I decided to continue reading the article series about Balmer departing Microsoft and its hopes for the future. I like that the article is based on what insiders think and their candidness about Microsoft is really like; it's a voyeuristic peek inside the Empire.
If Microsoft decided to do most of what is on the list, that would be awesome. It's a company with some great talent that unfortunately gets lost in a mix of bureaucracy and restrictive business ideology with dashes of a lack of original vision and "me too" thinking.
I stick to my guns about the Microsoft OS. The days of a huge, overactive OS managing and running applications on a PC is fading away. Maybe it's needed for large servers - but not for individual use. There will be more and more online apps that will make the concept of a Personal Computer seem limited. Personal Home servers with files (including movies, music, etc.) accessed by any home device is almost a necessity; cloud storage is a minimum requirement as you move from location to location, device to device, working with distributed teams; storing information on your own device is emerging as just plain weird because you can't access those files from your phone, computer, tablet, etc. and you can't share them with other people. Businesses have been moving towards this sharing model as well over the past few years - storing files on a server and using corporate Intranets or Sharepoints so anyone can access it from any device. The technology needs to mirror how people work - we don't work alone in a cubicle anymore. It's all teamwork.
With that said, Microsoft really need to make MSOffice available on all platforms and devices. Microsoft is paranoid sometimes and it's just silly. For the longest time, they didn't really innovate Office for the Mac because it is a competing platform. That's old thinking. In today's business world, we know that it benefits you to make your product available across platforms. The world is getting smaller and smaller and it's all about sharing and partnerships - even with your competition. How paranoid can you be to believe that offering Office on an iPad will cannibalize your sales? People are buying tablets anyway. If they don't buy your tablet, they could still be a customer of your products. It's like restaurants that don't let you BYOB. You are still eating there, so what does it matter that you aren't drinking there? Isn't $25/person better than $0/person because the person wanted to have a particular wine?
I found this article on Ars Technica which proposes that Microsoft has been a little cutting edge. It's an interesting perspective. The article claims that Microsoft's challenge is merging consumer and business technology. That's true at some level. However, many of the technologies raised in the article are frankly, me-too competitive responses to what's in the market. It's not innovation. Office 365 is a response to the market - it should have happened years and years ago. Microsoft SQL database was a response to Oracle - and they got market share by originally offering it for free to get people on it. Lync is a chat tool like AIM, YahooIM, and Hotmail chat. It's another technology response. I could continue.
Microsoft needs a vision beyond doing "me-too" technology, responding to the market a little too late, and make a difference. It needs to change its market position from being so self-contained and paranoid and see technology as something people don't need to "marry" to use it - they use Microsoft, Apple, Google, HP, Samsung, IBM - you get the picture. It's a BYO world - not a one-stop-shop world, with multiple platforms and apps, where people are using what they perceive as the best on various platforms. The concept of Windows on a PC is dying. They need to go on a retreat and get a fresh perspective. Ok, they need a makeover.