Microsoft is it still the major player in the computer world? Apple threatens it by replacing PCs with smartphones, Google wants to move applications from the desktop to the cloud, then it must defend its flagship Windows and give it a future.
Microsoft's success until now is no doubt was due to one sentence, that Bill Gates has often repeated: "If a software must be pirated, I prefer it to be my software."
While most of its competitors preferred to see other software be pirated.
But when software and hardware are linked as is the case of Apple products, the rules change.
This is a Basic interpreter that is at the origin of Microsoft, in fact, Micro-Soft at the time, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen to market it.
The Basic language from Microsoft equips first computers, TRS-80, Commodore and under the name Applesoft, Apple II.
But the success really begins in 1980 when IBM, tired of the requirements of Digital Reseach in the provision of the operating system CP/M on its future PC, asks Bill Gates to create another. It will be MS-DOS, a QDOS derivative, that will power the IBM PC in 1981 and all compatible computer then. (We find CP/M on Amstrad some years later).
In 1980 Steve Ballmer became an employee of the company as a manager. He will become its CEO in 2000 to replace Bill Gates.
After some tests thwarted by threats of lawsuits from Apple, Microsoft launched Windows 3.0 in 1990, first interface with windows and mouse. Unconvincing, we had to wait for Windows 95 to see computers really usable by all.
In 1991, Basic has a graphical development interface and becomes Visual Basic. Visual Basic. NET took over in 2003.
In 1995 the firm showed its ability to adapt by focusing its efforts on the Internet, completely missing its concerns previously.
It is also the year of release of Windows 95 that has had a major impact in the field of computing. Apple which was moving back to the forefront had its progress stopped. Several software companies have disappeared.
Gradually the Word software takes over from WordPerfect, a worldwide success, because it uses the GUI as opposed to its competitor. Other office software, Excel facing Lotus, Powerpoint will do the same against their competitors through marketing methods of the firm and the renown of the operating system. Desktop software is still its main source of income of Microsoft.
In 1997, Microsoft saved Apple from bankruptcy by investing $ 150 million into the ailing firm. Steve Jobs become then the CEO. In 2011, Apple's revenues surpassed those of Microsoft and it became the main competitor against its savior.
In August 2001, XP takes over from Windows 98 and Me, it was founded based on the NT server system and the interface of 98, and is suitable both to business and personal use. It is still widely used in 2011.
In 2001 Microsoft also addresses the console market with the XBox. It will be years before it becomes profitable. The XBox 360 in 2005 is a great success.
Windows Vista was released in 2006. Microsoft will recognize later that it was poorly designed when it is replaced by Seven in 2009.
Kinect interface by gestures completes the XBox in 2010, later Windows, and is an immense success.
In 2010, Windows 7 Phone provides all the functionality to run a modern smartphone. The agreement with Nokia in 2011 add a large base of users.
In 2013, Windows 8 shows that the rule "a good Windows alternates with a failure" still applies. Favoring the touch screen while the vast majority of users use a keyboard, the OS has a low adoption rate.
Microsoft's position with respect to open source has changed since 2008. The reason is the cloud and the move of activity towards services. Microsoft sells its services on Azure and with Office365. In the first case it uses two open source software, Node.js and Hadoop and since it makes money that way, and that enterprise no longer buy software but use this platform, open source is acceptable for the firm.
It even certified for Windows in 2010 a CMS written in PHP, SilverStripe. It contributed to the Joomla CMS, for use on Windows server which is still in the same direction. Its own open source CMS for .NET, Oxite, created in 2008 is fallen in oblivion and replaced by Orchard.
In March 2011, Internet Explorer 9 is available and it is a radical change: it suppports the main web standards: HTML 5, CSS 3 and induces withdrawal of proprietary technologies such as Silverlight.
Microsoft also presented Windows 8, bringing an innovative concept of interface for the first time since Windows 95. It must also run on tablet PCs.
It joins forces with Nokia to equip it with Windows Mobile Phone 7.
It presents a new ecosystem that is no longer based on the desktop but also includes tablets and even mobile and XBox. The same applications will run on all devices.
As it always was able to do, the firm adapts to the changing world.
By launching the Surface tablet, an innovative product that can find its market, Microsoft competes with traditional partners, manufacturers who use Windows. And it knows that this is not without risk, however it seems to be the new direction of the firm, that copies Apple's business model.
And in the 10-K report aimed at the SEC that describes the directions of the firm, it is clearly announced that Microsoft intends to continue in this direction and now manufacture the hardware for its OS.
We will also continue to invest in new software and hardware products, services, and technologies, such as the Surface line of Microsoft-designed and manufactured devices announced in June 2012.
The firm changed its CEO and the new CEO, Satya Nadella, announces a change of direction (other than the change of management). It is the purpose of a memo to employees on July 14. But this memo remains unclear about the strategic direction that wants to take the group.
Developers have however already seen in their field a little opening with the open source implementation of the # platform which will facilitate its use in other systems than Windows.
In July 2014, the company announced a major restructuring and 18000 layoffs, two-thirds in the Nokia business, the rest to modernize and remain competitive. What has long worked to Microsoft, this is the method: let the startups test new products, wait until success arrives, and then launch its own version, supported by its enormous financial resources. This gave Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Windows Server, and many other successes. But it stopped working against Apple and Google: once launched their products, Microsoft is lagging for good. The restructuring aims to make it more responsive and innovative.
In September 2014, it bought Minecraft, a game in big squared pixels, adored by all kids of the world. It may slightly increase the number of user by porting the game on Windows for mobiles.
In November 2014 it makes .NET open source and available on Linux and Mac OS, and provides a free version of Visual Studio. This confirms the new trend where it seeks income on services and hardware and less on software.
In 2015, Microsoft multiplies the signs of openness, showing that it has become a completely different company. .NET Is available on all systems, and the firm even offers a very sophisticated code editor, Visual Studio code on Windows, Linux and Mac.Visual Studio est also available for free.
In June 2015, the company sold its mapping service to Uber and its online advertising service to AOL to focus on its core activities.
Since 2015, Microsoft is more aimed at the cloud and Azure as source of profit. And less on Windows to which it wants to give the Apple model with the UWP platform.
On Azure the users want to use Linux, so Microsoft switches to Linux. After .NET Core which became open source and cross-platform, it is is SQL Server that now runs on Linux and competes Oracle (for the price too). Besides Microsoft offers to help companies migrate from Oracle to SQL Server.
Until 2010, Microsoft was the empire that faced anarchy of multiple competitors, such as various versions of Linux. Then appeared in front of it another empire which has even greater expansionist views: Google.
The common enemy of all players in the Web is Google, which has led Microsoft, Apple and RIM to build a consortium for the purchase of mobile patents of Nortel that Google wanted to buy.
Microsoft is waging a war against Google on several fronts:
Note that Microsoft is on the defensive in front of the engine that develops in all areas of IT and it must renew itself to ensure its future.
In this article, Microsoft is the antithesis of strategy, it is explained how Microsoft shows absolute ignorance of the rules of art of war. So the war against Google should not turn well.