what does microsoft face in 10 years?

April 13, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Technology Trends | 3 Comments

I have a cousin with whom I am very close. She’s a 20-something junior in college and about six months ago we decided to stay in touch more often. So, being a late 30-something guy, I naturally started sending her emails. I was disappointed. Weeks went by with no reply.  I decided to send her a text message. She responded in about 45 seconds.

When we finally did connect for a live conversation, I found that she (and presumably her friends) check email about once every week or two. 90% or more of her communication is now tied to three things: Text Messaging, Facebook, and MySpace. Her using email feels roughly akin to my using a fax machine about 15 years ago… you *could* do it, but why would you?

This summer I’m going to start teaching my kids (elementary age and younger) basic word processing and spreadsheet usage. We travel a lot, throughout the year, to see family and friends; so the kids will often do their school work in part while we’re away from home. Everywhere we go, people have a computer. Everywhere we go, those computers are connected to the Internet. Few run Office at home now that pirating it is more difficult, but everyone can get to Google Apps. Hmmm. Guess what I’ll be training them on?

So, the operating system is becoming the textbook definition of a commodity (I just need to get online), Outlook is a pure “business” application to today’s college students (if they know the name at all), elementary kids like mine are learning “office-like” skills on free tools like OpenOffice and Google Apps, and cell phones are getting ever more functional. What will this mean for Microsoft? Only time will tell, but when you look at it through the eyes of future generations, it will create some interesting conditions for a very-long-time incumbent.

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  1. Billy,

    There was a recent email insider summit in FL which I did not attend, but read and heard from colleagues about it. One of the sessions was a panel discussion with college students about email and social networking. Here were some of the takeaways that have been posted on numerous blogs:

    The panel consisted of:
    August Miller, Telecommunications Undergraduate
    Amanda Pollard, Literature, Political Science, Spanish, Graduating Senior
    Brandon Prebynski, Digital Storytelling Graduate Student

    Here’s a recap:

    * Facebook is the number one way they communicate with friends. They check Facebook every day and throughout the day.

    * They rely heavily on their cell phones. Amanda said she uses 2,000 minutes a month. August said that he is “glued” to his iPhone.

    * They all check email consistently as well (when they check Facebook) but use it primarily for what they describe as “professional” purposes. For example, to communicate with a boss or professor or to apply for a job. For these purposes, they all believe email is the way to go instead of Facebook. Amanda says, “It’s inappropriate to ‘poke’ [a Facebook term for saying hi] your professor.” Other panelists agreed.

    * None of the three want to get marketing messages (via email or text) that they didn’t ask for. They view email and texting as their personal space and don’t want it violated.

    * They each sign up for email lists. Amanda loves receiving newsletters with content that is important to her. Brandon says that he appreciates email with content he considers important and he is okay with some related promotions on the side. When August gets tired of something he signed up for, he clicks the “this is spam” button.

    * When asked about the future of email marketing, Amanda and August believe that as they enter the workforce email will be the main communication tool they will use (still for professional communications, not social). Brandon believes that social networks will replace email marketing as soon as someone can figure out the personal versus professional issue that they all referenced. Specifically, they don’t want their boss and others in the professional world seeing their personal profile on Facebook.

    You can find many posts about this discussion which I will provide below, but gut tells me that as they young folks graduate and get into the working world, they will be forced to use things like email etc. In addition, certain corporations will start to ban social networks as a method to curb goofing off at work. Anyway…got thought and here are some links to check out.




  2. Thanks for the resources lists, Mr. K!

  3. […] at 4:23 pm | In Professional Development | Tags: Business, Professional Development In a recent comment, the scrappy email marketer was summarizing an “email insider” panel discussion and […]

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