is desperate to find a new market Microsoft (MSFT) can dominate.
Launching new products from from the ultra sexy like Courier, to the ultra snoozy cloud-computing platform Azure, Microsoft is set to increase its addressable market by 53%, according to Jefferies analyst Katherine Egber.
Of course, addressing a market is hardly the same thing as conquering one, and Microsoft is getting a late start in a number of its new markets.
But in her report, Katherine says, “Microsoft has come from behind many times before to gain share in markets established by others.” She says Microsoft has an “exceptionally patient management team who thinks in terms of decades, not years.”
“We would not rule Microsoft out.”
Microsoft is trying to one up Nintendo's Wii with its Project Natal. Instead of using a remote, you'll be the remote. You move around to control your character on the screen. Project Natal will be added onto Xbox and is supposed to be ready by Christmas. Unless Microsoft totally blows it, we think this should be a hit. It looks like a lot of fun.
The KIN phones aren't much to look at. And the feature set on them is limited too. But, they're an interesting product because Microsoft is essentially trying to create a whole new category of phone. It's neither smartphone, nor feature phone, it's somewhere in between. KIN phones are designed for sharing photos, status updates, whatever. If Microsoft can price these correctly, they look like good phones to give teenagers and young adults that don't need an iPhone, but want an advanced phone nonetheless.
Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 debuted to rave reviews. Then again, so did Palm's WebOS. So, we're not going to get ahead of ourselves, but there's no denying that Microsoft created a slick looking new mobile OS that does look at first blush like it's just another iPhone wanna-be. One huge hurdle for Windows Phone 7 is the fact that it launches at the end of the year. By that point Apple's next iPhone should be on the market, possibly making Windows Phone 7 look obsolete.
For now Microsoft's e-reader is just a slick looking video. But the first time we saw the video from Gizmodo, it stopped us in our track. It looked like something out of the future. The Courier supposedly folds in half becoming the size of a paperback. Will this thing ever see the light of day? Probably. Will it be as bad-arse as the leaks make it seem? Probably not. Still, as Apple's iPad charges forward and Google preps its own tablet, it's good to know Microsoft isn't just laying down.
The next version of Office is due out in the next few months. This is one of Microsoft's big cash cows, but it's under attack from Google and its free web based docs. To fight the Google challenge, Microsoft will offer an online componet for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It's going to be a fiscal challenge for Microsoft to deal with its apps moving online, but we're optimistic Microsoft can make a product that's better than what Google offers.
So this isn't new or exciting per se. But, Katherine Egbert at Jeffries said in a note earlier this month, 'Windows 7 has had the fastest adoption rate of any Windows client OS in history.' This is a largely ignored tech story. Windows 7 has really delivered for Microsoft.
It's always good to have another place to sell PCs. And it's also good to have a place where you can grow your brand. Microsoft's retail stores do both of those things. The company has two open now, and it's opening two more. If you have any doubt about the importance of a successful retail channel, Apple said it saw $1.68 billion in revenue from retail stores last quarter.
We're throwing this one out there, even though it's just a rumour at this point. We've heard Microsoft has been talking to mobile ad company Millenial Media for months about an acquisition. Millenial would give Microsoft some ammo to fight Apple's iAds, and Google's AdMob. Even if Microsoft doesn't buy Millenial, it has its own mobile ad product it's developing.
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