agree with much of what Frederic Paul has to say. Again, no company is perfect but in the 11 areas mentioned, Microsoft is definitely not dropping the ball. Rather, they are hitting it out of the park.