The tech turf wars are raging on, and there is one notable giant largely missing from battle altogether. At least according to The Wall Street Journal, which leaves out Microsoft altogether from the software-hardware showdown portion of its 2013 technology preview. Sure, the year of Windows 8 and Surface didn't go so well — the operating system confused reviewers and delivered slow sales, while the tablet received a similar reception from buyers even though some techies liked it. And, as The New York Times's Quentin Hardy reports today, Google has eaten into its longtime business model of basic applications for businesses.
But tweets are for early adopters, not the mass indicators. Here are some ways Microsoft might catch on with the mainstream again in 2013:
Windows 8 Catches On
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has talked up the OS as a product people will get used to over time and learn to love. That might not happen with this iteration of Windows 8, as Microsoft likely won't phase out Windows 7 until 2014, with PC users likely continuing to use 7 until that move is completed. In the meantime, Microsoft might — maybe, hopefully — put out another more user-friendly version of Windows 8. Please?
The Xbox 720 Will Rule
The do-everything console is one of Microsoft's most successful products these days and the rumormongers say that a big refresh should arrive by Christmas of next year. The people are excited, and with good reason. So, if all goes as planned, it should sell well, like all the Xboxes before it, and maybe more so. Taking over the American living room is still one of the big hardware-software fights of the year ahead, and whatever TV thing Apple allegedly is coming up with will have to contend with Microsoft's sleeping giant.
Google Search Continues to Disappoint Us
As desperate as Microsoft's over-the-top anti-Google campaigns have gotten, they have a point: Google's search engine and browser over the last year or two have taken some pretty concerning steps as far as privacy goes. Microsoft has had a pretty aggressive marketing strategy to tell us all about it, of course, including that (kind of) clever Browser We Love to Hate campaign.
That's the future and all. Microsoft has a phone that people want to like, but hasn't seen the same kind of sales numbers as Samsung or Apple, partly because of its sad app-store offerings. Maybe if it ups the apps, people will start buying the thing. Microsoft also might have a fighting chance in the mobile browser war, something that no single company has conquered — yet.