For the latest in our series of posts looking at how the world’s biggest brands use social I’ve turned the spotlight on Microsoft.
Bill Gates’ empire still looms large over the global software market, though its fortunes are often overshadowed by Apple’s astonishing level of success.
And much like Google, Microsoft also runs a few of its own social platforms – enterprise network Yammer and Pinterest clone Socl.
So it’s interesting to see how Microsoft makes use of other social networks to promote its products and maintain its fortunes.
This follows on from similar posts looking at brands such as ASOS, Red Bull, Nike and McDonalds...
More than a decade ago, Microsoft was branded by the United States government as a greedy monopolist and the company's existence was threatened by an antitrust lawsuit that could have resulted in the then-world's largest software company being broken apart.
Today, memories of Microsoft's past may have largely faded but the Redmond company is still trying to convince consumers that it's cool, and perhaps more importantly, that it's on their side. One of the ways it's doing that: declaring its support for consumer privacy.
What does a perfect world look like?
If you're a web designer or developer, chances are your perfect world is a world free of older versions of Internet Explorer.
Despite the popularity of Chrome and Firefox, and the proliferation of non-Windows mobile devices, Microsoft's web browser is still used by countless millions around the world. Depending on what you're building and what versions of IE you're required to support, that can mean big headaches.
Known for its lack of support of web standards, as well as a seemingly countless number of security issues, IE6 may be the worst web browser ever created.
Yet it has also been resilient thanks in large part to the fact that it was the default browser shipped with Windows XP.
But the browser that can't die soon enough is finally dying.
Mozilla, the organisation behind the Firefox web browser, counts Google as its biggest source of revenue.
In fact, last year, the search giant was responsible for the vast majority (84%) of Mozilla's $123m in revenue.
The relationship between the two high-profile technology outfits is simple; Mozilla makes Google the default search engine in Firefox, and in return, Google shares revenue generated by Firefox-driven searches.
Thanks to a new three year agreement announced yesterday, this relationship will remain in place under financial terms that are undisclosed.
Mozilla Firefox is still the second most popular web browser in the world, trailing Microsoft's Internet Explorer by a still-hefty margin. But Firefox might lose its number two spot in the battle of the browsers to Google Chrome by year end.
What can Mozilla do to keep that from happening? One possible answer: a faster release cycle.
HTML5 is the future of the internet. At least that's the impression you might get from those who believe HTML5 will solve major challenges associated with everything from building cross-platform RIAs to mobile multimedia delivery.
But is HTML5 destined to be dead on arrival?
In the wake of the highly-publicized hack attack on Google and other large companies, which some are blaming on Internet Explorer, Germany and France have decided enough is enough. Both countries have warned their citizens that Internet Explorer is not safe and advised them to download alternative browsers.
Somewhat surprisingly, it appears that a good number of citizens are heeding the message. According to the Wall Street Journal, all indications are that the message is getting through. Mozilla, which is behind the Firefox browser, is reporting a "significant surge in downloads" in Germany since the German announcement. Numbers for France are not yet available.
When it comes to add-ons, there's arguably no browser with more cool stuff than Mozilla Firefox. But creating an add-on is out of the reach of many who lack the necessary technical skills or resources.
But thanks to Mozilla Labs' latest project, Jetpack, the creation of Firefox add-ons just got a whole lot easier.
As Microsoft pushes forward on the path towards Windows 7, the successor OS to a very disappointing Windows Vista, the Redmond-based software company has made an Internet Explorer 8 release candidate available for download.
IE8 will come bundled with Windows 7 and represents Microsoft's effort to maintain IE's always-vulnerable but still-dominant hold on the browser market.