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Researchers Outline Microsoft's Top 10 Challenges For 2004

Even giants have problems -- and gigantic software maker Microsoft has at least 10 of them.

In an end-of-the-year compilation, research firm Directions on Microsoft has put a spotlight on the top 10 challenges that it thinks Microsoft faces in the coming year.

At the top of the list, said Directions' analysts, is an over-arching call for Microsoft to act like a more mature company in a more mature market -- said Michael Cherry, a lead analyst who covers operating systems for Directions. This need for maturity, he said, has an impact on everything from how Microsoft handles litigation such as the recent lawsuit filed by RealNetworks to how it manages to grow its revenue.

Microsoft's relative immaturity is reflected in the anti-trust lawsuits that competitors file against it, said Cherry, and in other lawsuits that will undoubtedly continue to plague the company.

"Microsoft may have a valid defense because they're complying with the letter of the law [argued by RealNetworks]," said Cherry, "but they should be doing more to comply with the spirit of the law. If you want to be in a leadership position, a higher level of behavior is expected."

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