Another letter to Microsoft

Hi Steve,

its me again. It seems you are picking up on the idea of actually competing as you have shown with Surface and your recent “we will leave no rock unturned” remark.

However, here are my thoughts on my favorite technology company refined – after all you had 3 month to think about my last letter:

1. Give away Windows Phone for free to handset makers and get some market share. You will find better ways to monetize than selling Windows Phone licenses (e.g. providing really good business apps). Oh, and if you announce a new version of your phone OS, maybe you either want to be able to update your installed base or give away free handsets to those early adopters of your technology. These people might be important in the long run (just a thought). I mean, yes you reached a whopping 1,3% market share, but do you really want to start bullying your customers around already?

2. Kill Sony and ship that next XBOX now. Seriously, what takes so long? Your competition is down – kick’em while you can! Well, and if you don’t want to do that, why don’t you spend 10 million on a lackluster Halo Web movie – I am sure that will get the XBOX8 off the ground nicely (sometimes I wonder what is going on – must be the weather in Redmond).

3. Price Office 365 so aggressively that no one can decline – you’ll earn enough money in the long run and the world would be a better place. Nothing to add – by the way I like your idea of giving Windows 8 away for – lets say – basically free to anyone who ever bought Windows before. This is how it should be – nicely done!

4. Rethink your Cloud Strategy – make sure the end-user device can be any device and not just Microsoft driven – SkyDrive for iOS was a good idea but utterly useless if you don’t integrate into iOS so that it can be used from Apps.

5. Explain your Tablet Strategy and realize that you have to be better than the Tablets already out there! Windows on Arm confuses everyone, but at least now we have a name for it and the desktop strategy seems more clear (there will be a desktop, but just for Office: take that you dirty 3rd. party software companies, I mean valuable Application ecosystem)

6. Ship your Apps for all systems! That might be hard, but if you want to earn a Billion overnight ship Office for iOS and Android for a decent price – if you just charge the same as Apple for Pages, Numbers and Keynote you have an instant hit! No changes here, problem is Office RT and Office 2013 are delayed to next summer, really? How many engineers do you need to make this stuff? You do realize that many Apps on iOS with similar functionality were written by very small teams?

7. Make hardware! Build your own Mobile Handset as a reference for everyone else. Build your own PC that truly gives us a Windows experience out of the box and doesn’t come loaded with crapware. You have the chance and everything you need to give your customers the “Apple” experience, why don’t you? It is just a reference platform for those of us who want to have a machine that simply works, you can still sell your stuff to every other PC maker out there.

Nicely done Steve – you took me by my word and Surface looks amazing. Sell it for 399$ and you will dominate in tablets next year!

My best idea you have ignored so far, but why don’t you split off the consumer business (XBOX, consumer PC’s, Windows for Consumers, Windows Phone?) and start actually competing on a faster release cycle – I have the feeling you do have the technology to win!

I understand, it is hard to give up some of your responsibility, but again if you need someone to run one or all of these projects feel free to give me a call.