Has Microsoft lost out on its Tablet opportunity? (Part I)
In Q1 of this year, when Forrester asked consumers considering buying a tablet which operating system they would prefer on the device, 46 percent said Microsoft/Windows. Now that number has now dropped to 25% — a decline Forrester said should be “alarming to Microsoft.”
Windows 8 tablets are expected to come to market starting in the fall of 2012.However, I would believe that Microsoft is taking too long to bring its Windows8 tablet, a true iPad competitor to market. While it is widely believed that technology, interface and devices would be a three horse race, Forrester believes that Microsoft may have missed the peak of consumer desire for a product they haven’t yet released. Microsoft hasnot quite been a fast follower. It is at best the 5th mover after iPad, Android, HP WebOS and Blackberry Playbook. While Windows’ product strategists can learn from these products, other players have come a long way in executing and refining their products — Apple, Samsung, and others have already launched second-generation products and will likely be into their third generation by the time Windows 8 launches.
At the high end, by the time Windows 8 tablets come out in late 2012, the iPad will have been on the market for more than 2 years, and will have an enormous head start in terms of apps and hardware peripherals. Also, in air are rumours that Apple iPad is readying a 7” tablet at significantly lower proces which would be instrumental in taking the battle to low end Amazon tablets of the world.
The ace that is not to be…
I had blogged sometime back about how Microsoft could move in through a differentiation perspective from iPads and Android tablets by focusing more on office productivity and gaming. However, Microsoft might be overestimating that business users would prefer the ability to run legacy apps (especially Microsoft Office) and that would in turn would provide traction. Condequently, Microsoft tried to get their sales force to emphasize the enterprise shortcomings (like lack of security) of the iPad when selling against it. Windows 7 wasn’t a touch-centric operating system and Windows tablets to date have been pricey, heavy and lacking good battery life.
..And Why the Office wont work
Microsoft had tablets for many, many years. And Microsoft Office had always run on them. Office has been available on Microsoft tablets for almost a decade, and it didn’t help those tablets sell .That was not a selling case for tablets (The experience factor). Plus, it’s not even clear that the next version of Office will be fully revamped for touch. Thus, Microsoft and its partners won’t have time to redesign Office for a superlative touch based experience and other applications to work with the new Windows 8 interface. So customers will see tablets with a great touch interface on top and garbage underneath.
As Robert Scobble puts it, “It (Windows) (would) really look beautiful on top, but you (user) start touching it and go deeper and it looks crap inside.”