With the past few years, things haven't particularly looked to be going well for Microsoft. The release of Windows Vista and the subsequent failure of it to find any real market, the structural flaws in the X-Box 360 that led to multi-billion dollar firefighting efforts by the Redmond giant, as well as the economic crisis that only now seems to really be boiling over and will likely continue to hurt their business by postponing business systems upgrades to the point where they're deemed an absolute necessity. All this and more has seen fit to stack up into a truly formidable obstacle for Microsoft to overcome.
Yet these obstacles haven't entirely been out of Microsoft's control. Windows Vista was the product of a development cycle that was smacked around and readjusted several times, and which heavily suffered from the 2003-2004 worm outbreak which forced developers to be focused on closing exploitable areas within Windows XP which had taken the brunt of the beating. As well, the issues with the X-Box 360 were entirely the result of Microsoft attempting to cut costs of hardware tests by undercutting the normal levels of product evaluation. The issues with systems overheating en masse was entirely of their fault, and I feel they did well to grit their teeth and act in the interests of their customers.
So the question of which I'm curious is if Steve Ballmer can bring Microsoft out of their current situation. With no offense meant to the man, his war-room style strategies have seemed to only make Microsoft as a company out to be more a brute strength conglomerate megalith (though the factual nature of it being exactly that is a given by the way of business itself) rather than serving to improve upon public perceptions. He has come off as a rather unstable and angry chief executive due to things which have leaked out regarding his opinions of Google and Linux, regardless of whether these evaluations of character are correct. Yet such is the nature of the media beast, and it cannot be helped but by proof contrary. As such, Microsoft is left in a position where it had until very recently yet to really reach out to improve the view of itself as a whole. Where you have had branch projects like the X-Box 360 and the Zune working so hard to convey some sense of community, Microsoft at its core has remained rather gray and stalwart compared to its competitors such as Apple.
Yet recently there has been some
activity out of Redmond in this regard. While the Mojave Experiment sort of buzzed the tower in terms of its effectiveness, the 'I'm a PC' advertisement that brings people together has been vastly more effectively. Whether authentic or artificial, it seems like there might be a bit of humanity returning to Microsoft's appearance, even if just a minute sparkle in the eye. While there is still a long way to go in this regard, which could honestly be helped ENORMOUSLY
by them redesigning their sites to be more user-friendly versus the typical navigational Hell that seems almost to be a Microsoft trademark at this point, there seems to be at least the prospect in mind of them getting back a portion of their former glory, though this is something which could easily vanish like dust in the wind.
Through the year, bits and pieces of information have been coming out regarding the next pillar release in the Windows family. Windows 7 as it so creatively named has been discussed as being a turnaround from the relative disappointment of Vista, attempting to bring forth and focus upon resource management, stability, and compatibility; all things which were and continue to be frequent complaints in respect to Windows Vista. The authenticity of these claims is yet unknown due to the limited exposure to the currently alpha-stage product, yet there are whispers among the woodwork that there may be a beta for the new operating system as soon as this mid-December. I for one would be delighted if I could gain access into the beta, as I'm really looking forward to seeing if Microsoft has managed the turn-around they so desperately need.
Engineering Windows 7: