Stuck in the PC mold! Microsoft reads up Tablets wrong
One in five Americans plan to buy a tablet computer within the next three years. That’s great news for Apple, RIM, HP Palm, Motorola and others who have placed their bets on tablets. That however is horrible news for Microsoft. For every Tablet that sells, one laptop sells less. With every laptop that sells less, Microsoft looses a customer. And Microsoft has no alternative tablet where it may hold that customer. It feels like Microsoft is all set to repeat its smartphone blunder over again.Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform might do very well on a tablet, much like Apple’s iOS moved from the iPhone to the iPad, but Microsoft isn’t even considering that strategy right now. Instead, the company is betting on Windows 7–its PC desktop operating system–with perhaps a few new user interface elements layered on top.
Reports suggest that Windows tablet (rumored to be running a step up Windows CE OS, possibly called Windows 8 ) will actually see the light of the day in 2012. One hopes that by the time Microsoft comes along with its Tablets, it should get a foothold in the crowded tablets market. Currently the field has been left wide open for Apple and possibly Android to run away with significant leads. Goldman Sachs has already sounded alarm bells for Microsoft suggesting that the company’s revenue growth would slow from 12% in 2010 to 7% in 2011. HP is counting on its acquisition of Palm to boost its position in tablets –a major vote of no confidence in Microsoft’s tablet plans. WinMo 7.0, Microsoft’s latest salvo in the Smartphone OS space has been well appreciated but has not given any indication that Microsoft would increase its smartphone market share above 10% any time soon.
The CES gave little hope that Microsoft sees Tablets as a major category yet- Microsoft would continue down the same old path of customizing desktop Windows for tablets. It is not attempting a fresh, interesting, new mobile OS and moving it up into tablets. Making the core version of Windows work better on tablets is not the same as creating a specialized tablet group. Porting Windows to ARM processors, redesigning other prominent Microsoft applications like Office so they work better on touch screens, or any of the other steps that would suggest Microsoft is taking the tablet market seriously.