This year is a momentous one for Microsoft. After 40 years of business, the company officials have a great deal to celebrate. Indeed, when they first launched, there were many obstacles that stood in their way. The technological landscape was entirely different back then to the one you see today. Computing systems were not mainstream products – they were for professionals and those in academia. That meant that the Microsoft customer pool was much smaller and more niche than it is today. In its first twenty years, the company emerged as one of the biggest (and, of course, most powerful) tech companies in the world.
So, what changed? Well, simply put, Apple came along. The two companies have been competing ever since, and recently, it would appear that Apple have been winning. In the last five years, at least, it is clear to see a steady decline in Microsoft’s popularity. During that time, Apple have enjoyed quite the opposite effect. In fact, in Q1 of this year, the iPhone sales soared. The companies have, for a long time, been rivals, but is there any fight left in Microsoft?
Microsoft 2010 – 2015
The tablet changed the way in which people use technology forever. Somewhere between the smartphone and the laptop, this new gadget captured the hearts of the masses. For a long time, before the release of the iPad, the officials at Microsoft had been toying with the idea of launching a tablet. In fact, they planned to call this new device a ‘slate PC’ and believed that it would be much like modern touchscreen devices. One of Microsoft’s great mistakes here was failing to get the right technology to use for this idea.
The problem with Microsoft tablets
The main issue was that the officials did not plan to change all that much about the system itself. The tablets they wanted to launch would use Windows 7, regardless of the fact that it is a different device. These operating system issues were the source of many of Microsoft’s problems. Launching a product without a functional interface is no good at all, as the officials would soon learn. The Microsoft team were well aware of both smartphone and tablet technology, yet they did not get the timing right. Each time they attempted to launch a product of this nature, they failed to get the best software. While the experts were on the right track, they had no way of competing with what Apple were about to launch.
The success of the iPad
In 2010, the launch of the iPad changed everything. Now, five years later, it is impossible to imagine a world without these high-tech tablets. What made the tablets so popular was their utter simplicity. Microsoft’s failed attempts were targeting the wrong market. They thought that tablets would appeal only to professionals and workers. In fact, this type of technology has a vast and diverse appeal, and one which the officials at Microsoft could not have imagined. Apple’s iOS was easy to use, which meant that everyone could get themselves an iPad. By opening the product up to a mass market, Apple ensured its ultimate success.
So, what will Microsoft do next? In a letter to his employees, Bill Gates said that they should look towards the future. Only time will tell if they can change their fortune or whether it is time to switch off for good.