Microsoft’s Next Era of Electronics
Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer’s reveals in his presentation at Microsoft Show and Tell (Financial Analyst Meeting the direction they are taking towards consumer electronics. With Apple’s new direction on focusing also on Consumer Electronics, you can see why Microsft wants to improve the user experience making more exciting and adaptable products that work with other technologies. The interaction between your latest gadget and what is mainstream and commonly used is what consumers are looking for, but how is Microsoft going to do it?
One way Microsoft plans to gain market share over competitors such as Apple would be by becoming a Advertising Powerhouse and concentrating on becoming a devices company with various business models according to each type of competency (windows Mobile , Zune, Xbox and so on) while making partnerships with hardware manufacturers such as Motorola and Samsung to provide the hardware.
The roadmap Microsoft has planned (taken from the presentation) shows the focus on Windows Server 2008 (codename Longhorn) and diverifying its portfolio. What will consumers reluctant to pay the high price of a Windows OS do? Who is this really for? At first look here it seems the focus on selling OEM, Corporate Installations and Server units. though Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Entertainment and Devices are listed they don’t really stand out as much. This begs the question, is the new era of Microsoft consumer electronics truly going to gain momentum? or are they expecting that in 10 years time a device such as the Microsoft Surface will be a part of the general household? If we look at the numbers and try to add up what makes sense the cost for these new electronic devices would have to come down considerably (the Surface is said to cost at minimum currently $5000) and operating systems for the consumer such as Windows Vista need to be more reliable and be well supported by hardware manufacturers.
If Microsoft wants to get ahead it is my opinion they gain credibility in the software field before they move into the hardware devices arena, meaning release Vista Service pack in 2007, deliver quality products and not just try to get caught up with what is cool or the fad.