Microsoft will have to become "cooler" to attract the new users it needs to shore up sales as cloud computing reduces its average revenue per user, the software firm's chairman for Europe told Computer Weekly in an exclusive video interview.
Jan Mühlfeit said Microsoft would probably earn less per user as customers switch to cloud computing. But Microsoft would compensate for this loss of earnings by attracting more users, he said.
He said Microsoft had offerings across the board, from mobile devices to supercomputers. The company was working closely with its partners, of whom there were more than 200,000 in Europe, to provide applications people wanted, based on a similar user experience on all platforms.
Microsoft was also targeting China, already the world's biggest market for internet-based activity.
But he acknowledged that Apple's Steve Jobs had stolen some of the limelight.
Mühlfeit said Microsoft had to become "cooler" to compete effectively. But one should also consider market share, he said. Microsoft has an estimated 90%+ of desktops.
Microsoft also had a different business model, he said. "We are a platform. For every euro we earn, our partners earn €8."
Mühlheit said he was optimistic about the prospects for the new Windows Mobile platform that would launch in autumn. He also maintained that Windows 7 was the best and most secure operating system the company had brought to market.
He refused to comment on reports that Google was abandoning Windows as a desktop platform because of security concerns, saying he did not comment on "rumours".
However, Google has its own agenda. Not only does it have Chrome, its own desktop operating system, but it is also behind Android, which last month overtook Windows Mobile in terms of market share.
Google would also like to muddy the waters in China following accusations, denied by the Chinese government, that Chinese hackers had used weaknesses in Windows to hack into activists' Gmail accounts.
Mühlfeit also denied that Microsoft was slipping behind Google in addressing some vertical markets, such as healthcare and energy. He said Microsoft has just completed a pan-European system, built with partners, to monitor and report on air quality in cities.