It is pre-mature to dismiss Microsoft from Tablets and Connected Media experience.
Is Windows a step behind others in Smart-computing? After being one of the earliest entrants in the smart-phone segment, Windows Mobile took a back seat and allowed Androids and iOSs of the world to steal the march. It refused to take notice of Applications as a product differentiator and has only pushed the pedal lately. While, it came out with Windows Phone 7 in 3Q, 2010, it hasn’t really set the cash registers on fire.
However, the mobile market continues to evolve, this time with tablets. The tablet fore-shadows dramatic consumer and eventually business, behavioral changes ahead. In the wake of Apple’s blockbuster success with the iPad, various manufacturers are countering with tablets running Google Android. Later in April, Research In Motion will issue the BlackBerry-branded PlayBook, and Hewlett-Packard is prepping tablets for summer that run its recently acquired webOS. So far, Microsoft has refrained from a hard push of its own into the consumer tablet market. This, inspite of the fact that the concept of Tablet PCs is a Microsoft thought of yore.
Given that Tablets are increasingly making deeper inroads into enterprises, the threat is here and now to the Microsoft strangle-hold of the enterprise business. Sample the following:
1. A Google Admob survey reveals that 28% of tablet owners have made PCs their primary devices and cannibalizing PC sales.
2. Enterprises are notably increasing their spends on media tablets.
3. Tablets and smartphones are the ideal delivery mechanism for the semantic web through media-applications. Thus the demographic habit is going through a huge change undermining Microsoft’s position of strengths.
However, all is not lost for Microsoft and Windows. Many believe the only company with the resources and ability to seriously challenge the iPad in the enterprise is Microsoft. Considering, how deeply office is rooted within companies, and how well Microsoft understands the enterprise and their needs, it seems to me that we should be careful not to rule them out. So far, the biggest missing piece of the media tablet puzzle right now are desktop applications. Many cannot run on the iPad and similar devices. But Microsoft has already demonstrated the ability of such applications to run on their platform because they are using Windows. Microsoft’s experience and expertise with the cloud is another strength that can be leveraged. Combined with operating systems for TV set-top boxes, telematics systems and other devices, notably the Kinect. Windows has the front end presence which can readily be plugged into Microsoft Cloud. Laterally, Microsoft could also port Office and Outlook apps for Android and iOS, all supported by Microsoft’s cloud (or in-enterprise data centers running Microsoft hosted software). By letting consumers or IT organizations buy add-ons and connected cloud services, Microsoft could make up for its lost time in the smart-computing sphere. There is also another synergy in bringing Xbox game titles to tablets. Microsoft has the capacity to literally roll over the tablet (and smartphone) markets with the best apps and supporting cloud services.
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