The Change at Microsoft
I have never really been a Microsoft fan. For me Google always meant enterprise and the benchmark for an organization in the world of technology. Google also enabled me to make decent amounts of money through their advertising program, Adsense, when times were exactly as rosy as today. Besides Google's "intellectual" and "more open" image attracted me more towards it than Microsoft. Page won over Gates any day.
But all that was old. Things now seem very different in Microsoft. Maybe it's the Ballmer effect or maybe an overall change in strategy but this organization is making news for all the right reasons.
Zune failed but Microsoft won
Last week I had written a sarcastic article about Microsoft's Zune - The IPod Killer. Finding a favorable review about Zune is probably as tough as searching for a needle in a haystack. IPOD is a definite winner in a war if there was supposedly any.
Looking at the bigger picture Zune may have bombed but Zune has proved something terrific happening at Microsoft and BusinessWorld put it rather well calling it "The soul of a new Microsoft" and how the new leaders are "looking beyond Windows". In my article last week I had written Zune is just a small battle and there is a much bigger plan and Microsoft seems to be getting ready for that. Microsoft surely deserves kudos for that. I believe irrespective of Zune's performance Microsoft's strategy is on place.
The Mind Machinery at Work
The Google Stanford connection is well known. The Apple Mindshop is the best an organization can get. Jobs and Page are what legends are made of. Not that Gates is any less a legend but Microsoft has never really had an intellectual connection. If it did at all have anything it was money. Mr.MoneyBags finally has got an Intellectual Machinery at work.
Google versus Microsoft
The proof of the Microsoft Mindshop lies in the killer apps the organization has launched recently. I think some of the applications are far superior to anything available in the market. The New Office is much superior to anything else. Microsoft critics may have heralded the end of Microsoft when Google launched Spreadsheets and Docs.
But have a look at those applications and the Office by Microsoft. They are not even comparable. Microsoft is a clear winner much ahead of Google. Maybe WordPad and Docs are comparable and that's where it ends. Gtalk was claimed to be a killer app that would take on Messenger. Messenger today is aeons ahead of Gtalk.
Buzzing Technology - Innovation @ Microsoft
The last few months for Microsoft has seen some amazing innovations in MSN, Xbox and Office and mixed reviews of Zune. In the bigger picture it's nice to see an organization which till yesterday was miles away from the buzzing technology is now taking the initiative and getting into more and more interesting projects whether its Zune or the new sites its launching or even the recent Soapbox initiative.
Open Source Bridging Gap
The proof further lies in Microsoft's offer to the Open Source community. Microsoft for long has been perceived as an enemy to "openness" "open source" "intellect sharing". One of the greatest initiatives by Microsoft has been its initiative to bridge gap with the Open Source Community.
Not just that Microsoft has also gone out of its way with the Microsoft Open Specification Promise so as not to assert its patent portfolio. Microsoft is also collaborating with Linux and Open Source. In other words it is accepting that the new world of technology does need a Microsoft and also an Open Source platform to provide solutions. Instead of fighting its best to collaborate for the sake of innovation.
The Last Word
Microsoft deserves kudos for its initiatives. With all the ammunition in its pocket it didn't need to bridge gaps with the Open Source community. Yet it did. It's nice to see new blood flowing in Microsoft and the same is reflected in the innovations coming out from the Microsoft assembly line. I remain a Google fan but I must add Microsoft is an organization to watch out for. What's next Microsoft?