January 28, 2013

Microsoft: More than Just Windows


Microsoft may be one of the first names that springs to mind in terms of business and home computing, but in recent years, it has made plenty of gains in other markets as well. A new analyst's report shows that two of its biggest gainers are in home entertainment and mobile phones, fields where Microsoft has been trying to aggressively expand for years.

The report from analyst Michael Soper with Technology Business Research Inc. shows some of the high points of Microsoft's expansion plans. First, Windows Phone; while there were those who thought that Microsoft would never be able to get into a market so thoroughly entrenched by iOS and Android. Even the legendary BlackBerry platform, long the standard in terms of business users, was losing ground to these two titan competitors. But Microsoft, meanwhile, is seeing major gains, seeing sales quadruple between 2011 and 2012. Granted, sales pretty readily quadruple when they're minimal to begin with--selling four phones in a month after selling only one the previous month looks great on paper but doesn't say good things about long-term viability--but the climb is still noteworthy in and of itself.


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Additionally, Microsoft's gains in home entertainment are also something of a surprise. Microsoft has been part of the console wars since the release of its original Xbox title. But it's clear that, especially as streaming video has gained in popularity, Microsoft's potential to take over the entirety of living room applications has never been quite so pronounced. An Xbox 360, for example, can play games, play movies on DVD, and can even stream video from several sources under the proper conditions. The next generation of Xbox, though, is likely to do the job even better once it makes its appearance--hopefully without all the paywalls--and mark the formal move from pure gaming device with some streaming features into a complete set-top box designed to serve a host of purposes.

There is a lot of potential in the marketplace for Microsoft. Given the range of products in which it's engaging, it's hard not to see an upside. Granted, in two of four potential cases it's a limited upside (both succeed, both fail, one or the other succeeds while one or the other fails), but upside is upside. In a slow economy like the one we're in now, any upside is great news. While Microsoft has faced setbacks in both fields--prying users away from iOS and Android in the phone sector and trying to get streaming content for use on its Xbox line, just for examples--Microsoft has also seen significant successes.

Only time will truly tell just how well Microsoft can capitalize on its successes and build toward a more complete tomorrow, but it's clear everyone at Microsoft won't let this go without a fight. With plenty of new developments to come, there's every possibility that Microsoft could be much bigger than expected, and soon.




Edited by Brooke Neuman



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