Can we please stop saying the Mac is dead? That meme has been around since way back in the last century and should have been put to rest years ago. Instead, Microsoft launched the Surface line of Windows PCs a few years ago and tech writers thought the Mac was dead then. Again.
Instead, the Mac continues to set new records despite tremendous competition from Windows PCs. Well, only if you want to redefine the term competition. See, here’s how it works years later. Macs sell more. PCs running Windows sell less. Microsoft’s own Surface PCs sell less.
Software & Math
Is the Windows Phone business dead yet? Seriously? I thought it was dead. Can you still buy a Windows-based smartphone? If so, how smart is it, anyway? Wait. I found it. HP just kicked to the curb a Windows 10 smartphone. Chris Merriman tells the sad tale:
HP has canned the last major Windows 10 smartphone, the Elite X3, effectively ending the whole sorry saga… The news comes after an adamant denial earlier in the year that the X3 was in jeopardy. It was understood to have a roadmap into 2019. Now, that will be cut back to a promise of support until 2019, but no new devices… In fact, it’s safe to say that this marks the end of HP’s commitment to Windows Mobile, and as such, the effective end of Windows Mobile.
Ouch. Goodbye, Windows Phone. We hardly knew ye. Seriously.
Microsoft hasn’t had much success with hardware. What about Xbox? Yeah, what about it? Microsoft sold a gazillion of them through the years but added very little to the company’s bottom line. Software is profitable. Everything else? Not so much.
Even now, Microsoft’s Surface PC notebook and hybrid tablet sales are falling and have been for more than a year. How long will Microsoft stay in the Windows PC business?
That’s what the folks who guess such things say. 2019. Steve Brazier explains:
The Surface performance is choppy; there are good quarters and bad quarters, overall they are not making money. It doesn’t make sense for them to be in this business… When the capital expenditure challenge that Satya Nadella has taken Microsoft down becomes visible to Wall Street, everyone will ask him ‘Why have you gone to a low margin business?
Cost cutting arrives in technology companies every few years and when it comes for Microsoft in a year or two, guess which product line gets cut? The hardware lines that don’t make any money.
Here’s the deal. The post-PC era is already here. It’s called mobile computing. It’s led by Apple– which owns the revenue and profits– and by Google’s Android OS– which owns marketshare, and, uh, um (I’ll get back to you). Microsoft is nowhere to be found these days except cloud services, Windows, and Office. Microsoft’s PC hardware has failed to capture the attention of anyone except Microsoft’s PC and Windows partners who undercut the company at every turn.
Meanwhile, Apple and the Mac keep chugging along, doing so well that even Apple has become complacent and hasn’t bothered to keep the Mac competitive with Microsoft’s competitors. No matter. The Mac is Mac. Apple is a hardware company and knows how to turn a profit. Microsoft is a software company and doesn’t know how to make money in hardware.
Every market has a loser and a winner. The game ends for the loser in 2019.
It might be earlier. Microsoft is making a lot of money on cloud, making a lot of money on Windows and Office, but losing a lot of money on devices.
Look for the Surface fire sale between now and then.