Microsoft - Dangerously Close Becoming Sony

Let me Begin With Sony.

TLDR: Fragmentation turned a leader into a commodity

Sony was once my favorite brand. It stormed the gaming industry with the PlayStation and revolutionized the music industry with the Walkman. To this day, Sony designs some of the most beautiful devices.

Sony develops software, manufactures hardware, and publishes music. Yet none of this concerned Steve Jobs when he launched the iTunes Store in 2003. He understood the culture within Sony was destroying the once-great behemoth.

Steve Jobs understood that Sony’s many initiatives were competing with each other – more importantly he understood why. Sony was set up so each of its branches had separate bottom lines. Unlike Apple, where various initiatives depend on each other to stay afloat, Sony was fragmented.

On to Microsoft

TLDR: Redundant services with no focus

For a long time, Microsoft was able to avoid Sony’s pitfall – this is no longer the case.

Microsoft seems incapable of focus. Should I use WMP or Xbox as my go to media player? Why in the world do WordPad and Outlook Express exist alongside Word and Outlook? I once wanted a Microsoft email, but decided not to bother when I couldn’t figure out which handle, @msn or @hotmail, would outlast the other (good thing because they’ve both been replaced with @outlook). Oh and synchronization: do I use WMP or ActiveSync? Maybe I should activate network sharing, set up Media Center, or subscribe to SkyDrive?

Windows 8 added to this mess by having separate control panels, image viewers, and two versions of IE. Finally, there’s the Windows Surface RT/Pro dichotomy.

The Point

Microsoft is the most versatile software company in the world, bar none. Actually, that statement is only true in when Microsoft is considered as a whole. In practice, Microsoft services are so dispersed that statement becomes meaningless.

I hate Steve Jobs’ "walled garden" but the man knew the value of focus. Microsoft needs to start focusing all its various efforts into a few, select, services.

I don’t want Microsoft to end up like Sony.