Print 54 comment(s) - last by Reclaimer77.. on Apr 7 at 3:55 PM

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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RE: Too late
By drycrust3 on 4/3/2014 5:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
It's main drawback has been it's late arrival and thus low adoption rate and general lack of app support because of the low adoption rate.

The real issue here isn't either the low rate of adoption, nor the late arrival, but the apps. A smartphone isn't just a mobile phone, it is also a platform for apps. When someone downloads their first app, this changes the way they think about smartphones. Until then it was just what the manufacturer supplied them, but once they download an app, that phone changed, even though by only a tiny fraction, so it had a capability that didn't exist when they bought it. The next step is when they find an app is so useful that it becomes a "must have" app. Once that happens, that will affect the way they buy their next phone.
Most people have their "must have" apps on their phone, which means they are more likely to either stick with the OS they currently have or, if they are going to move to another OS, move to one with a similar size or bigger application library than their current OS has. They are unlikely to move to one with a smaller application library. According to one source, both Android and iOS have over 1 million apps, while Windows Phone has only "about 100,000" apps. This means, for example, if an Android user wanted to change operating systems, they would feel more comfortable changing to iOS than they would to Windows Phone simply because it is more likely the apps they "need" are on iOS than Windows Phone.
Thus, for Microsoft, they have more work to do to convince experienced users who have "must have" apps, that there are apps in their application library that will do what they want than either Android or Apple sales persons would have to do. The reason is simply because the experienced users will be frightened away from Windows simply because they will fear their "must have" apps won't be in the Windows application library. On the other hand, when a Windows phone user walks into a store to look at either an Android phone or an Apple phone, it is almost certain that the phone they look at will have good equivalents of their "must have" apps.

RE: Too late
By w8gaming on 4/4/2014 9:22:12 AM , Rating: 2
The late arrival is the main reason why the apps in Windows RT platform is lackluster. If the situation had revised in which Windows RT was delivered in 2010, while first Android tablet was delivered in 2012, I believe Windows RT tablets would have been the more successful platform compared to Android, simply because the app writers would have written apps for RT two years longer.

RE: Too late
By Alexvrb on 4/6/2014 11:58:05 AM , Rating: 2
Windows Phone has over 200K apps, last I checked. But that's not as important as this: Microsoft is bringing their platforms closer together with universal binaries (and Store), with strong development support for such universal apps from start to finish. Write it once, and bring it to all their current platforms.

In fact, if the developer so chooses, their app can be purchased once and then downloaded on Windows Phone 8.1, Windows RT 8.1, Windows x86 8.1, and potentially even Xbox One - and you'd only need to buy it once. Hopefully all the major developers adopt this approach, instead of trying to milk customers for more money. Either way, the actual app can be made available on all these platforms with ease.

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