Does Microsoft Have It's Swagger Back?

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Over the weekend, the eggheads at Knowledge@Wharton posted an update on Microsoft‘s new focus on driving innovation.  The score so far is something like Google/Apple 50, Microsoft 1 (Bing‘s working) in terms of innovation, but in technology, this can change out of nowhere (see Palm Inc for an example).

It’s also worth noting that this week’s Microsoft post-earnings drubbing may have been overdone, as many PC buyers are delaying purchases while awaiting the soon-to-be-launched newest version of Windows.  The reviews have been mainly positive, and anything’s an improvement on Vista.

Here’s a snippet:

From Knowledge@Wharton:
Although Microsoft yesterday reported a 29% drop in quarterly profits on weak demand for its products, the company appears to be charging forward undeterred.

Indeed, Microsoft has been on something of a tear of late. Bing, the company’s revamped search engine launched just last month, is garnering accolades and showing signs of ratcheting up Microsoft’s share in the prized search market. Earlier this month, Microsoft unveiled details about the next version of its Office suite of productivity tools, including plans for a free web-based edition of Office to complete with Google Docs. And Windows 7, the next version of the company’s flagship operating system, is slated for general release on October 22.

All of this activity may be evidence of the strategy Microsoft Business Division president Stephen Elop outlined: “Part of the reason we’re here today is to stake out the position that we’re driving innovation more aggressively than we’ve ever done in the past. That’s something, particularly during tough economic times, that we feel is important. Now is the time to double down.”

It would certainly be interesting to see a hungrier, more exciting Mister Softee emerge from the recession.

Its also important to note that Microsoft is about to launch an attack on another front:  retail stores located right near the mega-successful Apple stores.  Supposedly, the Microsoft stores will be like Apple Stores on steroids, with all the best attributes of their rival’s shops but a lot more of everything going on.  The details of the store designs were recently leaked and picked up by Gizmodo and the plans were pretty ambitious.

I’m not a buyer until I have more evidence that they’re awake up in Redmond, WA…although Bing is a decent start.  Just no more Zunes, please!

Sources:

Microsoft’s Momentum (K@W)

Microsoft Store Design Info Leaked (Gizmodo)

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