The Future of Microsoft

Talk about visions of grandeur and meaningless blathering….I’m going to opine about the recent changes at Microsoft. I’m nothing to nobody, so take this completely with a grain of salt.

The “demotion” of Windows that has been talked about in the news makes it seem that Windows no longer appears to be one of Microsoft’s top priorities. The new Microsoft is directed toward cloud computing and artificial intelligence stuff. They are working to make user’s lives seamless between devices, so you can basically have what you want, when you want it, and on whatever system you want it on. This spreads across everything, from your Android phone to your XBox to your Windows laptop. All of that is to be powered by the cloud and by AI. Sounds really cool and forward thinking, but I’m skeptical.

My question is this: How can they make this happen when all they currently have are “also-rans” in each of the areas where they want to focus their energy? The reality is, Microsoft NEEDS data to make everything work.

  1. In the cloud, Microsoft’s Azure is a clear second to Amazon. Google Cloud is now picking up, too, and is probably going to threaten Azure within the next few years.

  2. In search, Bing is who knows where, as Google is synonymous with search. Search is really a key function, as this is where they can get all kinds of data on their users that they can’t get elsewhere.

  3. LinkedIn is a nice enough social media platform for the career searching function it provides, but it’s not meant for use the way Facebook or Twitter are.

  4. On the web end, who the hell uses Edge and how many people would give two shits if it disappeared tomorrow?

  5. Did you know that MS had a speaker like Amazon Echo and Google Home? No? You’re not the only one who’s never heard of Microsoft’s Invoke.

  6. Are there any home automation products from Microsoft? Sure, they are pushing all kinds of IoT stuff in their marketing, but do they have any data collection devices to speak of?

  7. Hololens is supposed to be realy cool and has been talked about for years. Anyone seen one yet?

  8. Anyone have a Windows mobile phone? Oh, that’s right, they missed that boat and then sunk a good device by not having the users or developers care about it enough to make even the most basic apps. Outside of maybe Outlook, does anyone care to load Microsoft’s applications on their Android or Apple devices?

  9. Does anyone speak to Cortana for anything? “OK Google” and Amazon’s Alexa are dominating this area. Even Siri is an also-ran at this point and I think she was first!

I don’t know that I’m right and I know that even as an also-ran, Microsoft is going to have hundreds of millions of users in each of these systems. There is going to be more than enough data collected for them to make an amazing, integrated solution for those users. I just don’t know that that fact really matters in the long term. These companies don’t bust their butts to play second fiddle, and their shareholders don’t want to spend money on things that they aren’t winning at.

Windows, both on the client and server, is a pretty darn nice operating system. The Windows Subsystem for Linux makes for an awesome case to use it as a cross-platform system for development. Windows 2019 is reported to allow Linux and Windows containers side-by-side! PowerShell has been made cross-platform capable, meaning admins can do everything just with PowerShell! These are AWESOME developments for Windows and Microsoft, and are absolutely what users want. Users aren’t all developers, though, and things like Paint and pen-based input are critical, too, and MS is doing a great job with those on Windows 10.

That’s why I don’t see where Windows deserves a demotion. Windows is still largely the operating system used everywhere and in Windows 10 they finally have what feels like an amazing product! Windows is not finished, though, as users will always change and want more. It needs to be nurtured and developed to be even better. Without it, as shown in all of my points above, I just don’t see Microsoft being able to get the data they need to be THE winner in AI and Cloud.

Written on April 3, 2018