Nov 29, 2005

Don't count out Microsoft yet

Microsoft, the world's largest software company, has never been known as an innovator. They didn't make the first operating system for the PC. Neither did they bring in the graphic user interface (GUI) concept - along with Apple, they took the idea from Xerox. Yet, the market share of their operating system on the world's PCs is simply absolute. Their Web browser is technically one of the poorest out there, riddled with obscene security holes and buggy programming. Still they hold an unbelievable market share, fighting it out against Mozilla, Opera and others, which are far more superior when it comes to performance. They didn't bring out the concept of gaming consoles, but their new Xbox is slated to beat Sony's Playstation to the No. 1 position. So what keeps them going?

The Redmond giant may not be a breeding ground for new ideas and inventions that have transformed the way how we work and play, and indeed live. But when it comes to playing catch-up and beating the leader, they are second to none. Only Apple can make similar claims (with their user interface, MP3 players and so on, which they didn't pioneer but are the current market leaders), but Apple is indeed thought of as one of the more creative companies out there.

Microsoft, over the years, and with the help of its Windows platform, bulldozed into the computing industry and has retained that lead ever since. They have not been entirely successful in plotting the industry curve and almost blew their chances when they missed the Internet bandwagon. But resilient as ever, they fought their way back into the Web by riding on the browser software they had been bundling with Windows. They crushed Netscape and almost got split up in the process by inviting the wrath of the US Anti-trust laws.

The Web today is dominated by Google and Yahoo when it comes to search and content, respectively. However, both of these giants are battling out for becoming the largest Web service provider. Conventional computing standards and systems are being increasingly replaced by Web services. Microsoft has finally decided to jump into the arena and flex its muscles with Windows Live, available at and Start at

Some people have already written off Microsoft from the race, and have declared it a final battle between Google and Yahoo. But from what we know of Microsoft, they might be in the game just yet.

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