2009 Year in Review: Microsoft

2009 Year in Review: Microsoft


Thanks for joining us on the 2009 Microsoft
Review a look back at news from the software giant. 2009 was a big year for Microsoft. It was
the first year where Bill Gates didn’t have a hand in day to day operations; he passed
that baton to CEO Steve Ballmer. The company launched a new OS and search engine and updated
its gaming hardware among other announcements this year. Its financials though were full
of ups and downs. By far, the biggest news for the company this
year was the launch of its next operating system, Windows 7. The buzz spanned most of
the year, from when we got a look at it during the Consumer Electronics Show in January,
to when Microsoft announced the release candidate in May, then finalized it in July and shipped
it out in October. Steve Ballmer was his usual upbeat self at the launch event in New York. It is a great honor and privilege for me to
have a chance to be here today. I’m an enthusiastic personality. I think I get a little fired
up about things and I’ll tell you, there’s not much that gets me more fired up than the
chance to start selling, delivering, and letting customers enjoy Windows 7. So today, Windows
7 is available, 45,000 stores around the world, it’s available on new PCs, the upgrade is
available, and it’s out there for all to just appreciate and enjoy, hopefully as much as
our 8 million beta testers have done. So today, not only do I get to say that I’m Steve Ballmer
and I’m a PC, but I’m Steve Ballmer and I’m a Windows 7 PC…effective immediately. At the time the OS launched in October, some
72 percent of computer users were still using Windows XP while 19 percent were using Vista.
In late November, the Wall Street Journal put sales of Windows 7 at 40 million copies
in the first month, double what Vista sales were in the same time period. With Bill Gates out of the spotlight, Steve
Ballmer is now at the helm of the company and for the first time, keynoted at CES 2009
without the help of Gates. While much of the talk was focused around Windows 7, Ballmer
did show off prototype technology like this flexible display from the company’s research
group. This is actually a flexible display that’s
less than a millimeter thick. It’s an active display and its very similar to the e-ink
displays that we see in textbooks or digital book readers right now. So we see these displays
evolving into color displays. Something you can roll up into your back pack. While e-readers have been made so popular
by Amazon and Sony, Microsoft’s display is a prototype so no commercialization date’s
in sight. Late in the year the European Commission accepted
Microsoft’s commitments to offer browser choice putting an end to the Commission’s
antitrust investigation of the company’s position in the browser market. Now for the first time in over a decade, Internet
users in Europe will have an effective and various choice between Microsoft’s Internet
explorer and competing web browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox, Google chrome, Apple Safari
and Opera. The company will offer users of Windows XP,
Windows Vista and Windows 7 a choice screen that will allow them to pick the browsers
they want to install. Since the commitment is legally binding, Microsoft could face a
fine of up to 10 percent of its worldwide turnover if it doesn’t deliver. Gates stepped away from day to day activities
at the company he founded and directed much of his energy towards the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation. He made news when he committed 225 million US dollars to eradicate polio
and appealed for aid at the annual Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland. Microsoft has done much online development
this year. It released a new version of Internet Explorer, showed off the next version of IE
and updated its search engine. In March Microsoft released the latest version of Internet Explorer,
IE8. At the company’s Mix conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft stressed performance
improvements, better support for Internet technology standards and security as highlights
of the new browser. One of the key things we’ve invested in
was to make sure we provide tools to help customers identify if sites might be malicious. Later in the year at the company’s Professional
Developers Conference Microsoft announced development work on Internet Explorer 9. The
company claims that the next browser, which doesn’t yet have a release date, has nearly
closed the performance gap between itself and rivals made by Mozilla and Google. Internet Explorer wasn’t the only online
development from the company though. In July it introduced Bing, what it calls a decision
engine and an update to Microsoft Live Search. By December Microsoft boasted 83.3 million
unique users for Bing, up 16 percent from when it launched. And while Microsoft holds
about 10 percent of the search market, according to ComScore, Google commands a whopping 65
percent. Towards the end of the year Microsoft outfitted Bing Maps with a 3D cityscape feature,
its own version of Google Streetview called Streetside and a feature called Application
Gallery that allows you to overlay different kinds of information on top of maps, like
tweets or traffic cameras. With the new mapping features, the company hopes to further chip
away at Google’s lead. In another play by Microsoft to unseat Google,
Microsoft and Yahoo struck a deal on internet search. Microsoft’s Bing will power Yahoo’s
search site, and Yahoo will sell premium search advertising services for both companies. The
two companies expect the full implementation of the deal to take two years following regulatory
approval. Yahoo estimates that the deal will provide an additional $275 million US dollars
in annual operating cash flow. The Microsoft-Yahoo deal wasn’t the only
agreement that paired Microsoft and another company to take on competition. Nokia and
Microsoft partnered this year as well, agreeing to work together and compete against common
enemies, RIM’s Blackberry and Apple’s iPhone. Through this alliance we will develop Microsoft
Office Mobile and related communication and collaboration software and services for Nokia
smartphones. This agreement is significant for both companies. It is the first time that
Microsoft will develop Office Mobile for another platform. The new alliance targets business users. Nokia
is the world’s biggest cell phone maker and its Symbian smartphone OS is the market leader
for mid-range handsets. Mobile news for the company wasn’t limited
to its partnership with Nokia. It also announced Windows Mobile 6.5 and several other mobile
offerings at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. First is the announcement of the Windows Mobile
6.5 OS which will become available on handsets later this year. The next thing we’re announcing
is a new service called Microsoft My Phone. Our services make it easy to manage personal
information on a Windows Phone via the web. With My Phone you can back up and protect
all of the information in the phone to the web so you can access it and restore it to
your phone to a new mobile device. Third and last we’re announcing Windows Marketplace
for Windows Phones. At the Windows Marketplace you’ll find applications to suit your personal
needs. The mobile OS was offered on a number of handsets
this year, including HTC’s HD2 that launched in Taiwan. Steve Ballmer was there to pick
up a personalized version of the device. And to celebrate the company’s 20th year in
the country, Microsoft agreed to open a joint cloud computing center with the island’s
economics ministry. It aims to give Taiwanese computer makers a place to test out new hardware
and software made to work with Microsoft products, including new cloud computing applications
and services. No other details about the facility are known. The Nintendo Wii, with its motion controlled
gaming, has tapped a network of casual gamers that made the console extremely popular. This
year Microsoft played catch up and at the E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles in June,
it impressed the crowd with motion gaming technology called Project Natal. Rather than
hold a controller like the Wii, Project Natal lets gamers control the play with their whole
body. It even includes face and voice recognition. Microsoft showed the technology later in the
year at the Tokyo Game show, but even then no details on a possible release date were
available. On the Nasdaq the company started out around
20 dollars a share in January and dipped down to 15 dollars a share in march. After that
the climb was generally steady and to company closes out the year with a stock price valued
around 30 dollars a share. And that’s the 2009 Microsoft Review, be
sure to check out our other year end reports. With reporting by the global correspondents
of IDG I’m Nick Barber in Boston.

One thought on “2009 Year in Review: Microsoft

  • June 6, 2010 at 2:53 pm
    Permalink

    How long does anyone think MS can go on before they lag so far behind that they will need to clear out the older ppl at the top? MS have done a lot of good moves in the past, but they are making too many bad ones to survive another 7yrs, i think.

    Reply

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