Windows 8 to challenge iPad

Ha ha ha ha ha.  Sorry, I laugh every time I read a headline like this.  When was the last time Microsoft did anything that challenged anyone in the non-gaming market?

Yes, Windows still owns the market.  Yes, Windows can do some cool stuff and yes, Microsoft is really moving forward on some back office stuff.  Seriously, though?  Did anyone care when Microsoft released Zune?  How about when they launched Kin (presuming you even remember that being on the market . . . I think it was pulled after 6 days or something)?  Of course not.  Microsoft has become a legacy company.  They built up enough market share to never have to innovate again.  It’s a great business move – they can ride that wave forever, but it certainly doesn’t make them sexy.

According to Richard Waters, writing in the Financial Times, Microsoft will unveil Windows 8 on Tuesday, which is intended to turn touchscreen computing into something more familiar to the world’s 1bn PC users.  The software will be shown off at a Microsoft conference for software developers in California.  The beta version of forthcoming Windows 8 operating system represents a bet that iPad does not represent the final shape of tablet computing.  Rather than the pallet of icons and simple stripped-down apps popularized by Apple, Microsoft is set to show software the combines elements of both tablets and PCs.


Here are some thoughts (in my opinion only) why Windows 8 won’t challenge iPad.

First, anything Microsoft beta tests takes a year or more to come out.  Um, yeah – probably won’t be any strides in the iPad or other tablet devices by then.

Two, it’s not the OS – it’s the apps.  Listen, I have a Windows Mobile phone.  I like it, really, but I can’t do squat on it because the apps suck.  I don’t think there are more than 10 apps for the phone anyway (I’m exaggerating) and everything costs.  Plus, it’s a hassle to install and about a million other little things that bug me.  So even if Microsoft builds this system, unless they get some developers to crank out apps – and then figure out something as easy as iTunes to search / install / manage those apps, it doesn’t matter what they build.

Three, it’s not just the apps – it’s hardware too.  Microsoft isn’t going to release a tab – just the software.  So somebody (not HP, not RIM, not Samsung, not Apple) needs to build a cool device.  Here’s what I predict – the standard group of usual suspects (looking at you, Dell) will incorporate touch into laptops.  Probably introduce a removable screen or slide out keyboards – stuff like that.  That might be cool . . . and corporations that simply can not bring themselves to let people have iPads on their system may embrace these types of laptabs (I just invented that word).  Dang, that’s a really good idea – remember I wrote that when the patent disputes start.

Four, which is really three sub a, why can’t Microsoft let the team from the XBox division work on this stuff?  Kinect is cool – really cool.  Microsoft games are cool.  Those people get it – Microsoft could turn them loose and I bet something cool would come out of it.  My point is that I’m not convinced that Microsoft has the people in position to challenge iPad, because they just don’t “get it.”  I have the great fortune to be friends with people from Microsoft.  I have one friend who works on back-office server stuff . . . Genius with a capital G.  He can barely dress himself.  I have another friend who works on search – cool as the day is long and has no freedom to innovate.

I don’t hate on Microsoft – not at all.  I started on Windows – took the classes – still use Office every day, but they can’t go around promoting iPad killer stuff – they just aren’t that kind of company anymore.

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