Behold the Second Coming of Microsoft
Unlike rival tablets, such as the many Android variants, the BlackBerry PlayBook, which I think is an excellent tablet, but I digress; and others that compete with the iPad, Microsoft has the potential to bring to market a ready made success. Why?
I think it could be said without argument, the two primary reasons other platforms have failed to make serious inroads against Apple are a lack of applications, and the horror stories of security breaches, and malware prevalent in some apps. Since Apple was first to market, with a significant time lead, they were able to develop an app lead that has not been able to be matched. Furthermore, since they control the app delivery mechanisms, they have largely remediated the security issue that has plagued other devices.
So, in comes Microsoft. How do they play in this already crowded tablet space? They don't! That's right, they don't. Period...
How is this possible?
Microsoft has an ace up it's sleeve. And that ace, is Microsoft Windows, and all the applications that run on Windows, and all the security that's built into Windows, and all the developers that currently, and will continue to build applications for windows.
This is why Microsoft will succeed.
Microsoft isn't even really creating a tablet. What they are creating is an ultra-portable laptop that is dressed in the guise of a tablet, and nobody realizes it yet.
And because of this, Microsoft will win. They will win the enterprise space because Windows is already well entrenched in that space, with the backwards compatibility with applications, the infrastructure, the control, and the security to ensure it will be the leader in the space. CIOs realize this, and that is why they have largely been watching; and waiting.
Microsoft will win the consumer space as well. After all, they own the game market, and since the platform is running a derivative of the Windows operating system, and likely with hooks into the XBOX console platform, they are going to dominate gaming on portable devices as well.
And nobody saw it coming. Well, almost nobody.
I predict in a few short years, if Microsoft can execute well, like they did with the XBOX, they will dominate what is now, both the tablet space, and the ultra-portable laptop space, and perhaps the portable gaming space as well. Then couple that with the next iteration of the XBOX, and you have a killer strategy.
So when Microsoft unveiled their tablets today, they turned the market upside down. They've created a market that doesn't yet exist, and they are already dominating it. In a few short years, IF, and I mean IF, Microsoft can execute their plan, they will be the market leader in tablets, phones, ultra-portables, games, the enterprise and consumer markets, and who knows what else. Apple will be a distant second with strength in media delivery, and Android will be a distant third amongst open source enthusiasts.
We have witnessed history. Behold the second coming of Microsoft...
You say "IF Microsoft can execute their plan", but that is a pretty loaded statement. If RIM executed their plan they would be #1, If nokia executed their plan they would be #1, if HTC executed their plan they would be #1... see where I am going here?
I am as excited for these tablets as the next person. It is going to be a long wait until I can buy one (October for the RT version?) Hopefully they are reasonably priced.
So Microsoft has to keep excitement up until they can get these tablets into consumer hands.
The 360 took several generations of hardware before they had something that didn't RRoD prematurely and it took multiple years losing money on the Xbox before they ever turned a profit.
I wouldn't exactly call that executing well.
- Price them appropriately so that CTO/CIO are willing to invest in them. Corporate environments already have their favorite OEMs they like working with due to price, history and support. If these offer no price benefit over other laptops, convertible tablets or even something like the iPad why would they spend more money on an unproven product?
- They can market the hell out of these to make them appealing to enterprise workers. Right now people want the iPad because of the reasons you mentioned. They want them at home and they want them at their job. Microsoft needs to do something to show people how these will fit into their work life better than the iPad will; yes I know two hugely different products but people don't care they want an iPad at their job. This has always been the nagging issue with tablets in the past. CTO/CIO liked them but could never convince the worker bees how they were better.
- Ease of use has to be dead on simple. If switching between Metro and the desktop becomes too annoying for end users companies wont invest the money to switch over right away. Much like the change in the office applications with the Ribbon this needs to be simple and not confusing at all.
- Interfacing with corporate services will have to work right and effectively. I think it's safe to say Exchange support will be there and will work, hopefully, properly. But if these are to replace devices in the corporate work center things like VPN and network shares are going to want to be embraced. I can see VPN being there but what about shares? Asking end users to rely on Skydrive is not the right way to handle this and if the RT version doesn't support UNC paths I would never ask an end user to use one. I'm not following enterprise OS stuff anymore but it'd be really awesome if Server 2011 some how combined user home folders with skydrive for a seamless sync. This would be a HUGE advantage over the iPad and Android based devices.
However (and at the risk of getting bombed with dislikes)... come on, Microsoft PR, you're going to have to do a better job of disguising yourselves than this. This post is so filled with the usual almost-but-not-entirely-accurate tripe that the Ballmerites like to throw around that I can smell it from a mile away. If this Tekcellence account is not controlled by someone in Microsoft PR, then you really need to be careful about the broad generalizations you are throwing around because it sure makes you sound like PR. Not trying to start any fights, but I just can't let this go by without pointing that out. :)
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