Microsoft's back-end strategy more successful than Windows 8

Its Windows 8 strategy may be a disaster, but on the server side, Microsoft is doing very well.

Eight is considered a number of good fortune in China, but it's been bad luck for Microsoft. Its Windows 8 strategy is cratering, even when it doesn't deserve it. Windows Phone 8, a really nice smartphone OS and alternative to iOS and Android, is gaining ground, but not nearly as quickly as it should. And I won't belabor the point about the PC and Surface products.

On the back end, though, Microsoft is firing on all cylinders and positioned to be a major, dominant player. It's not a market people rumble over like the endpoints, but the back end market sure has high margins and it conveys bragging rights to your products’ impact on how businesses operate.

Seeking Alpha has a nice write-up on Microsoft's enterprise position and solid product line. It said in part:

Microsoft, given its position with the Office suite (especially Outlook), is uniquely well positioned to provide this to users while at the same time adding value by integrating with all the tools that professionals already use every day. Of course, by offering integrated full-service solutions it's also a very strong pitch to IT departments, whose juggling of systems is rarely considered core business.

Among the products that will build the enterprise ecosystem are Office 2013/Office 365, Lync, SkyDrive and Windows Phone, which does have built-in support for Office and SharePoint, something iOS and Android don't have.

And there may be enterprise interest in WP8. The article notes an iPass report (Mobile Enterprise Report, Q1 2013) that suggests that 45% of IT departments currently plan to support Windows Phone, compared to 34% for BlackBerry 10. However, I'm not sure when the survey was done (it doesn't say) and BlackBerry has revived a lot of interest with its new phones.

Mind you, this report doesn't take into account Microsoft's server and tools business, which are top-notch. TheInfoPro puts Windows Server at 80% of server deployments, compared to 14% for Unix and 6% for Linux. Microsoft's business apps all run on those servers and work with those tools.

I've long noticed that Microsoft is a much better enterprise company than it gets credit for. Because the end point/client is what we all see, that's what we associate with Microsoft. We focus on Windows 8, not Server 2012; IE, not Lync. It's kind of confusing that the same management does one thing so well while pooching the other half of the business.

Well, at least Xbox is doing great.

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