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Old 10-28-2010, 11:30 PM
Jason Dunn
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 29,160
Default Is Microsoft a Dying Consumer Brand?

"Consumers have turned their backs on Microsoft. A company that once symbolized the future is now living in the past. Microsoft has been late to the game in crucial modern technologies like mobile, search, media, gaming and tablets. It has even fallen behind in Web browsing, a market it once ruled with an iron fist."

This is your typical link-bait article in some ways, and I'm complying by linking to it, but I felt it was worth discussing. Windows 7 is selling like gangbusters, and it's the best OS Microsoft has ever released, so it's hard to blindly say that somehow Microsoft is losing in the consumer space...but I think the author has a point that Microsoft has no answer to the next wave of consumer computing: instant-on appliance-like devices. I don't own an iPad, but I understand what that device represents and why it resonates so powerfully with an increasing number of people.

Many of us in the industry have been telling Microsoft for years that Windows was a poor basis for a touch computing experience, but year after year they kept hoping that advances in hardware would enable Windows to become fast and responsive on small devices - much of Microsoft's history has been littered with Moore's Law-based planning.

It took a lot of corporate guts to start over with Windows Phone 7, but I think Microsoft was/is in the same sort of denial when it comes to touch-based computing on larger devices. They know they have no good answer to the iPad or Android-based tablets; you can see that in every video where Steve Ballmer is pressed on the issue - he's distinctly uncomfortable with it (which gives me hope that he gets it). I sincerely hope they're already 12+ months into working on an answer to iOS/Android on a slate; whether it's a port of Windows Phone 7 or an x86 variant designed with a completely new GUI, something new is required.

If Microsoft is hoping that Moore's Law will prevail and somehow, magically, Windows 8 will run nicely on a thin slate, it really is game over for them in this space. In the same way that Apple got so far ahead in the MP3 player space it was impossible for anyone to catch up, I fear the same thing may happen in the tablet/slate space.

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