5 best Microsoft successes

It has to be said that, as a rule, large, successful companies have one over-riding problem -  people getting fed-up with how well they're doing.

Although some huge multinationals, Apple being a case in point, are able to retain a degree of cult-like following, this is rarely the case, and all too often the general public would far rather see a big corporation ridiculed rather than rejoicing in its success.

Being the technology behemoth that it is, it would be too easy to turn against the successes that Microsoft has achieved, some would even go so far as to create a list of its biggest failures. As such Pocket-lint feels it's only right to take a look at some of  Microsoft's crowning glories. So, instead, here's the company's biggest successes and let us know which ones, if any, you'd have included.


Windows 95

The Windows Operating System was first released in 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in light of the success of the rival Macintosh computer and its introduction of the graphical user interface.

Unfortunately for the Mac OS, the Windows platform came to dominate the world's computer market in which Windows 95 played no small part.

The reasons Windows 95 was so instrumental in the domination of the PC market was due to a mixture of pricing, backwards compatibility, marketing and timing. Windows was affordable at under $100 as an upgrade, whilst its compatibility meant that pretty much any PC user could adopt it. All this mixed in with some flash adverts and a release timed to coincide with the PC market maturing all meant OS gold.

It was also a pretty decent product, featuring some nice "plug-n-play" features and 32-bit architecture. Windows was well and truly a household name and, within a year or two of release, it became the most successful operating system ever produced.



Xbox 360

There are three consoles which now dominate the homes of millions of people worldwide. One of them is the Xbox 360. Unveiled to the world in 2005, the Xbox 360 has been a massive success for Microsoft with nearly 42 million consoles sold worldwide.

However the success of Microsoft's second generation console wasn't without its troubles - in fact it was pretty much as bumpy and as costly as they come. This was largely down to a higher than normal failure rate, or more specifically "General Hardware Failure" indicated on the console by three sections of the "Red Ring of Death" being illuminated.

Despite this flaw, and the megabucks it's cost Microsoft due to it extending the Xbox 360 warranty, the console has picked up a very loyal following amongst gamers with 44.6 million units sold worldwide to date. No mean feat given that this relative new boy is on level footing with both Sony and Nintendo who've been working in the field for quite some time.




Moving away from the hardware, and back to the software which Microsoft is so well known for, we've decided to give the Xbox LIVE gaming and digital media platform its own spot of our rundown.

Launched on to the Xbox series of consoles in 2002, the online gaming service has been hugely successful, now not only just available through the Xbox, but also on PC through Games for Windows - Live, and more recently on the Windows Phone 7 mobile OS.

Innovative features such as the TrueSkill ranking system and extensive customisation of avatars have helped Xbox LIVE's success, however the positive reception of Windows Phone 7 OS in which Xbox LIVE has been implemented could see the platform reach new heights. The platform boasts over 20 million users.




Trying to enter a market which is dominated by one big player, is difficult at the best of times, but this is exactly what Microsoft did with its Bing search engine - clearly looking to give Google Search a run for its money.

Launched in 2009, and rising from the ashes of MSN and Live Search, Bing's uptake has been very respectable, helped along by a deal which saw Yahoo search replaced by Bing. And although the stats suggest that that Bing doesn't even come close to the current search giant - Google looks to have around 80-odd per cent of the search market share compared to Bing's 10 per cent (including the old Yahoo Search) - it's having a fair crack of the whip.

Although its market share gain is coming slow and steady, Microsoft's "decision engine" looks to be making all the right moves, especially if its Windows Phone 7 integration is a success. It's also rather pretty too.



Windows Phone 7

You could argue that this is a little soon to add into a list of the best Microsoft successes, but the reception to the new mobile phone OS has been overwhelmingly positive and as such marks a real turnaround to the company's Windows Mobile platform.

We know this because we gave it an extensive going over in a full review on its release in October 2010, where it scored a very respectable mark indeed.

Prior to release there were some doubts as to whether the hardware restrictions that Microsoft placed on handset manufacturers would work. However it seems that the company struck the right balance between iOS-esque restrictions and Android flexibility. The public hasn't decided yet whether Microsoft Windows Phone 7 will be the best of both worlds and find mass appeal like the other two OS heavyweights, but it's certainly looking like a contender.

These is just a few of the products that we believe have helped Microsoft become one of the world's largest tech companies. Tell us what you'd include in the comments below.