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Microsoft in the post-Sinofsky era: What's next?

Ian Paul | Nov. 14, 2012
Windows and Windows Live Chief Steven Sinofsky left Microsoft Monday after charting a new course for the company with Windows 8, released in late October.

Google marries the Android and Chrome OS platforms to the search giant's wide variety of online services including Gmail, Google Docs, Google+, Maps, and local search. Even major Windows PC manufacturers such as Acer and Lenovo are creating cloud-based sync solutions in an attempt to offer services integrated with their own hardware.

Sinofsky made sure Windows 8 offered a strong start for Microsoft's software-integration plans. The new OS ties many of the company's products together including Bing, SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Xbox entertainment services such as games, music and video, and Windows Phone 8.

The company also is transitioning Microsoft Office from desktop-bound software to subscription-based, cloud-supported software that you can install on up to five different devices. Rumored versions of Office for Android and iOS are also expected to appear soon.

Now it's up to Larson-Green to go beyond deeper software integration.

In early 2013, Microsoft will unveil another version of its Surface tablet based on Windows 8 Pro. And there are also rumors the company will produce its own Windows Phone hardware. It's not clear if Microsoft plans to jettison its software focus in favor of an Apple-style hardware business model. Perhaps the company is just borrowing from Google's playbook by creating so-called "flagship products" that set the tone for what a Windows 8 and, in the future, a Windows 9 device should look like.

Whatever Microsoft's hardware plans are, Larson-Green and Microsoft's biggest challenges are to keep the Windows platform relevant by offering a wide variety of tightly integrated services and hardware. If Larson-Green can pull that off, she just might convince users turning away from PCs and towards tablets to stick with Windows over Android or iOS.

 

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