Microsoft, Apple and the Tablet form factor evolution
Microsoft was a company of the past with its vice grip on PC shipments and from the new spate of devices that Microsoft is getting around it is the company of the future. Steve Ballmer missed a few steps on the “present” but Microsoft now seems to be making a successful transition from its legacy laden desktop centric past to its “converged” future in time. Its inaction in the present meant that it lost the title of the No.1 selling OS on computing devices to Android.
Between the technology Triumverate, Microsoft was third in smartphones and until yesterday lagging Android and iOS by a few generations both in smartphones and tablets. However, the Surface announcement yesterday finally heralds the arrival of Microsoft in the tablet territory. Analysts are already betting on the future prospect of Microsoft beating Apple to take No.2 spot in smartphones by 2015 and Microsoft beating Android to take No.2 spot in tablets segment.
Interestingly here, the device evolution that Microsoft has followed is contrary to the Apple evolution. Both Microsoft and Apple followed their strengths in respective fields – Microsoft in computing and Apple in Mobility. So while Apple’s design was seeded in the iPod Touch which evolved into iPhone which then evolved into iPad (Touch being the cornerstone customer experience), Microsoft’s journey was from the Desktop computer which evolved into laptops and netbooks which then went the ultrabook way and finally manifests itself in the Surface with a keyboard. This is an interesting study of how different form factor and devices have evolved into the converged device category of the future- Tablets.