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Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Trouble with Microsoft.


As a purely ordinary PC user, i.e not a corporate or business user, I thought that I would put my views forward as to why Microsoft has missed the boat somewhat and allowed others to pass them by in the ‘keeping up with trends’ race. First of all, I feel that every corporation or manufacturer, in whatever area they are, needs competition. Without competition, you would simply stagnate, there would be no one to ‘keep you on your toes’ to encourage you to be innovative or imaginative. You would tend to sit on your laurels because you would be the only one available to your customers, and they in turn would have no other avenue to compare your products with. There would simply be no incentive to improve.

Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, if you had the market all to yourself, you would have little need to listen to feedback from your customers, what they would like in the way of improvements, the future avenues they would find useful, so feedback would not be as important either, you could just move in any direction that you as a business felt was right or suited you. Which users feedback should you listen to as a huge business anyway? The one’s who make you the most profit? Or have done in the past? In Microsoft’s case, this has tended to be the corporate user simply because they were the ‘cash cows’ as they were the largest PC users, and also needed Microsoft’s Office Suite.

The ‘none corporate’ user were in the minority, not a lot of none corporate users owned their own computer in the past, but now things have changed. Slowly over time, we the ‘ordinary’ none corporate user have grown in number, we own PC’s, laptops, iPads, smart phones, and our needs and wants are no where near the same as the corporate user. We want to share, form communities, make friends online, share stories, photos, communicate, and be able to sync instantly our files and photos across our devices without hassle, as long as we have okayed that sync.

Because Microsoft was listening to the wrong audience, they have allowed themselves to lag behind the likes of Google, Apple and Facebook, who haven’t been as concerned about concentrating their listening to the feedback from their corporate users. Today technology has a different set of users, still growing in number, whilst the corporate user, at least in my neck of the woods, is still stagnating and falling behind by still using Windows XP as their operating system, probably because of the cost of re-training their workforce to use a new version of Windows. In fact, I would imagine that there are more none corporate users who have made the leap to Windows 7, and will do the same with Windows 8. It could also be the same story with MS Office as well, but as I am not party to sales this is only a guess on my part.

So where does all the money come from now? The large corporate user, or the ever growing number of ‘ordinary’ users? If you are only looking and listening in one direction, you miss the ability to listen to the requests from the other direction, and can end up lagging so far behind, that it’s going to be hard going to keep up.

(I’m only a Granny, and this post is my personal view of why I think Microsoft need to take a long hard look at who’s feedback they take notice of.)