Microsoft is such a dominant presence in the global software market that setbacks from customers are rare indeed. Consequently, it came as a major surprise to many people when Microsoft was spurned in quick succession by two major companies Facebook and Ford. Both companies provided good reason for the decision so this should not be seen as any kind of negative for Microsoft or its products. However, almost certainty, the decisions must prompted some hard thinking at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond.
Facebook decision is understandable
Facebook has, without much fanfare, removed Bing (the second largest US Web Search provider with a market share of roughly 20%) from its search position on the site. The company. has said that this is the result of its decision to focus on helping users to find content that has been shared with them on the social media site. A Facebook spokesperson clarified that the search results are not currently shown on Facebook Search because of the focus on Facebook content and that the partnership with Microsoft in many different areas continue to be great. Microsoft repeated the theme by pointing out the change in focus on search from Facebook to specific search for Facebook content instead of a much wider range of web search results and reiterated that the partnership continues in other areas.
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Facebook has recently upgraded its search to make it easier to find old material on the site and regards the growth potential as a major business opportunity. Its new search products include Graph Search. It currently handles more than 1 billion searches every day and it’s database of more than 1 trillion posts is the largest on the web. However, this is not the first time that Facebook has moved away from Microsoft. In 2010, in a quest for better control, it introduced its own solution to replace Microsoft Banner Ads. However, I must point out that the long-standing relationship between the two companies goes back to 2007 when Microsoft invested $ 240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook.
Ford’s decision more significant
Ford’s decision to move away from Microsoft systems and software in upgrading its car infotainment system Sync to the third generation Sync 3 has much more far-reaching implications. The current Sync system is installed on roughly 10 million vehicles and the new system will be an upgrade of both hardware and software which current system uses cannot opt for. The biggest change in hardware will be a move from resistive touch screens to capacitative touch screens for the benefit of users are already familiar with smart phones and tablets. The user experience will be better because of the availability of multitouch and because much lighter pressure has to be placed on the screen. The new system operates on the Texas Instruments OMAP 5 processor which uses the QNX operating system from BlackBerry.
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I regard the move away from Microsoft as being potentially more significant because I see it as further evidence that Microsoft is falling behind in the critically important smart phone and tablet businesses. It has been no secret that the company is playing hard to catch up with the market leaders but, obviously, they will have work much harder to regain their customary leadership position.