Can Microsoft really challenge the iPad with Windows 8?
When we look into the relatively brief history of consumer technology, one thing above all others becomes clear; those who stay in the pack can prosper for long periods, but those who fall from the back can very quickly be devoured.
However, falling from the back of the pack doesn’t always end in disaster; you can fall of the pace and still save yourself with one miraculous leap. Apple proved that in the mid-90s, coming back from the brink with Steve Jobs at the helm to become the behemoth it is today.
With the iPad range, Apple has a strong grip on the top end of the tablet market – but the threat of Android is a very real one, especially in the mid and low-end ranges, and Apple can’t afford to rest on its laurels. If we again look at recent history, you only need to look at Nokia to see how a company can fall from a seemingly insurmountable position and up back as small fry almost overnight.
After the failure of Symbian, Nokia of course turned to Microsoft rather than Android. It seemed a poor decision at the time, and may turn out to be, but you can be sure Nokia got a good look at what was going to be coming with Windows 8 before it made its decision.
And it’s not only Nokia that stands behind Microsoft; the entire laptop ecosystem has thrived on the Windows OS, but is now threatened by Apple’s iPad range. Then there’s the likes of Samsung, HTC and Sony; canny players who have left themselves free to produce products for Android or windows as they see fit.
Through its Android platform, and with the companies mentioned above, Google has come from a standing start to challenge Apple in both the smartphone and tablet arenas. The latest IDC figures showed Android having roughly a 50% worldwide smartphone market
share, head of Apple at less than 20%; in tablets Apple dominates with a 70% market share, but that is certainly challengeable – especially in a constantly maturing market.
I have no doubt Microsoft can challenge Apple in the tablet market. While Apple always wins on style, it often fails to compete on price. This leaves the door open for its competitors to clean up at the cheap end of the market, where the really big sales are. As Android tablets are yet to really assert themselves as the challenger they have become in smartphones, Windows 8 tablets have the perfect environment in which to hit the ground running.
Also, where Android and Apple’s interfaces are clearly from very similar moulds, the Windows 8 UI is coming completely from leftfield. If the Microsoft marketing machine, backed by some fantastic manufacturers, can sell it to the public Microsoft can easily
become one of the world’s big tablet players. But with so many people already happy with this rows and rows of little icons on their touchscreens, that’s a big ‘if’.
About the Author
Chris Marlin writes this article on behalf of iPad Genie. For information on cheap iPad deals, check here.