It's absolutely true, as my former colleague Tom Dale argues, that Apple remains weak in web services and Google continues to stumble in user experience. The problem, as he articulates, is that "Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at web services," but both are making progress. If Microsoft steps back to focus solely on Windows 8, rather than seamlessly weaving into it web services and winning hardware design, then Microsoft stands to be the jack of all trades, and master of none. That's not a winning strategy in mobile. Not yet, anyway.Android has come a long way in the past 12 months. I ditched an older Android 2.2 because it was clunky; #1 Son is in love with his Galaxy III. Apple has fumbled very badly with their epic fail mapping app - this is one of the most valuable apps for a smart phone, and Apple's simply doesn't inspire confidence.
The challenge for [Microsoft] is: okay, what’s the profit stream, if the marketshare is different than it has been in the past? The big profit streams are from very high-share products — Office and Windows. So to the degree that the eventual revenue is not the same split as in the past, then there’s a threat to the profit stream.Exactly... and guess what? Microsoft's primary revenue streams absolutely will be different from those it enjoyed in the past. As I've argued recently, Microsoft's Office suite is no longer the primary means of creating valuable business data/content. That's revenue stream number one in jeopardy. It's also the case that in mobile, the big market going forward, no one buys operating systems. Apple makes it part of the iPhone/iPad experience for free, and Android, of course, is open source. That's Microsoft's second big revenue stream eviscerated.
And I had a bit of an out of body experience in the last few days. I was driving around with #1 Son who was playing MP3s. Suddenly the music cut out and a voice said In one quarter mile, turn right. Woah - directions that talk to us?
Of course, this is ten year old technology. You just don't get it on your iPhone. Android FTW.
As to Microsoft, it doesn't appear that any of their corporate customers are remotely interested in Windows 8. That's the Windows and Office profit streams that are divorced from the core technology stream. Maybe they'll pull it off. Maybe.
This is actually turning into a very interesting horse race.