Now this reviewer does not like to gloat but it is always a nice to see how far ahead of the Major Media Pack one can be. First the NYTimes and now Marketwatch, more than a year late, have “seen the opportunity and lead” that Windows 8 has in 2-in-1 or convertible laptops/tablets and with the Surface 2 models. And why not? Productivity use with keyboard and mouse easily converts to light, portable tablet. This sells for consumers having N+1 gadgets to tote around.Marketwatch and AllThings D note that other vendors have taken up the convertible cause with innovative and even more polished products.
Microsft’s Unforced Errors
Now over a year ago, this reviewer noted a)Windows 8 Will Be A Smashing Hit and b)Windows 8 Convertible Lead. But truly the slow take off for Microsoft Surface and Windows 8 was largely Microsoft’s own blunders:
1)Microsoft RT, the ARM version, was introduced first and given the Christmas holidays plus the first 3 months of 2013 to pick up market share. Then the X86 and desktop capable Surface Pro followed but at a notably higher price;
2)There was a dearth of apps for the Surface RT including the vital Outlook mail app;
3)The new Metro interface was poorly integrated with the much more popular and familiar Desktop interface;
4)The Intel Haswell chips which boosted Surface tablets and laptops into the battery-life, size and weight range of Android and iPad tablets – they were mysteriously delayed until 2013 Q1 intro;
5)Microsoft continues to delay fully supporting pressure-sensitive pointing stylus for its convertibles which would give it an unassailable lead in the graphics design community;
6)Windows 8.o needed to be updated to Windows 8.1 ASAP.
The net result of these blunders was a nearly $1billion write off of overstocked Surface RT tablets and a slow start to Windows 8 sales.
Help to Redmond from Competitors
However, just when Microsoft was down its major competitors, Apple and Google, produced some monstrous unforced errors of their own:
1)Apple continued to deny Touchscreen operations to its legion of Mac graphics users;
2)Apple Macs continue to lose graphics performance tests to Windows PCs;
3)Apple in its latest hardware announcements failed to produce a convertible or hybrid tablet or Mac;
4)Apple has still not supplied a Quicktime or any other capable solution to the banned Flash apps on iOS;
5)Google continued to pursue its Chromebook approach which would have users forsake all of their Windows and Mac programs and app for the very slowly evolving online Internet equivalents. Google cant seem to embrace the fact that offline and local programs and apps are vital to users and online-alone will simply not do;
6)So Google continues to dither on producing a Linux Ubuntu-like convertible
Thus the major players have conceded a big lead to Microsoft not just in convertibles but also in unification of Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 desktop OS development environs versus the iOS to MacOS and Android to ChromeOS messes. All the hardware trends support Redmond as screens, memory, CPUs, and hard drive capacity in the mobile world move towards desktop capabilities.
Now dear readers, this reviewer is certainly no Microsoft fanboy as these articles testify to:
Microsoft as the Web’s Worst Citizen
Is the Code-Writing on the Wall for Microsoft?
Why I Distrust Microsoft
Rather, as 3 vendors emerge as the dominant computing players [bonus gift to the IBM-ers who identify in the comments below why IBM is not in the Power Triumvarate] it is vital for consumers and suppliers that the Big 3 in Computing be roughly equal in potency and capabilities unlike the big 3 in the auto industry from the 1950’s to 2007 where it was GM and the Serviles. The Convertibles and merging of Windows Phone 8 with Windows 8 appears to ensure Microsoft position as a viable competitor among Computing’s Big 3. See the Capitalist Markets sometimes work right when the market and economic conditions are not too badly distorted – one of many things Ayn Rand completely missed.