We all know that Microsoft won the desktop operating wars, right? After all, Windows has almost 90-percent market share among desktops and notebooks. It’s math. You can’t argue against math. Or, can you?
If Apple was completely crushed by Microsoft Windows, how is it that the most desired and profitable PC line on the planet is the Mac? How is it that Microsoft is almost non-existent in the smart phone and tablet arena?
How Microsoft Can Win
Apple may have lost the unit market share game to Windows, but the company kept doing what it does best. Leaps of innovation, followed by relentless incremental improvements.
The Mac has become the darling of computer users, and while PC sales are tanking in the Post-PC era, Mac sales are booming.
How did that happen? Apple kept improving the Mac and customers began to take notice.
What about the iPhone and iPad? Apple took a leap of innovation with iPhone, and then again with iPad, and dominates the smart phone and tablet industry in revenue and profit.
Where is Microsoft? Languishing far behind the second, third, and fourth place finishers. Charles Sizemore of Sizemore Capital invested heavily in Microsoft stock and plans to go long. Very long. Afterall, MSFT has been a flatlined stock for over 10 years.
What can Microsoft do to defeat Apple in smart phones and tablets? The methods used to topple an entrenched, dominant industry leader are time honored. Microsoft has a few choices.
First, the company can build products that are completely similar to Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and sell them for less. Preferably, much less. Otherwise, what’s the incentive or compelling reason for an iPhone or iPad customer to switch sides? Microsoft needs a manufacturing partner, or should simply bite the bullet and buy Nokia.
Then, Microsoft could build a better smartphone and tablet with features and performance well beyond that of the iPhone and iPad and the Android crowd, but price it about the same. Otherwise, what’s the incentive to switch sides?
Toppling a well financed, well organized incumbent in technology can be done, but it isn’t done easily, and Microsoft isn’t doing it right. The results speak for themselves.
Microsoft Windows Phones, whether HTC or Nokia or whatever, may be some of the best phones they companies have produced, but are they notably better, a distinct improvement, over iPhones? Is the Microsoft Surface tablet an improvement over the iPad experience?
Sales to date indicate that the buying public isn’t buying what Microsoft is selling. Perhaps some of that disdain for anything Microsoft has to do with how badly Windows customers were treated for a couple of decades, and how the Apple experience– from shopping to using to service– is vastly superior.
It really is closer to math than tech pundits realize. Microsoft needs to give customers a demonstrably better experience than Apple gives their customers. If all they can do is reach Apple’s level, then price becomes the compelling reason to jump from Apple to something else.
If new competing products are substantially better than Apple’s user experience, then the competing product’s price tag can be as high as Apple’s products.
To date, Microsoft has not take either direction. Instead, the company produced a smart phone operating system, that, while somewhat unique, isn’t a notably improved experience. The same holds true for the Surface tablets. It’s easy to argue that the Surface is not as good an experience as an iPad, yet it costs more. What’s the incentive to buy from Microsoft?