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Windows 8 Launch: Will Microsoft slice into Apple’s share?


Windows 8 Launch: Will Microsoft slice into Apple’s share?

At its annual developer conference in California, Microsoft unveiled Windows 8 for the developers.According to the company, Windows 8 marks the transition “from the chipset to the experience.”

Windows 8 is seen as a giant step forward by Microsoft in smartphones and tablet mobile space, which are considered computing devices of the future. As of today, Apple rules tablet market with its iPad. We have seen a lot of others fail – recent example being HP webOS phones. So the big question everybody has in mind is whether Microsoft will be able to take on Apple iPad with Windows 8.

So what is special about Windows 8 that will help them take on Apple? The new design, microsoft executives says, reflects an ambitious rethinking of the operating system, including the chips used and the user experience. Windows 8 on a PC can be ready for use in less than 10 seconds.
The look of Windows 8 borrows from Windows Phone software, the company’s new smartphone operating system, which was introduced a few months back. The Screen features large, tile like icons that represent applications like e-mail or Facebook. Other highlights are web-connected and web-powered apps built using HTML5 and JavaScript and fully touch-optimized browsing, with Internet Explorer 10.

The USP however is that Windows 8 has been designed such that the features and functionalities are compatible across tablet, notebook and desktop computers. This is what is raved by critics as the killer innovation. While iPad is loved by users for ease of quick computing (like checking mails, browsing the web etc.), Windows 8 is almost a full-fledged computer in tablet form, supports for advanced features like running software such as Photoshop and connecting to a keyboard and monitor. It combines the portability and ease of use of the iPad, with the power and capabilities of a full-fledged PC.

Windows 8 also reflects Microsoft’s shift from closed proprietary path to open standards like HTML 5. From developers’ perspective, this is good news as they can create apps with rich interactive features without using patented software controlled by individual companies. The objective, Microsoft executives say, is to reduce the skills that developers will require in developing applications for Windows 8, which will run smoothly on both tablets and PCs.

But how successfully Windows 8 will be able to take on Apple will depend on multiple other factors.For instance, Apple has separate OS for their Intel desktops and iPads. By keeping it seperate, Apple is able to launch updated versions more frequently on tablets, while the new versions of OS are released on their desktop at usual frequency. But in the case of Microsoft, same OS runs on all devices. Traditionally Microsoft launches updated OS only once in few years. This might be a major setback as the Android and Apple consumers are used to receiving the latest versions of OS instantly via plug-in softwares. Long gap in iterative releases by Microsoft will give Apple and Android developers enough time to launch competitive apps to consumers.

Another key challenge for Microsoft would be in attracting Developers. However, Microsoft is betting on the large user base that can be potentially accessed by Windows8, since it is a dual OS compatible with both PC and tablets. Microsoft is clearly aware of these threats and has taken initiatives to address them. For instance, developers’ initiatives like offering developers a way to offer free demos of their software – is not something which has been done by others. It has also unveiled its vision about where it wants to be, much ahead of making the latest software available to the users. As of now, with well thought-out strategies in place, Microsoft surely looks all set to pose a serious competition to Apple. Applications that can run on any hardware including PCs, tablets and phones sound very promising for both users and developers. If Windows 8 is able to deliver on these promises, Microsoft will be surely eating into Apple’s share big time.

By : Sirish Kosaraju

Director & Co-Founder
RapidValue Solutions

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