2014 is now officially ’well’ underway and we have already been seemingly inundated with articles and news stories about going to be the next big thing for the next twelve months. So far those reports have included the news that Cloud computing will continue to see growth (shock horror) and that desktop PC sales and shipment levels will continue their seemingly no stop decline (!!!).
With the year starting over anew the big question on everyone’s mind is not so much what will be big in 2014 but rather what will be massive in 2015 so they can get in on the ground floor now? We can assume quite safely that cloud will continue to pay a massive part of future IT projects for a number of years to come and with social media becoming more and more relevant in our everyday lives and Microsoft must surely be one of those companies looking to looking for new technologies to help integrate into new revenue streams and reclaim their long forgotten crown as king of the IT world.
Microsoft had a 2013 to forget with their tablet with an updated version of the Surface which only started to see really positive signs of consumer life towards the end of the calendar year. This followed an embarrassing lack of sales for the first version forcing Microsoft to write of a large sum from the yearly figures. The news that Steve Ballmer would be stepping aside and the hunt for his replacement seemed to take most of the media’s focus away from the actual sales figures and for some a seeming lack of new, innovate, ideas, with an increase in share price appearing soon after the news of the forthcoming departure broke.
With the replacement no doubt taking the reins during 2014 and getting a bedding in period before real changes are expected to hit the bottom line, 2015 should be the new CEO’s and Microsoft’s make or break year. Apple and Samsung will not be easing up on their battle for the IT crown and they will not be alone in the fight to become and remain king of the industry. Microsoft must use the good will generated by the installation of a new CEO to drive the company back towards the domination it enjoyed for so long.
Following an industry leader and visionary is never easy – just ask Tim Cook at Apple – and having to follow Bill Gates was no different for Steve Ballmer. The technology marketplace and consumer demand is constantly changing and no company can expect to stay king of the hill forever but they can all give it a damn good try. It could just be that fate and consumer’s passion for more mobile devices occurred at the wrong time for Steve Ballmer and Microsoft.
You could say that Windows 8 was an embarrassing failure as it has only just achieved double digit growth – thanks no doubt to discontinuation of support for Windows XP. But can we put all the blame for Microsoft’s decline in recent years at Steve Ballmer’s feet? No – he might be the captain of the ship and have his name on the stern but the rest of the crew is still just as responsible for a smooth ride and coming up with innovative, profitable, ideas. The new CEO will have to steady a shaky ship and provide clear navigation orders from the off to get this juggernaut back on track and 2015 should be the year we see if they have been a success or not.