Supposedly, the Greeks used a giant horse to enter the city of Troy– a giant wooden horse left as a gift, but filled with soldiers inside. Under darkness, the soldiers exited the horse, took over the city, and won the war against Troy. Microsoft has a Trojan horse in use against Apple.
Remember Windows Phone? Not many of us do. A few Windows Phone users and devices have survived the Android and iPhone duopoly but Microsoft has not surrendered in the mobile software wars. Yet. In fact, the company built a Trojan horse full of Windows-like applications and made them free for Android smartphones, iPad, and iPhone.
In simple terms, Microsoft– thanks to the Office 365 subscription model– makes a boatload of money from Office on iOS and Android and is almost ready to lock in another Trojan horse threat thanks to a thing called Timeline (which arrived on Windows 10 barely a month ago).
Timeline works by tracking the stuff you do on your computer and then organizing them into a list within Task View. Using this feature, you can resume activities originated on the same or from another computer, or pick up documents you started on your Android or iOS device as long as they’re connected with the same Microsoft account.
Hmmm. That sounds much like Handoff and Continuity from Apple, no? Well, it is, but it does more and it’s on the way to iOS and Android.
The updated Microsoft Launcher application on Android will support Enterprise customers with easy access to line of business applications via Microsoft Intune. Microsoft Launcher on Android will also support Timeline for cross-device application launching. Today, your Microsoft Edge browsing sessions on your iPhone or iPad are included in the Timeline experience on your Windows 10 PC.
That, my friends, is the perfect example of a Trojan horse. Microsoft may have lost the smartphone battles to Google and Apple, but the war rages on. The question I have is, “Will Apple allow the soldiers to leave the Trojan horse to do Microsoft’s bidding against Apple’s own customers?”
Bringing Timeline to smartphones will also enable the ability to resume activities within different apps directly on your phone too. For example, you could be working on a Word document on your PC, and then resume that same Word document on your smartphone with the Timeline integration found on Android. It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft further implements Timeline on iOS, as it’s much harder to integrate with Apple’s mobile platform than it is Google’s.
Android open. iOS closed. Closed also means greater security as Android remains something of a toxic hell stew of privacy and security problems.
This Trojan horse brings benefits to Microsoft’s customers on iOS and Android, but notice that competing platforms invade Apple’s devices all the time, with very few counterstrikes by Apple. There is an iTunes app in the Windows Store. And Apple Music on Google’s Play Store, and that’s about it. Meanwhile, both Google and Microsoft, not to mention Amazon, have dozens of applications for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users.
How is it that Apple can withstand all these attacks and yet prosper?