With all due respect to Gartner research analysts, I do not think that the questions raised by Silver and MacDonald captures the pulse of business managers and owners today. The truth is that Microsoft Windows has two primary dimensions -- client and server. Within these domains there are subdomains that cater to specific requirements, features and functionality.
The truth is that each release of Microsoft Windows since NT has become more stable and secure, meanwhile enhancing and providing new services.
In addition to Windows, Microsoft has a software and service portfolio encompassing over 500 solutions that cater to businesses and other organizations of all sizes and markets. The result is that in some ways, the company has a sizeable market share or monopoly if you will, and for the most part, "no one likes a monopoly".
So what is the key competitive advantage that Microsoft has in spite of what some consider to be overpriced and let's just say less than perfect software? First, we need to acknowledge that no software is perfect. When there is a vulnerability in a Microsoft product, it appears in skywriting but no one really highlights the absence of such vulnerabilities in its products; the fact that Microsoft takes its committment to its customers seriously, evidenced through the release of regular security and critical updates; or the fact that the company provides not only timely reactive but increasingly proactive support. Lastly, Microsoft offers its customers a fully integrated product stack, providing a seamless look and feel among its operating systems and applications from the client through the server level. This is a significant value add.
I'll step down from my pro-Microsoft soapbox now and draw things back into focus. Please save your applause until the end.
I think that there is a lot of interest on the part of businesses and other organizations today, not so much in challenging the relevance of Microsoft Windows but reducing the need to maintain on premise IT infrastructure to provide all of its required software and services. Designing, implementing, operating and supporting systems requires significant investment in time, money and manpower. Let's not forget about the need to upgrade all of the above every so often.
How does not only Microsoft but other software companies, which are in line to be most impacted by this movement respond to this challenge?
While "the answer" remains to be seen, the current blueprint that is being laid out is Software as a Service (SaaS) and Software + Services (S+S). SaaS is the delivery of on demand or utilitization of applications in a cloud (the Internet 2.0). S+S on the other hand, is the delivery of off-premise (hosted) software and associated services create more of a seamless experience, such as the ability to use a single application on different systems and platforms. The benefit is reducing the burden on organizations while enabling them to use the appropriate blend of technologies to meet their organizational needs.
For anyone interested in learning more about Saas and S+S, a quick Internet search using your search engine of choice -- <a href="www.live.com">www.live.com</a> or <a href="www.msdewey.com">www.msdewey.com</a> for example will yield plenty of hits.