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Microsoft tries to compete with Google and Apple

In addition to the launch of new Windows Phone devices, including the flagship Lumia 930, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) had two other big pieces of news on Tuesday at the BUILD conference.
First, new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Microsoft would be following in Google Inc.'s (GOOG) footsteps, offering Windows for free to tablet and smartphone OEMs.  
This was surely a difficult decision, one that Microsoft's last CEO, Steve Ballmer, was unable to make.  But Microsoft had already in recent years drastically trimmed its smartphone and tablet licensing rates, given that it was spending a lot of money to make these products and almost no one was buying or using them.  Prior to this week's announcement, Microsoft was reportedly charging between $5 USD and $15 USD per tablet (Windows RT) or smartphone (Windows Phone) license.

Lumia 630

Gartner, Inc. (IT) estimates that today only 3 percent of smartphones and 2 percent of tablets run Windows.  Microsoft is currently in third place in each market.
But going free could change that.  
Mr. Nadella, who rose up at Microsoft as a cloud computing star, indicated that the cloud will be a key part of Microsoft's strategy going forward.  He states:

We are going to innovate with a challenger mindset. We are not coming at this as some incumbent trying to do the next version of Windows, we are going to come at this by innovating in every dimension.

Our vision, simply put, is to thrive in this world of mobile first, cloud first.  Our goal is to really build platforms, create the best end-user experiences, the best developer opportunities and IT infrastructure for this ubiquitous computing world.

Key components of that cloud strategy include natural language processing and cloud storage.  Microsoft announced the personal assistant Cortana at BUILD, which is currently in beta.  Significantly smarter than Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) current model Siri assistant, Cortana's advanced abilities to understand rather abstract queries heavily leverages Microsoft's cloud computing prowess.  Likewise Microsoft's recently announced OneDrive is gunning for Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Google Drive and other storage services like Box.
Microsoft is rumored to be considering an ad-supported free version of PC (laptop, desktop, hybrids) Windows to OEMs as well.

Source: Reuters

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Yowzers, it was only $5-15?
By Wolfpup on 4/3/2014 1:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but Windows RT utterly blows away Android. It's massively faster, and it feels like a real OS, with a real file system, real printer/scanner/monitor/etc. support, etc...not to mention Office 2013! $15 would be an utter steal for it.

I hate that an ad company makes a half assed OS, gives it away free, and two companies that actually make real OSes are left trying to struggle to compete with that. *sigh*.

RE: Yowzers, it was only $5-15?
By Gondor on 4/3/2014 2:11:43 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps those "real OSes" aren't as great as you make then to be ... otherwise their makers would be "left trying to struggle to compete", ya ?

RE: Yowzers, it was only $5-15?
By nikon133 on 4/3/14, Rating: 0
RE: Yowzers, it was only $5-15?
By coburn_c on 4/3/2014 2:55:43 PM , Rating: 5
They didn't

make a half assed OS

They used open source code to put adware in everyone's pocket

RE: Yowzers, it was only $5-15?
By Flunk on 4/3/2014 5:01:07 PM , Rating: 2
Android has a real file system. Just install a file manager and you'll see. I can also print from it no problem (HP OfficeJet 6600, I haven't tested other models). If your tablet has HDMI-out like mine then you have monitor support.

I'm not saying Windows RT is bad, I quite like it. It's just that Android is also quite flexible. Does it make me want to reach for a more powerful system when I want to do major content creation? Definitely. But would I feel the same with a Surface 2? Probably, still doesn't have a big screen, desktop keyboard and Quad Core i7 and discrete graphics.

Android is not popular for no reason, it does what it does very well. Windows RT is a very different take on the tablet but it's not hugely more useful.

RE: Yowzers, it was only $5-15?
By w8gaming on 4/4/2014 9:12:35 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is Windows RT suffer from the sin of being a late comer. When the tablet market was exploding in 2011, Microsoft was not ready to offer any alternative. The market quickly divide into pro-Apple and anti-Apple segment (mostly due to Apple price premium and closed-wall app market approach), and Android happened to be at the right time to take up the anti-Apple market segment. By the time RT is delivered, running Tegra3, it is under performing in a market where Android is already quite entrenched. Sadly Microsoft priced Surface wrongly and missed the boat of trying to catch up in 2012. The road ahead now is much tougher for Microsoft. At least seeding the market with more affordable devices is a start.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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