Microsoft and Hardware
With the Windows 8 launch on the horizon, Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer today outlined a future in which the company will dabble in software and hardware “to deliver a broad spectrum of Windows PCs, tablets and phones.”
Yes. Because their forays into creating hardware devices have been so successful in the past.
Ultimately, Microsoft wants to deliver products that offer a seamless experience. “So right out of the box, a customer will get a stunning device that is connected to unique communications, productivity and entertainment services from Microsoft as well as access to great services, and applications from our partners and developers around the world,” Ballmer wrote.
Sounds nice. And so original, too. Too bad Apple never thought up anything like th—HEY, wait a minute!
Every time Microsoft has tried to copy Apple in making some new device or sales strategy outside of pure software, Microsoft has failed rather miserably. Heard much about Zunes lately? Been to a Microsoft Store? How many people who just can’t wait to get a new Surface tablet do you know? Or even have a Microsoft phone?
Naturally, Ballmer talked up Windows 8 as a way to achieve this goal. “Windows 8 unites the light, thin, and fun aspects of a tablet with the power of a PC,” he said.
All on the assumption that you can cram both into one unit. That people will accept a tablet, designed to be held in one or both hands, as a serious authoring device. Or will accept as a serious computer a device which is essentially a tablet with a bad keyboard, holding this to be superior in some way to a Macbook Air or Ultrabook.
It is, essentially, the exact same strategy they used when they tried to sell “tablets” which were really modded laptops, again and again, and failed each time, before Apple said, “a tablet is something you hold in your hand, and so is much better suited for consumption.” A strategy which worked where Microsoft’s failed, allowing Apple to now dominate the mobile market. So here comes Microsoft again, saying, “Hey, tablets are popular now! People are certain to buy our tablets-and-laptops-are-the-same-thing strategy this time!”
Who knows. I could be wrong. Maybe with powerful enough chips, tablets acting like PCs will be all the rage. However, with Microsoft’s track record, something tells me not to have too much faith in their approach.