Microsoft Makes a Cool Move in to Crime Fighting

Phillip is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

Over the past year, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has been a journalist's dream. The type of headlines that the company has spawned would have people reading newspapers again. The computer firm isn't just the subject of interest for tech geeks anymore. Now, Microsoft is adding crime fighting to its skills, which is pretty cool. What does this new age of "cool" mean for Microsoft? It could put company back on top by popular demand.

Europol is quoted as saying Microsoft led a global effort to stop one of the world's largest cybercrime rings, and succeeded on June 6 at muzzling the malevolent Citadel Botnets that a gang used to steal an estimated $500 million. That's pretty cool, Microsoft -- so cool, in fact, that it is making Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) look so last week. 

What is cool?

We all know that functionality and looks play important roles in the success of computer companies, and that a good combination usually results in a product being dubbed "cool." The iPhone is pretty cool. The iPad is also cool. Windows 8 is so not cool. But what is cool? A super cybercrime-fighting, bot-destroying Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (the last part is the actual name).  Now that is uber cool.

With Apple products being the toast of the town over the last several years, and both teenagers and adults at last agreeing on what cool is, could there be room for more coolness in the computer market? Well... in order for Microsoft to really win this popularity contest, it will have to come out with a mini tablet. It's what all the cool computer companies are doing. The Microsoft Surface RT makes up about 1% of the $64-billion tablet market. The company is also the only major player in tablets that doesn't have a mini version. The Fonz would be so unimpressed. Wait, is he still cool?

On a personal note

Anyway, even though Microsoft is fighting crime around the world, the company needs to come up with something more functional than its bulky tablet or Windows 8 if it really wants to sit at the popular table. Apple and its continued dominance needs to see some productivity if it's going to hand over some of its market share, even a sliver (which I'm sure would have you dancing all night long.) Even Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), which is more known for its activity in retail, has a better hold of the tablet market than you do with its Kindle Fire. However, while Amazon will likely dominate in retail areas, it is unlikely that it will continue to create popular devices and I'll bet that the Kindle Fire is its one-hit performance in the tech world. After all, the Kindle is essentially only a reading device, which can be done on virtually any tablet -- and that is not cool. As prices for tablets drop (an anticipated 10.8% this year), buyers will be able to afford those offered by companies that have tablets with more features, such as the Apple iPad and your Microsoft Surface. But a mini version of your device is needed.

So, Microsoft, you've given yourself a pretty cool makeover by cracking that string of cybercrime. Now it is time to focus on creating a device that will stun the geniuses at Apple. After all, you have completed Step 1 to winning the popular vote (destroying a $500-million cybercrime organization); now you just have to be smarter than Apple.

It's been a frustrating path for Microsoft investors, who've watched the company fail to capitalize on the incredible growth in mobile over the past decade. However, with the release of its own tablet, along with the widely anticipated Windows 8 operating system, the company is looking to make a splash in this booming market. In a new premium report on Microsoft, a Motley Fool analyst explains that while the opportunity is huge, so are the challenges. The report includes regular updates as key events occur, so make sure to claim a copy of this report now by clicking here.


Phillip Woolgar has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of, Apple, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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