Is Microsoft Killing Itself?

Windows 10 has been released for over two years. It was supposed to be a pioneer of the "OS as a service" business model, and though it’s 2018, it seems like it’s still not catching on. Currently, Windows 7 still remains tied with the newest operating system in terms of popularity. Apple’s user base is starting to show signs of growth. Chromebooks, once a laughed-at option, are growing in market share.
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Photo Courtesy of Beta News

Honestly,it’s unsurprising. If you look at the facts, Microsoft seems to be killing itself—or at the very least, killing off a lot of the products that made it the megalith that it once was.

Say Goodbye to PCs as You Know Them!

PC sales have been decreasing for a while, and now that Windows is a service rather than a product, Microsoft isn’t earning the amount it used to from licensing fees. To help alleviate the losses, Microsoft has turned to cloud computing and gaming to bolster its profits.
A dim shot of a Surface Book laptop
Photo by Jared Brashier / Unsplash

The problem with this is the way Microsoft is going about it. Rather than focus on what users wanted, the company has decided to place undue pressure on them to pay up, use their system, and use their system the way they want users to do so. This is typically a recipe for disaster—and you’ll understand why soon enough.

"We hear your complaints; we just don’t care."

The Windows 10 operating system personifies everything that is currently wrong with Microsoft’s business model. It takes a lot of control out of users’ hands—and while users have complained, the company didn’t budge on their decisions.

Some of the more aggravating problems Microsoft users have experienced include…

  • Forced automatic updates. Automatic updates can’t be turned off with Windows 10, no matter how hard you try. Some updates don’t mesh well with users, and truthfully, some users just don’t want all the extra add-ons clogging up their system. Users have complained, but Microsoft refuses to allow them the option to stop updates.
  • Poor customer service. If the updates cause issues on computers, many Microsoft users find that the company doesn’t want to fix the problem—or that they have to pay extra to keep a functional PC.
  • Features that can’t be shut off. Cortana, Microsoft’s Siri counterpart, can’t be turned off. The AI is constantly listening, often offers up ads, and generally makes people uncomfortable with its intrusive nature.
  • Built-in advertising and ‘accidental’ file deletion. Not cool, Microsoft. Not cool.

Microsoft has claimed that these features are all part of the Windows 10 user experience. Sadly, they don’t seem to be interested in giving users an experience they’ll enjoy. This is precisely what made Windows phones so terrible—and I speak as a former Windows phone owner.

The lack of interest in keeping loyal customers may just be their undoing, if you believe Warren Buffet’s advice about investing in quality companies. After all, if computers end up restricting clients this heavily, it’s very likely an operating system may end up taking hold as the majority of market shares.

Close-up of a person's hands on the keyboard of a MacBook
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash

A Short-Lived Victory?

As of right now, Microsoft has shown itself to be heavily vested in a cloud computing future. It’s a decision that has paid off heavily in the stock market, and we can’t deny that.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced it broke its record all-time high for stock prices as a result of its cloud-heavy enterprise. The Motley Fool recently cited Microsoft as a "solid long-term buy" due to its returns and management.

I, however, am not so sure.

Cloud computing may be useful, but without customer loyalty, it’s going to be hard for Microsoft to stay alive. The way they treat their customers is already starting to catch up with them in the PC market. It could just be a matter of time before Microsoft ends up seeing its stock match that problem.