After the Vista debacle, Microsoft changed the way it makes software. The result – Windows 7 – is winning raves. Can a new operating system (and a new attitude) help the company take on Google?
With Microsoft's founder and chairman, Bill Gates, trotting the globe in a quest to abolish diseases, his handpicked successor, CEO Steve Ballmer, has had most of a decade to move the company beyond its two biggest cash cows, the Windows operating system and the Office productivity suite. So far, not so good.
The company's web forays, such as MSN, have only highlighted the dominance of Google and Yahoo. In software for smartphones, there is Apple, RIM (RIMM), and everybody else. MP3 players? Microsoft's Zune hardly merits a mention. And even the core franchise has suffered. In the face of slowing PC sales and the economic pall, Microsoft's fiscal 2009 revenue actually contracted, to $58.4 billion from more than $60 billion in fiscal 2008 -- and the company missed its earnings estimate by more than $1 billion.
But the biggest failure under Ballmer's tenure was self-inflicted. Vista was meant to be a wholesale reimagining of Windows, the brand name for Microsoft's operating systems dating back to the early 1980s. Every so often the company unveils a new OS, blandly named for the year of the release (Windows 95, Windows 98) or a geeky abbreviation (Windows XP is short for Windows Experience). Vista had a marketing-friendly moniker, a fancy user interface, new security architecture, a better file-storage system, and much more. More
Finally! Eight months after it was introduced, the iPhone is finally getting the e-mail service it deserves. At the Apple (AAPL) special event today, Steve Jobs introduced and Phil Schiller demonstrated the next iPhone update, one that has everything on your IT department's wishlist:
Global address lists
Cisco IPsec PVN
Certificates and identities
Enforced security policies
Remote wipe, in case the iPhone is lost or stolen
In the demo, Microsoft (MSFT) MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 6, 2008 1:26 PM ET
"Some exciting enterprise features." Those were the magic words in the e-mail that Apple (AAPL) analysts and journalists received Wednesday from the company's media events department.
The invitation for a March 6 "special event," illustrated with a map and directions to the company's Cupertino campus, was music to the ears of software developers, who've been itching to get their hands on the SDK (software developers kit) ever since Steve Jobs promised MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 27, 2008 2:13 PM ET
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