CES is a big show for Microsoft as they are said to announce their new software for tablets at the event. Analysts and skeptics however have little faith in the company being able to mount a serious challenge to the Apple iPad.
Keith Goddard, CEO of Capital Advisors Inc. said “By the time Microsoft gets it figured out everybody will already own an iPad, that train has left the station.”
Microsoft will be announcing a full version of Windows OS that runs on ARM Holdings Plc technology at CES which begins in Vegas on January 6th, according to insiders. Making an alliance with ARM is a sensible move for Microsoft, but many feel it is too little too late, as Apple have such a dominance in this sector. Unless Microsoft can match, or exceed the iPad for features, then it seems almost pointless. We all know how good their desktop operating systems are, but their Windows Phone 7 software was released without even basic ‘copy and paste’ features.
Microsoft also released the Zune to tackle the iPod, and that failed to excite customers enough to harm Apple in any serious way. Unfortunately for Microsoft, it appears that once they get outside the desktop OS market, they struggle to dominate. The only exception we can think of is the Xbox 360 which has been a great success for them.
Ballmer has told analysts that the new Windows operating system for the tablet platform is going to be fantastic “We’re tuning Windows 7 to new slate hardware designs”. So we already know it is based on their latest and greatest code, fine tuned and streamlined to run quicker on slower processors.
Another analyst Michael Gartenberg, with Gartner Inc said “Apple did this year what no one had done in the previous 10 — crack that space between the PC and the phone, Microsoft has been working very hard at putting a square peg in a round hole.”
He also said that CES gives Microsoft a great arena to showcase exciting new technology and to win over some of the audience. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for Microsoft and Ballmer to put a stake in the ground, Now that Apple cracked the market no one wants to get left behind.”
We can see some issues with converting Windows 7 to a tablet platform. Obviously ARM processors are much less powerful than Intel desktop counterparts and people expect instant boot up from their tablet, especially as iOS does it all so well. Taking operating system code which handles a mouse and keyboard and converting it for use on a touch sensitive screen will require developers to rework programs already available. Is Windows 7 really a great first choice for a tablet?
Michael Cherry, another analyst with Directions on Microsoft said “Current Windows tablets are what I call Frankentablets — part laptop and part tablet, they do neither role well.” He believes that they should scale up their mobile phone software to work on the bigger screen of a tablet. The only downside with doing that, is that many customers don’t feel that Windows Phone 7 is completely ready, and has been released in a ‘final state’ with missing features.
KitGuru says: Microsoft also have Google to worry about, as their Android operating system is taking the market by storm. Both critics and the public are embracing it with open arms, over 250,000 phones are selling each day with Android as the platform.