5. Create a solid marketing campaign

Apple’s “I’m a Mac, I”m a PC” ads have proven extremely successful. Over the past few years, Microsoft has tried to match their success with marketing campaigns of its own. Unfortunately, they never worked out. Microsoft needs to spend time in the new year developing marketing campaigns that appeal to consumers, shed its products in a good light, and make them understand why they want to buy Windows or use Bing. It’s not easy, for sure, but the software giant needs to do its best.

6. Stay true to the enterprise

As Google and Apple attempt to steal operating-system market share away from Microsoft, it’s in the enterprise where the software giant can solidify its power. In the software space, the big money is made in the business world. Google can’t break into that space. Apple has had very little success. Microsoft rules the enterprise. In 2010, it needs to maintain that rule. It can’t simply switch gears to appeal to consumers because the competition has. By controlling the enterprise, Microsoft can keep its stranglehold on the market, no matter the competition’s offerings.

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7. Get rid of Starter edition

Microsoft made a mistake offering Windows 7 Starter edition to netbook users in 2009. Many of those consumers were upset to see that they couldn’t get the same experience on a netbook that they might otherwise enjoy on a standard notebook or desktop. In 2010, Microsoft needs to optimize Windows 7 to work with the netbook, so all versions of the software have the new features users want.

8. Don’t forget Web advertising

For too long, Microsoft’s Web-advertising efforts have been poor. When compared to Google’s advertising platform, Microsoft’s service falls short in almost every area. Microsoft needs to drastically improve its Web-advertising platform in 2010 if it wants to be successful on the Internet. Advertising is the way Microsoft will pay for many of its services going forward. Without providing a good alternative to Google’s advertising services, it won’t have much of a chance.

9. Get to work on security

Microsoft has done a better job of confronting the many security issues that face its operating system, but it has much more work to do in 2010. This year, the operating system faced zero-day vulnerabilities and far too many unpatched items that could have wreaked havoc on the user’s computer. A better security initiative (and more services like Security Essentials) will increase Microsoft’s stock in the security community. It has an opportunity to secure its operating system even more effectively in 2010. It can’t miss that opportunity.

10. Don’t obsess over Apple

Microsoft has a tendency to obsess over its competitors. It had an unhealthy obsession over Apple and Google in 2009. The Google obsession is understandable (after all, that company could cripple Microsoft), but the software giant’s focus on Apple is a bit much. There’s no debating that Apple can have a direct impact on Microsoft’s bottom line. At the same time, its OS market share is small, at best. And although the iPhone is beating Windows Mobile badly, Microsoft can still fall back on the enterprise. Apple is a large, powerful company, but it’s not nearly as big of a threat to Microsoft as some want to believe.