Microsoft Wants to Speed up Software Upgrade Cycle


Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is planning to make a dramatic shift in the way it upgrades its software. Traditionally, the company has put out updated Office software every three years or so. However, the company is planning to soon switch to weekly updates. Microsoft is trying to stay on top of the ever-changing industry by updating its Internet-based software on a regular basis.

Infrequent upgrades did make sense for Microsoft as for many years its customers were businesses that valued predictable updates. However, newer competitors such as Jive Software Inc. (NASDAQ:JIVE), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Dropbox, Inc. adapted much quicker by sending automatic updates over the Internet, and their customers got used to this speed.

According to Melissa Webster, an analyst for the market-research firm IDC, the other companies are making Microsoft look like a “dinosaur” by only updating every three years or so.

However, Microsoft has gotten the message and is responding. Within a year, customers will be able to get weekly updates for Internet-based products including email and telephony and collaboration tools.

Microsoft is taking advantage of a company it acquired, Yammer, in order to implement these changes. Yammer is a start-up that provided its users with frequent updates, although it had far fewer users.

With this change, Microsoft hopes to provide better service to its customers, but it is going to face challenges as implements a radically new system.

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