There’s an old idiom, if you can’t beat them, join them. These days, across a wide variety of it’s business interests, Microsoft seems to be embracing that ideology. In the old days, Linux, Apple, and freeware were the enemies of Microsoft and the budding Windows empire. But this past year, there have been a number of new changes in Microsoft’s business model, and they all point toward an age of compatibility rather than differentiation. From embracing cross-platform mobility solutions, to offering code editors that are useful in a broad range of languages, Microsoft seems to be changing it’s business model.
The last year has been an interesting one for Microsoft. At their most recent conference in May they announced that they will be offering a new cross-platform mobility solution. In other words, they understand that users love their iPhones, and they want to make Windows ultra compatible with iOS so that there are seamless transitions between the platforms for iPhone users who want to run a Windows machine. Basically, they’re embracing the reality that they’ve lost the mobile phone market, and need to tweak their PC and laptop market to make it more relevant for the majority of users. It’s a brilliant strategy.
They’s also announced crossovers with other former rivals like Google and Linux. It seems that the way forward for Microsoft, at least in the hardware market, is to realize that they have a really significant niche and exploit that niche around other competitor’s market spaces. Again, very smart for a business that has been traditionally seen as a ‘if we don’t win everything, we didn’t win anything’ sort of enterprise.
They’ve also recently released a really useful code editor called VS Code. While VS Code isn’t everything that you’d find in an IDE (integrated development environment), it still offers some really neat, and really cooperative tools. For starters, VS Code is extremely customizable. It allows the user to work with themes and extensions that basically make it work like other systems (VIM, Gedit, etc.) but with much more enhanced functionality. There’s a stunningly large number of extensions available that cover nearly every available programming language (642 to be exact), and everything functions within tabs so you can organize your tabs by language. This makes coding in different languages simple and organized. It even includes debugging extensions that are simple and easy to use. Everything is customizable and slick. It allows for a wide variety of programming in languages that are traditionally ‘anti-Microsoft’ from back in the day when Bill Gates was the devil for freeware lovers.
So what is Microsoft up to? It seems that they’ve finally learned that owning the whole computing world is outside the realm of possibility. Instead of fighting their competitors for market territory, they’ve started introducing and building systems that link up with their competitors’ market spaces in unique ways. Thinking above the market may indeed be the path to greater success. As the idiom says, if you can’t beat them…join them.