What Would I do if I was in Charge Of Microsoft
Originally written on January 23rd 2007.
For Microsoft to compete with where tech is headed they need to unify their hardware lineup. To do this they first need to launch the Live anywhere marketplace. This single marketplace would allow you to connect from your Windows Vista PC, Windows Mobile 6.0 phone, Xbox 360 gaming console and a Zune media player. Any music, video or casual game purchased would be playable from any of those devices without requiring multiple purchases. There will also be device specific content.
Obviously this would mean bringing the Zune capability to the Windows Mobile 6.0 platform. They could start from scratch, but why build a new phone platform when you already have one in place. They need to build a media centre like interface that would run over top of Windows Mobile providing the user with a simplified interface giving them access to all the basic features. This would include all multimedia as well as phone and communication. This interface would be maintained and updated by Microsoft and not the device manufacturers. This would allow Microsoft to update the experience on all devices to keep the interface and features consistent.
For Microsoft to take on Apple they have to do some things differently. Opening up their devices to more codecs will go a long way with the tech community and establishing it as a true competitor. I would add OGG and FLAC audio support as well as Mpeg1 and Mpeg4 codecs like DivX and XviD.
For the regular Zune I would release a larger capacity 80GB model. The hardware is in place so no need to update it right away. They should however update what the current Zune can do with software. They need to improve the Zune to Zune sharing and add the ability to buy and stream media from the Zune marketplace on the mobile device. Next I would release a flash based player to compete with the iPod Nano. It will be about the same size as the Nano, just a little bigger. But it will all of the full size Zune’s capabilities.
The Xbox 360 lineup could use an update. They should phase out the current models and bring in two new ones. The new versions would be quieter, smaller and output less heat due to improvements in the processor and other internal components. It would also add HDMI and full 1080p output capability. The new core unit would come with a 40GB hard drive and a basic wired controller. The premium version would come with a 120 GB hard drive, a wireless controller and headset. The price of the two new units should be the same as the current models. To help phase out the current models they should be reduced in price. The HD-DVD drive will still be available to add to any Xbox 360.
The catalogue of music and video on the marketplace needs to be greatly expanded. They need to make some major deals with the record labels and movie studios. Music, videos and games are must on this marketplace, but it also needs software, podcasts, eBooks, newspapers, comics and audio books to be relevant with what’s to come. Microsoft has a music subscription service to differentiate itself and it exopanded to TV and movies as well.
They also need to land the whole social aspect of the internet and use a community to create and share content which would help drive their service. Ultimately getting the live anywhere service right will be the key to Microsoft’s success.