On Market Caps

In this week’s Engadget column, I take a look at what’s going on in the world of Microsoft’s E & D group. The same week that Apple’s market cap surpassed that of Microsoft was also the same week that saw some high level departures from the Entertainment and Devices division. It was an interesting set of actions but I don’t think they were as important as some people did.

“I believe Microsoft will and must continue to stay in the consumer market. I also believe that Microsoft has the fundamental core ingredients needed for success in these spaces. What the company needs is the will to execute and the belief in its own convictions to drive new initiatives forward. To do this, it’s going to require a break from known to the unknown. Even as Microsoft has learned that mobile devices shouldn’t have little task bars and Start menus to make them look like Windows, Microsoft needs to go beyond the idea that everything needs to be tied to Windows — or worse, built on Windows. The leaked and ultimately abandoned Courier project showed great promise because it did not look like a Windows device — it looked like something that was designed and optimized for the tablet form factor. Xbox succeeded because it wasn’t a just another PC with a splashy UI on top of a Windows core.”

One response to “On Market Caps

  1. Totally agree. Unfortunately tying everything to Windows has been very successful for Microsoft in the business world. In business, the best product doesn’t win. The product with the most user seats does. By tying a new product to Windows, Microsoft can claim an immediate user base in the hundred of millions. Individuals don’t pay for Windows and Office, companies do.

    The problem is that what works for business doesn’t really applies to selling to consumers. Consumers will not accept a mediocre user experience because it has millions of seats. Apple has suffered for years for not addressing the needs of businesses (no dominant accounting software, spreadsheets or big CRM).

    As computing moves from a business/work focus to a consumer fun/play/leisure one, Microsoft cannot use the same arguments of the past.

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