What will become of Microsoft (
), the world's most successful software company, if the demand for
Windows fades away?
The Windows operating system always stood at the core of the
Redmond, Washington company's brand image. Its textual and visual
language - particularly its signs of failure, such as the Blue
Screen of Death and Control-Alt-Delete - form an integral part of
digital pop culture.
However, the digital medium itself is moving away from the desktop
computer and even the laptop, the domain over which Windows holds
undisputed supremacy. Increasingly, the focus of hardware and
software companies is on a much more diffuse, distributed world of
smartphones, tablets, consoles and internet-connected appliances, a
), Google (
) and Facebook have greater dominance.
One place where the firm created by Bill Gates performed well is
the gaming sector, where its Xbox 360 platform continues to
dominate the high-definition console market. The company's
Entertainment and Devices division surged 60 percent in sales on an
annual basis, the company reported Thursday, prompting CFO Peter
that "consumers are purchasing Office 2010, Xbox and Kinect at
Equally, and perhaps more important, were software solutions for
the corporate sector, including the aforementioned Office suite of
products and the server division, which climbed from $15.4 billion
in sales last year to $17.1 billion this year.
Microsoft will have to craft a new identity for itself if and when
Windows loses its place as the linchpin of personal computing. It
will need to continue to successfully appeal to consumers with a
new generation of consoles and peripherals like the Kinect, while
maintaining its strong legacy with the corporate environment as it
transitions Office into a SaaS-type platform.
Unfortunately for the software giant, its latest venture into the
mobile market, the Windows 7 platform, looks to be meeting the same
fate as its Zune music player - technically competent and
skillfully executed, but too little, too late.