Are Your Windows Getting Dirty?

Will Microsoft be able to hold the consumer and enterprise market dominance they’ve enjoyed since, like the beginning of computing, or is this the beginning of the end?

My good friend, Preston Gralla is on a roll. He’s had a number of really compelling articles on Microsoft lately. His latest contribution is no exception. His theory here is while MS Windows is the number one desktop OS in 2013; it’s the number three OS in 2015.

His points are clear and concise.

  • Apple PC’s and operating systems (both OS X and iOS) are growing in popularity
  • Android currently has a larger market share than Windows (22.8% to 15.6%, respectively)
  • Both Apple and Google OS are going to continue to gain market share. Microsoft is going to continue to lose share.

Microsoft’s biggest problem is BYOD (bring your own device). Most consumers are not choosing Windows when they purchase new computing devices. With OS X, iOS and the many flavors of Android available, affordable, and with available, professional, productivity tools for them, there’s a great deal of choice available to the consumer.

Users don’t have to stick with a Microsoft compatible computing device to get MS Office compatibility. You can choose from any number of open source options or any number of cloud based options, INCLUDING Office 356 and Google Apps.

Apple will soon be joining the cloud-based Office Suite Revolution when it completes and releases iWork in iCloud, currently in beta. Any and all of these office based suites can be accessed from just about any browser, making the type of computing device irrelevant.

Currently, Microsoft’s computing devices – Surface RT and Surface Pro – aren’t selling well. Both are expensive for what they do, there expandability and upgrade options; and the OS’s they run – Windows RT and Windows 8, respectively – have NOT been received well. This combination is proving deadly as their share of the current computing markets is dropping. The current projections have traditional PC sales dropping by nearly 20% by the end of 2014.

When you factor in rising BYOD trends that add non-Microsoft diversity to the enterprise – traditionally Microsoft’s saving grace – you get a dismal picture. According to Gartner, Windows is the number 2 OS in the world right now with a 15.6% share. Android is number 1 with 22.8% and Apple is third with 9.6% (includes both iOS and OS X).

Gartner is predicting the following shifts for 2014:

  • Android – 42.3%
  • Microsoft – 15.1%
  • Apple – 14.2%

By 2015, Apple will overtake Microsoft, according to Gartner. Microsoft has a lot of work to do to prevent this from happening. Ballmer needs to wake up and find someone with a better mobile vision than he currently has if he wants to turn this baby around.

In my opinion, Mobile has been Ballmer’s biggest weakness. He hasn’t gotten it from the get-go. It’s the single biggest reason why Windows Mobile sucked and then tanked, and why they haven’t been able to get a handle on the Mobile Market with Windows Phone. Windows RT is confusing both the market and its users, and Windows 8 is a hybrid mish-mash of mobile and desktop OS components that few understand or find value in.

The traditional cash cows Microsoft has been milking – Office and Windows – have lost their enterprise appeal due to BYOD and the growth of non-traditional PC markets. Microsoft hasn’t kept up with the trends, and is now in a nasty cross road. The time for indecision is long past. Serious mobile leadership is needed.

Preston is right when he implies that Microsoft’s last hurrah may be Windows 9 (or whatever they call it) in 2015. They COULD get it together between now and then and release something that really catches on, but based on their current direction, momentum, vision and products, it’s unlikely…which is really sad, considering how much Microsoft has shaped not only computing, but world culture as well.

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Google’s Biggest Problem – Focus Part 2

I’ve been watching Google over the past few years and they have one major problem – focus.

Google has a lot to look forward this year – a reincarnation of GoogleTV, Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich, the LTE capable Galaxy Nexus, the list goes on and on really. Its clear, the company is moving and shaking. However, they have one big problem in my opinion – they lack consistent, company-wide focus. (see article Google’s Biggest Problem – Focus)

Last time, we took a very quick look at a number of different products that Google extended a great deal of effort to plan, develop and then introduce and then eventually abandoned due to lack of focus. I bring this up for one important reason – Android.
Of all the products that Google has introduced, those that really seem to have staying power, are mostly connected to Android; or Google has found a way to hook them into Android. Those that didn’t have traction either didn’t fit, or weren’t meant for Android.

Android is an interesting animal in that its focused enough to be adopted by major hardware manufacturers and OEM’s. The problem, however is not adoption, it’s the focus and guidelines Google has placed around the use of its mobile OS that concern me the most.

Just about anyone from the hacker down the street to Samsung and HTC can get ahold of the Android source and SDK and cook a version of the OS. They can modify it most anyway they want, with launcher options that are only limited by the developer’s imagination and available hardware.

While this may seem like a great win for open source and end users everywhere, it really isn’t. It’s a huge problem, actually. All of this openness has led to a great deal of version fragmentation. Google has little to no guidelines on what can or cannot be done with the OS. It also allows multiple revisions of the OS to be actively used at the same time, so any device manufacturer or OEM can use FroYo, Gingerbread or Honeycomb on its devices at the same time. It also hasn’t provided any guidelines on upgrades, and moratoriums for any specific versions.

Come back next time, and I’ll bring it all together, explaining exactly WHY Google’s lack of focus is a problem not only for the market, but for end users as well.

Related Posts:

Google’s Biggest Problem – Focus

I’ve been watching Google over the past few years and they have one major problem – focus.

Google has a lot to look forward this year – a reincarnation of GoogleTV, Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich, the LTE capable Galaxy Nexus, the list goes on and on really. Its clear, the company is moving and shaking. However, they have one big problem in my opinion – they lack consistent, company-wide focus.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen Google introduce a number of different products. It seems that they are GREAT at introducing ideas, but in my opinion, don’t spend enough time developing a clear strategy for each one. The following are a few of their more notable disasters.

Google Buzz
Buzz was Google’s first foray into social networking. Buzz was supposed to take on both Facebook and Twitter. It was received with a great deal of anger and frustration, as no one seemed to understand why Google bothered to create and introduce the service. As a result, failed miserably.

Google Wave
Wave was Google’s attempt to bring email, instant messaging and social networking together. It made a bit of a splash, but exited as less than a ripple. It was overly complicated and competed directly with Gmail, Google’s flagship, non-search related product.

Google Desktop Search
It did what you might think – helped you index and search through all of your local content.

Google is great at introducing and then retiring a great many products. Also of note, Google Gears, Google Video and Google Pages. All of these things were introduced with a great deal of fanfare, were adopted to a varying degree of success and penetration, and then either abandoned, ignored or half-heartedly supported as the public struggled with finishing the product’s definition (what it was supposed to do) and direction (where the product would eventually go).

Come back next time and we’ll address Google’s most successful product to date and try to figure out exactly what and where Google wants to take it.

read Google’s Biggest Problem – Focus Part 2

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