Take a step back for a second and look what what Microsoft is doing. Ballmer just stepped on the gas pedal and his foot is still down. No, this isn’t just about Windows Phones. This is about a company that just released IE9 and then releases a preview for IE10 just days later. Before I go too far, it’s important to note that Microsoft’s current business is mostly geared towards business users. As of last year they were making over $1b from Office and Windows; Xbox, SQL Server; System Center; Unified Communications; SharePoint; Developer Tools; Dynamics (ERP & CRM); and Online display and search advertising (but they post huge losses in search as well). Microsoft has lost mindshare recently but you can now see that they’re going all-in on the entertainment and mass-consumer markets and that’s going to put them back on top where they’re used to being (before anti-trust matters brought them down) by continuing to own the business sector and now claiming huge stakes in the consumer markets.

Let’s show by example. Here’s some recent Microsoft news:

  • Kept Xbox sales hot by releasing Kinect, the fastest selling consumer hardware product to date
  • Announced a Kinect SDK for Windows providing a way for developers to make Kinect apps for Windows PC which is an entirely new way to use a computer combining voice, cameras and 3D movements for controls all while giving people a reason to buy a PC and not just rely on a mobile OS
  • Released IE9 that will shortly be pushed as an important update to PC’s and already started to work on IE10 which is available for preview
  • Made IE portable so as the PC version of IE is updated so, in theory, is the mobile (Windows Phone) version and it’s extremely light, capable of running on an ARM chip with 1g of RAM
  • Ported Windows to ARM chips and Intel is releasing new lines of more efficient x86 chips that promise all day battery life (without fans) thus making tablets and netbooks more competitive in terms of form factors and actual use without giving up performance and the ability to fit an entire computer on a mobile device that’s entirely portable to any screen
  • Extending their global reach in both maps and searches by combining with Nokia’s data to rapidly give them an international presence
  • Enabling a unified marketplace that can be shared between Xbox, PCs and Windows Phones which is a huge win for developers who can write once for all three screens and also great for consumers who can use the apps they are familiar with wherever they may be
  • Windows Live Messenger, which is already the most used IM client in the world and already includes Facebook chat, continues to expand with Kinect for Xbox, Kinect for PC (as well as regular web cams that are expected to be more prevalent in Windows 8) and should continue to push through the mobile environment
  • Metro is bringing a unified look and feel to MS products with a more prevalent touch friendly UI and consistent user experience
  • Moving to your tv with both Xbox\Kinect expected to continue to get more tv style controls and guides as well as voice controls for your media and it’s been reported that MS is working on a tv box that sounds like Xbox without the games but with the same unified Marketplace for casual apps and games
  • Search, maps and apps are also moving to more automobiles (along with their Azure cloud service) with MS continuing to announce new partners for their products

I think I’ve gone far enough. Microsoft is done sitting on the sidelines. For all the shit that everyone (including myself) gives them for taking seemingly so long to do things so often, it seems like Ballmer has started whipping everyone into action. They have a unified plan here with a a consistent and expanded market, search and maps and keeping people on PCs by making the OS run on lighter hardware that’s more portable all while keeping the PC experience unique but finger friendly and all while giving you more and more reasons to join and stay within the Microsoft ecosystem. If you think the race is over then you may not know that’s it’s barely just begun with a new mobile boom just underway and MS set to leverage its PC presence in a massive way.

Look, no need for me to beat a dead horse here, but just look around and for all of their seeming silence, they’re marching full speed ahead and set to pounce right now. Is 2011 Microsoft’s year? Nope. This year is a set up for 2012 when the Nokia alliance kicks in, Windows 8 kicks in and all of the R&D they’ve been investing in pays off in an epic way.

11 COMMENTS

  1. You left something off your bullet points:

    The Bing App for iPad is one of the best pieces of software for that device, and it’s free.

    It is stunning how good that thing is. And it is a clear announcement that Microsoft isn’t ceding any territory.

  2. All looks and sounds very promising. Now it just boils down to execution. Go Microsoft!

  3. It continues with tv and Xbox merging via Kinect: http://majornelson.com/2011/04/14/kinect-support-for-netflix/
    Today we released an update to the Netflix experience on Xbox 360. The next time you start up Netflix, you’ll be prompted to accept the update which introduces Kinect support for Netflix.
    That means controller-free navigation of thousands of movies and TV show, allowing you to use just the sound of your voice or wave of your hand to control your favorite Netflix content.
    You’ll be able to select movies and TV shows recommended for you by Netflix, as well as play, pause, fast forward and rewind using gesture or voice. Kinect support for Netflix on Xbox LIVE will also feature an exclusive new recommendation channel that is controller-free and uses a smart engine to suggest movies or TV shows based on your viewing habits and instant queue.

  4. Yeah that Bing for ipad app is insanely nice.
    And it makes me wanna slap the shit outta whoever decided it was a good idea to hook up apples crap with better offerings than what they give to WP.
    Seriously M$?

  5. Microsoft’s Earnings: A Reminder That Their Still An Enterprise Company and Not a Consumer Company ‹ Metrosauce

    […] at Microsoft and where’ they make their money it’s not in the consumer markets. This was from a year ago “As of last year they were making over $1b from Office and Windows; Xbox, SQL Server; System […]

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