Jan 29, 2013

In trying to control hardware, M$ may lose out on software too!

Microsoft's recent troubles are well known. It's Windows 8 release is a disaster and its latest phone OS is limping along, with performance that can be called 'better' only in comparison to abysmal performance of its earlier avatars. It seems to have an uncanny knack of picking losers, what with B&N for readers and Nokia for phones! Dell could be next.

Coming to hardware, it seems big M attempts to mimicking Apple and wants to control the hardware to get a better grip on software sales and the 'ecosystem'. In the process, it is pissing off many hardware OEMs, that is too well known by now.

What my happen is that Windows itself may lose market share and mind share, taking M$'s grand hardware plans down with it.

Its crippled yet costly Windows RT is as good as dead. And its Windows 8 'pro' machines are horribly overpriced for doing 80-90% of the things users do with it (emails, browsing, basic photo editing, social media, basic word processing or spreadsheets, Corporate HTML5 based business applications etc). Hardcore techies and consultants would need them for sure, perhaps web designers, Autocad users and so forth...but that is not a mass market. That is a niche Sun and so many others got pushed into, before dying, ironically by M$!

Already Samsung, Acer, Lenovo, and now HP are offering Chromebooks. Unless paid big $$$ out of Microsoft's abundant cash reserves, Dell would be stupid not to do the same. Who is left? Asus and the Japanese firms like Toshiba and Sony. They go for the high end, exactly the market M$ is trying to grab for itself.

If cloud is the future and HTML5 is the interface of choice, not Java, not proprietary Windows, then it is predictable that a cloud based, open OS like Chrome is the future too. Just as Google took pieces of Java ME which was languishing in the user space and made it hugely popular as Android by marrying it to Linux, it may end up doing exactly the same with Linux as ChromeOS. That is hugely creditable considering so many failed in that attempt, including IBM, Ubuntu, Redhat and others.

That will cook a lot of gooses.

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