Windows 1.0 didn't work so Microsoft went back and worked on it some more. Then after a couple more tries, Windows 95 took the world by storm and has not relinquish control of the PC market since. And it never will.
Xbox was okay but Microsoft learned quickly, put together some exclusives like Halo, and Xbox 360 pushed out Sega, relegated Nintendo as a second class console maker, and really turn up on heat on Sony.
Those are example of Microsoft, even when down and seemingly out, always has a way of getting back into the game. It clawed, scratched, and fought really dirty to make it happen.
Here is another example. The browser war. Netscape who? It's Internet Explorer all the way and despite competition from Firebox, Chrome, and Apple's weak Safari challenge, IE still dominates the browser market.
And right now, Windows 8 devices, smartphones and tablets, does not appear to be doing so hot. And as we transition away from the PC market to the mobile market, Microsoft's game face is on. Windows Phone 7 was okay but Windows 8 devices appear to be gaining traction. And Microsoft will come at the competition again and again until...well, we've never seen Microsoft really fail just yet.
It's the same for the Surface tablets. I honestly did not believe for a second that the current crop of Windows RT tablets was going to do any major damage in the tablet market this past holidays. Maybe not even Surface Pro. But it's still early and there's plenty of time left. Microsoft will come at Apple and Google as hard as ever.
If there is anything that will hurt Microsoft's chances to get back into the mobile game, it's likely its CEO, Steve Balmer. Guys is smart. And he has made a lot of money for its shareholders since he's been on control. But he has also made many missteps that allow Apple and Google to dominate the mobile market.
Frankly right now, Microsoft's main threat could be itself. However, it's competitors cannot count on each other or Microsoft to falter in order to stay ahead.
I look forward to increase competitive pressure from Microsoft and its partners in 2013 with a better game plan and lessons learned from 2012.