Microsoft Strategies To Stay Relevant In 2012, And Beyond

In the past I’ve discussed how the world of technology is truly on the verge of massive change.

Traditional personal computers are becoming less relevant than they were just a decade earlier as new technologies like tablets, smartphones, and cloud technologies drive things further into a mobile, more flexible state.

While this revolution to mobile and cloud technologies may end up ultimately leaving some companies behind in the dust, Microsoft seems ready to keep such a fate from coming.

So, in the spirit of the Holidays and the upcoming year’s end, let’s take a look at just a few ways that Microsoft is changing and/or positioning itself for future-proof purposes:

Windows 8 and “Windows Everywhere”

Microsoft’s newest version of Windows is a very different animal than what we’ve seen in recent years. The unique gamble Microsoft is taking is changing the UI through the use of the new touch-friendly METRO interface.

The purpose is clear, it is designed to be easier to use, more casual, and more future-proof for emerging technologies like tablets, touchscreen PC monitors, and Kinect for PC.

Outside of Windows 8, Microsoft is taking things a step further by using “METRO” as the basis for multiple other product changes, like Microsoft Xbox 360’s new ‘Twist’ interface.

By bringing “Windows Everywhere”, the company hopes to make customers more willing to adopt new Microsoft technologies thanks to ease of use and familiarity.

Keep in mind this is not really a new strategy though, the only real change is that Microsoft used to make its other products, like Windows CE, look more like the desktop.

In our more mobile-focused world the table has turned and now Microsoft wants the desktop OS to look more like its mobile solutions.

Bing and Social Search

Microsoft has been in the ‘search’ game for a long while now, but until Bing they really weren’t considered a valuable player.

In 2009 Microsoft signed a deal with Yahoo that would power Yahoo’s search through Bing, a solid agreement that really helped Microsoft enlarge its presence.

Now changes like the Bing iOS app, Bing Search for 360, and new social media deals for search with the likes of Facebook and Twitter are helping Microsoft continue the crusade for a larger piece of the search engine pie.

The world is truly becoming more and more cloud-focused, and having the power of search on your side is a very good way to stay relevant.

Cloud Technology

There will likely be a time when PCs no longer really exist.

You will have multiple different types of devices that connect to the Internet such as phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations… but laptops and workstations won’t really be PCs, at least not by today’s standards. Instead such devices will need minimal storage and processing since they will simply be a window into the cloud.

Microsoft has many progressive cloud technologies such as its storage solution, Skydrive, and its Windows Azure cloud environment.

In the following years I imagine these products will both evolve in new and interesting ways, and that the cloud will become a large part of Microsoft’s future business strategies.

Xbox 360, And Beyond

It is clear that Microsoft had a vision of what place they wanted the Xbox to have in the market even before the original was released roughly a decade ago, now.

The Xbox’s long-term goal was likely never about ‘video games’. Yes, it was the immediate goal, but the long-term goal was to find a relevant way to reach users in their living rooms.

Media PCs had attempted this, but never really to much avail. The Xbox started slowly, added online services, and by the launch of the Xbox 360 had a few more. Now with the new “Twist” interface comes many more ‘TV and Media’ services that make the Xbox 360 move away from being just a game console.

It is a multimedia entertainment hub, and it is possible that there are users out there that have an Xbox that is not even used for games at all.

A sequel to the Xbox 360 with such technologies as Blu-Ray, will likely see even a bigger push towards multimedia and television. With the Xbox Microsoft finally has found success with the Media PC.

If rumors are at all correct, the sequel to the Xbox 360 might even run on a modified version of Windows 8.

So what do you think are some of the biggest parts of Microsoft’s strategy for future success going in to 2012 and beyond?

Share your thoughts below.

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