July 7, 2010

If I Were CEO...Microsoft

Microsoft has been around for a long time (as computers go anyway).  It made their previous CEO, Bill Gates, the richest man in the world for a while, they made home computing popular with their MS-DOS systems, and they brought the Graphical User Interface (GUI) to the mainstream as they transitioned from MS-DOS to the point and click, drag and drop ease of Windows.


Microsoft has gone through so many changes since the early 80's, moving from typing cryptic codes on a monochrome screen to simply moving pictures and objects with your hands.  They have many popular/"can't live without" products.  From operating systems to Internet services, hand held music library devices to gaming consoles, Microsoft has their hands in so many technology areas of our lives.  They are the leader in the computer world by leaps and bounds, servicing over 90% of the computers in the world today.  Their history is full of great technological advances over their short 35 years existence.

But, if I were CEO of Microsoft, I would work on stopping the apparent loss of customer base by...well I'll get to that.  Before I share my plan with the world (all 3 of you faithful readers), I want to address some reasons I believe they may be losing market share on purpose, or at least without an attempt to stop it (and let me start this point by admitting that I have done no research what-so-ever on this topic.  Remember, this is my blog, and I can say what I want and believe what I want to believe).  I think Microsoft NEEDS the downsizing.  I believe with all the lawsuits, anti-trust stuff, etc., they can and need to shrink below the 90% range.  If they stay to large (or grow more), the government will slap them back down again, or even worse, make them split the company into multiple companies.  But let's pretend none of this is an issue.

If I were CEO of Microsoft, I would create something I'm calling "MSOne".  MSOne would be the network, the device manager, the hardware, the software, everything you, life connection service, linking everything from hardware to software, that is you (the user), together.  MSOne would be seamless connection and flow.  It would be massive; something only the likes of Microsoft could take on.  MSOne would connect everything from your PC to your phone to your game console to your MP3 player to your vehicle.  MSOne would work like a Remote Desktop for your work PC too, allowing you to access your personal life from work.  Everything in your life would be connected the way you want.  Social networking could be tied to the settings on your devices.  Feeling excited about something?  Your status update would change the wallpaper and color schemes on your devices.  Need to look at that file on your home computer?  Check it on your phone.  Want to listen to an MP3 you were emailed?  Retreive it from your MP3 player and go.

Right now, Internet devices, cell phones, computers, gaming consoles, etc. all provide us with the information we want and need (and sometimes the information we don't want and don't need), at any minute of the day.  I want to simplify that even more.  Currently, Microsoft has the computer operating system (Windows), the Internet services (Hotmail for email, Bing for search, etc.), the music player (Zune and Media Player), the cell phone software (Windows Phone), the gaming console (Xbox), the word processing and other business tools (Office, including Word, Excel, Power Point, Access, Outlook, etc.), and vehicle integration (Sync).  I want to create the ability to connect all these devices and services together so they are all updated on a constant basis or link to each other at any given moment.  Beyond cloud storage, I want the ability to access something saved in any location from any other location.  As CEO of Microsoft, I would make this happen.

Beyond just software, which is the only thing Microsoft claims to do right now, I would start working on hardware solutions too.  I would create devices that fit together in flow; cellphones that integrate directly into the car stereo system as part of the hardware, PCs that are also your gaming console and link to your TV or PC monitor to allow you to game in either location, MP3 players that can connect to any of these other devices to charge, share files, or for storage.  I want the devices to talk to each other over the Internet, through local and wide area networks, through Bluetooth and other small network protocols, and by directly connecting or linking the devices to each other.  I would design a world of devices that worked together, not limited or strangled from their potential, but free to do things the way the end user sees fit.  High quality, top rated, sturdy, reliable, fast, consistent hardware would be the backbone to a quality experience, customizable with all the features the end users want.  Time and effort would be put into listening to what the true users are looking for.  Work would be done to listen to the people who really know what can and can't be done, and the end result would always be the max of what can be done at the time.  More efforts would be put into providing the very best available, and less time would be spent on figuring out how many things could be left out for later revisions and future models.  By producing the best NOW, we will keep our customer base coming back to us.

I would design a system, where all the information you wanted to access was always available to you.  It would be secure, fast, and affordable.  Easy to set up home networks that saved all your information on your home computer, not in some "cloud" (if desired), would allow users to feel like their information was readily available to them but securely sitting on their home computer.  Cloud infrastructure would also be available and it would be fast, safe, and affordable too.  The network would know the devices allowed to join, helping these devices (cellphones, portable computers, game consoles, etc.) work well and communicate quickly and accurately with each other.  The user interface would be similar and familiar across all the various platforms, with ease of use in mind.  Consistency would be available in personal settings, allowing for customization across the various platforms for a personal feel to any and all devices on a users network.  Devices used by multiple users would have recognition keys or log-ins to allow personal settings to follow the different users.  If a purchase is made of upgraded or new software, the purchase would allow the software to work across all platforms on the network.  No more buying the "phone version" of Office.  Simply adding the purchased software to a user's account would sync the various devices and necessary versions across the network of devices.

If I were CEO of Microsoft,  the wealth of the company would be used to create a new Microsoft, one where customers don't feel like it's a tough choice to choose between a PC or a Mac.  I would lead the company to greatness in quality, quantity, and reliability.  I would provide a service that people trust, and one where people know they are making a choice in a company that cares about their well being.

If I were CEO of Microsoft, I would change the world.