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Turning lemons into lemonade

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If Microsoft were a human being, it would be one that fakes death and ‘resurrects’ many times; making the work of the eulogy writer an ever-ending one.

While Microsoft was leisurely basking in the sunshine of its PC operating software success, its fierce rival, Apple, was secretly changing course from computers to smartphones and mobiles.

This became apparent with the debut of Apple’s most celebrated portable music player, the iPod.

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When the iPhone arrived on the scene in 2007, it was no longer arguable; Apple had won the bragging rights of the technology league. The introduction of the iPad, two years later, became a tremor that shock Microsoft’s share price.

At that point, it was very wise for any astute technology writer to start scripting Microsoft’s eulogy, just in case.

While the industry expected Microsoft to come up with a product to trash Apple smartphone, the answer came from an unexpected source, Google. Google Android provided the software platform that smartphone hardware builders like Samsung would use to build the Android ecosystem to rival the Apple OS iPhone.

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Meanwhile, Microsoft was slowly dying from the weight of its PC success. In business, intoxication with success can be a catalyst for death; in a success-drunken state, companies fail to detect the next wave for the industry.

Because PCs were doing well at that time, it was difficult for Microsoft to discern that the PC party would soon lose its luster.

When Microsoft finally did, it was late as the others were already very well entrenched in the smartphone market.

Microsoft half-heartedly entered the smartphone market with the Windows Phone after short-circuiting the process by buying out Nokia’s Lumia smartphone business. The Windows phone was not bad effort but failed miserably because it did not have enough code writers willing to write apps for it.

At that point, Microsoft should have been a dead man walking. Far from it. The company turned lemons into lemonade by selling more operating systems for servers and its office application software.

Recently, Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, announced that the company’s revenue increased by 44 percent in the last quarter. Demand for laptops soared because of the Covid pandemic.

Microsoft has also announced a five-year commitment to building products for people with disabilities. These are products that will expand technology accessibility for this group.

Microsoft is changing focus for survival and is brave enough to dive into uncharted waters.

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