Microsoft is having quite the turnaround. The memory of the Balmer years is fading away when Microsoft lost out to many things.
For starters, it missed the boat on search until it was too late. Same thing happened with the smartphone with Microsoft limping along with Windows Phone 7 and then Windows Phone 8, barely making a dent to the market share of industry stalwarts like Google and Apple.
And then there was the Xbox One launch debacle, which the Redmond-based company would’ve never recovered from, thanks to some stupid DRM rules and a higher pricetag than its nearest rival Sony.
And who can forget the grand experiment that was Windows 8? Most users hated it, because Microsoft saw it fit to dictate how its vision for the future would be instead of having user feedback pave the way. Granted it came out with Windows 8.1 and included that ubiquitous Start button that Windows users just can’t seem to live without.
And then Balmer was gone. And in came Nadella.
Change was in the air with the One Microsoft campaign
Nadella quickly made Microsoft the company exciting again, thanks to a slew of forward thinking decisions and a strategic planning that aims to make Microsoft front and center to most of the things in the future.
Reason 1- Xbox One Price Cuts, No Mandatory Kinect
Gamers wanted a games console first and foremost. Sure Kinect promised the moon with its motion and camera tech that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Star Trek setting but that big pricetag was hurting gamers (and MS both as thelaunch numbers revealed). Sony for its part was selling the PS4 like hot cakes, thanks to a cheaper price.
The market had spoken. And Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, saw the need for the extraneous Kinect accessory to go. It was purely about the games. Microsoft even backtracked on the used games policy that it initially wanted to roll out, one that would’ve severely constricted gamers from playing their used discs on other Xbox One units.
Reason 2 – Windows 10: Radical Change to Connect Disparate Ecosystems
Windows 10 is coming. And its going to be offered as a free upgrade to existing Microsoft customers for one year. And not only that but Windows 10 is that one cohesive OS that will grace all products that Microsoft makes.
That means Windows 10 on your PC/laptops, Xbox One and even the smartphones. One OS to rule them all. No more fragmentation and confusing OS versions to think of.
Oh and did I mention that Start Menu that people love is taking its rightful place in the Windows 10 operating system? Metro apps (or Modern apps) are now strictly optional.
Reason 3 – Big Plans for Mobile, Office and Notable Acquisitions
Sunrise, the best calendar app on iOS and Android, was recently scooped up by Microsoft.
By itself that one-off acquisition wouldn’t have meant anything in the grander scheme of things. Except when you hear of more acquisitions that Microsoft is making in the Mobile sphere. Did you know that Microsoft now owns the best looking (and functioning) Gmail app for iOS (Accompli)? Or how about the fact that its Microsoft that has made the most innovative homescreen lock screen app in Android (Next Lock Screen)?
And we haven’t even mentioned that Microsoft even invested in CyanogenMod Inc, maker of the most popular Android OS custom ROM with a 12 million strong install base.
Last but not the least, Microsoft has released its Office apps on mobile. Android, iOS are now home to officially developed productivity apps from the house of Microsoft.
When you take all these developments together, it seems that Microsoft has huge plans for mobile.
PS – Microsoft owns Minecraft too, with mobile apps for every major platform.
Reason 4 – Microsoft Has Learned to Cut its Losses
Remember Surface RT? Us neither. The Surface Pro 3 is the Macbook competitor everybody wanted without realizing it, meaning Apple now has to innovate because Microsoft did something better. Think about that for a second, when was the last time that happened? Now Microsoft is more than just Windows and Office, which is why the company is confident enough to offer these apps in a free capacity.
Reason 5 – The Holo Lens!
Ok maybe this needs to be seen and experienced a bit more to be believed. But if that Minecraft demo with Microsoft’s answer to virtual reality is anything to go by, this technology has the potential to transform the world.
Just imagine a headset that lets you see virtual objects in your very real world, all of them splattered and begging to be picked and manipulated. At this rate one can go on a Mars expedition without leaving the confines of your drawing room. Project Holo Lens builds an expansive and elaborate world around you, and its simply mind-blowing if the early users are to be believed.
Once a giant dying a slow death, Microsoft has suddenly become relevant again
So there it is folks. Microsoft has become a company to watch out for. Do you think that MS has what it takes to knock Apple and Google off as the world’s most exciting company? Share your views below.