Microsoft Earnings Big on Windows 8 and Super Bowl Strategy

Microsoft Earnings Big on Windows 8 and Super Bowl Strategy

On the eve of Microsoft’s possibly most significant earnings reports in recent history, eyes are fixed are on the Redmond giant.  The recent announcement of pricing and availability of their tablet product – the Surface Pro is no coincidence, regardless of the earnings outcome this announcement will be a positive prospect.  Most importantly, the earnings will be the first since the company released the latest version of its flagship product – Windows 8.   Some facts have emerged such as the 60 million Windows licenses sold so far – a number on par with Windows 7 sales at this juncture.  It remains to be seen if this has any bearing on consumer adoption rates however as these numbers include OEM sales.

Naysayers
We’ve heard blips about Windows 8 sales being soft, but I think we’re in for some big surprises here in the weeks and months to come.  Microsoft is an enterprise behemoth that has kicked it into gear to transform throughout, having aggressively rebranded its enterprise and consumer products across the board.  Certainly there is no shortage of people out there that are calling an end to the PC.  We hear the iPad is here and we are liberated.  Android tablets and BYOD – same thing.  One guy on Forbes is apparently calling for Ballmer’s head.  However, there are some real issues with all these naysayers and their observations.  For one, Windows 8 will take a longer path, it’s never been a flavor-of-the-month proposition, another big reason is here comes the enterprise – and leading the way is the Surface Pro.

True Productivity
Anybody who touts their iPad or Android device as a true productivity device is simply not aware or not telling the truth.  The number of applications that run and function better on a dedicated device are countless, but the root of this is the mother of all business productivity tools ever created – Microsoft Office.  There simply is no replacement for a full-fledged Microsoft Office installation, believe me I have tried all the Open-This, Star-That, and G-That applications that are glorified hacks rife with incompatibilities, deprecated performance and features.  I spent close to twenty years in the technology business, and I can tell you without a doubt, with only the slimmest possibility of those rare anomalies (you know who you are), the enterprise is comfortable with Microsoft, Windows Servers and workstations, Office, and mobility.  That is just not going to change, and anyone who thinks that trendy consumer devices or open source is going to change that is just flat out wrong.  People have been signaling Microsoft would be dead for years, particularly when things like Linux and the cloud emerged and so many new technologies that have not made the Microsoft-killing impact that some expected.

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Strategy
Windows 8 was overdue.  There is little denying that, but Microsoft has strategically chosen to pursue this within a complete revision of all the company’s products.  They have built for mobility, they have introduced a phone platform, they have a tablet-focused OS, they have also deployed a dual-feature desktop/touch OS, and they have also re-engineered the enterprise – That’s where the Surface Pro steps in.  It’s also where a whole bunch of exciting new partner-developed Windows 8 business devices are starting to emerge including tablets, convertibles, and mobile workstations.

Windows 8 is misunderstood – there are many people ready to pounce on any negative news, but the fact of the matter is that Microsoft’s strategy has been focused on the introduction and alignment of what was once very disparate territories meaning mobile smartphones, mobile computing, tablets, desktops, consumer and enterprise.  Microsoft has brought about the Windows 8 brand across the spectrum – it should be pretty clear to observers what a task that is.  The enterprise adoption of Windows 8 will be a big story in the year to come, as many companies are most comfortable choosing to sit out new Windows releases until the first revision (SP1).    Most projections expect SP1 to hit the scene fairly soon by Microsoft standards (codename Microsoft Blue) as Microsoft moves to quicker and quicker revisions.

Microsoft – Just Getting Started
When the earnings hit, we will know what has happened so far for Windows 8 sales, Surface RT sales, and Windows Phone 8 sales.  People will react, some will take whatever news comes out and draw the picture of doom – it’s called link bait.  Calling this for Microsoft’s competitors is like calling the NFC championship for the Falcons over the 49ers last week based on the first quarter.  Look how that turned out – the 49ers are now in the Super Bowl.  The 49ers were once the top franchise in the league and they’ve been on a comeback of late.  It sounds an awful lot like Microsoft’s story on that level.  Microsoft is beholden to its investors for sure, but their strategy is long-term so pay attention to the reach and influence of Microsoft’s base for cues to its future.  For all of Microsoft’s classic and very-exposed failures, they do a lot of things well – that includes user experience, enterprise, productivity, and value.

John Casaretto

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10 Comments

  1. Windows 8 is dumb.
     
    MS should have polished Win 7 and called in Win 8 for those that want it.
     
    And then released Win RT as a pure tablet and touch laptop OS and one whose app also ran on Windows Phone. 
     
    Two parallel products; would have been much cleaner.

  2. Windows 8 is great for tablets, thats about it.
     
    http://www.Anon-Dis.tk

  3. Windows 8 is the best Windows I’ve used. And I’ve been using Windows since version 2.11

  4. @JeffinLondon I can see the good of two parallel products, but that would not benefit the market much and only add confusion. Windows 8 is fantasic if used for more than 1 hour of testing only, like you’ve probably only done. Use it for a week or two on the proper hardware it was built for and you’ll be eating crow…

  5. Excellent article.  In my opinion… no tablet makes much sense in a conference room unless its a Windows-based tablet with Office.  Windows 8 in the enterprise is going to be a major play. IT managed,  tablet / ultrabook or convertible form factors and eventually phone penetration on the business enterprise side makes for a compelling enterprise story in the long run.

  6. @Nargg I’d second that. I’ve been using since 3.0 (held out on DOS for a while!).

  7. @BertNieves I’d agree. Android and iOS tablets are a kludge for most offices when it comes time to make a presentation, or work collaboratively on a document (or even share your work from one user to the next). Many of us in the tech bubble are used to collaborative technology like Google Docs, but most of the enterprise doesn’t use that, and even in this day and age, it’s not trivial to take a document back and forth between Google and Microsoft systems, and preserve data integrity.

  8. It’s really hard to tell if this post is supposed to be sarcastic or not but based on other posts on the blog, I’m assuming it’s not. 
     
    The corporate environment is going to continue to become less homogeneous, not more so. Office is so great yet your share this information in HTML. Productivity is not created by a person and their desktop, it’s created by people and other people. The Web connects people and information better than any other platform in history – that’s its very purpose; that’s why it was invented.
     
    The products making up Office are not killer apps, they’re commodities. Windows 8 is the most complicated OS currently on the market … no one was asking for an OS that was more difficult to use. MSFT is already talking about the next version (Blue) and canned the  Windows 8 leader almost immediately. 
     
    “That is just not going to change, and anyone who thinks that trendy consumer devices or open source is going to change that is just flat out wrong.” Yet reality tells a different story. Walk into any boardroom and you have a room full of those “trendy” devices. Consumerization is here to stay and it’s accelerating. Open source powers the Web itself, including this post. 
     
    The desktop doesn’t even matter.

  9. Basicly, Microsoft is dead or dying.
    Windows 8 is just a joke.
    or shoud be called Tiles 1.0

  10. Have windows media center 7/8 and a tuner? Watch live tv such as the super bowl on your android ANYWHERE goto http://goo.gl/YeklZ

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