Windows

Microsoft's misguided tablet strategy is the apotheosis of the company

Microsoft has promised Windows 7 tablets to compete with the iPad. See why that strategy is misguided and how it is indicative of the larger struggles at Microsoft.

Let's be clear: Microsoft doesn't have a tablet.

In fact, the company barely has a tablet strategy, despite what Steve Ballmer urgently told investors last week about Windows tablets that will soon compete with the iPad.

We've heard it all before. I sat in the front row at Ballmer's CES 2010 keynote in January, on the eve of Apple's iPad announcement, when Ballmer tried to preempt Steve Jobs by announcing Windows 7 "Slate PCs" that would be released during 2010.

While the iPad has turned into an international phenomenon, Ballmer's promise turned out to be little more than vaporware. No Windows 7 tablets have hit the market, or even been officially announced.

Ballmer showing off an old pen-based Tablet PC. Photo credit: CNET

The flagship slate PC from Hewlett-Packard that Ballmer showed off at CES got cancelled by HP because Windows 7 was reportedly too much of a power hog. ASUS, which had been planning to power its Eee Pad with Windows, switched horses and went with Android instead. And, one of Microsoft's most reliable partners, Dell, also spurned Windows for Android on its tablet -- the Dell Streak.

You can't blame these traditional Microsoft partners for balking at Windows 7 on their tablets. After all, Microsoft has treated these devices as just another form factor of the PC, and Microsoft saw the biggest advantage of Windows 7 tablets being that they had all the power and capabilities of a full PC. That was a fundamentally misguided approach.

The iPad and the forthcoming Android tablets are much more like smartphones than PCs, and users tend to like these devices for two reasons:

  1. The touch-based interface is far more self-evident than a traditional PC or Mac
  2. The app experience provides single-task immersion that makes it easy to do things

You simply can't recreate those two factors in a tablet with a full PC operating system. It's too complicated. A few people inside Microsoft recognized that and they trumpeted Windows Embedded Compact 7 (based on the old Windows CE) as an answer for a Microsoft-powered tablet computer that could match the capabilities and user experience of Android and iPhone.

But, that naturally confused everyone. After all, Ballmer had already declared the full Windows 7 as Microsoft's tablet platform in January. And, in February, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 7 as the company's next smartphone platform, setting off speculation that it could also become the natural candidate for a Microsoft tablet.

Microsoft did little to help clear up the confusion. In fact, the company said that it would "continue to support, ship and sell [Windows Mobile] 6.5" even after the incompatible Windows Phone 7 devices arrived. And, this spring the company also released the ill-fated Kin smartphone, which was based on an entirely different mobile platform altogether and which was so poorly received in the market place that Microsoft and Verizon killed it less than two months after launching it.

So Microsoft has talked about five different mobile platforms in 2010: Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Embedded Compact 7, Windows Phone 7, Kin, and Windows 7, with very little explanation about how these platforms relate to each other and which ones Microsoft wants to use in which settings. Is it any surprise then that Microsoft is flailing so badly in the mobile space and has no coherent tablet strategy?

And I think it's fair to say that Microsoft's tablet troubles are indicative of the larger problems that are haunting today's Microsoft -- similar teams competing for resources, minimal collaboration between similar projects, and not enough vision from the top to get everyone pushing in the same direction.

What's puzzling is that Ballmer and the Microsoft board of directors haven't come under greater fire for this lack of product focus, and for the misguided strategies that have led to Microsoft falling so far behind in the mobile computing race, which will likely end up spreading to far more people around the globe than the PC revolution.

This failure is a direct consequence of Microsoft putting an accountant in the CEO position to succeed Bill Gates. Steve Ballmer has done an excellent job of maximizing Microsoft's profits and milking as much money as possible out of consumers and businesses for Microsoft products -- primarily Windows and Office. But, Ballmer has done little to propel the company forward technologically or strategically.

That's why Wall Street has continued to bet against Microsoft. The stock market is a barometer of the expectations of a company's future success. Microsoft's stock price has hovered in virtually the same place for a decade because Ballmer's leadership has given the market no reason to bet on Microsoft's future.

When you hear Ballmer speak, the stuff he gets most excited is things like explaining that Microsoft now has eight separate billion dollar businesses. Ballmer would make a great CFO or COO/President of Microsoft. He'd also be a great CEO of a mature public company trying to maximize its profits in order to produce a dividend for its shareholders.

However, Microsoft's top dog needs to be a product leader. If you look at all of today's successful tech companies, they almost all have a product visionary at or near the top of the org chart.

Microsoft still has plenty of strong assets and a ton of smart engineers in Redmond. But, where's the leadership? What's the company's vision of the future of computing? At a time when mobility is about to power the next great wave of expansion in the technology industry and bring the benefits of computing to hundreds of millions of new people, Microsoft is standing on the sidelines still trying to figure out which play to run.

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About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

86 comments
rjd
rjd

True it died in part because of Bill Gates' myopic view of a world that he had largely left behind to pursue other interests, improving toilets world wide among other things. These were honorable and perhaps even noble things, but they did not keep him in touch with the pulse of emerging markets in particular the shift to consumerization of IT from the traditional market structure where business needs had led. The Courier story in many ways recapitulates the whole mobile phone fiasco of the previous 10 years. But the fulcrum point of this decision was defense of old fashion bureaucratic territory, much like had plagued IBM when Microsoft as an upstart contributed mightily to its decline. The Windows team (political empire) wanted total control and restriction over anything that contained any element of Windows (CE not withstanding, it never was Windows in reality). They wanted control of everything including any customization for a specialized product and they were willing to suppress any internal competition to meet their as yet uncertain and unproven long term schedule. To use a notable expression, bringing a three year product plan to a market where significant churn happens in months, was like bringing a knife to a gun fight. Top management let them win and the company got shot up badly in the mobile device market place, perhaps fatally.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

but came up with a tablet product before the market was ready to accept the input method. Had it been released with a multi-touch screen back then the world would be different. Too much, too really and not quite at the hardware spec needed.

brian.catt
brian.catt

Every major innovation was bought in or copied from somewhere else, DOS from Seattle Micro Systems, MS mail from Network Courier, Word from I forget where, Explorer copied from MOSAIC 1.0, Excel copied from Visicalc/123, Windows was Apple's licensed GUI until 3.1. Gates was a good product marketeer at least, bought in sound products, integrated them well and used his monopoly power to bundle them and destroy any competition. He understood the market and how to monopolise using his OS monopoly to ensure MS Apps worked best once assimilated - as they could avoid the clunky limiting APIs third parties had to use. The continuity was lost when Gates left a clueless bully in charge. Ballmer is more Soprano than Gates with a better grasp of money than technology - but his lust for power and money mean he won't listen to cleverer heads in MS or let go easily, roped to the wheel of the good ship MS Windows as he steers it unerringly onto the rocks. Live by the PC, die by the PC. Probaly the longest asset strip in IT history is about to occur as each bit of application and brand is milked for every last drop of blood by this awful accountant. But death is inevitable unless he gets out of the way while the company is still generating good cash. My guess, not long to the end of Windows PC dominance now thank god, what a time consuming crock of hobbyist bits and pieces the PC and its MS Bloatware has been, a license for techy arrogance and job creation. Roll on the zero maintenance consumer PC we can all just use.

pschulz
pschulz

This article rather is an apotheosis of Tech Republic - polemic and somewhat one-way slanted misinformation. There is really no actual information in the article, and who agrees will be the ones who already had the same viewpoint as the author. While I will not join the apologetists of Microsoft, I vote for more informative and objective articles on Tech Republic. There are examples of that too, but I think there are too many of this type recently.

jck
jck

Of course, I've been talking about what a car salesman Ballmer is for a few years. Microsoft's eventual downfall (if they don't get Ballmer out within the next 12-24 months) will be because of one thing I've seen wrong with tech in the business sector for a good 15 years now: bean counters are allowed to tell technical people what is technically best for a company based on profitability, and not it's effect on operations. Personally, I hope Canonical is doing something wise and stepping up their staff and what not. I think that in 2-5 years, they could definitely have their opportunity to go: "We can run 32 and 64-bit Windows apps, we have an browser add-in for Flash now, and drivers for all the hardware. Why pay Microsoft $120 for the software when we'll give it to you, and only charge you for support if you need it or a DVD if you want it." One other thing Microsoft needs to do: Stick to doing software. Getting into Kin and all that is a HUGE mistake.

techrepublic
techrepublic

A mobile computing platform based on Windows will fly as far and fast as a balloon made of bricks.

MurphysLaww
MurphysLaww

It's been right in front of MS but they won't do it. They need a simple, Wacom based tablet running some sort of embedded form of One Note. They would own the education market that apple is in very real danger of taking back. Give it 5 hours of life and it should be sufficient for a school day for the majority. I have been a tablet power user since 2005 in College so I know of what I speak. Yes it's challenging to bring something like this in at a sub-$1k price point, but I'd be willing to bet that it can be done. Keep it simple, stupid, and don't overdo it. If it functions as a notetaking device, and can display E-texts, IT WILL SELL!

dwdino
dwdino

First, Microsoft's primary customer is corporations and business. They have firmly entrenched themselves there and are accustomed to fulfilling those requirements. Enter Apple and the iPad. A sudden uptick in sales causes Microsoft to take note of a product not requested by corporate types. True to Microsoft form, they wait to see what happens in this arena. Next an aquisition usually follows as Microsoft normally allows someone else to innovate, while Microsoft capitalizes. This situation is a little different though. There is no innovator to acquire as Apple is the only developer of the current technology. Microsoft also has the quandry of partnering with hardware developers. Add to this the fact that Microsoft's primary customer demands flexibility, freedom, performance, and manageability. The iPad cannot fulfill this requirement, nor any current product (for glossy new tablet UI). So how do you solve this puzzle. Take your flagship OS and put it into a smaller form factor? Microsoft has tried in the past with dismal results. Develop a new OS and new platform? High capital expenditures and high risk makes executives nervous. Microsoft is quite good at exploiting markets once they mature. Granted, they have been trailing Apple on "new prodcut", but Microsoft always has. Yet they continue to post gigantic revenues and march on year after year. This is due to refined longevity of their primary products. XP is still going, right? On the other hand, Apple is small, nimble, and can be completely disruptive. This advantage creates opportunity for innovation and freedom to build up and tear down product. I believe Apple will always be on the leading edge. So, I expect Microsoft to have a product shortly for the tablet space. I also agree with others that a split device will be positioned to both compete with the iPad and fulfill the demands of corporate deployments (CE / W7).

PeterM42
PeterM42

Jason is absolutely SPOT-ON. Bill had the vision and the technical background to produce products people wanted and could use. If he had been in charge, I suspect we would not have been burdened with the rubbishy Vista (NT 6.0) and Vista 6.1 (aka Windows 7). Come back Bill - all is forgiven!

rader
rader

Mr. Balmer Is Clueless, Recommending Operating System Of Future Tablet Just a thought.

johnbisset
johnbisset

Lets get this correct. What we are all waiting for is a system that has voice and handwriting reconcilation; touch screen and voice interface, runs all MS appliactions, etc. with a battery life of atleast 8 hours. The device does not need networking but needs to be about the size of an IPOD for about the price of an IPOD.

shaunsweb
shaunsweb

I think this may cause a serious shift. What typically happens in recessions like this is small businesses find new ways to provide goods/services and grow into the new corporations. Since Apple is targeting the consumers we may see a shift as the new CEOs/small business owners will want to use their Apple products they love so much. It will be interesting to see who ends up on top when the recession ends.

cedric.tanga
cedric.tanga

Steve Balmer of Microsoft needs to go! Old ideas rehashed is killing MS. For MS to survive requires longterm future thinking. Again, Steve Balmer of Microsoft needs to go! Apple wins no matter what due to giving the market what it can use today with something from the future.

wanharris
wanharris

It's interesting the concept of "Vaporware" that Microsoft likes to acquire with their technologies. I can already imagine 10 years from now, how Microsoft's profits will be plummeting for not being able to be forth front in technologies any longer. It has been swallowed by the revolution of Cloud computing and others such as Apple iPhone/iPad and Android Gingerbread version which seems to be more stable in their OS. Not to mention others like Blackberry with their new BlackPad technology.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

This is what happens when you put a bean-counter in charge of a tech company or tech division. All they care about is the stock price or cutting costs. The consumer and innovation go out the window. As an 800 lb gorilla, MS needs to eat alot of bananas. So they spend most of their time eating bananas and not picking or growing bananas. This has turned MS into a reactionary company that instead of innovating, they let Apple, Google, Nintendo, etc spend the R&D innovating and building a userbase, then they throw everything they can throw at the wall hoping that something sticks. Microsoft should have owned this space, but they took it for granted and just assumed that a mobile phone and tablet are just small PCs and people wanted small PCs. When you make hammers, everything looks like a nail. That's MS issue (and Palm's to a lesser extent). MS basically slapped PocketPC on a phone and called it a day. Nevermind that PocketPC is just as convoluted and complex as Windows, they assumed that since people suffer through using Windows, they'd tolerate the same in their mobile devices. How wrong they were! Apple and Google basically built thier OSes from the ground up to be used for mobile devices. Mobile devices are like mobile apps, they are no substitutes for PCs, but rather compliments (for now). No one wants to use a stylus that they'll eventually lose. Touching something comes natural. Less options are better. Simple works. We don't need a fully functional PC on a phone. Microsoft can't see that because they are lazy under Balmer. Tablets are the PC of the future. Because of this oversight, MS will lose their core business some day soon. Absolutely nothing prevents a user from slapping a keyboard or mouse to their tablet and using it as a fully functional PC. Nothing except Google or Apple not allowing them. Soon it won't make sense to own a tablet and a PC or a smartphone and a PC. Soon you'll be able to dock your tablet or your phone at your desk and use it as a full-fledged computer. Seemingly overnight MS empire will fall like Troy did--only this time the mobile device will be the Trojan Horse. Innovation is key to a companies survival...as key as bringing in revenue today. Too bad Balmer the Bean-Counter can't see that. They need to get him out of there.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Yady yady yady. I think every body but your pet may know that Microsoft's strategies need to be fixed. How many times have they changed names. Windows Messenger. MSN Messenger. Windows Live Messenger. .... I don't think you can blame Microsoft [totally] on the manufacturers who can't themselves figure out what they want to do. Whether to use Windows, Android, Linux or who knows what. Microsoft is supplying the OS. It's up to the manufacturer to make the Os work with their hardware. So maybe blog about something that we don't know about.....

PeteDude
PeteDude

The sooner M$ finds itself at the bottom of the pile, the sooner better alternatives from other vendors can take their rightful places at the top of the heap. :D

Jaqui
Jaqui

but I wouldn't be buying any tablet anyway so it's not relevant. :D Notebooks are the portable form factor that have served me best, and they will likely continue to do so. and my notebooks all run non MS software. [ nope, none are Apple's products, so no mac software either. ]

rstoeber
rstoeber

"What?s puzzling is that Ballmer and the Microsoft board of directors haven?t come under greater fire..." Not really puzzling at all when you consider the huge piles of cash that come in every day. "Steve Ballmer has done an excellent job of maximizing Microsoft?s profits and milking as much money as possible" Exactly. That's his job and he's doing it well. "He?d also be a great CEO of a mature public company trying to maximize its profits..." Again, he's doing exactly what he was hired to do. He's not a visionary product designer/evangelist and when he tries to act like one it's just embarrassing for everyone. Microsoft has been a "mature public company" for a long time. Their products are functional and they will have satisfied customers for years to come. But their products have all the excitement of a new razor with six!!! blades. The real question is "who cares"? There's a wide variety of exciting products (hardware and software) out there for anyone that has the time for a little research, and there's the relative safety of Microsoft for everyone else.

Tim Acheson
Tim Acheson

This article is incorrect, and its implicit assumptions flawed, on too many counts to list. Let's deal with the most obvious points. "Microsoft doesn?t have a tablet." MS core business is software, not hardware, though that focus may shift in the near future. "the iPad has turned into an international phenomenon" The iPad is famous for all the wrong reasons. It sold a lot of units, but the most famous Apple stories lately gave been device problems, including iPads over-heating and cutting-out, and sales charts can't alter the fact that it is essentially an iPod Touch with a giant screen. "No Windows 7 tablets have hit the market" It's not a mature market yet. Windows 7 is multi-touch, low-power, and tablet-ready when the monent is right. Also, watch out for Windows Mobile 7 coming soon... http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/features/tablet-pc For the time-being, I'd rather have a fully-functional PC in the form of a good netbook, like the Nokia Netbook 3G, than a tablet that is really just a giant iPhone and has the capabilities we can get from much smaller devices. When tablets do hit the mainstream, I'd still rather make mine a fully featured PC running Windows 7 than just a smartphone with a huge screen. :)

8string
8string

Thanks. This needed to be said.

glennsnead
glennsnead

Accountants make terrible CEOs. They weren't good for GM, and they aren't good for Microsoft. Balmer's inability to move the company forward is the proof. Will this kill Microsoft? No. Like Chrysler and GM in the 70s and 80s government and corporate fleet sales will keep them afloat.

LouCed
LouCed

This is no different than they have always operated. How many vaporware promises doomed competitors in the past for them? The only difference is that the press seems less willing to carry the water for them today. I remember writing PC World about 15 years ago about this, and that if a Microsoft product would kill 20% of users, the mag would have reported what a great experience it was for 80%.

joerocket!
joerocket!

How long can Bill sit on his hands and watch his baby go down the drrain?

hlatimer
hlatimer

Am I reading the TITLE of this article incorrectly? I thought "Apotheosis" meant exaltation, etc... "Microsoft's misguided tablet strategy is the apotheosis of the company" does not make much sense to me, at any rate. Then again, neither does Microsoft's tablet....

melias
melias

Their lack of any kind of plan for mobile platforms is just a preview for the rest of MicroSoft. Once a bean counter gets in charge of a company, all they can see is immediate payoffs. They start to look at the large outlay for programmers, software engineers, etc... and start looking for people to lay off. If they do not replace Ballmer soon, MS will be a thing of the past.

mpayton
mpayton

Worse than vaporware, I'm afraid--the project has been killed by all accounts. One of the most innovative things MS has done is years, scuttled.

stewartngandu
stewartngandu

Why do you sound so aggrieved when you are doing exactly what you complain the article is doing. Your post makes no point whatsoever and there is "really no actual information in" it besides confusing verbiage. If you don't agree on how MS is being depicted w.r.t its slate strat then inform us by giving us your point of view this is why we are allowed to post replies throwing tantrums is not going to change anything.

PeterM42
PeterM42

JCK says it all. Organisations run by bean counters and Used Car Salesmen always seem to end up producing rubbish products. You want proof? - Vista, XBox, Windows Phone. Old Uncle Bill (Gates) at least knew what made a decent product that people would want.

darpoke
darpoke

and I agree with you completely. They are kings of the Wait-and-see mentality but I'm sure they'll bring something out eventually. I wonder if it will actually be something new or an existing product stuffed into a smaller box. Should be interesting either way!

darpoke
darpoke

I'm not sure what gave it away - your insistence that what we're all waiting for is a device that 'runs all MS applications', or your complete and total lack of vision... Yeah, nobody wants networking in a mobile device. That's why all the cellular companies are closing up shop instead of investing in HSDPA masts and capping people's data allowances. By the way, that device about the size of an iPod, for the price of an iPod, with the battery life, touch interface and voice recognition? It's called an iPhone. True to MS form, you've correctly established your competition. That would be them, in the distance, on whose dust you're currently choking... The biggest joke of all is that for all the problems with their products - reception and overheating issues - the public are eating from their hands. Apple's biggest issue today is getting enough iPhones to meet demand here in the UK. All the mobile companies are running email update lists to tell people which day of the week to check back in stores for stock. MS missed this party and by the time they show up, everyone will already have a drink in their hand. Only Apple appear to have realised that the public will happily be told what to do just so they can get one of these devices. It could have been you...

stewartngandu
stewartngandu

Firstly, the problem is that besides some people claiming to have seen a page on the HP site they hasn't been any official communication from HP with specific timelines as to when things are going to happen. I guess this is why your URL points to electronista.com. This being mid-August already I don't think anything is going to happen end of October. What is needed is an official indication from HP stating their intentions, without such an indication the HP Slate is at best vaporware. Secondly, yes am sure we all know that MS is not a hardware company but the point is; hardware companies like HP can't make hardware without an OS this is why people are pointing the finger at MS. If MS, instead of trying to have the ultimate PC/Slate OS had come-up with a scaled down Slate ready OS HP - the hardware company would have responded by making - ah well the hardware/slate.

techrepublic
techrepublic

Monkeyboy has got to go. Bean counters do not make good leaders.

darpoke
darpoke

about docking tablets at home and using as fully-featured devices with keyboard and possibly a mouse - but I think it dilutes your point a little to claim that MS missed the point when they assumed people wanted small PCs with the same complexity (which I think was definitely a failure to see the point on their part), and then you later state that soon we'll all be using our tablets as fully-featured computers. Don't get me wrong, I do think you're correct - but doesn't that mean that ultimately, Microsoft's vision will prove to have been right, even if for the wrong reasons, and even if they're short-sightedly missing the point right now...?

paulie09
paulie09

"Android is lame"? This based on a review from a blogger who's "not impressed" by iPhone. (Which I thought seems to be doing OK.) "Mommy, I can't sort my bookmarks!"

seanferd
seanferd

went to get a sideways haircut.

greggwon
greggwon

Bill has a large percentage of the cash flow from the US in the profits of Microsoft, and is now distributing them world wide, to good causes. He's having fun, and enjoying the smiles he is putting on other peoples faces. Would you rather do that, or stare and Balmers face and argue about tablet PCs? Chances are, Bill has an iPad...

mafergus
mafergus

...a few billion minutes

techrepublic
techrepublic

Apotheosis is derived from the Greek word meaning "turn into a god." Since we don't create many new gods these days, we've watered it down somewhat, but it still means the deification someone or something; we also use it to describe an excellent idea or thing: The iPhone is (allegedly) the apotheosis of cellular technology. -- Tim Timothy J. McGowan

jswansonsr
jswansonsr

"If they do not replace Ballmer soon, MS will be a thing of the past." But mightn't that be a GOOD thing?

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

I'm talking about from a software/User Experience perspective here. Windows is convoluted and unweildly for most non-tech people. Android and iPhone are not. These devices are weaning users off of Windows. Windows is no longer the dominant OS that people use to communicate and be productive. That's because the PC is no longer the dominant medium that people use to communicate and be productive--the cellphone is. Once people start docking these non-Windows mobile devices, Microsoft's days are numbered. It's really ironic that a software company doesn't see that its software has to evolve to successfully take advantage of this changing hardware landscape.

eg19689
eg19689

I agree with you Tim. I don't get the illustration. "Apotheosis?" Wrong use of the word. But the idea that Microsoft's Windows 7 uses too much on the way of resources is absolutely correct. Question, how does Microsoft not know this?? or why do they continue to ignore this?

carlosayam
carlosayam

I also was confused by the comment and thought of it more like an irony. Probably you should name it "apoptosis", which a mechanism in the cell (in pluricellular organisms) that triggers a programmed death under certain circumstances... probably from your article, that is what's happening to Microsoft!

greggwon
greggwon

If you look around you, and go to the Apple Store near you, and then go to a PC store, and back to the Apple Store, and stand and listen at both stores to questions from customers, I think you'll find it interesting how Microsoft is quickly leaving the scene of many peoples lives, lock, stock and barrel.

darpoke
darpoke

In that case I agree fully. Although, I'm not sure it's that ironic after all - Windows was never built to evolve as a product. Their marketing tactic has always to remove competition, either by bringing it in-house or silently killing it. How much actual innovation has Windows ever delivered, other than taking another company's invention and incorporating it and unveiling it to the public as the new Windows feature? Now we have a market that's free to compete on its own, as just another player at the table Microsoft are sinking as we always knew they would. I'd welcome their efforts with open arms if they brought a gamechanging product to market. I just wouldn't hold my breath waiting is all. It's actually sad, we deserved more.

darpoke
darpoke

- namely, what on earth *could* they do about it? Rebuild Windows from the ground up, at last, and break compatibility with their entire market thus far? Remove some of the massive bloat from the OS and reveal the truth to the public, that it's nothing but an OS kernel and window manager? Everything else is an application and can be kept separate? "We lied to you all along when we said a photo manager, text editor, and web browser were core parts of your operating system. Truth is, we coulda sold you the bare bones for $30 and let you choose the rest for yourselves. Sorry!" Fact is, the situation is such that they've got very little wiggle room left at all. It's almost enough to make me feel sorry for them. Almost.

greggwon
greggwon

I, personally, have exactly one PC for work, and then an iMac for personal video, a mac book pro for iPhone/iPad development, an iPhone 1G, 3GS and 4 for development, and two iPads for development. I have two intel machines running open solaris for media storage and backup with 15TB of space. The rest of my household, collectively, has a Mac Book Air, another iPhone 1G, iPod touch 1G and an iPhone 4, 2 Vista desktops, which go largely unused now, and are only setting there for time when the iMac or Macbook Air are in use and someone needs a computer (or they'd just grab an iPad). 3 PCs 2 Open Solaris Intel Boxes 11 Apple Is my situation normal? Perhaps not, but what will peoples next choices be? PC, Apple or what?

DM67
DM67

Do you really think that consumer purchasing outweighs business purchasing in IT devices? The problem with the current Apple devices is they don't fit into an enterprise model. Blackberry is still outselling iPhone.... enterprise device. PC's are still outselling Mac's..... enterprise device.

itadmin
itadmin

The desktop will be around for some time to come. Add to that that there's a sucker born every minute and Microsoft will be around for some time to come.

greggwon
greggwon

If the iPad and iPhone and ... is an Apple product, targeted at the Consumer Market, and Microsoft is targeting the business market, then are they really competition for each other? I think there are 10x the number of consumer items to be sold compared to the number of "business" items to be sold. Why? because there are families that will have 4 or 5 of something compared to the 1 or 2 working in the business world. Each family member will have more than one device in many cases, just because of how fast the devices change and what they "want". 4-5 x 2 is 10x. Microsoft is in a downward spiral, and the consumer learning about Apple products will only provide more pressure in the business marketplace for something besides windows. Did someone sell Linux into business use, or did IT staff that knew about it and had interest in the benefits of open source and lower cost provide the bigger pressure for change? Staff voted with their feet to pick Linux in shops that are running it. It was not "windows" so they had to know how to drive it. The same thing will happen to Microsoft in the desktop and portable device space. Consumer familiarity and preferences will always provide pressure on business lock-in.

don.howard
don.howard

is they have different primary customer bases. Microsoft's primary focus is the corporate enterprise customer. That is where the cash flow comes from. Direct individual users are a secondary concern. Apple is just the opposite. They are a consumer oriented company, which has made few inroads in the enterprise market. When you go to the Apple/PC store, you are only getting the consumer side of the equation. I'm not saying Microsoft does not need to do better with consumers - they absolutely do. But individual consumers are such a small part of the Microsoft pie that comparing PC stores to Apple stores is not really that significant.

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