Opinion

Microsoft works to stay

Microsoft is on its way out. That’s what Apple and Google investors are praying for, given that the two companies’ stocks are currently valued at more than ten times Microsoft’s peak in the early 2000s. It’s no secret that Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 were both miserable flops in the 38-year-old company’s attempt to regain consumer interest.

That’s why Microsoft just brought in a new CEO, Satya Nadella, to re-inject some life into the aging behemoth. Critics claim the only reason Microsoft hasn’t begun digging its own grave is that enterprise customers are too lazy and cash-strapped to make the switch to Apple. They’re stuck on Windows XP and the Exchange email protocol they’ve been using for the last decade. But there is still hope for Microsoft, which has established a lasting reach around the world.

The overwhelmingly negative response to Windows Phone 8 is indicative of Microsoft’s inability to understand exactly what makes Apple so successful in the cell phone market. Microsoft acknowledges that Android and iOS currently dominate the phone and tablet arena, but blindly believes that its own devices are revolutionary and will convert devout Apple and Google fans.

The truth is, students and professionals wielding clunky Dells and Toshibas still often ache for a MacBook to relieve them of the stress caused by the often unreliable, glitchy and bloatware-ridden software that plagues PCs. But while Apple may have the current hipster, simple and clean image associated with its products, Microsoft has sheer volume to compete. Though consumers may spurn new Windows devices for Apple or Androids, Microsoft isn’t going away anytime soon.

In fact, Microsoft Office is probably what prevents us from ridding Microsoft from our lives entirely, and still tethers the company to existence. It’s the only software that Google and Apple haven’t technologically surpassed with Google Docs and iWork.

But the ensuing false sense of security is what makes the Redmond, Wash. engineers reluctant to overhaul the current systems in place. Microsoft needs to take advantage of the fact that almost 90 percent of computers worldwide have Windows installed; otherwise it risks sinking into that weird place where it’s not going away, but it’s not at the center of News Feed either.

Microsoft’s failure to get with the program (pun intended) is exemplary of what happens when a company gets too big. While it is certainly on the downward phase of the corporate cycle, there remains hope that it will return with impressive products that will make shopping in the technological world interesting again.

Ravi Jain is a freshman majoring in chemistry.

February 14, 2014

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Ravi Jain


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