Yesterday at work we had a presentation from a Microsoft representative on some of the things their products can do. One of these things (Deep Zoom) was quite funky and is worth a mention (have a look at this video, courtesy of Ollie Bray):
The main premise of the talk was that Microsoft sees the future of technology as being based on “three screens and a cloud”- the three screens being TV, PC, and mobile. It later (after some debate) became clear that this of course came with the proviso that the official Microsoft strategy also demanded that these screens (and the cloud) would operate on one operating system- that one operating system naturally being Windows. Hence, some of the slightly snazzy programmes that Microsoft design (such as Silverlight) only work on Windows. The British Library’s “turn the pages” system is one example.
Two things become obvious from what the representative said:
a.) Microsoft’s strategy of “protecting” their products by only allowing them to work on Windows will contribute to their (Microsoft’s) decline. They may be a super power now but it won’t be long until the “Millenials“, many of whom are more aware and comfortable using non-Microsoft products than previous generations, are the primary target market. Open source products such as Linux are already on the increase: how long can Microsoft keep their hold?
b.) I don’t think it will be “three screens and a cloud”. With the rise in the ability of one product (such as the iphone) to do everything, it seems much more likely that the future will be “one portal and a cloud”- the portal being a handheld device that acts as a phone, a computer, a television (possibly with projected images), and much more. This isn’t an original view, but it is more realistic than that of Microsoft.
How much longer can Microsoft stick to self-defeating strategies?