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What Microsoft did right and wrong in 2013

Tim Greene | Dec. 19, 2013
Microsoft is getting Office 365 right, but that Scroogled campaign is so wrong.

Xbox One
Released late last month, the latest Microsoft gaming console is so much more, and so far has had largely favorable reviews.

In addition to games it supports TV watching, split-screen display of applications, Kinect motion sensing, Skype videoconferencing, voice commands and gesture navigation.

Locked in a battle with Play Station 4 for dominance in holiday sales, Xbox One has the potential to do more, according to this Network World review. These include such features as streaming games to PCs or serving as a digital assistant.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Part of Microsoft's larger Dynamics offering, Dynamics CRM is finally making headway against its competitors.

It's been around for years, Dynamics CRM is showing promising growth, up to 40,000 business customers in July, up from 33,000 customers the year before, again cashing in on those customers willing to go to cloud services.

In this case Microsoft has clawed to being fourth among CRM competitors behind No.1, two SAP and three Oracle, Gartner says, pulling in an estimated $1.1 billion in revenues. And analysts say it is growing faster than SAP's and Oracle's CRM business.

With a new mobile strategy that has tablets at its center, the service is also poised for continued impressive growth in 2014, still lagging far behind, but moving in the right direction.

Cybercrime Center
Microsoft opened a dedicated facility last month to house its botnet disruption team and partners willing to help in the cause.

While the company had such a team before, the center pulls together a larger group and acts as nexus for branch cybercrime investigation offices around the globe. Its emphasis on collaboration with partners means it has the potential to move quickly to draw in new resources to fight all forms of cybercrime.

The company's string of high-profile botnet takedowns over the past few years have highlighted the sophistication of criminals using the Internet to commit crimes and the ever-changing methods crime fighters have to employ to succeed. The Cybercrime Center should help elevate the law-enforcement effort from a game of Whac-A-Mole to something more effective.


Windows 8.1
In a way Windows 8.1 was the right thing to do, but it didn't go far enough.

Microsoft responded to a number of complaints about Windows 8 and added new features, but the package still comes up short capturing the imagination and more important the cash of potential customers.

According to multiple organizations that track use of operating systems, the numbers show that Windows 8.1 isn't capturing those customers finally abandoning Windows XP and  isn't making significant headway into businesses.

Windows 8.1 takes some getting used to and it requires a touch device to be appreciated fully, but it has its limitations. Apps that run on Windows 7 run on Windows 8.1 but look and behave just as they did in Windows 7. The apps that show off Windows 8.1 to its best advantage are approaching 150,000, they just aren't compelling enough to draw customers.


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