Friday, March 28, 2008

Microsoft swot

Microsoft swot


Microsoft Corporation was established in 1975 as a supplier of the DOS operating system and developer of programming languages for the first IBM personal computer. Twenty-six years later, it has literally become the most powerful force in the software industry, earning chairman and co-founder (with Paul Allen) Bill Gates millions of dollars and a significant place in technology history. Today the company is the worldwide leader for software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing.

Strengths One of Microsoft's greatest strengths is the company's sheer momentum. It has never slowed down, and continues to squash competitors left and right by being the first - or at least the most heavily promoted - in every market it conquers. Certainly, Bill Gates doesn't give up -- his products may not be the best upon first release, but he continues to improve on them year after year and push new versions out the door at an almost alarming rate. This persistence has surely paid off, and Microsoft definitely isn't going anywhere. Microsoft 'has created tremendous value for America' with all the innovative software products it has developed, not to mention the thousands of jobs it has directly and indirectly created for Americans (Pohlman and Gardiner, p. 63). Who can remember, anymore, what life was like without Windows? We now have an entire generation of people who have never lived in a time when there was not Windows, and who wouldn't know what do to if faced with a black AS/400 screen and function key commands as their only mode of computing.


Historically, Microsoft simply hasn't had the talent it needs in-house to continually develop and maintain technologies needed in the marketplace. In short, the company has made it big by buying other peoples' ideas. Still today, Microsoft's staff lacks the experience to handle such concepts as enterprise software and distributed computing. The majority of the company's developers are young and inexperienced. Microsoft has become notorious for 'borrowing' the ideas of other companies and utilizing its own money and clout to bury its competitors. The software giant has spent billions of dollars on investments and acquisitions, such as its 1999 billion investment in AT & T


Over the years, Microsoft has taken every opportunity to lobby for international trade initiatives that would allow the corporation to expand its global reach. For instance, in 2000, CEO Bill Gates, along with a number of other corporate heavy-hitters, signed a letter urging Congress to approve China's accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO). China was allowed to join the WTO in 2001; permanent normal trade relations with this, the world's largest nation, has meant a huge increase in software development and marketing opportunities for Microsoft. In fact, the software giant formed a joint venture in the spring of 2002 with Shanghai Alliance Investment specifically to develop and market software services in the China market; operations began in July under the name Wicresoft. The new company will develop proprietary applications for companies based in China as well as in other countries. Microsoft has also reportedly been courting Chinese officials by donating funds to educational projects in order to "gain a foothold" in China's .62 billion software market (Tham, PG). Microsoft has built a network of alliances in this country as well, including partners in cable, wireless technology, and Internet software. In the technology industry, the pace is so rapid that it is simply impossible to "build everything organically;" thus, partnerships are critical (De Kare-Silver, p. 13). In 1997, Microsoft acquired WebTV, the maker of technology that allows users to access the Internet from their televisions. Since the acquisition more capabilities have been added to the service, with a focus on an enhanced television experience. WebTV is essentially a complement to the user's Internet access through his or her PC. While it yet remains to be seen whether television will be transformed from a primarily passive medium to a primarily interactive one, Microsoft has certainly established its position in this new market, just in case. Another area in which Microsoft has indulged in external opportunities to add stakeholder value and market share involves technologies other than software or Internet-related products. For instance, digital TV has become very popular in Europe, but in the United States the medium has a "range of proprietary standards" that is making it difficult to advance in the market (De Kare-Silver, p. 177). Microsoft has become involved in leading the effort to change this and establish a more open standard, undoubtedly with plans to lead the market with its own technology.


Endless change in the world of technology can be a pitfall for a company like Microsoft. CEO Bill Gates has attempted to take control of every potential environmental change, with mixed results. The company's attempt to build a proprietary online service, for instance, initially bombed because the open atmosphere of the Internet was resistant to Microsoft's typical tact of proprietary control. No one can control or own the Internet, although Microsoft tried. No one crushes competitors like Microsoft, but obviously you have to be careful who and how you crush, because governmental regulations can be a threat, as Bill Gates recently discovered when his company was sued for anti-trust activities by the U.S. Justice Department. The lawsuit began in 1998 when Netscape Communications Corporation complained that the development of Microsoft's Internet browser, Microsoft Internet Explorer, discouraged PC manufacturers from installing Netscape's Internet browser with the Windows operating system, thereby allowing Microsoft to unfairly dominate the market for web browsers. Finally, even though Microsoft is a huge, multinational organization with nearly unbeatable power in all its markets, there are still competitors lurking about who pose at least a minimal threat to the company. Indeed, it's a good thing for Microsoft that company executives have taken to pursuing strategic alliances to penetrate the market in China. IBM has been and currently is the market leader in China with regard to the packaged software industry (Tham, PG), with nearly 7 percent of the market.

by Anonymous Student



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