End of Microsoft's Empire
Autocracy To an End
Microsoft has been in business for over 30 years. First selling operating system software, expanding into productivity software, internet services, and gaming consoles. Microsoft and its principles were in the right place in the right time to take the momentum and take over the world. Now, they took over the world and they try to act more like an autocracy with their products, all in the name of profits.
How did Microsoft take over the world? By taking over the Personal Computing Industry. They saw that computers were going to be vital for everyday function. From gaming, office productivity, and communications. They used a method where they licensed their software to computer manufacturers and got a percentage of all sales. Anyone wanting to sell to a Windows OS consumer must pay a license to Microsoft. This cemented their control and oversight over products that will be exposed to consumers.
In addition, they implemented office productivity and internet browsing software as default into the system. This limited consumer choice. As until recently, Microsoft was the dominant player of office productivity software and internet browsing. Though they still control office productivity software, they are falling behind the browser wars. Microsoft's tactic worked because most consumers were computer illiterate before the 1990s. During that era, consumers wanted to be spoon fed, on everything.
Twenty Years later, we have a generation that are literate with computers. Companies like Apple and Ubuntu Linux are giving the younger generation a choice. This freedom of choice is what makes Apple and Ubuntu popular choices. They want a choice on what software they want, they don't want to be dictated on what they can and can not do with a product they paid top dollar for. In 2013, mobile computing is becoming dominant and PC computing is becoming less relevant. As a company, Microsoft needs to fight for relevance in this market; but every attempt has come with a fail. The reason behind their failure is also the same reason they became rulers of the world. Microsoft force feeds their consumers with inferior products and expects them to accept it or patiently wait for the upgrade that will fix this problem.Consumers now vs consumers from the 1990s are two different animals. Consumers are now savvy towards computer technology.
There are three tactics that Microsoft uses for all their products. Attract, Dominate, and Control. Attract the new customer. Dominate every aspect of their lives with a family line of products. Control what the consumer can and can not do with their purchased product. Whenever Microsoft releases a product, everyone initially are in awe over the new features of the products, then they realize the flaws and the problems with these new features.
Windows Vista is a prime example of this. When Vista was initially released, everyone in the market were in awe of the new features of this new windows operating system. Then everyone got Vista and realized it sucked and went back to the previous operating system. PC Sales suffered and Microsoft suffered a blow back in profits. There were even talks amongst shareholders to split Microsoft, as it has gotten too big. They resolved this problem by releasing Windows 7 and launched a major marketing campaign that convinced PC consumers to upgrade their system. Major success, shareholders were happy that Microsoft were back in the game. Let's forward to 2012, Windows 8 was released.
Initially, everyone were amazed at Microsoft's new bold step to make themselves relevant again. Their operating system changed its entire GUI where it can function as a regular PC and a Tablet. Microsoft was officially in the tablet game. Again, everyone initially were excited over these new features and situations such as everything you download is reported to Microsoft for "authenticity" reasons. This as a major turn off to consumers who want their privacy.Needless to say, Windows 8 had a luke warm reception by consumers.
Microsoft is also in the gaming industry through XBOX. When Xbox was released, it automatically became a popular console. Its sequel, the 360 became the TOP gaming console in the world, beating Sony and Nintendo. Microsoft ensured its dominance by introducing the XBOX KINECT which allowed you to play games without any controllers. Microsoft promised a new generation of gaming console.
This new generation was called the XBOX One, everyone praised as a game changer. The new system was introduced as an All In One console, where you can watch movies, play games, listen to music, surf the internet. Just like previous Microsoft products, they were praised for its innovation, then the fine print is revealed.
The Xbox One initially had restrictives on consumer choice and had ridiculous demands for its consumers. One of the demands were requirement to log online at least once a day. Games can not be traded or sold. Privacy is is violated through the KINECT system which can detect heart rate data, facial recognition, and etc and send all this information to a Microsoft server.
The Xbox One is a flop before its initial release by many consumers. Microsoft used its good ol tactic. Attract, Dominate, and Control. It's an old tactic by trying to control every aspect of the consumer's life. Unlike computer users, gamers are a different species. Most hardcore gamers have high IQ and are very liberal towards their belief about consumer choice. These hardcore gamers are evangelical. If they say, this product sucks normal gamers will not buy it. It is the same reason why, Emulators have not been challenged by any of the major gaming companies, as they do not want to anger the hardcore gamers.
Microsoft have several problems, many of which are not listed in this article. If Xbox One does officially become a flop, then it is a guarantee that shareholders would be upset. It is a guarantee that its CEO, Steve Ballmer would have to resign. It is also possible that an activist investor would buy enough shares to force Microsoft to split up into four divisions. Software, Internet Service, Gaming, and Business Services. The autocracy era of Microsoft is coming to an end, as they strive for relevance. They will need to be humbled by these failures to get the hint. Consumers don't want to be controlled, they want a choice.
UPDATE: 10/17/2013 Steve Ballmer announced he will resign as CEO of Microsoft within the next 12 monhs. Xbox One's restrictions were lifted.