So, what ought to be Microsoft's next move? It has neither momentum (Android and Blackberry) in the market or it is perceived as an innovator and has something the market wants (iPhone).
Here are a few things I like to see:
- Buyouts - a delicious target is Palm. Don't be surprise if this sneaks up on you. While Apple fans like to call the current crop of former Apple execs and engineers as castaways, they were there when the iMac, iPod, and OS X were built. At worst, some of that Apple energy should have rubbed off. At best, you're talking about a team that has the potential of building the next greatest thing.
- More synergy between Zune, Xbox, and Windows.
- Zune HD with wireless (zune phone for some). It's coming. You know it. I know it. But it might not be many think it is. It certainly won't be called a Zune Phone. I think of the Zune HD with 3G or LTE. MS can reach deals with wireless carriers for this purpose. VOIP will be allowed. Apple is said to be working on a similar deal with Verizon Wireless.
More on Zune phone. It will have to be a Microsoft designed device. At least with the first device, it will need tight control over quality and design. I've got the G1 and while it's mildly success for a generation one phone, it should have been better. Android devices won't really show the potential of Google's OS until next year when it can support better and faster chips.
Microsoft is racing against the clock and it doesn't have the luxury of two to three years to get it right.
As for the buyout. It might not seem make sense on the surface. It's not really about WebOS either though Microsoft should take a look at it and incorporate key features into Zune and Windows Mobile. It is about the energy and culture that Palm brings. It has a lot of fans who still remember it's glory days.
Palm brings a lot of talents and technology. It also give Microsoft the excuse to reinvent itself. And it'll give me hope that the wireless market won't be a iPhone-versus-Google-versus-RIM world.