Is Microsoft Doing Enough to Stay Relevant?
Though it seemed likely that Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) would be well aware of problems that have plagued it for the past couple months — including a rocky launch of the Surface RT — Microsoft’s moves to address these issues may prove insufficient.
In a direct move to remedy some of Microsoft’s ailments, the company is going to release 12 security updates Tuesday. Two of the updates will target an amazingly high 57 vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer, and another update will solve issues on the Windows RT operating system for the Surface RT tablet and others.
These updates should prove important for Internet Explorer, which has been struggling to remain a popular web browser, especially among younger demographics drawn increasingly to Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox, and the newer Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Chrome. Microsoft recently launched an ad campaign targeting users who grew up in the nineties. But while the security updates are intended to make Internet Explorer safer for users, the number of vulnerabilities that needed patching might just tell those nineties kids that IE is still to be avoided…
The update for Windows RT may prove to be too little too late. The specialty operating system that had been used on Windows tablets like the Surface RT has had a bug in it since last month, which this update should fix, but the tablet may have already had its reputation tarnished by the error and by very limited product availability that may have kept eager consumers from getting their hands on the tablets.
Now, the Surface RT may be even less significant, as Microsoft’s Surface Pro came out over the weekend, offering unparalleled computer capabilities in a hybrid tablet form. The new device features a full version of Windows 8 Pro, which could be key in enticing power-users or those who perform complicated tasks on their devices to buy the Surface Pro over the more popular iPad.
However, even if the Surface Pro can top the Surface RT and the iPad for enterprise customers, it can’t do so if no one can buy it. Facing a similar problem as the Surface RT, supplies of the Surface Pro apparently dried up too quickly over the launch weekend, and many customers were unable to purchase the devices online or find them in stores. Since Microsoft won’t release sales figures for the device, it’s possible that the Surface Pro had an amazing sales weekend, but it’s also possible that there weren’t many devices in the first place and the shortage could just hurt the launch of the product.
Both the patch news and the Surface Pro news have special significance for Microsoft’s business market. The patch was vital for Microsoft maintaining its good standing with enterprises, as one critical patch was for Exchange Server, which is a vital program for communication within businesses.
The business market has slowly been slipping into the hands of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) as the iPad finds a home in the hands of more and more business people. The Surface Pro is Microsoft’s chance to turn that shift around and maintain its dominance in the business market. But, a meager launch could keep the device from doing what Microsoft may need it to do in order to stay relevant in a “post-PC” world.
Don’t Miss: Is Apple Close to Making An iWatch?