To some, it’s hard to believe that Microsoft was once the world’s most valuable company. In fact, in inflation-adjusted dollars, Microsoft’s total market value of $616 billion in 1999 is still the record (yes, even higher than Apple today, in real dollars). However, Microsoft’s current market value is less than $240 billion.
Although Microsoft is still the leading company in operating system software, Internet browsers, and office software, it is a limited presence in the mobile, tablet, and other markets compared to Apple, Google, and others. And the PC demand for software is declining as PC sales give way to other forms of hardware.
Thus, TODAY is a R-E-A-L-L-Y BIG DAY for Microsoft. It is the official launch of Windows, a breakthrough operating system that is modern, uses touch-screen technology, and is made for the mobile era. Yet, long-time users may be confused over how Windows 8 actually works and be concerned about the loss of some features with which they are comfortable (such as the Start button).
Microsoft’s goals are to not only drive its own sales but to stimulate PC sales and generate consumer enthusiasm.
Here’s Shira Ovide’s take on Microsoft’s strategy for the Wall Street Journal: “Microsoft spent billions of dollars and more than three years remodeling its flagship product. Now the hard work begins: Getting consumers, software developers, and other allies excited about Windows again. The software giant on Thursday formally introduced the touch-oriented overhaul of the operating system that powers nine out of every 10 computers in the world and goes on sale Friday October 26. Microsoft’s new Windows 8 software is widely viewed as a test of whether the PC-era kingpin can become a factor in new-wave mobile devices — not just tablets but convertible devices that can operate in clamshell or slate-style modes. Microsoft says more than 1,000 new computers and tablets have been designed around Windows 8. The company and its allies are counting on Windows 8 to juice computer sales, which have hit their worst patch in more than a decade.”
Click the chart to see an interesting WSJ video on Windows 8.