Apple today occupies the same position in the computer industry that was occupied once by Microsoft. Currently Apple is the undisputed market leader in mobile computing with its iPhone and iPad.
In today’s era where technologies are converging into one, Apple has gained an unparalleled lead in mobile computing with its iPad and iPhone. Apple’s growth has meant that IT companies now have only two options – compete or perish.
Amazing thing is that this war is not about defeating Apple and becoming number 1, it is about becoming number 2. Instead of re-defining market rules as Apple did by replacing the technology and user experience with it’s products. Each and every company is trying to emulate Apple. Amazon did so by launching the Kindle, and followed it up with the launch of silk and its own set of Apps. Google did the same by launching Android, followed by Motorola and the launch of Google Play.
So when Microsoft announced the launch of “Surface”, its range of tablet computers it was not a surprise to most of us, but this piece of news was greeted with only one comment – “Too Late”.
Microsoft finds itself in a bad situation today, it no longer commands the same position in market. PC’s sales have been growing very slowly and in some markets have become nearly stagnant. Even though Microsoft may not admit it, Bing has not lived up to expectations. Windows based mobile phones and tablets have not done so well in the market, falling way behind iPhone and Android.
Microsoft had always felt that one of the major reasons for Windows based devices was that OEMs were not able provide a sustainable alternative to Apple products. Hence it decided to take control in its hand before situation got totally out of control.
With Windows 8 releasing in July, Microsoft is trying to provide its user an end to end experience from software to hardware. This would be soon followed by whole series of Windows Apps.In short Microsoft has decided to declare a full fledged War against Apple and Google. The iPad is the unchallenged leader in Tablet world, because it was the early bird and secondly because it didn’t have any serious challenge. RIM’s playbook was a joke; nobody understood why they launched it if they were not serious about it. Galaxy is there for people who don’t want to buy an Apple product. Android is more of a competition in Smartphone category then in Tablet world.
Smartphone market is totally cluttered and Microsoft took the right decision of fighting where it core skill lay. It’s often said that better Late then Never. Microsoft certainly has its own advantages when it takes on iPad with Surface.
It provides users continuity of use. In other words users may not have to switch to different software as they switch from one device to another. Continuity of use would be always there irrespective of the fact whether you are using your office or home PC or your tablet, it would be a MS Windows world.
Another good thing is that Microsoft would have control of the hardware that its software would be running on. So users may have a better experience. Microsoft has played a very bold move with the launch of “Surface”. A lot depend on how Microsoft handles the launch and subsequent iterations. It could be the last nail in Microsoft’s coffin, but on other hand it could just provide a much needed new launch pad for Microsoft.
Microsoft has to provide a new computing experience with “Surface”, if they want to succeed .In other words they need to do the same thing which Apple did to them.
(The Author is an IT Analyst based in Toronto, Canada).