A detailed look: How is Microsoft a different technology company compared to rivals?

A detailed look: How is Microsoft a different technology company?

WinBeta follows Microsoft, their products and their services, but how is Microsoft as a technology company different from its competition? In their heyday, Microsoft was top dog in the realm of anything dealing with technology. Anyone who wanted to be a major player in the field of technology had to deal with Microsoft. For the most part the company gained its dominance through the Windows operating system being so popular and owning 90% of the personal computer market. 

Today, however, they are playing a different game. Now, Microsoft only controls 14% of the device share. This current situation is very different from how Microsoft is used to doing business. Now, Microsoft has to develop their products and services on other platforms to be successful.

"The reality is the world’s shifted, the world’s evolved," said Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer, during WPC 2014. "We now measure ourselves by total device space. We have a much bigger opportunity than we’ve ever had in the past to grow our business, but we have to rethink how we look at our business."

Most of this you probably already know because you read this site, so you must have some understanding of Microsoft and their history. What you may not know is exactly how Microsoft stacks up against their competition today. Where does Microsoft stand when it comes to delivering their products to their customers, most of whom are probably on non-Microsoft devices such as iPads and Android Phones. 

To understand how Microsoft preforms compared to Apple, Amazon, and Google, a system must be established. Here is where this gets a little complicated. Every company has cross platform customers, so the company who has the best cross platform support is the company with the most dedication to their customers, in my opinion. By listing popular and new products a company has, and listing their availability on different devices, it is easy to tell which company is most concerned with their customers.

For the charts I will showcase below, the company's products are the columns (listed across the top row), and different platforms are the rows (listed in the first column). When a product is supported it has an 'X' but when it is partially supported it is a '\'. If there is no support the cell is blank. The totals column counts the number of 'X' as 1 and '\' as 0.5. Then the totals number is divided by the maximum possible products. This number shows how well the company supports the given platform.

For example in the Microsoft chart, there are 9 products listed. Windows Phone is supported for 8 and partially supported for 1. This gives Windows Phone a total of 8.5. Then divide 8.5 by 9 and round to get a factor of support of 0.9.

Here is Microsoft:

Microsoft Products Across Platforms

Here we can see that Microsoft does a good job of delivering their products to Microsoft customers on all devices. The main area missing from this chart is Chrome OS. This is not surprising because Microsoft is waging war against Google because of the low-cost Chromebooks which are undercutting cheap PCs, but we have seen them trying to fight back with lower cost PCs.

Here are the charts for Amazon, Apple, and Google.

Amazon Products Across Platforms

Apple Products Across Platforms

Google Products Across Platforms

From all of these charts it is obvious that Amazon and Microsoft are the only two companies who are really concerned with providing their customers with access to their services across all platforms. Below is a collection of all the data:

Products Across Platforms

The first summary chart here shows that Microsoft provides the best support across all devices. The second chart shows that most companies are providing support for Apple's devices, ironically Apple provides no support for other company's platforms (with very few exceptions).

"Microsoft will support you regardless of your device."

So what does this all mean? From a consumer standpoint this means Microsoft will support you regardless of your device. If you don't want to be locked into an ecosystem, then use Microsoft's services. If you are unhappy with your device and want to try the competition, then let's hope you are using Microsoft services because they are the only tech company who delivers real cross platform support.

A good example is iTunes. If you are a user of iTunes and have spent a lot of money buying music and saving music to the cloud you are now stuck. Apple refuses to support other devices with their services. Now if you want to move to an Android or Windows Phone say goodbye to your Apple content. This is not the case with Xbox Music, or OneDrive, or SmartGlass. Microsoft believes long term success is found by following your customer, and they have done just that.

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