InformationWeek writer Paul McDougall talks about Microsoft’s slow move to compete with upcoming contenders Google, HP on the desktop and Tablet front. The reality is, Microsoft does needs to get its act together and come good, but at the same time, this dooms day prediction that Apple, HP and Google will be eating Microsoft’s market share to zero by the end of 2012 with the so-called ‘post PC’ devices is a bit ridiculous.
“You create a massive platform,” said Apotheker, referring to his intention to stretch WebOS across smartphones, tablets, and personal computers.
This news came amid reports earlier in the week that Microsoft won’t have a truly tablet-compatible version of Windows until the 2012 back-to-school season, when it plans to release an edition of Windows 8 geared to run on ARM’s mobile processors. That leaves a massive gap of 18 months during which time HP will seed the personal computing market with non-Windows technology, the iPad will have hit its third iteration, and Google’s Android (which can run smartphones, slates, and netbooks) will rack up more double-digit market share gains.
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I look at it differently, every x86 and ARM Tablet will be considered a Windows PC by the time Microsoft ships Windows vNext or whatever they call it, don’t forget that. When you think about the overall PC market, every OEM will be producing Tablet devices shipping with Windows next year. When sold, they will obviously outnumber (an probably are today when you think about the many Windows PC form factors that are now on the market), the iPads, Xooms and Web OS Tablets. That’s why Steve Jobs is using the opportunity now to differentiate and call the iPad and iPhone post PC devices when they are doing exactly the same thing as PC’s using a good Touch interface.
You can do word processing, email, web browsing, even movie making now on an iPad, the same things you can do today on a traditional notebook or desktop PC. So tell me, how does this make ‘it’ the iPad any different from a PC? As for Windows vNext, I suspect Microsoft has something clever up their sleeves, I have a feeling they know the Windows UI needs to be re-architected properly for 10 fingers, but at the same time they don’t want to isolate users (WP7 tiles are not the answer). I am sure all the teams at Microsoft: Office, Windows Live are on board to create apps that are more Windows vNext touch centric since the point and click iterations today are still not suitable.
By the way, Google’s first efforts in the Tablet market have so far been described as ‘tepid’, with the Android 3.0 codenamed Honeycomb having some stability issues. A quote from ZDNET details the issue with the new Motorola Xoom device:
Xoom sales have been underwhelming. While marketing has just started we believe MMI will likely have to cut production if it already has not done so. We believe the device has been a bit buggy and did not meet the magic price point of $500. We believe management knows this and is hurrying development and production of lower cost tablets. Importantly we believe management will likely have to make the painful decision to accept little to no margin initially in order to match iPad 2’s wholesale pricing.
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This is something I believe Microsoft also wants to avoid with Windows vNext, it has to be an exceptional release across many form factors from the get go. The OS has a lot to live up to with Windows 7 being such a major success. Microsoft has a reputation and it would be a shame to see it shattered with a buggy rushed release. This is a huge market and there is a piece of the pie for everyone, its just that we don’t know who will ultimately own the most slices, right now, its looking like Apple especially with the iPad 2 release.
Microsoft has done the heavy lifting already, they showed that at CES that they have ARM running Windows, now the job is to create a great user experience. It’s still Microsoft’s game.