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Microsoft's New Strategy: 'Out Apple' Apple


In the wake of the iPhone 5's successful announcement and the Windows Phone failure, Microsoft is down, but not out.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL The day after Apple's (AAPL) press conference, things don't look much better for Microsoft (MSFT). After Nokia's (NOK) disappointing showing for the new Windows Phone models, and the increased speculation amidst Apple's announcement of the iPhone 5, Microsoft seems to be muting its activities in the mobile phone market, at least until the Apple hype is over. What may be worse for Microsoft is that analysts don't believe that its new Windows 8 operating system will provide it with the critical boost it needs at the moment.

Still, Microsoft is not throwing in the towel yet. The software company is doubling its efforts in other markets, all with the hopes of undercutting its rivals.

For starters, to boost the usage of its sagging search engine Bing, Microsoft issued a challenge to rival Google to publicly test which search engine was better. The "Bing It On" challenge sends users to a webpage where they can blindly judge the results of the two search engines.

So far, Microsoft claims to be inching ahead in the competition, but critics believe even if it does beat Google (GOOG), that wouldn't solve all its problems. Some of the more common complaints about Bing have to do with its cluttered interface, rather than the efficiency of the results.

Another cause for concern should be Mark Zuckerberg's very recent announcement that Facebook (FB) may be revealing its own search engine in the future. According to experts, the social media company is strategically poised for this due to the massive database of information it has access to thanks to its many users.

However, in other markets, Microsoft has taken a page out of Apple's playbook by encouraging innovation, harnessing the contributions of product users to develop popular apps. Right now, the tablet market is dominated by Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire and Apple's iPad, leaving Microsoft without a prayer of becoming a major player. In response, the software company is urging its hardware partners to fundamentally change the game.

Computer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) recently announced the HP Envy x2, a laptop with a detachable screen resembling a tablet which, on the surface, appears to combine the functionality of both devices. This innovation could be a major development in the industry as it will make all other tablet devices harder to justify: The HP Envy x2 will make it possible to work more efficiently on the go while still having the entertainment capabilities that a tablet provides.

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