WinBeta recently published a very thought-provoking piece, "Can Azure, Office 365 and SharePoint sell Windows 10 for Microsoft alone?": The thesis is that Microsoft--for all of the energy the company is putting behind the launch of Windows 10--is really still preaching to the corporate choir, as seen in its focus on productivity and enterprise applications. To succeed, Microsoft should think about losing its business religion.
Not altogether, of course. But, suggests writer Sean Cameron, Microsoft has been spending too much promotional time on products geared for the enterprise, such as Azure, Office 365 and SharePoint, and not enough on consumer-oriented products. Cameron even finds a lot of similarities between Microsoft and a company no organization wants to see itself reflected in: BlackBerry, which was doomed by myopia.
Microsoft has a history of being late to some very important games: the Internet, mobile ... Is this just another case of the company being tone-deaf when it comes to product development? Or are its products solid, but just not being promoted well?
Going back to Cameron's article, just who is a Windows user? There was a time when there were distinct PC people and Apple people--and never the twain would meet. But Does Microsoft need to shoot for Apple-level loyalty, or will its increasing cross-platform openness make it all about the products and their value/capability/coolness and less what the label (or splash screen) says?
Cameron astutely notes that, when it comes to Windows 10, none of this would be an issue if the OS was designed just for business users.
"The product is an excellent showcase for the whole Microsoft ecosystem: the potential to stream Xbox games to PC, universal apps, a unified design language, DirectX 12 and many other improvements demonstrate this." he wrote. "Yet, the focus is on ‘productivity’; in the world of business, even this word is difficult to define; is it pragmatism? Is this something more?"
Today, the business user and consumer are one in the same--our computing use, habits, devices and applications cross personal and professionals lines. Whether Microsoft's marketing is too business-heavy is arguable, but there is one thing for sure: Any company that ignores the business/consumer melting pot will struggle.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.