Did Microsoft Just Beat Google With Their Own Strategy?
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how Microsoft Phone 7 wasn’t quite ready for me just yet and that multitasking was the key ingredient that was missing. Well, about a week after I took my HTC Mozart back to the store, Microsoft made the announcement of their ‘Mango’ update which introduces around 500 new features, including – yep, you guessed it – multitasking.
Then Redmond got even busier. They showed off Windows 8’s new touch interface that will launch Microsoft into the world of tablets and then they put the new Xbox user interface front and centre at the E3 conference, sporting the same Metro UI and Bing integration. A multi-platform, unified approach or what?
Whilst all of this essentially dumbs down their Operating Systems for the benefit of your average user, Apple have proved that simplicity sells (though I’m still holding out hope that Microsoft allows techies to reach into the OS and tinker as they’ve always done), and undoubtedly things have to move with the times.
Looking at where Microsoft’s platform is heading though, I can’t help but think that they’ve not only positioned themselves to strike back at Apple, but also more importantly beaten Google with their own strategy, let me explain;
Apple introduced and dominated the mobile apps market and Google came along with Android to progress their ‘apps’ idea further by revolutionising towards apps which ran exclusively on the web using HTML5 as the platform, removing the need for developers to code for multiple platforms – everyone cheered and hailed it as a break through.
Then Google appeared to completely go back on their strategy and launch an apps store which sold, well apps, in exactly the same way as Apple do.
Then Microsoft went and released Bing – a decision engine, which despite appearances is vastly different to Google’s search engine in that it segments itself to provide detailed information on a variety of topics without ever leaving the site. The mobile version of the site is even better in that it links maps, telephone numbers, key information and search results directly into a single search query and displays it superbly on the smaller mobile screen; truly a mobile application.
On Windows Phone sites can be pinned as ‘live tiles’ directly onto the home screen, making them web applications. Windows 8, also with a ‘live tile’ interface is set to follow the exact same model and Microsoft inviting companies to ‘app their sites’, Microsoft seems to have created a web driven eco-system that works across all platforms (mobile, Xbox, tablets, desktops, another other platform).
This not only puts Microsoft in a good stead to deliver what Google could not with Android (i.e. access to web apps across the board), but it also beats (or at least), matches them on the desktop operating system front too with the launch of Google Chrome OS.
Chrome OS is supposedly a web-enabled OS that utilises and takes advantage of the many web-enabled Google properties (Gmail, Maps, Search, etc). Windows 8 with its HTML5 enabled buttons and live tiles puts them almost on par with Chrome OS, with the added advantage of still being Windows and allowing you the flexibility to choose your applications, services and customisations if Microsoft/Google/Apple/other products are better placed for your tastes.
Microsoft will also undoubtedly integrate (or allow the option), to integrate directly into Windows Live Services and cloud based offerings – which again, puts the Redmond based outfit directly in line with Chrome OS (and Apple’s) offerings.
All in all, I feel a load better about where Microsoft are heading with their various platforms to bring them all together much like those from Apple and Google, whilst retaining their other more unique offerings and strategy (Windows Media Center, Azure cloud technologies, Office, Skype, etc), and it’s all been made possible by the adoption of Google’s strategy and delivering what they could not.