Microsoft bids for buzz with Windows 8 beta-tablets. Is iPad vulnerable? (VIDEO)
Analysts say iPad cannot be dethroned, but at a conference in Anaheim, Microsoft showers enthusiastic software developers with Windows 8 beta-tablets. Let the app-writing begin.
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[Editor's note: The original version of this story misstated that Mr. Wunker was the author of “How Smart Companies Create Opportunities Others Don’t," which is the subtitle of the book.]Skip to next paragraph
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“Windows 8 would have been an effective platform had it been introduced two years ago,” he says, “but Apple has won the tablet game,” adding that even Google’s Android, “which is a slick system, is a distant second, and few of Microsoft’s strengths in the enterprise translate into the tablet realm.”
Rather than try to win a war it has already forfeited, Microsoft should be building new ways of expanding the computing market, he says.
“After all, Apple didn’t try to beat Microsoft where that company was strong, but instead it created its own market with the iPad,” he notes, adding, “Microsoft should try to do the same.”
But some who have actually worked with the new system say they are pleasantly surprised.
“It really is like no other OS I’ve seen,” says Mr. Wolf, “it’s pretty unique.”
He points for example to the Metro user interface, with its “live tiles,” which provide live data right on the interface. “You don’t have to click into them to get the weather update or your Twitter feed,” he says.
“It is extremely impressive,” he says. He cautions against writing Microsoft out of the tablet game, noting that while there may be 25 million iPads sold to date, he points to the half billion or so Windows users.
“That’s a pretty healthy installed base of people familiar with and ready to transition into the next operating system,” he says. He suggests that the exclusiveness and closed system of software and hardware that has given Apple such success may work in the short term, but in the long run, people want more flexibility.
Simon Buckingham, founder of Appitalism, the largest app store on the Internet, says the field is open.
“It’s not too late at all,” he says, noting that Apple may have taken a good lead, but he points at the many competitors who are still struggling, from Google’s Android to Blackberry’s Playbook. “There’s plenty of room for another tablet option,” he says.
The market will benefit from another serious competitor, points out Bryan Gonzalez, of the Social & Digital Media Technology Labs Entertainment Technology Center at USC.
“Apple reinvented itself with pressure from the marketplace,” he points out, adding, “everyone benefits when these major companies have competitors nipping at their heels.”