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In a decade or so, Microsoft has overcome so many important technology trends that the company has become a pioneer. But Microsoft is more than its horrible mistakes. Today, it is (again) one of the superstars of the tech world.
Microsoft’s ability to thrive despite doing almost everything wrong can be a funny story about the company’s reinvention. Or it could be a painful demonstration of how difficult monopolies are to destroy. Or maybe a bit of both.
Understanding the staying power of Microsoft is relevant when considering an important current question: Today’s big Tech superstars are successful and famous because they are the best at what they do or because they are the best at what they do. have they become so strong that they can continue their past successes?
Ultimately, the anger over Big Tech in 2021 — antitrust lawsuits, proposed new laws, and outcry — has led to a debate about whether the imprint of our digital lives are we the driving force of progress or do we really have dynasties. And what I’m asking is, which one is Microsoft?
Let me go back to the dark days of Microsoft, which supposedly lasted from the mid-2000s to 2014. Strangely they weren’t that bad. Yes, Microsoft was so rude that the company was advertised on Apple TV and many in the tech industry wanted nothing to do with it. The company failed to create a popular search engine, tried in vain to compete with Google in digital advertising, and failed to sell its operating system or smartphone device. own.
However, even during the saddest years at Microsoft, the company made a lot of money. In 2013, the year Steve Ballmer had to retire as chief executive, the company generated a much higher profit before taxes and a number of other expenses — more than $27 billion — than Amazon did in 2013. 2020.
No matter how flawed Microsoft’s software can be – and a lot has happened – many businesses still need to purchase Windows computers, Microsoft’s email and document software, and its technology to run those computers. Powerful back-end called server. Microsoft used those much-needed products as leverage to branch out into new and profitable businesses, including software to replace phone systems, databases, and file storage systems. company usual.
Microsoft wasn’t always so good in those years, but it did quite well. And recently, Microsoft has gone from being a domestic step to being successful both financially and in line with cutting-edge technologies. So is this change a healthy sign or a discouraging sign?
On the sane side of the ledger, Microsoft got at least one important thing right: cloud computing, one of the most important technologies of the past 15 years. That and the cultural shift is the foundation that drives Microsoft to victory despite its strategy and products to victory through them. This is the kind of corporate change we should want.
I would also say that Microsoft is different from its big Tech peers in that it could have made it more flexible. Businesses, not individuals, are Microsoft customers, and technology sold to organizations doesn’t have to be good to win.
And now the frustrating explanation: What if the lesson from Microsoft is that a dying star can leverage its scale, market savvy, and pull in customers to stay successful. even if it makes big products, loses the ability to use new technology and is plagued by bad bureaucracy? Is Microsoft so big and strong that it’s invincible, at least long enough to take further action? And can today’s Facebook or Google compare to the Microsoft of 2013 – tried so hard that they can thrive even if they’re not the best?
I don’t have a definitive answer, and size and strength do not guarantee that a company can weather many mistakes and remain relevant. But a lot of TV dramas and tech wars in 2021 revolve around those questions. Perhaps Google search, Amazon shopping, and Facebook ads are all great. Or maybe we simply can’t imagine better alternatives because powerful companies don’t have to be great to keep winning.
Before we go…
Miniature online chaos campaigns: My colleague Sheera Frenkel has a myth about Iranian spies posing as Israelis to post divisive messages in small online groups on messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. Targeting small groups allows agents to cause trouble in trusted communities and is a way to avoid detection by tech companies tracking mass misinformation online.
Fancy non-computer video games: Kellen Browning looks at the efforts of companies like Google and Microsoft to move video games from being played on dedicated hardware to being remotely accessible over the web. The technology isn’t mature yet, but cloud gaming could allow anyone to play any game on any device, and it could be the beginning of the end for apps.
Tweet for good: An automated account in Indonesia turns people’s tweets into a map showing real-time location and information about floods, earthquakes and other hazards, Rest of World reports. The bot, named PetaBencana, also works with Indonesian authorities to help them respond more quickly to disasters.
You want to see koalas pictures taken in the middle of a leap. They are graceful little tufts of fluff.