How to Satisfy Customers and Make Money in 2019

From a business perspective, Microsoft had a pretty good year in 2018. This is particularly true when looking at revenue, profits, share price and business momentum compared to other technology giants, especially Apple, Google, and Facebook.

These three pillars of the once-powerful Gafam have shown a rare weakness in 2018, while Microsoft ended the year with the highest market capitalization of any publicly-traded company in the world. This is more than remarkable for a company that has been considered a dinosaur many times since the beginning of the 21st century.

But 2019 is a new year, with new challenges and new opportunities. With this in mind, I congratulate Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, on her excellent year, and offer her some suggestions on how to build on this momentum.

My wish list may not captivate legions of Redmond business school graduates who plan to snatch up the last penny from Microsoft customers’ pockets. Instead, my suggestions are designed to gain the lasting loyalty of those customers. As Facebook has proven this year, you can not take this loyalty for granted.

Privacy, stand at the top of the ladder and stay there

The protection of privacy is a crucial issue today in the technological world. Just ask Facebook, whose reputation is in tatters after a year of devastating revelations about his alternately incompetent and malicious (and sometimes both) treatment of his clients’ data. Google has so far avoided public procrastination as Zuckerberg & Co. have deserved, but their business model, linked to the zealous collection of personal information, makes it a constant target.

This creates a rare opportunity to do what is right, morally and legally, and to bring long-term economic benefits.

Apple discovered this year that privacy is a winning argument, with CEO Tim Cook stating that “our own information, whether daily or deeply personal, is used against us with tremendous efficiency.” It’s an argument that Apple has been touting for years, but in 2018, it finally hit its target, especially after Facebook’s “disastrous” privacy mistakes.

Microsoft’s history of privacy protection is, to say the least, mixed. Ten years ago, Microsoft developers were ready to implement an anti-tracking feature in Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, this feature has never been delivered; an opposing faction had its skin, believing that it was better to release additional billions with online advertising: Bad Microsoft triumphed over Good Microsoft.

And I do not even tackle the painful and self-destructive “Scroogled” campaign.

But this is a new era and a new Microsoft, and a real commitment to protecting the personal and professional data of its customers at all levels would be welcome. The company’s decision to extend to customers around the world the rights provided by the EU’s general data protection regulation is an excellent start. Please, continue as well.

Make Windows 10 updates less painful

After more than four years of development, Microsoft has found its place in the development of Windows 10. Unfortunately, this rhythm is not a lullaby and would rather, aesthetically, the jackhammer digging the concrete in front of the window of your office.

The October 2018 update was the publisher’s big mistake, forcing Microsoft to make the unprecedented decision to remove the feature update from its servers before making it available again more than a month later. later.

There is no doubt that this entire episode was embarrassing, and Microsoft will undoubtedly draw serious lessons from this whole affair. But as far as I’m concerned, the first and most important step is to eliminate mandatory feature updates twice a year.

Stop all-round monetization

Since the release of Windows 10 on July 2015, all of the 10-Q and 10-K reports required by the SEC and filed by Microsoft Corporation included this standard statement: “[We] expect that Windows 10 will provide new opportunities for post-market monetization. license beyond the initial licensing revenues. “

The first salvo included a bunch of irrelevant apps slipping on your Start menu, whether you like it or not, including Candy Crush Soda Saga, Bubble Witch 3 Saga, and March of Empires. This contamination even affects PCs sold with Windows 10 Pro, which seems like a bad way to treat your best customers.

When I wrote about Microsoft’s plans to make more money out of its Windows 10 cash cow in early 2018, I predicted that more details on these “monetization opportunities” would come soon. With its annual report of July 2018, this vague prediction has taken the thickness:

“Our ambition for Windows 10 is to expand our business opportunities with three key drivers: an OEM ecosystem that creates exciting new hardware designs for Windows 10, our commitment to our proprietary terminal portfolio, and monetization opportunities such as games, services, subscriptions, and advertising in research. “

Do you know what is not on this list? Stupid games like Candy Crush. Also not listed in the list is any type of advertising in Windows itself, apart from search-based functions.

It’s a good decision. The attractiveness of advertising inevitably leads to the temptation to weaken privacy safeguards, so reducing advertising revenue projections is a very good thing. And even in places where advertising is expected, a simple option should make it unnecessary to advertise.