We are having this interesting discussion on yammer in Magenic about tech companies and how they compete in the current rapidly changing landscape. Here’s my response to a question about Microsoft’s competitive strategy in a world of Modern App development:
I think we're seeing a number of clear strategies from Microsoft.
1. Release key apps for every major platform - Office for iPad, Skype, Lync are examples - so users get the Microsoft apps they rely on even if they aren't on a Microsoft device – there’s a truism that people don’t buy computers or operating systems (or devices) – they buy machines that run useful apps – software is king, and Microsoft has some of the best software out there
2. Create the most compelling cloud services offering to users - outlook.com, OneDrive, etc. Notice that there are first-class OneDrive and OneNote apps for OS X and iOS for example. As someone who leverages all these cloud services, I find them to be extremely compelling – much in the same way Office is compelling – because they all play so well together as a unified family
3. Create a new device segment via Surface, where users get the productivity of a laptop with the pleasurable leisure experience of a tablet - for my part the Surface is _exactly_ what I've always wanted, because it is my dev machine _and_ I can watch movies on the plane even if the person in front of me reclines their seat
5. Leveraging their patent portfolio - like 'em or hate 'em, patents are a real thing, and Microsoft makes around $8-$10 per Android device and I believe some off each iDevice too - and now they are giving Windows away for free for devices under
7" 9”, so Windows is now the cheapest mainstream phone OS on the planet
6. Create the most comprehensive PaaS offering for cloud development - notice that Azure is not only amazingly compelling for .NET developers, but also for HTML 5/Java/PHP/etc. Even if they were to entirely lose the client they have a good shot at being the dominant, or certainly one of the dominant, cloud and server development targets in the foreseeable future