According to a Bloomberg report, Microsoft is looking for greater technology knowledge in its executive ranks. It is hard to imagine that one of the most successful software companies in all of history needs such. I submit that, irrespective of technical leadership needs, Microsoft needs creativity more than anything else. Microsoft’s name and products are ubiquitous, and the company surely does not need some grand slam new technology to compete with anyone. They need to leverage their existing products to the greatest extent possible. Here are some developments Microsoft could make to greatly increase profitability.
Number one, Microsoft should leverage the language switching capability of Windows 7 Ultimate. It is a terrible shame that Microsoft’s top operating system is always considered a joke. Reading the newsgroup postings that discuss whether Ultimate is worth the money, I usually discover that people see absolutely no value in it. Ultimate does have a great hammer and screwdriver, but they need to assemble the small house, and then sell the entire solution. The language switching feature should be promoted for schools to teach students foreign languages. Microsoft can even develop a suggested curriculum, with the help of teachers, and offer it for free on their web site. As an example of how such a program would work, teachers would instruct students to switch the language of their classroom laptops to the foreign language. Students would then type letters to their in-class pen pals. They would be required to ask a certain number of questions, and provide some information about themselves. Their “pen pals” would then write back in an appropriate manner. The instructor would have administrative access to the entire letter archive, project letters on a screen, and critically analyze the grammar. By writing in the foreign language constantly, students would learn it much more thoroughly and faster than by merely reading, doing rote problems for homework, and taking tests. Microsoft may have to create some tools for the teacher, or the classroom could use Sharepoint or even carbon copy the teacher on all correspondence, to get the information flowing between teacher and student. With a curriculum established, Microsoft would push Windows 7 Ultimate for all students. With the student purchase costs being fairly low, even if Microsoft charges students an extra ten dollars for Ultimate, that would be ten dollars they never would have made. The new standard in the schools would be the premium operating system, and the perpetual revenue increase would be a great boon to the company.
Suggestion number two for Microsoft is to add generational data groups (GDGs) also called generational data sets, to the premium Windows operating system. Long a staple of mainframes, a GDG is a historical collection of a particular file. Each time the file is updated it is saved as a new version, and a set number of previous versions are kept as well. The oldest version is purged when a new file is added, and the total number of versions that are kept is set by the user.
On PCs we all struggle at times updating files and saving backups of them. If Microsoft built in generational datasets into Windows, the user would be able to save any file, and Windows would automatically save the previous version as well as the new one. When the user makes a mistake and loses information in the file, they can easily go to the historical version of the file. Microsoft should build a thread view of GDG’s into Windows Explorer. A file appears with a plus sign perhaps, indicating that several versions of the file are available. Explorer can show an expanded view of all versions, or a collapsed view showing the most recent file date. Additional columns can be added such as the number of generations that are saved for each file. Microsoft Office may take special advantage of GDG capability, but Windows should seamlessly allow any application to save a file, while the OS automatically turns it into a GDG. Requirements for application conformance with the new standard of course are up to Microsoft, but I suggest making it a built in function that can be turned on per individual file, file type, or global. With GDG capability I would strongly reconsider moving up to Windows 7 Ultimate. How about you?