Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tablet: Windows 8 Isn't Helping Microsoft Enter Post PC, Maybe Next Version

Microsoft has not always been very good at its first time out in almost any market it enters.  Even in the PC market, it took a couple of tries before it eventually knocked Apple out and nearly for good.  The same for the browser market and the console.

So, I haven't been all that surprised by the degree of success that Microsoft's own tablet effort, the Surface, so far.  I'm not even sure the Surface Pro, which runs the full version of Windows 8, will either.  I'm hoping perhaps, Windows 8.x or Windows 9 could do the trick.

And even now, Windows 8 is in danger of being marginalized in favor of its older sibling, Windows 7 and, of course, OS X, iOS, and Android.

Samsung has largely shunned it.  Even now, Lenovo has machines with Windows 7 installed instead of making Windows 8 users do the hard work.

So, Surface 2?  Well, the issue isn't that Microsoft's tablets are not good.  They're very decent but they're also priced like iPads. Between Surface and iPad, people have been flocking to Apple's tablets.  On top of that, Surface has to compete with low-cost Android devices with similar specs and a bigger library fo apps.

I had hoped that Microsoft would have by now dozens of models on the market from partners that will drive the price down.  Not only has that not happened, some partners  have withdrawn plans for Windows 8 tablets, regardless of those running on ARM or Intel chips, from the market.

What's worse is that Microsoft may not even be able to compete in the sub-10" segment of the tablet market, like 6-9" sized screens, because Windows 8 might not be able to support it.  We may have to wait a full year for that to happen.

What's at stake is Microsoft's dominance in the future of mobile computing.  In fact, let me back that up a bit.  What's at steak is Microsoft's relevance in the future of mobile computing.  However, I think the jury is still out.  I can't believe in a world where Microsoft won't be a major player in the smartphone or tablet market.

For anti-Microsoft people, you have to understand the tremendous competitive force that a juggernaut like Microsoft has on its competitors even if it doesn't sell nearly the number of machines its competitors do.

And we want competition.  More the better.

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