February 6, 2013 12:15 AM
Posted by: Onuora Amobi
, Microsoft Surface
, Windows RT
Recently I wrote about how Surface RT was off to a slow start. There were several reasons why the table wasn’t flying off the shelf. The biggest reasons had to do with a lack of clear marketing about the benefits of Windows RT, the second was probably due to limited retail presence at launch.
What about Windows RT as an OS though, is it in danger? Some analysts, IT professionals and tech journalists certainly seem to think so. Windows RT currently has only 5 devices running it, and it has yet to take off in a big way.
While the Surface RT is a solid offering, many of us just like the idea of having legacy app support with Windows 8. Sure, you might not really need it for a tablet, but it is still nice to know it is there. Another reason is that the ecosystem for apps is still growing, and Windows 8 desktop apps gives us something to lean on to make up for the gap in the Store right now.
So what does Microsoft have to say about Windows RT and its future? They haven’t talked to much about it in the past, though in a recent interview with Tami Reller through Bloomberg, it was stated that there would be no new Windows RT devices this spring. This is in sharp contrast to past reports that vendors would be aiming to release several new RT tablets and convertibles over the next few months. According to Reller, the move is to focus on bringing up the supply of the 5 existing devices.
So is that the final nail in the coffin for RT? Not necessarily. It could be that Microsoft plans to focus aggressively on the existing 5 RT devices this Spring with marketing efforts, pricing cuts and clearer “education” to its customers about the benefits of RT.
It isn’t over yet, though I will admit that the future of Windows RT is starting to look uncertain.
What Can Microsoft Do to Restore Faith in Windows RT?
Honestly, they need to establish a clearer picture of why consumers should go with RT over Windows 8. Right now, there isn’t much difference. Battery levels, weights and pricing are all quite similar when comparing an Intel Atom tablet to an ARM Windows tablet.
Smaller form factors like 7-inch tablets, removing the desktop components, and creating specific or special “RT only” apps and programs could certainly help turn things around. Going with cheaper dual-core ARM processors and lesser components could also help cut costs in future RT devices. If the gap between an entry ARM and an entry x86 tablet could be at least $150– then RT could certainly become a worthy alternative.
As for the current line up? Besides price cuts, Microsoft simply needs to prove that RT is a better investment than x86. Easier said than done. I truly think that Windows RT could still have the chance to turn things around, but the time is running out. What do you think of Windows RT, do you feel that in its current form there is enough reasons to choose an RT tablet over an ATOM-based Windows 8 device?
February 4, 2013 7:20 PM
Posted by: Onuora Amobi
With Windows 8, Microsoft made many major changes in a gamble to shift focus away from traditional PC computing and into the growing mobile sector. While it still remains unseen how this path will play out for the Redmond-based company, they aren’t the only companies involved in such a shift.
Intel has also continually made efforts of late to reach away from its traditional PC chip marketplace, and into the Android device market. Although ARM chips are traditionally much smaller and more power consumption-friendly, Intel has made great strides to changing all of this in recent years.
In the last year Intel has continued to push itself in the Android handset market, though it still clearly remains tied strongly to Microsoft Windows in the desktop world.
Beyond Android mobile devices, Intel has also played a massive role in the Windows 8 tablet space as well. It is clear that Intel is at least partially trying to ride on Microsoft’s success (or failure) in the mobile market by continuing to strongly support Windows in this new space.
Intel needs Windows to be a success as much as Microsoft, I’d wager. Why? Eventually the PC market is going to dry up, at least on the “standard” consumer level. When it does, Intel is going to have to turn fully to the mobile and enterprise space for the rest of its business.
While Intel continues to reach out to Android handset makers and forge new partnerships, it is clear that it is still second fiddle in the Android tablet and phone world when compared to companies like Nvidia and Qualcomm. Microsoft on the other hand has had limited success with ARM processors so far with Windows RT and AMD has been nothing more than a minor player in the Windows 8 tablet wars.
With Microsoft and Intel relying so much on one another, it isn’t a surprise to hear that Intel may finally be getting into the Windows Phone hardware game.
Intel Exploring the Idea of Building Chips for Windows Phone 8 Hardware?
Roughly a month or so ago, a senior product manage for Windows Phone hinted it would be easy for Intel to get involved in making phones with their x86 processors because the “architecture is such that [Windows Phone 8 is] hardware independent”.
Now a new job posting has appeared at Intel, asking for people with Windows Phone expertise:
Windows Phone Engineers Intel would like to talk to you. If you have Windows phone expertise, the Intel site in Redmond would like to talk to you. Please contact us at_503-544-7336. Thanks…
While this one job posting is far from an official declaration that Intel is planning to build chips for Windows Phone 8 devices, it shows that they are at least continuing to look into the idea. Right now Microsoft seems lean heavily on Qualcomm for its phone efforts, but having an Intel offering could help them expand their reach.
For starters, Intel processors are quite a bit faster than ARM equivalents in many cases. A Intel Atom Windows Phone 8 handset from a vendor like Lenovo could certainly give some of the higher-end Android handsets a run for their money.
What do you think, would getting involved in the Windows Phone 8 world be a smart move for Intel or should they continue to push further into Android territory instead?
February 1, 2013 10:55 PM
Posted by: Onuora Amobi
Brand loyalty from your consumers is built through various things. Keeping commitments, releasing great products, follow-through, not selling your information or mishandling it. In short, brand loyalty is quite a bit about trust.
Interestingly enough, a new survey by Ponomon was issued recently to dive into the topic of brand trust. The survey found that in the top most trusted companies when it comes to protecting their privacy and their personal information, the number one company is American Express. As far as computing and technology is concerned? HP is the highest, and the 2nd overall in the top twenty list.
Considering HP sometimes a bad rep for some of its products but is still a very big name when it comes to selling computers, it is clear that trust must have at least something to do with it.
Now let’s talk about the big boys in tech: Apple, Google and of course Microsoft. Where is Apple and Google on the list? They aren’t. In 2011 Google was number 19, Apple was number 14. Going to data from 2012, they’ve dropped of the top twenty entirely.
Here’s where it gets interesting though. The list goes back to 2006. Microsoft has NEVER been on the top twenty most trusted brands list, until 2012. With anti-trust issues and other problems, it isn’t surprising. What is a bit surprising though is that out of nowhere they are now number 17.
So how is that data gathered? Ponomon polls over 100,000 adults total and asks them to name the companies they trusted most to protect the privacy and personal info. From there they derived 6,704 usable responses and that provided a total of 39,890 positive and negative company ratings.
So what does all of this mean?
Microsoft is more trusted when it comes to privacy then Google or Apple. What does that really mean though and how did things come to this point? Bottom-line, people are getting fed up with Google sharing their data, selling positions in their search engine, and other tactics.
Additionally Google has recently become caught up in anti-trust issues which could affect how people feel about the company trust-wise as well. Apple additionally has come into some trouble in the past when it comes to tracking issues.
Is Microsoft clean here? Probably not, but it certainly isn’t affecting their trust ratings the way it has the competition. So how can Microsoft use that to their advantage when it comes to building up additional customers for its products? They already have to some extent.
Microsoft attacked Google’s data practices several times last year, enticing folks to use their products, including their browser (Internet Explorer) over their competitor’s offering.
Here’s the big question though, how do you feel when it comes to trusting your private information with companies? Would you consider Microsoft worthy of the top 20 position? What about Apple and Google?
January 31, 2013 11:29 PM
Posted by: Onuora Amobi
, Microsoft Surface
When it comes to Windows RT and Windows 8, the flagship product is clearly the Surface RT and PRO. While we haven’t had an opportunity to see how well the Pro model fares on the market, the Surface RT has been out for a while now.
So how are things actually going for Microsoft’s Surface RT? Honestly, that’s no easy question to answer. Microsoft has been pretty careful not to talk about exact numbers. Is that because the Surface RT has been a failure? Not necessarily.
The truth is that retail distribution for the Surface RT was VERY small during the Holiday 2012 season. That means the numbers sold aren’t that high. Releasing these numbers would get doomsayers out on the net talking about how the Surface RT isn’t doing well, while ignoring some of the realities of the limited sale of the device.
Luckily, we can fill in some blanks thanks to analyst estimates. Two of the more trustworthy sources out there are arguably IDC and IHS iSuppli. The folks at IHS iSuppli put Surface RT sales out at around 680,000 to 750,000 units. As for IDC, they estimated that around 900,000 Surfaces were SHIPPED during the 4th quarter– that doesn’t mean all of these were sold though. The true number, only Microsoft knows for sure.
Still, lets take the IDC number and look at things a little deeper here. At 900,000 Surfaces, that seems pretty meager when you look at the top 5 manufacturers out there, with Asus even shipping 3.1 million units.
Did the Surface Really Sell that Poorly, Considering Retail Presence?
IDC points something out though. Except for at the very end of the quarter (10 days total), the Surface RT was sold exclusively online or through 66 retail shops in just the United States and Canada. Meanwhile, Apple had 390 shops, 150 outside of the United States.
So putting that into perspective, it is possible that about 14,680 iPads were sold per Apple Store, and assuming around 600,000 Surfaces were actually sold– that’s about 9,090 Surfaces per Microsoft shop Looking at it that way, the Surface did pretty well in stores. Even so, that’s not factoring that the Surface RT was only sold for around two-thirds of the quarter.
Adjusting for these days they weren’t on market, Surface sell-through at stores might have actually be a little higher at a per-store basis.
So what does that mean exactly?
A few things. Microsoft managed good advertising and hyped up in store sells early on, but a key component to their “low sales” for the Surface RT was a limited marketing presence. Is that all though? Honestly, probably not.
Microsoft got a lot right with the Surface RT. It is a solid product and an attractive one to boot. If it would have launched in 2010 or even 2011? It would probably have sold like hotcakes. Unfortunately, late-2012 and into 2013 has seen a pretty big shift. People don’t want to pay the “Apple Tax” for tablets anymore. There is significant growth in lower cost and smaller-sized tablets. Even Apple recognized this and created the iPad Mini.
The Surface RT and Surface PRO are a solid start, but Microsoft and its hardware partners are missing out a huge opportunity in lower-priced, smaller tablets. Had a Surface RT 7-inch model been launched instead of the larger Surface RT, proving it was under $300 or so– it likely would have been a hit.
So what’s the take away here? A few things. First, Microsoft’s Surface RT is NOT a failure. It has suffered some from limited retail and a rise in 7-inch demand over big-screen, but the future is still potentially bright for the tablet if Microsoft can find a way to bring down the price and better advertise Windows RT.
The second takeway is that Microsoft and its partners need to get involved in the 7-inch market now more than ever. They were late to the modern tablet game, they can’t afford to wait to join the smaller tablet market.
Ultimately, low numbers with the Surface RT prove little about Windows 8, Windows RT or the Surface product line. It was a humble beginning. Now it’s up to Microsoft to take the ball and run with it. Are they guaranteed success with the Surface going forward? Of course not, the bigger point is that it is just way too early to call the Surface or Windows 8/RT out as successes or failures. We will certainly know more as the year progresses.
What do you think of Microsoft’s limited sales success with the Surface RT? What could they do differently?
January 30, 2013 9:54 PM
Posted by: Onuora Amobi
, Microsoft Surface
, Windows 8
, Windows RT
While Microsoft has been in the video game hardware business for a while now, there were quite a few individuals shocked when the Redmond giant made its move into the PC hardware space. Previously Microsoft left hardware to its partners, and many companies like Acer were quite offended by the notion of Microsoft moving into their territory.
With Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and the Surface, we seem to be looking at a very different Microsoft than we’ve seen in the past.
Microsoft is continuing to push towards a more direct approach that is considerably more “Apple-like” in nature. With Windows 8/RT we see a more controlled UI (Start interface) that only allows one marketplace and limited customization. This isn’t much different from the dynamic seen with OS X and iOS.
Even Microsoft’s store designs are VERY similar to Apple’s approach. The Surface is a sleek, solid looking tablet that again brings Apple to mind.
The problem is that Microsoft isn’t Apple, and it doesn’t need to be. Microsoft built itself up on working closely with hardware vendors and partners. It was never a controlled, one-man effort and that worked for them.
Apple on the other hand, has always preferred an approach where they have their hands directly in everything. They pushed beautiful aesthetics and due to needing to support limited hardware models, were able to create a stable mobile and desktop OS that didn’t have the same problems you find with an OS that is designed for a broad range of computing drivers and hardware.
So why switch to Apple’s model all of a sudden? Microsoft saw the writing on the wall. They realized that the PC wasn’t as significant as it used to be and wanted to find a way to change its image and approach to better reach out into new sectors, including the mobile market.
What was wrong with their old approach?
Microsoft’s older method of allowing a somewhat-open UI and working closely with their partners – not alienating them – wasn’t a bad way to go. Apple found success with a different approach, but that doesn’t mean anything.
Take a look at Google. Google has an open OS, but they control certain elements (like having solid Google tools, including their Google Play store). They do technically own a hardware company but haven’t directly branded anything as “Google” as haven’t given any special priority or attention to Motorola. Google’s Android continues to expand at a rapid pace. Even their Chrome OS is starting to see some growth.
Google is proof that working with partners, and not controlling the hardware game is still a profitable solution. So really, why change?
Fear of Competition?
I personally enjoy Microsoft products and want nothing more than for them to succeed, but you have to wonder if Microsoft is a bit scared of Google and Apple. They see their PC marketshare declining and they feel that hunkering down and “controlling” things might save them.
This is evidenced further in the rumor of Microsoft’s involvement with Dell’s privatization effort. If this rumor is true, Microsoft is planning to pitch in around $2 billion into helping Dell buy “itself back”. In exchange, Microsoft wants more control over Dell’s direction.
Its possible that Microsoft believes that this ownership could keep one of their biggest partners from considering further Linux and Android alternatives going forward. By controlling its own hardware and directly controlling “certain partners” through partial-ownership, Microsoft could be attempting to limit Android’s growth and keep vendors and customers from jumping ship.
The problem though is this could all backfire. Google is continuing to reach out to vendors and make them feel “welcome”. Microsoft is starting to alienate them. Like it or not, Microsoft needs its partners if it wants to continue to grow.
What should Microsoft be doing?
I don’t know what the future will bring for Microsoft, but I personally believe that Microsoft needs to pick a direction and follow it. They don’t need to be Apple, they don’t need to be Google. The problem with their losing PC marketshare wasn’t that their old “partnership approach” was broken. Honestly, it was more that Microsoft had become out of touch when it came to reaching out to consumers. Their products weren’t cool, and people were only buying “if they had to”.
Microsoft has solid products with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. They just need to find a way to market their products in a way that reaches out to consumers, while at the same time working tightly with partners not trying to “control them”.
Does that mean that Microsoft shouldn’t be doing the Surface line? Not necessarily. They can have their own hardware, but they need to work closely with their partners and make sure that the Surface isn’t getting “special treatment” that further angers these partners.
Microsoft is at a crucial point. They can go forward and expand into the mobile marketplace or they can continue to slowly fall out of grace.
The next few years are extremely important for Microsoft and will likely shape their future and seal their fate– for better or worse.
January 29, 2013 8:23 PM
Posted by: Onuora Amobi
, Microsoft Surface
, Windows 8
, Windows RT
The Microsoft Surface Pro launch is just around the corner, and Microsoft needs a hit here more than ever, at least if the dark talk around the Surface RT is to be believed.
During my own time with the Surface RT, I found the device was solidly built and was truly an attractive tablet. The big downside though was Windows RT. The Surface had the potential to be a bridge between the tablet, all-in-one and laptop world, but one of the problems is the lack of quality apps that can truly replace what we need out of a full-fledged PC.
I can’t be the only one that feels this way, as slow sales for Microsoft Surface RT seem to indicate that few are buying into the Surface, despite its solid look, feel and advertising. So exactly how many Surface RT tablets have been sold? That’s a good question, and it seems to depend on who you ask.
At Microsoft’s recent press call, no numbers were dropped for the Surface RT. Sure, the actual quarter results were strong, but Surface was oddly left out of most of the conversation.
Luckily, analysts are helping fill in the gaps, the problem is that the estimate is pretty wide open. On the high-side, we’ve heard around 1 million Surface RT sales in the last quarter according to Barron’s estimate.
As for Citigroup, the number is a little less around 700,00 and 800,000. Then we have Goldman Sachs Heather Bellini. According to this analyst, the numbers could really be as paltry as 230,000 slates so far.
Again, these are estimates and only Microsoft knows what is really going on. Regardless, the Surface RT isn’t as big as a hit as Microsoft wanted. So what does that mean for the future of the Surface brand?
Going forward with the Surface brand.
The Surface RT might not have been a runaway hit, but it certainly doesn’t have to end here. The Surface PRO is on its way and it largely corrects one of the Surface RT’s biggest issues: x86 compatibility.
To be fair, not everyone cares about x86 legacy apps on a tablet. The iPad and Android tablets just have mobile apps after all, and they continue to be pushed into the business world and beyond. The difference here though is that Windows Store is NOT in the same league as Apple or Google’s store-fronts, at least not yet.
Windows Store is still missing many popular social networking, productivity, entertainment and gaming apps. Having traditional Windows support helps fill in many of these gaps though, and offers consumers a way to “ditch their laptops”.
That’s the bottom-line, and as I stated in another article, the key to the future of computing is to create a mobile device with enough storage space, power and flexibility that you don’t need a home PC, laptop and tablet.
So, home run. It’s all over and the Surface Pro wins, right? It isn’t that simple. The Surface Pro has its own obstacles to overcome.
Obstacles ahead for the Surface PRO
What’s the in the way? Having a larger storage size, the ability to play nice with the touch cover and the power of Windows 8 is a good start, but that’s only if you ignore some of the problems under the surface (pun intended).
First is price. Don’t get me wrong, $800 for a device that can replace both your laptop and your tablet isn’t expensive. From the components to other aspects, it is a value. That doesn’t matter though, its all about perceived value from the customer. Video game consoles are generally worth many HUNDREDS more than the sell for, but a consumer wouldn’t pay its actual valued price, they expect more than that. Same with tablets like the Surface Pro I would wager. The price just doesn’t ring well with consumers.
Sure, its no different than the higher-sized iPads really, but the big difference is consumers consider these “established devices” and customers are more often willing to pay premiums for such products. Microsoft’s price is just too high if they want more than a niche appeal with the Surface Pro.
If Microsoft was to sell at a much shorter profit margin and instead rely on services like Windows Store to make the difference, they could probably sell the Surface Pro for around $600-$675. At that price, Surface Pro as your “everything device” becomes all the more compelling and would find a market both for business and casual users.
Price isn’t the only obstacle here.
Recently at my website, one of my staff writers reported on the Surface Pro’s pre-installed software taking up a massive 45GB. While the Surface Pro starts at 64GB, when you have to remove 45GB from the equation you are left with 19GB. 19GB for a device that is supposed to work as your mobile solution while also powering programs like PhotoShop and AutoCad? That’s not going to cut it.
With Apple announcing its own larger storage iPad (128GB), the 19GB for the Surface Pro 64GB model and working 88GB for the 128GB become a whole lot less appealing. Of course you do get microSD for expansion with the Surface Pro, so that’s a redeeming fact that’s worth mentioning.
The race for a “be all, do all” computing solution is on.
Google isn’t quite there, with Chrome or Android. Apple is continuing to push ahead with iOS and the Mac. Microsoft is almost there but can’t quite get everything lined up. The Surface Pro is a step in the right direction, and hopefully the second generation of Surface hardware brings them the rest of the way.
What do you think, is the Surface Pro set up for great success than the Surface RT has seen so far or does its size and price limitations stand in its way?
January 29, 2013 6:34 PM
Posted by: Onuora Amobi
, Microsoft Surface
It wasn’t clear to me how this was going to play out for quite a while.
Yeah all the studies, stats and trends indicated that mobile devices were gaining more and more marketshare. It still seemed hard to think of a “post-PC world” ruled by mobile phones and tablets.
Then this happened.
Apple announced a 128 GB iPad and it all became clear.
That’s how it’s going to happen.
Here’s what I think.
Apple is going to continue refining the iPad until you can get an iPad with a 500GB or 1TB hard drive. They will work hard as hell to keep the form factor the same or even smaller.
The clues are in their own press release:
CUPERTINO, California―January 29, 2013―Apple® today announced a 128GB* version of the fourth generation iPad® with Retina® display. The 128GB iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular models provide twice the storage capacity of the 64GB models to hold even more valuable content including photos, documents, projects, presentations, books, movies, TV shows, music and apps.
“With more than 120 million iPads sold, it’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and everyday they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs.”
iPad continues to have a significant impact on business with virtually all of the Fortune 500 and over 85 percent of the Global 500 currently deploying or testing iPad. Companies regularly utilizing large amounts of data such as 3D CAD files, X-rays, film edits, music tracks, project blueprints, training videos and service manuals all benefit from having a greater choice of storage options for iPad. The over 10 million iWork® users, and customers who rely on other incredible apps like Global Apptitude for analyzing team film and creating digital playbooks, Auria for an incredible 48 track recording system, or AutoCAD for drafting architectural and engineering drawings, also benefit greatly from having the choice of an iPad with more storage capacity.
It’s right there in front of our eyes.
It’s easy to dismiss a tablet as the device you use for media consumption when it has 16 or 32 GB. That’s because that level of storage doesn’t really seem like something serious or threatening.
16GB or 32GB is the storage size of a “secondary” device.
Now if you could get the convenience of a slim tablet combined with the storage space of your primary device – why do you need 2 devices? At that point, all you need is a monitor, keyboard and docking station.
It also points to the coming unification of Apple’s Operating Systems because iOS works really well for tablets but will need some tweaking to be a true hybrid OS.
Look for Apple to start hinting at a 256GB version of the iPad soon. It only makes sense.
The race is now on for Microsoft to beat Apple to this version of the future. Both companies now have to build tablets that can replace the traditional PC, be fast, powerful and light enough and finally, be affordable.
My prediction is that whoever can reach the sweet spot first will win.
If the ASUS ViviTab or Microsoft Surface was slim, had 500GB of Storage, ran Windows 8 and cost $699, the game would be over.
The problem is that for now, those numbers are pretty impossible – they just don’t make sense to make a profit.
A year from now, that will probably be the standard.
This is going to be a brutal battle and the collateral damage will be the OEM’s who aren’t building these types of tablets.
Oh and by the way, Chrome OS is going nowhere – feel free to quote me on that. The UI is still too rudimentary.
This is between Apple and Microsoft. May the best company win.
What do you think?
January 24, 2013 11:57 PM
Posted by: Onuora Amobi
, Windows 8
Companies have started reporting their financials for the 4th quarter of 2012 and it looks good for BOTH Apple and Microsoft.
Apple had a great Q4 last year.
The company posted a record $13.1b profit on a record $54.5b in revenue, compared to last year’s record of $13.06b profit on $46.33b in revenue.
Google did pretty well.
Google reported earnings for Q4 on January 22. The company’s stock rose 5% after market as the company reported consolidated revenues of $14.4 billion, up approximately 36% year-over-year.
Microsoft just came out with their earnings for Q4 and were surprisingly strong.
Microsoft’s overall revenue for the quarter stood at $21.46 billion, with a net profit of $6.38 billion.
I have been asked what these numbers mean for Microsoft and Windows 8. Well, there are several things I would take away from the stated financials of Apple and Google.
First of all:
Apple and Google mobile devices represent a very clear and present threat to the PC.
Apple (and Google) mobile devices are eating into all types of PC and MacBook sales.
During Apple’s conference call, Tim Cook stated the following:
On iPad in particular, we have the mother of all opportunities here, because the Windows market is much, much larger than the Mac market is, and I think it is clear that it’s already cannibalizing some, and I think there’s a tremendous amount of opportunity there. I’ve said for three years now that I believe the tablet market would be larger than the PC market at some point, and I still believe that. You can see by the growth in tablets and the pressure on PCs that those lines are beginning to converge.
Microsoft and OEM’s are in real trouble here unless they can turn the Windows 8 narrative around. The threats from Apple and Google mobile devices will only continue to grow and Microsoft have to come to the table with a counterpunch
The Microsoft Windows 8 Surface Pro has to be a hit
Based on the tepid response the market has given to Windows RT and the Surface RT, the Surface Pro running Windows 8 has to be a winner. Microsoft have to do everything possible to guarantee that this device
- Has serious mindshare
Iphone and Android sales are still a huge problem.
iPhone sales were a record 47.8m compared to 37.04m iPhones a year ago and 26.9m iPhones last quarter.
No matter what the papparazzi say about the iPhone 5 being stale and the relative lack of innovation, the device is being gobbled up in HUGE numbers.
In addition, Samsung have made it their mission in life to sell beautiful and powerful Android phones.
Microsoft, HTC, Nokia and all other Windows Phone 8 partners are going to need to do something different to stop the bleeding. If things continue at this pace, Microsoft will continue to struglle and lag behind all the rest of the vendors.
China will be a mobile battlefield.
Apple have stepped up their sales game in China and they are starting to see the fruits of their labor.
According to Tim Cook:
We increased 70 percent from the year-ago quarter. In terms of geographic distribution we saw our highest growth in China. I would characterize it as we’re extremely pleased.
It’s critical that Microsoft find ways to do the same in that territory. There are too many consumers coming online in Asia to be ignored and if an Apple/Google culture takes root, that would be a disaster.
Windows 8 will be too expensive for consumers – Microsoft need to reconsider
Microsoft’s promotional Windows 8 is coming to an end soon and consumers aren’t happy.
I took a poll on my site to see whether people would be willing to pay triple digit upgrade pricing for Windows 8 and the answers are pretty overwhelming.
As of Thursday 1/24/2013, the poll results are:
Would you upgrade to Windows 8 for for $129.99 or $199.99?
- Yes – Great Value – 5%
- Yes – Reluctantly – 8%
- Hell No – Are you nuts? – 25%
- No – Too expensive – 51%
- No – I was never going to upgrade anyway – 8%
84% of poll respondents have said at that price they wouldn’t upgrade ( 8% wouldn’t upgrade for any price). The bottom line is, the software is too expensive and unnecessarily so.
We will have to see what happens in the next couple of quarters but I am pretty sure that 2 quarters from now, Microsoft will reflect a sharp dip in licenses purchased by consumers.
This seems to be a predictable disaster coming but Redmond seem convinced for now that raising the price of Windows 8 makes sense.
To be continued…
Microsoft need to preempt Apple’s attempts to re-invent TV
Here we go again. We know Apple are working on some new way to make watching television a more pleasant experience. Steve Jobs said he thought he had it licked and now Tim Cook is being secretive.
Microsoft need to get to the end zone first for once.
It would be nice just this once to see Redmond do something large and revolutionary that had changed the way the entire world did something. I can dream can’t I?
Having said all that, it’s important to remember that Microsoft is still in the game.
Microsoft’s numbers out today are a good, stiff reminder that the company is still a very rock solid and profitable company. They make a ton of money, they have the Enterprise solidly behind them (for now) and still make very good products (Windows Server 2012, Azure etc).
The competition is really stiff and the pressure is really on for the next 24 months.
I believe that Microsoft have a couple of years left to fight the solid fight with Apple and Google in the mobile space.
If Google and Apple continue to expand at the rate they are and Microsoft is unable to make SUBSTANTIAL gains with Windows 8, Surface or OEM hardware, it becomes difficult to see success in the cards.
It doesn’t mean Microsoft goes away or folds up. It just means the company slowly becomes a niche player and less relevant.
That would be a dark day indeed.
What do you all think? Is Microsoft in trouble despite the solid financials they put up?
Let me know in the comments below.