Responding to the last two comments, I agree that Microsoft Office has been almost as strong an incumbency for Microsoft as Windows has been, and that they need to exploit it to develop both Windows 8 and their tablet position. I think the question is how to do that best. There is, as I said, a delicate balance between ceding stuff to the cloud (which devalues the devices) and differentiating Windows 8 at the device level, which devalues the cloud. They should have addressed this a couple years ago when there wasn't as much at risk, but I think they probably didn't look that far ahead.
Like you and others on this forum, I also think that MS Office is such an important feature that Windows can capitalize on as many of the smartphone users are business users and unless Office gets to their phone, they'l not count smartphone features any way near complete.
With Microsoft struggling to gain ground in the OS market, without Office, they might remain strugglers. Windows should be the card that gives them the access to the fiercely captured market share by Android and IOS and instead of considering the pricing strategy too much, Microsoft should throw its Office card on the table so that it gets to sit at the table.
Now that Windows 8 has partnered with Nokia to produce windows 8 tabs , that could make it easier for them. They could do what google is doing with android, then all they'll have to do is sell subscription to their apps...
They're already working their pricing magic with the way they manage tablet access to virtual-desktop apps. I think they'll have a similar model in mind, meaning that tablets will be automatic cloud-licensed extensions of desktop/laptop Office licenses. But it's likely they're still working the numbers to get the figures just right, which may be why we're not hearing details on how Office will work under Windows 8.
That's a great strategy. It suddenly made me think of pricing--given that MS is so used to "selling" software, I wonder how it'll adjust when it transitions into an SaaS model? Wrong pricing alone can kill them even if they have good technology. SaaS can end (or dramatically decrease) their piracy woes, but it won't have a chance if they use their current licensing scheme.
I think that's the kind of experience Microsoft wants to promote with its cross-device strategy, Magnetic. The question for them (as well as for Apple) is whether to support that kind of cross-platform editing through a set of software tools that install on multiple platforms or through something that runs in the cloud. IMHO, the smart thing to do would be to build "Cloud Office", the majority of which (main logic, file handling, etc.) is in the cloud, hosted, and licensed as a SaaS component. The appliances would then have a kind of super-GUI that would manage a local interface to that hosted component and also manage local editing should the user not be on line, if desired. I think this is also the approach Apple should take. That way, the user has the option of having a device empowered as a slave to the cloud or as a standalone system capable of full Office functionality even when disconnected. They could then license based on the choice the user makes.
I think Microsoft has a good fighting chance as long as it owns majority of the office suite market. If most of the world's work files are still in your format, that's almost like saying you're running the world of business. I'm still waiting for good implementation though. I'd hope that someday, when I save my Excel file, it also gets synced onto the cloud so that I continue working on it via a spreadsheet app on my tablet. That's an experience that iOS and Android have only partially fulfilled because they don't have the desktop dominance of MS Office.
As you say, Ashish, the devil is in the execution. My job demands that I forecast markets, which means I look at opportunities that companies have. Most of the time, execution falls short of realizing opportunity!
Microsoft can indeed lock up the enterprise easeir than the consumer, but if the cloud is the answer for all (and I believe it is) then the guy with the biggest and most powerful cloud wins, and Microsoft leads Apple for now in the cloud. Can Apple get up to speed or ahead before Win 8 is the big question, I think.
That's also my assessment of HP's challenges, but their Converged Cloud positioning is clear, I think, than most of the competitive ones. The trick will be executing on it!
I think Cook is right about the notion of hybridizing PCs and tablets, but probably wrong if that's what he thinks Microsoft's intentions are. I think Microsoft plans an OS that is totally modular and componentized. Applications will have "component requirements" that set what Windows config it will run on, and appliances/devices will have "component hosting capabilities" that determine what can be run. That means software developers would target their wares at a Windows component configuration and device vendors likewise. The result is a set of apps that could in theory migrate (in the case of a simple one) from phone to desktop, or (for a complex one) desktop or laptop alone. And I think Microsoft also intends to host components in the cloud, meaning that any device would be able, with cloud support, to run any Windows app.
The whole Amazon.reader debate is a double-stupid. It's stupid to think that there's any e-book buyer who doesn't know Amazon's URL, and it was stupider to let ICANN launch the whole free-form TLD initiative to start with.
YouTube's move to a partial pay-for-view model could help relieve a dearth of good new content but it could also complicate debates in many parts of the world over payment by content providers for delivery of their material to customers.
That's what Larry Page said on Google's earnings call, referring to the conjunction of mobile and the cloud. Well, let's chart it then! We need to be thinking about an Internet where 90% of our traffic goes to 70 destinations within 40 miles of us.
Facebook's Graph Search may face some profound challenges and risks, first, because Facebook users haven't been thinking of their posts as product reviews; and second, because Facebook will now have to contend with the social-network equivalent of SEO "gaming" of results.
EU operators are considering joining up to create a pan-European network to reduce competitive overbuild and cost. This might lower costs and focus operators on higher-level, more interesting services.
The new iPad may not have an official name, but its mission is to make an appliance/cloud combo as good as a desktop. The question is whether the business model of wireless broadband can keep up with the technology capabilities of Apple.
More than any other company, Research in Motion has been hurt by the runaway success of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android systems. Though it is losing a significant share of the smartphone market, RIM has found a way to possibly stay afloat with "Mobile Fusion," its plan to expand its robust enterprise management functions to other devices.
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