Windows Goes Free for Tablets, Phones
April 3, 2014 10:13 AM
comment(s) - last by
Microsoft tries to compete with Google and Apple
In addition to the launch of
new Windows Phone devices
the flagship Lumia 930
, Microsoft Corp. (
) had two other big pieces of news on Tuesday at
the BUILD conference
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.
Gartner, Inc. (
) 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
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 (
) 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 (
) Google Drive and other storage services like Box.
rumored to be considering an ad-supported free version
of PC (laptop, desktop, hybrids) Windows to OEMs as well.
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RE: Too late
4/3/2014 4:29:21 PM
MS is hardly out of the smartphone race. MS is big, slow, and lumbering, but they are here to stay. They only have some 3% of the US market, but most other markets they are sitting in the 5-20% range... after being at <1% 3 years ago. That is nothing to scoff at.
Win8 has not had a warm welcome, but it is still not a bad OS, and yesterday they showed windowed metro apps and a real start menu which will be coming out later this year for those of us who are not fans of the start screen. And the improvements that came with Win8.1 and 8.1 Update do address most of the keyboard and mouse issues.
The lack of apps on WP is no longer a huge issue as most popular apps are now out and getting regular support/updates. The missing features are largely addressed in the WP8.1 release, and we are expecting more to be addressed as time goes on.
Many of the development headaches for WP/winRT/win8 are being resolved with 8.1, and there is a clear roadmap to continue unifying them to make it easier with future updates. Making WP free, and win8/RT free on small devices will make it as cheap or cheaper than Android (depending on how patent licencing pans out in these deals).
At the end of the day iOS had a breakthrough, stagnated with Job's health, and innovation died with him. Now iOS has gotten bigger, buggier, and less useful with each update. Android has succeeded at the Italian Cooking method to programming in throwing stuff at the wall, seeing what sticks, and putting it in a pot together. You end up with a tangled mess of spaghetti of which the only real advantage to manufacturers is that it is cheap, and for developers it pays well based upon the bulk install base even though most of your software is just going to be pirated. I don't see how Android competes with a free OS that actual has some level of security to protect it's content creators.
Not saying that iOS or Android will go away. They too are going to be around a good long time. I am also not saying that WP magically becomes popular in the US. But MS is on the rise and they are going to do very well for themselves over the next few years.
RE: Too late
4/4/2014 9:27:36 AM
I do believe Microsoft has a chance to turn the situation around, especially if iOS or Android slips up and make some serious mistake along the way. But the sheer install base of both iOS and Android devices are not to be taken lightly either. Microsoft will need to be ready for a long fight, and its strength lies firmly with the enterprise as well as power home users that need Windows.
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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