Goodbye Microsoft. Hello Apple!

With the rise and rise of Apple its amazing to witness the decline of Microsoft. I call it the shift from Hi Tech to Hi Touch
Much of this can be pinpointed when Mr Gates handed over the reigns to Mr Ballmer. In one of my Blogosphere’s the debate rages…so let’s take a step back and see how this all developed by reviewing and highlighting the thoughts of ‘the mob’ as they echo my feelings exactly. Special thanks to: ‘FalKirk’

In 2006, Microsoft’s operating system had a desktop and notebook monopoly. They were also one of the leading smartphone makers – the favorite to dominate that category for the next decade.

In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone. Some would argue that the iPhone was really a small tablet that happened to make phone calls. With the beneftif of hindsight, we now know that this did (at least) two things to Microsoft. First, it made Microsoft’s mobile phone offereings obsolete. There was no amount of money or effort that could make the existing Microsoft phones competitive with the iPhone. The entire line had to be abandoned. Second, Apple introduced an operating system (iOS) to compete with Microsoft’s Windows. 

In 2010, Apple introduced the iPad. Microsoft had just spent an entire decade trying, and failing, to create the tablet category. Apple created that new category in less than three months. Why did Apple succeed where Microsoft had so utterly failed?

History will show, Bill Gates was so very close to getting it right as he forsaw the coming of tablets long, long before others did. But Bill thought of tablets as a way to make desktop operating systems more mobile. If you want to move a mouse-driven desktop operating system to a tablet, the only way to do it is with a stylus. A stylus is required to provide the pixel specific input that a mouse driven operating system demands.

There are (at least) four reasons why the Apple’s tablet succeeded: a) instant on; b) all day battery life; c) a Touch (finger) Operating System; and d) because it cast the magical Apple spell. Of those four, I would contend that the loyal iFans led the charge and evangelised the experience BUT the shift from Hi Tech to Hi Touch really meant the Operating system was the most important, by far. Apple realized that a new form factor required a new input solution. and they realized that a new input solution required a wholly new Operating System.

This is the one great lesson of the iPad: A tablet requires a touch operating system built specifically for the form factor. In the Spring of 2010 you could be forgiven for not seeing this. Few people did actually many Apple supporters bemoaned the fact that Apple had choosen to go with iOS rather that a “real” operating system like OS X on Apple’s upcoming tablet.

You could also be forgiven for not seeing this one great truth in the Spring of 2011. But it would be utter folly not to see it today. And yet, that appears to be exactly what Ballmer is doing. He continues to maintian that the world is flat even as his competition circumnavigates the globe. He continues to maintain that a tablet requires a desktop Operating System optimized for the form factor rather than acknowledging that a tablet requires an Operating System that is uniquely its own.

So now it’s 2011 and from Microsoft’s perspective, what do you have? The first thing you have is the loss of your monopoly. Windows Operating System – both your Golden Goose and your impregnable fortress that could not be breached – has been flanked. Apple didn’t attack Windows – they simply bypassed it by creating an alternative Operating System. I’ll bet that if you went back to 2006 you wouldn’t have found 100 people who would have said that it was possible to create a brand spanking new Operating System that could successfully compete with Windows. And I’ll further bet that half of those people who said that it could be done, worked for Apple.

The second thing you have is a competing Operating System that is so different from your own that any software that runs on it must be built anew from the ground up. And that means that your other Golden Goose, the Windows Office Suite, is no longer the de facto standard. How can it be when it does not – and more importantly CAN NOT – run on iOS or ANY Operating System suitable for a tablet?

So wither Microsoft? They can try to catch up – a herculean task that they seem unsuited for – or they can go in a different direction. So long as Ballmer heads Microsoft, I think that Microsoft will stay the course and try to catch up. And that is why I don’t think Ballmer will be heading Microsoft for very much longer.


6 Responses to Goodbye Microsoft. Hello Apple!

  1. Laughing_Boy48 says:

    The Windows fanbois can’t change to anything else. They have to have a full desktop OS on a tablet and that’s not going to be practical in this day and age. Thank heavens that most consumers aren’t card-carrying Windows fanbois and consumers are willing to try other things if the device is easy to use and doesn’t cost too much. Microsoft’s greed it going to do it in. They figure they’ll be able to put Windows desktop OS on everything in order to get those hefty licensing fees. With Google giving Android away for free, any product will likely be cheaper than a similar Windows product and that may cause consumers to leave Microsoft out in the cold.

    I hope that consumers and businesses continue to flock to the iPad and iOS for light-duty work and it will save them a lot of grief and effort in managing the simpler tasks in their life. Unfortunately, the iPad still needs another computer to back up files and such, so it’s not the complete answer to being the only computing device you’ll ever need.

    • ozechad says:

      Hello Laughing_Boy48. What a great comment thanks I echo your sentiments exactly. I remember reading Walt Mossberg’s insightful review on the iPad when he was the first to say… it wont replace the need for a computer but it sure goes close! What we are finding in Australia especially within the ‘enterprise’ is that the iPad is changing the IT landscape rapidly. What I love most about that is the new found freedom it provides almost if it unleashes the ‘child’ within us again. Cheers and drop back again.

  2. althegeo says:

    “History will show, Bill Gates was so very close to getting it right as he forsaw the coming of tablets long, long before others did.”

    So Apple’s Newton and Palm’s Pilot in the 90s weren’t Tablets?

    • ozechad says:

      Thanks for dropping by ‘althegeo’. Yes you are correct, however in the context of the article Apple was really the first to figure out the shift to ‘touch’ and created a new eco-system around that. If I reflect back to the beginning Apple were also first with the ‘mouse’ and a smiling graphical interface that won the heart of those of us who just knew this was an entirely new platform of creativity – the DTP revolution was also a magical time to be alive :-).

  3. PhillyG says:

    You left out the biggest factor: PRICE!

    For two decades tablets have cost 50% more than an equivalent PC, then along comes the iPad which costs 50% less than the equivalent Mac.

    PC makers are going to have a hard time building tablets that cost 50% less than the equivalent PC–especially if the equivalent PC is a netbook.

    • ozechad says:

      Hi. PhillyG Thanks for your comment. Ah Yes, the concept of price. I recently wrote the best explanation of why pricing doesn’t seem to matter to most ‘iFans’ is because they genuinely love Apple. In other words – it’s not a mind decision it’s a heart decision. Refer Kevin Roberts Inspirational Leader of Saatchi & Saatchi – Lovemarks – a terrific book!

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