What should Microsoft do after Steve Ballmer steps down?
Steve Ballmer decided to retire from Microsoft within 12 months last week. Where should Microsoft head to and what should they do on their products to maintain their influence.
Whether you like or hate Ballmer, and regardless of who will replace him as Microsoft new CEO, his voice became a very important part of different Microsoft conferences, Ballmer said : "We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction."
Steve Ballmer is criticized for many things. Under his control, Microsoft put too much effort on what they were familiar with, rather than took some positive steps on those unknown areas with potential to success.Below are some areas Microsoft should put more effort on in the future.
Strengthen the effort on mobile Internet
Windows Phone is a good example. Before the release of iPhone, most people started to gradually understand the enormous potential of smart phones, at that time, Microsoft also had its own mobile operating system Windows Mobile which would have great potential although it was clumsy.
But Microsoft focused on other areas instead of Windows Mobile, while Apple focused on their iOS and Google focused on their Android. Later, Microsoft realized the opportunity of mobile Internet, so they launched their first version of Windows Phone, but the first version was not satisfactory. Then Microsoft released several updated versions, Windows Phone 7.5 and 7.8, until today's Windows Phone 8.
If they want to fight against iOS and Android camps, they still need to take some further initiatives to accelerate growth in some key markets and emerging markets. Windows Phone only got the support from Nokia, while other manufacturers such as Samsung and HTC only had a few models adopting Windows Phone.
However, after Steve Ballmer leaves, his replacement should concentrate on the phone and tablet market to create new value increment point although they are lagged behind Apple and Google. Many industry experts and analysts point out that the traditional PC is about to die, if Microsoft wants to lead the mobile phone and tablet market instead of following the footsteps of others, then they must devote more resources to the mobile area.
Maintain its influence
Microsoft may promote its own branded phones with the encouragement of Surface, it sounds like an incredible idea. Microsoft's biggest problem is that it has no big influence in the mobile phone and tablet market. Microsoft is not considered to be the market leader, so it lacks loyal users.
In addition, Ballmer guaranteed the iterated update of almost every product, but he ignored many tiny innovation. In the long run, only innovation can really keep consumers wallet. Perhaps this may be the biggest criticism received by Ballmer at Microsoft. What Microsoft now need to do is not only be the leader in the areas which it is familiar with, but also be a leader in the mobile Internet market.
Microsoft should do more things to keep its influence among consumers, wearable technology is a good place to put effort on. Microsoft may also put some effort in the automotive sector.
Invest more in small companies
Another important thing is that the new CEO needs to make some changes in some cases. They should consider whether the products conform to mainstream needs while making acquisitions. For example, Skype is a very good service, but $8.5 billion is indeed not cheap.
A better approach is to acquire some smaller companies, many exciting technologies are created by some small companies instead of R&D departments of those technology giants. It can increase Microsoft's vitality by buying some start-ups.
The retirement of Ballmer may open a door to freedom for Microsoft, it can allow Microsoft to face the world with a new attitude as an inspirational innovator.