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Microsoft Announces ... Everything

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October 26, 2012 – Comments (3) | RELATED TICKERS: AAPL , MSFT

Board: Apple

Author: Goofyhoofy

Apple, the biggest company on the planet, has just four core products. The iPod (now in decline), the iPhone, the iPad, and, of course, the legacy iMac. Oh sure, those four have spun out in a variety of colors, or prices, or sometimes features. Who remembers the first iMac, the jellybean colored computer than kicked out the beige boxes? Yes, it's had more facelifts than Joan Rivers, but it's still just one thing in just a couple different screen sizes.

When the iPod was introduced there was just one to choose from. It was so classic it became, uh, Classic. The iPhone? Any color you wanted, so long as it was black. Sizes? Steve's size fits all. Maybe you wanted more memory at a steeper price, but heck, at first you had a choice of exactly one carrier. The whole thing was very nearly binary: buy it or don't.

The iPad launched in one size and one color, although there were a few features on the palette: wifi-only or 3G, and different memory configurations. Eventually you could get it in white instead of black. Big whoop! Now there's a little brother, just as the iPod eventually allowed a few colors, then smaller form factors at different price points - but the point is Apple picked a model and ran with it, drilled it into a successful platform, and only then spun out derivatives. By that time nobody needed to explain much about the Shuffle, or the White iPhone, or now, the iPad Mini. You know what it is and what it does before you ever lay hands on it. And that's true for all four Apple product lines, all so clearly defined.

(But wait Goofy! What about all those other things Apple does? Like iTunes? Irrelevant: it's a support vehicle for the iPod. Without the hardware nobody was coming to Apple to buy music. Likewise the App store. Likewise all the peripherals. Even OSX; if the iMac doesn't sell, there's hardly need for an OS is there? There's not any real profit in any of that anyway.)

I bring it up, because Microsoft today announced three products (euphemistically speaking; they've been pre-announced or in beta for months.) There's the Surface tablet using Windows 8 RT, a sort of weird hybrid of the Windows 8 tiles surface, except it doesn't run any Microsoft legacy software (nor will it ever), and there aren't many apps yet either. There's a different tablet coming soon, we're told, that will do that, except it will be incompatible with any software you buy for the RT. Apps too, maybe, depending. And it will come with a variety of configurations, and with or without two different keyboards as you may choose, using different hardware architecture and OS variants.

Also today came Windows 8 for Surface, and a different version of Windows 8 Pro for PC's. Whew! The new Windows will push Xbox music, hoping to drive users to another new, untested platform, once they get past the new UI, which has had two names in four months. ("Metro" lost out in a trademark dispute, so it's the decidedly less memorable "Modern", which is OK because I don't think I will remember which Surface tablet I have much less the name of the UI if I have one, which I probably never will.)

Well, I recall that Microsoft pushed hard to get into game consoles, and after years of losses managed to produce a viable product and brand, although I think it's a bit different since they were pushing one thing and only one thing into the consumer marketplace. Now they're hawking two tablets with two incompatible OS's (although they look alike), a full featured OS for a different platform that's quite different from what users have become used to over the past two decades, and it all comes in a blizzard of advertising and hype unleashed just a few nights ago.

I don't think you launch six things at once and do any of them justice; Apple persevered in a densely competitive and hostile landscape by doing one thing and doing it exceptionally well. Microsoft seems to be playing baseball with 24 men on the field at the same time, and although I expect them to have some decent sales at the beginning (if only for the curious IT managers tied to legacy Microsoft products), I will be surprised if the tablet garners significant traction over the longer pull.

Still, Microsoft has been counted out before and come back. Who can forget the Zune?

OK, bad example.

3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On October 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM, erniemink (< 20) wrote:

I have used Microsoft Windows from the beginning. They are the true internet platform, NOT Apple. I do not rely on stocks or investors to tell me what is best and what to use. Even if Apple makes a lot of money on clever and ruthless advertising and marketing schemes that I clearly see right through, I will ALWAYS and forever use Microsoft products including Windows, the phones and the Xbox. And the Zune and the Zune Marketplace was alwys better than iTunes and the iPod. Xbox music is a great step and they don't charge you a dollar per song, but rather an unlimited monthly or yearly membership if you want it, unless you want to pay for a single song, and then it is still better than iTunes. I would use even Amazon over Apple to buy a single song even then anyday. I do not like Apple whatsoever, especially after Microsoft Windows was released. I do NOT use Apple and I do NOT use Android EVER. I use Bing for my search engine which was chosen 2 to 1 over Google. Some of your comments about Windows RT and Pro are out of sync. First of all, Windows 8 Pro will allow a Windows user to still use their older programs, even though with RT, this is for Windows 8, which makes sense. I have WIndows 8 Pro, 64-bit, and I can use touchscreen or desktop, and it has features and a format Apple does NOT have, and a better and more up to date and secure browser, Internet Explorer 10, that works with ALL websites. Apple still has issues with Flash and some other websites and was NEVER made to be a true internet platform. Also, the Windows 8 tablets, three I am going to get, will do much more than the iPad and be more secure, universal and up to date. The thing you have to remember about internet is Microsoft and Internet Explorer got it PERFECT and did it first, and is why they are the choice in all offices, in gaming and in desktop publishing, whereas Apple NEVER did, and NEVER will no matter how much proprietary stuff they sell. It is like coke versus pepsi. This is NOT what technology is for. Steve Jobs just tried to reinvent the wheel and innovate new stuff, and all he was successful at doing is deceiving people into buying stuff that has the APPEARANCE, but NOT the reality. That is all I will say about that. Windows 8 is also a security update and should be treated as mandatory as this is also progress. Business and consumer should understand this. And Apple computers cannot be built from the ground up and are overpriced and pointless.

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#2) On October 27, 2012 at 5:14 PM, doyle4210 (< 20) wrote:

Ernie , I think all the Apple hawks are going to line up and have a go at you. Look for a bomb shelter. 

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#3) On October 27, 2012 at 8:32 PM, Goofyhoofy (< 20) wrote:

Ernie, ernie, ernie. I'm glad you have used Microsoft Windows "from the beginning." That would be in 1985, for Windows 1.0, a severely crippled program which garnered no traction. Apple's "windows" debuted in 1984. Remember?

Internet Explorer debuted in 1995. That was 5 years after the first browser was created on a (Steve Jobs) NeXT computer. (Actually there were even earlier iterations, but were too technical for most people to use.) It was also after Bill Gates famously dismissed the WWW as a "passing fad." But I'm glad - for your sake - that he came around.

Bing was not chosen "2 to 1", that is Microsoft hype. When I took the test, I chose Bing twice, neither twice, and Google once. Bing actually won "2 out of 5" yet I was given the "2 to 1" claptrap. (I took the test three times. Twice Google won, but I was told "Most people choose Bing 2-to-1!" No they don't.) You see the difference? I suspect not. For the record, Bing is losing marketshare, its only advances come from bolt-on contracts with the likes of Yahoo! (Also losing marketshare.)

I am not sure why you think the Microsoft tablet will be "more secure" than an iPad. Are Microsoft products generally "more secure" than anyone's? (Hint: not close.)

Well, I am never going to make headway with you; your arguments are irrational, contractory of fact, and frankly, just silly. I am sure there are lots of people who will buy the Surface tablets. Lots bought Zune, too, but not enough. A few even bought Windows 7 phones, but not enough. Microsoft even had a "Surface" product on a tabletop several years ago. A few people may have bought one, but not enough. Microsoft had MediaRoom, to connect to your Xbox and bring together all media, but nobody bought it. Remember Kin Studio? No? Nobody bought it.

But the best example I think is Microsoft's Courier. Remember it? No? It was a tablet, which promised to bridge the gap between the laptop and the tablet. It ran Windows OS, just with less memory, few applications, and no compelling reason to change. The reason you probably don't remember it: nobody bought it.

But I hope the Surface succeeds. Microsoft needs something to get it into the new age, otherwise they'll soon be a dusty relic, like Tandy Computers or OS/2. Oh well, at least they'll have more money than Radio Shack. 

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