Microsoft: Will It Survive the Next 5 Years?

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The newly released Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface RT has stirred up some discussions lately. A lot of reviews came out. This is suppose to be a big move on mobile for Microsoft, but the battlefield is already very crowded. So can Microsoft survive the bumpy road ahead?

It depends on the definition of survival. If survive means as a company Microsoft will still exist, then yes, it will survive the next 5 years. If the definition , being a bit more broader, is Microsoft keeping their current momentum and stay relevant in the technology industry, then it’s somewhat questionable. Three reasons I can see:

1. PC industry is withering
This can be seen from the ever shrinking PC manufacturers quarterly numbers. Desktop PCs had their days. But today, more and more people use their mobile device to consumer content, getting information, keep connected with friends. Serious content creating and enterprise will still use desktop PC, but the mass market has already shifted to mobile.

2. Microsoft is late to the ‘Mobile’ party
Every company NEED to has a mobile strategy and execute it swiftly. Some successful companies like Google even has the motto of ‘Mobile First’. Unfortunately, Microsoft is lagging behind on this front. The Windows Phone has yet to catch up to Android and iOS in shipments and ecosystem strength. (Number of apps in app store, developer support, etc.) In the ‘mobile’ game, first mover has huge advantage, and Microsoft has already been late to the party.

3. Organizational management challenges dragging their feet. 
People with some insights on how Microsoft runs will know that departments in charge of Windows and Office have huge power. A lot of the executives are from those departments. And all these departments don’t really talk to each other much. (as can be seen from their recent product strategy) Microsoft’s past success on these two products makes it harder to apply changes needed to future success. This is also part of why things are moving so slow in Redmond.

It’s actually not about survival, it’s about relevance. If Microsoft survives but lose all its relevance and influence in tech industry, will we still care about them?


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