Microsoft is still a behemoth but I think they’re taking all the wrong approaches for many of their biggest products like Windows, Office, and Xbox. This is all my opinion of course, they can do whatever the F they want to do.
First, Windows 8. I get they’re trying to build a one-size fits all kind of operating system but the tile interface in Windows 8 that they’re forcing on people just DOES NOT WORK for desktops. They should be sticking to the Windows 7 formula. And I think they’re so late to the party on smartphones and tablets, that they have a huge hill to climb in trying to compete with Google, Apple, and a resurgent (sort of) Blackberry. By most accounts, they’re not making a lot of headway with Windows 8 in all 3 markets (PC’s, phones, tablets). Sales have not been great. I personally am going to stick with Windows 7 as long as possible, just like I did with Windows XP. I don’t want no freaking tiles on my desktop. Frankly, it’s just kind of a dumb interface for a desktop computer with no touchscreen.
I hate that they’re simplifying the interface for Office and a lot of their web apps. They appear to be going for more of the Android look and it doesn’t work for a program as a complex as Office. The interface just looks so monotonous with a bunch of similar looking icons. I personally think it’s harder to immediately figure out what various buttons and menus are for. I thought they did great with the ribbon interface and now they’re taking a step back. You can’t simplify an application that is inherently complex and has so many functions. Google can do it because their apps like Google Documents do not have nearly as many features as Office.
It seems that Microsoft now thinks they can do whatever they want because they won the current generation. Everything is reset in next gen because it requires customers to buy a new console. I’ve seen videos and read some articles about how it’s now getting harder for developers to work with Xbox whereas Sony is welcoming everyone to the PlayStation 4 platform. And there’s the huge backlash right now against the always-online requirement in the next Xbox, a rumor that Microsoft has so far refused to confirm or deny. I think altogether it just feels like Microsoft is being a little too arrogant about their position in the market. Remember that Sony was sitting pretty when they decided to go for their complex Cell processor in the PS3 and high price tag, thinking they can just dictate to the market. Xbox came along, made it easier to develop on their platform and incentivized developers. That’s how they won the current gen and now they’re repeating the same mistakes Sony made because they think they’re the king. They are in for a rude awakening if this is the case.