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Hero to Zero, Microsoft's Next-Gen Concerns

If I’ve heard any assumption once too often it’s that Microsoft are in the “best position” to move forward into the next generation of consoles. I can see where it comes from, Microsoft make a lot of money, especially when compared to the other major players in the gaming industry, but does that money always translate into better products? More importantly, for us gamers, does their misfortune in almost every market they’ve attempted to enter since the turn of the millennium mean their investors will be reluctant to take the necessary risks with the ‘720’ (or whatever) that it needs to compete with Sony and Nintendo?

There was a time when Microsoft used to dominate the tech industry; in fact, it was the wealthiest company in the world. But in the last decade they’ve sat in stagnation as Apple, Google and even Facebook whiz past in an innovative blur. When they have tried to compete in areas such as ebooks, music, search, social networking etc. they’ve fallen flat on their faces every time. One could even go as far as to say the only real success they’ve had is with the Xbox 360 and even then they have the least market share between the big three. Some would also argue that the Xbox 360 has had it easy too with a full year head start on the market and has prospered only due to Sony’s misfortunes and missteps; a circumstance which is unlikely to repeat itself.

Microsoft’s most recent foray into relatively new markets has resulted in yet another massive embarrassment for the company. Their Surface tablets have failed to garner the consumer response they were looking for and MS have slashed their sales forecast from 1 to 2 million down to 500 to 600k, this is also an echo of their sagging smartphone sales. To really put their position into perspective you need only look at Apples iPhone, which brings in more revenue than the entirety of Microsoft. Yes, you read that correctly, ONE product makes more money for Apple than EVERYTHING Microsoft does.

So the next time you think Microsoft’s money is a reason to expect the next generation Xbox to be head and shoulders above competitors as far as tech and support are concerned, think more like one of their investors. Ask if it’s worth a gamble that Sony will create the exact same circumstances that allowed the Xbox to get it's foot in the door in the first place and will the ever shrinking island of the PC market still be big enough to buffer their future stumbles.

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Godmars2901992d ago

Microsoft were never tech leaders. They cornered the OS market as it developed, originally took over for Apple as PCs became popular as Apple priced themselves into a non-competitive position, but they were never tech leaders.

Internet Explorer as the least popular yet most used - largely because most with a Windows don't bother with other browsers, and those who do often switch - proves it, just like the original Xbox which had least rather than outright bought components.

GalacticEmpire1992d ago

I guess you're right in that they've always moved into and conquered markets rather than create an innovative piece of tech that spurred it's own market. When I wrote "tech leaders" I guess I was thinking more along the lines of just how much money they made in the tech business with software and not that they had any world changing tech products products specifically.

Microsoft has always had a big monopoly (windows) to fall back on for as long as I can remember and now that PC sales are being eaten up by tablets and/or cloud computing they seem to have missed the boat, leaving them stranded on their own personal shrinking island.

To be honest it's a wonder Apple and Google haven't made a play to compete more directly with windows, if either (or both) did it would spell disaster for Microsoft. I know Google have their cloud OS and Apple have Mac OS but niether is aimed directly at Windows. I honestly believe most computers in the future will be cloud based and with Google getting a massive head start in this area just like with smartphones it will be difficult for MS to compete.

Better relate this comment more to gaming...

If MS handle the launch of the new Xbox like they have their recent smartphones and tablets, consumers may respond the same. A Windows 8 style OS would also further tie the 720 to their other failures in the mind of the consumers. I hope they keep the Xbox platform a bit more 'pure', keep the x-platform services/features but avoid tying it too close to their sinking tablets or phones.

Sorry for long reply went off on a bit of a tangent.

NeverEnding19891990d ago (Edited 1990d ago )

I feel misled. When I read the title "Hero to zero" I assumed this was a blog about Sony's transition from PS2 to PS3.

1990d ago