I was watching some of Microsoft's BUILD conference today and I was amazed at the successful rebranding they've pulled off in just a few years. For a long time, Microsoft had a negative image in the eyes of most. And they certainly earned that image.
In some ways, the goodwill Microsoft has now is beginning to resemble what Google had a decade ago. I think that has been the result of a few key strategies.
In the past, Microsoft persisted stubbornly in areas they were clearly losing or had already lost. In mobile, web browsers, and developer tools the battle was long over. Now they've accepted it and they've changed strategies completely.
They've made their services available on all platforms and focused on delivering the best customer experience. Before they used these services to attract users to Windows and delivered sub-par experiences on other platforms if any. Now that they've accepted defeat their services are improving.
Macs have long been the platform of choice for developers, artists, musicians, and most creatives. The experience just wasn't comparable on Windows. In recent years Microsoft has begun making any attempt it can to attract these users back to their platforms and services. The addition of Linux to Windows makes developers lives immensely easier. Tools like the Surface Pen and Surface Studio are trying to attract artists to Windows.
Even the acquisition of Github allows Microsoft to earn more goodwill and use its reach to promote their services (where it makes sense I hope). Today they announced Visual Studio Online, and how convenient would it be if you could open any Github project or file in a free to use online IDE with a single click?
Will it be successful?
I'm not sure but the perception of the company is slowly changing and that seemed an impossible feat not that long ago.