Not sure why, but here lately I keep seeing opportunities that Microsoft is squandering. The latest one: Internet Explorer.
Why? Recently, we all witnessed a massive advertising blitz on TV and the web for IE9. To me it seemed wasteful. I mean who was Microsoft really marketing to? The only people that they were trying to convert were EXISTING users of Windows! Think about it, Internet Explorer at one point had a nearly 80% market share. Today, often the first thing I do when getting a fresh Windows VM up and running is to install Google Chrome and Firefox. I don’t even launch IE (no matter what version) unless I absolutely have to for some bizarro ms-centric client code support issue.
The reason? Internet Explorer is only supported on one platform: Windows. In effect, Microsoft has made their browser market share isolated much like North Korea has made itself on the international stage.
Even Apple makes Windows versions of Safari (actually, this appears to be changing). So, why would Microsoft chose to isolate the primary application delivery mechanism (browser) to only their OS? Let’s not get distracted by the current mobile apps stratified marketplace. IOS and Android do control the “isolated mobile apps” marketplace as I call them, but there is a clear desire by many including Facebook to make the move to native HTML 5.x apps on mobile devices as quickly as on par capabilities arise (getting there). I think this “detour” with isolated mobile apps we are all on will eventually turn the power back to the browser again on mobile devices. To be sure, potentially strong competitor Mozilla, has a mobile OS making heavy use of HTML 5. Google has already realized that the browser can be the OS and has based their Chrome OS notebooks on this strategy.