Monday, July 23, 2012

Microsoft: Love to risk

Microsoft pushes again the highlight: the star of its Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is a new hardware product. This is a multitouch screen of 82 "that the admission of Steve Ballmer could be a hit in large companies and the education community.

Perspective Pixel had caused a stir in 2006 by his demonstrations of multitouch on a giant screen - it was a year before the iPhone, and multitouch was then limited to a few niche products.

 The screen 82 "multitouch presented yesterday by Microsoft is nothing but the screen 82" as the company of Jeff Han presented last February, and for good reason: the Redmond company has just acquired Perspective Pixel. With this screen, still sold $ 18,000 (€ 14,600), Microsoft is expanding its range of products multitouch. It will be now the smartphone Windows Phone 7 at the table Pixelsense through the shelves and then this screen size 82 ".

Announcements of the WPC, there are two basic points to remember. Unlike Apple, Microsoft has decided to multitouch all sauces. While the touch is limited to the trackpad on the Mac, Microsoft will be hoping that frankly touchscreens become widespread in the coming months. The software giant wants to standardize this practice and this is coupled with the interface that is the same as your screen to make 3.5 "or 82. Some crying genius, others are betting on a failure in good standing will be left users decide at the end of the year.

The other point worth noting is that Microsoft gradually privatizes its offer. His historical model based on a licensing system is increasingly restricted. It is no longer valid for computers and wider smartphones. Certainly, the software giant also offers a Windows license 8 RT but odds are that many manufacturers will stay away from this operating system due to its high price. Compete with Apple's iPad, Amazon with its Kindle Fire or Google with Nexus 7 was already not easy, to fight against Microsoft with the disadvantage of the cost of the license and therefore a lower margin will be impossible.

In terms of tablets, it is highly likely that manufacturers will prefer Windows Pro 8 for x86 to offer not just a semblance of hybrid as may be the surface, but real combination that will benefit from the interface Metro mobility, and environmental classic windowed otherwise. HP seems to have already made that choice, and it would not be surprising that other manufacturers follow historical. Still, the economic viability of this concept is yet to be demonstrated.

Steve Ballmer is often criticized: some say it is the worst American CEOs of all time; others talk about "lost decade" to talk about the delay he would have to take Microsoft. It would however be tempted to do the opposite: while Ballmer is not the visionary Steve Jobs could be, but he also inherited a society more busy saving his skin with justice to invent the computer of tomorrow. While other companies whose model has reached its natural death are sinking (RIM, Nokia), Microsoft's strategy has the merit of being bold, what one can only welcome.

Microsoft is actually trying the opposite approach to that used by Apple in the 1990s: to upgrade from software vendor to solutions provider with complete control of software and hardware. The bet may sound crazy, but Microsoft simply has no choice. Steve Ballmer is well aware that by providing licenses on these famous terminals of the era of post-PC, it will not be able to generate the same margins as in the past. However, to date, the only real model that is satisfactory in terms of profitability is the one used by Apple, where the hardware and software are designed and sold by the same entity.

Microsoft's approach is courageous, even fascinating, but it is also very risky. The Redmond walking on a minefield and could blow the ecosystem on which it built its fortune in the 1980s and 1990s. So while Steve Ballmer tried to downplay the scope of the presentation of the area by claiming to have briefed its partners, they were screaming behind the scenes to treason.

For months, Microsoft has heard in detail the various projects and roadmaps of its partners. It is not unthinkable that some of them plan to set this on the judicial front. Meanwhile, some inventions of space, but not least, are unsigned Microsoft: Touch Cover was not developed by Microsoft, but by one of his partners, who planned to start in September with his new tablet range.

The blocks in question were presented several months ago with their keyboards-covers at a meeting with Asian partners of this company. A meeting attended several Microsoft employees. Not only does this company was stung a nice idea, but it will pass over to the follower when she was the leader.

Playing both ways and by demonstrating a certain duplicity, Microsoft may cause annoyance and its partners to do indirectly a sacred publicity stunt to Android. Chastened by the low sales of the first models, many manufacturers have decided to wait for the release of Windows 8 to retest the market. Some will not hesitate to back down, but Google somehow decided to also take its destiny in its hands, the game is far from won. Especially like Amazon unless Google can afford to sell a product without margin or loss by repaying herself elsewhere.

Microsoft partners are still willing to do anything today, as they are mostly in an awkward position: sales at half mast, low margins, and prices dragged down too. As new Eldorado, Intel - the other guarantor of the WinTel eternal couple - they had sold the ultrabooks. At the balance sheet, we can only talk of failure. Not only sales are far from satisfactory, but Apple is now able to sue filed with the model of the MacBook Air. It is a commercial and financial success.

Now, Windows 8 is expected as the great messiah no one can know whether it will have a lasting impact on PC sales. To cope, manufacturers may have no other choice but to take the initiative. This is the case of Dell eyeing more to Linux distributions, reaching for some of them mature enough for basic use by the general public.

In spring, the Texan introduced the Sputnik Project, a pilot program to create a computer optimized for mobile and web developers - Ubuntu. Dell has made no secret if success was to go, she will not hesitate to create a real Sputnik range for a wide variety of uses.

For now, we're off the mark, and Microsoft does not have to worry about. But in a more heterogeneous than ever, on failure of Windows 8, the lines could move much faster than you think ...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.