It has become pretty self-evident that I am not alone with my enthusiasm for discussing the future of computing. My previous post on Windows 8 and how it might affect the tablet market stirred up a mix of feelings among many of you, which translated into a great discussion. I feel that it is now time to get back to the matter and take a look at what was said. The time seems especially correct now when Microsoft has just released new Windows 8, Windows 8 RT, Microsoft Surface and Windows Phone 8 products; and Apple has released new iPad mini and Google’s Android is doing better than ever. Not to mention that we are entering the busiest shopping season of the year.
It seems that there are basically two different camps. Camp A thinks that tablet computers are a natural evolution just like notebooks were evolution from desktops. They argue that it is exactly due to this natural development of things that will eventually guarantee the success of Windows 8 over its competitors. Also, businesses are believed to support the adoption of new Windows rather than something completely new. Camp B agrees that tablet computers and touch interfaces are the future of computing. However, they see the transition from desktops and notebooks or like they like to call them, “PC’s” much more significant. Tablet computers and especially touch interfaces are seen as something completely new. Something that completely changes the underlining paradigm, introduces new behaviour models and thus cannot be a natural evolution from PC’s. Camp B thinks that Windows 8 is entering the market too late, that iOS already “owns” the market and that in overall Windows 8 is not the right product to address this new market with. Camp A naturally disagrees.
It seems that both camps have been somewhat correct. Apple’s iPad is still dominating the tablet market regardless of Microsoft’s best attempts. In a matter of fact Microsoft’s Surface so far seems to have been a let down in many ways. Consumers are not perceiving Windows as a tablet operating system – not yet at least. Many consumers seem to have difficulty to even get grasp with what Windows 8 really is, and the existence of Windows 8 RT is certainly not helping. Normal consumers are not like you and me. They do not follow technology blogs or spend time online debating the future of computing. When they see something totally new like Windows 8 they get confused. Some may get curious or mildly excited even but generally people just disregard it – until they can’t anymore. That day usually comes when he or she, for one reason or another, needs a new computer. And then what? They walk into a store that sells computers and are presented with new computers: desktops, laptops and tablets. In all price ranges from countless manufacturers and in million different configurations, with one similarity – they all run Windows 8. It’s hard to see this consumer walking out of the store with anything else than a Windows 8 device. Yet camp B is certain that this is in fact exactly what will happen. They argue that consumers nowadays are only buying Windows because it is what’s available. Apple has demonstrated that consumers are willing to pay more and choose the product that is the easiest and most pleasant to use. Android on the other hand will combat Windows on what is available. Manufacturers are believed to choose Android over Windows because it has no licensing costs and consumers are believed to choose it because it enables cheaper devices. Camp B doesn’t see the existing – huge – Windows user base as such a big deal, whereas camp A thinks that to make all the difference. At least for now the numbers seem to be siding with camp A. Regardless of all the talk, hype and attention surrounding iOS and Android, the new iPad and the new Android devices, Windows 8 sold 40 million copies during the first month of availability. And it did this without making a big fuss about it. It just kind of happened – naturally.
I leave you with some great excerpts from the comments in “Why Windows 8 Matters And Why Android Will Eventually Just Fade Away”.
- Consumers don’t care about operating systems. They care about the user experience.
- Windows 8 will fail to catch on tables because better alternatives are available for consumers.
- Tablets will continue to replace traditional PCs because of the much better usability and performance.
- Here is what I think will happen 2012-2013: Windows 8 tablets will fail to make a dent in the market.
- I think Windows 8 tablets will overtake Android tablets, easily, largely due to business adoption.
- I just wonder whether there is a corporate tablet market (i.e. IT department deciding what to buy and support)?
- Intel matters less and less as most people have moved to ARM outside the office. Microsoft needs to show that W8 is relevant on ARM, with a new user interface it probably matters less, even if it is better.
- Here’s a nice fact that I like to state in these discussions: If windows 8 fails just as hard as Windows Vista … then BOTH Android and iOS will be instantly buried under 175 million Windows 8 devices. The fact of the matter is that for Apple to continue to be “market leader” in the tablet space and for Google to remain in second place … Windows 8 needs to be the worst selling Windows EVER.
- Windows have been offered in tablet variants, I don’t know for sure but at least 10 different iterations. It has failed to gain any market traction regardless of Windows desktop monopoly. Why would it be any different this time? iOS already owns home tablet market in Western world.
- Question is will PC be the primary form of computing for people in the future? And will Windows *grow* to be relevant in future computing platforms: smartphone, tablets, cloud services?
- Here’s the bottom line for me: Apple and Google created an OS for giant smartphones. Microsoft created an OS for small computers.
- In fact, I’d say that tablets are a logical evolution from laptops, just as laptops were an evolution from desktops.
- The answer to your question is a Windows 8 device, but maybe that isn’t the right question to ask when trying to predict future computer usage patterns. If Apple has proven anything, it’s that people would rather have simple than feature sets.
- Why do people buy desktops and notebooks with Windows now? Because Microsoft has all the manufacturers in a corner.
- The Windows 8 tablets will replace laptops fully they have the potential to completely wipe laptops as we know them off the face of the earth. W8 tablets will just be the upgrade that 90% of the people in the market will get.
- Will MS have a role in that market? Perhaps, but Windows 8 is so late in the game that it would definitely need to bring in something disruptive.
- I agree that Windows 8 matters, and I actually think they will start taking market share from Apple as well. It’s not just power users that will continue to use desktops; it’s pretty much all the office workers in the world. Now, how in the world is Apple going to make inroads at the office? Their machines cost 50% more in a market where 5% is enough to select one machine over another.
- What are you lot smoking? Android? Dead? It is the fastest growing product of the decade! Android is going to destroy Apple with Nexus 7/10. Almost everyone I know thinks Metro looks ugly, old, outdated and inefficient.