One Apple and several Microsoft


    Last week was completely and completely filled by Apple. Fans of this company immediately received several new products at their disposal - the Lion operating system, cool MacBook Airs and maybe not so cool, but without the optical drive, Mac Mini. Journalists and bloggers covering events in this area could not resist comparing Steve Jobs with Scrooge McDuck, diving up a mountain of gold coins in his safe room.

    Microsoft also published quarterly results and they were almost as great as Apple's. At Redmond, they were able to pocket almost $ 6 billion in profit with a total revenue of more than $ 17 billion. It was a record quarter and we must not forget that Microsoft knows how to make money at any time - even now, when you can not say that the economy has finally recovered from the recent dive of the mortgage market, the company was able to increase profits by almost 30% compared to the second quarter of 2010 of the year.

    And right now, the situation is becoming more interesting - Microsoft showed a record quarter with a flat growth in PC sales around the world, where Windows and Windows Live generate profit - two historically most effective products whose sales generally fell compared to the beginning of the year. During these three months, the company has not released a single new product. Over the past three months, there was almost no interesting news from Microsoft, except for speculation that Steve Ballmer should leave his post as CEO. It seems that the shareholders will still hold this mastodon.

    Apple exceeded Wall Street's expectations mainly because it sells more iPads than it produces (and this is no laughing matter). Apple enters the corporate market and deepens in foreign economies - this is the company's first success in these areas. “Apple” products are generally one of the most popular and fashionable in today's economy, their owners carry them everywhere and everywhere, boasting no less than a new car in the garage.

    Bloggers no longer write critical notes about Apple - now they only make fictitious expenses, putting themselves in the place of the company's management. Should Scrooge buy a TV service like Hulu? Suddenly he will make it as super-popular as the rest of his products? Let this and complete nonsense - what's the difference? Cool will be!

    In fact, it does not matter what action Apple will take in the current market. When a company is as strong as the brainchild of Jobs is now successfully, absolutely everything can be possible, even, excuse me, the impossible.

    Apple floats imposingly on the waves, Microsoft is trying not to get water overboard.

    And this is what I think, contrary to the opinions of many - Microsoft has suddenly become more interesting than Apple.

    For a very long time, everything was exactly the opposite. The Redmond giant could not make a single mistake, while Apple hung in the balance of death and no one even hoped that one day they could get out of this hole for, by and large, one product (iPod, the beginning of the i-epic) .

    Like most readers of this text, I mainly use Microsoft and PC-compatible software and hardware, but Apple has always been a little more attractive, a little more interesting and exciting.

    - An all-in-one computer without a drive? Wow!
    - Does the player play only digital music? This is an interesting idea.
    - iPhone? I have never had a smartphone before, but now I really want to buy one for myself.

    But time mixed up all the priorities and set our ideas about technology upside down. I, like many others, actively use Apple products, looking with interest in the direction of Microsoft, which now seems to be a slightly different company.

    If you enter the Apple department (in any of the branded Store) - picking up one of the iPads or iPhones and playing with them for a couple of minutes, you will know almost everything that Apple is capable of today. This is a monolithic company, but its structure is similar to a pyramid: each pebble fits tightly to another, not even the most perfect one. Each detail complements the other, forming a wonderful synergy and symbiosis of software and hardware.

    But Microsoft is at least (at least!) At least three different companies. A little comic here is not superfluous:

    Strong Microsoft

    This is a company that everyone knows: Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, Hotmail. Maybe he's a little boring, but still very strong. Each new version, each new sophistication of the interface is perceived as a big event. This is part of our common culture for a long period of time. This Microsoft did not show any dynamics in the last quarter (except for Office, which sold well). A growing but still non-revenue-generating part of a business called Online Services (includes Bing) is somewhere between Strong Microsoft and ...

    New Microsoft

    This is Microsoft, which could also open its own retail department: Xbox 360, Kinect, Windows Phone 7 - all these are relatively new, but very good products for entertainment and work that have torn to shreds of many competitors. It is this Microsoft that is responsible for the record fiscal quarter.

    I will also include the awesome Microsoft Research team in New Microsoft. This is what remains of the legendary Xerox PARC department today (the same people work there today). This team regularly shows new projects, some of which grow into excellent and successful products, although you might want to relate them to ...

    Secret Microsoft

    This is Microsoft, whose products we use as end users in the computer market, sometimes without even seeing the name of the company. It is also Microsoft teaming up with other corporations and even governments. This is Microsoft for which, unlike Apple, huge profits have never been just a pleasant surprise.

    Microsoft's secret as Janus is a two-faced, and its unpleasant side is that he is well versed in patent trolling and profit-seeking practices on everything that is possible. For example, Microsoft receives a certain percentage from each Amazon Kindle sold. Are the latest MS technologies used? Not. But Kindle runs on Linux, and Micrososft claims Linux infringes on its patents. That's why Amazon pays a commission to Uncle Gates and Ballmer, because seriously, who wants to fight Microsoft?

    If you have your own categories by which you can divide the entire business of this IT giant - build your own theories in the comments and we will see whose slimmer :)

    But there are much more interesting stories about Secret Microsoft (as the most mysterious superhero), for example, why he continues to earn a very large share of the profit for everyone. For example, in the quarterly performance report, Microsoft mentions $ 17.1 billion of “unearned revenue.” Not weak! And what is it?

    This is the money that Microsoft has calculated for long-term government contracts and business transactions, but will receive them in balance only when, when the contracts expire. That is, if Strong Microsoft does not show excellent results, Microsoft Secret can simply count all the best customers of the company and evaluate their impact on their own financial condition in the long term.

    Another story in which Micrososft Secret is involved is the alliance between Microsoft and Facebook. Recently, the first messages appeared on the network that MS is working together with developers of games for social networks.

    MS gives companies like Zynga ready-made tools to effectively maintain the backend in working condition, solving the main problem of game developers, such as managing user profiles or collecting and transferring Facebook loans to bank accounts - not one wants to mess with this hemorrhoids Studio. In exchange for this service, developers host their games on Microsoft Azure instead of, for example, Amazon. Everyone wins (except Amazon, of course).

    In the series "The Wire", which is shown on HBO, an excellent phrase was once said by one of the detectives - Lester Framen. He spoke of a serious drug problem in any American city: “If you follow drugs, you find drug addicts and dealers, sometimes manufacturers. But if you begin to monitor the money received from the sale of drugs, you have no idea where they will ultimately lead you. ”

    Roughly the same applies to Apple and Microsoft. If you follow Apple, you receive a large amount of information about what is happening now in the technology sector and what is important to customers. If you follow Microsoft, you’ll begin to discover more intriguing details about how the entire industry works and where it goes.

    You can thank Wired at any time.

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