COMMENT: The decision by Apple to start a legal slugfest with the likes of Samsung, HTC and Google may have given arch rival Microsoft a new lease of life, as vendors who had started to migrate away from Microsoft Windows software for tablets & smartphones return to it as an alternative to the patent plagued Android software.The exposure this week of a new Windows 8 platform that works across smartphones, tablets and PCs is a real threat to Apple as it brings into play not only Microsoft–but Intel–who like Microsoft is desperate to get a larger share of the Smartphone and tablet markets.
Last night, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise appearance at the Windows Build conference in the USA where earlier developers had been shown a beta version of the new Windows 8 OS.
He told the audience that the new Windows 8 platform is also a reimagining of Microsoft itself.
Up until now Microsoft has been out of the Smartphone and Tablet race, which has been dominated by Apple and Google.
And despite attempts late last year to get back into the Smartphone market with their new Windows Phone offering they failed to pick up market share as consumers chose Apple and Android based products.
Last night the Microsoft CEO implied that the launch of the new OS is part of a shift in the company’s philosophy, during his keynote address to developers.
“If Windows 8 is Windows reimagined, we’re also in the process, and Windows 8 is an important step of that, of reimagining Microsoft,” he said.
Ballmer added that when Windows 8 is released to the public next year, it will available on 500 million devices, he said in a rallying call to developers at the Build event.
“It’s a time of unprecedented opportunity for developers and betting on us will be valuable,” he said.
“It’s the day and age of the Windows developer. Let’s move forward together and seize the opportunity for developers, developers, developers.”
Unlike Google Microsoft have millions of consumers and businesses who are already using applications that run on their Windows OS.
For PC vendors like Samsung, Toshiba, Acer, Lenovo and Asus, a Windows tablet platform is a better bet than Android as their existing customers will be able to easily migrate existing applications from a notebook or PC to a tablet.
In the past Windows has been too fat and clunky to port to a tablet environment and while Android was optimised for processors from the likes of Qualcomm and Nvidia, Windows was optimised to run on Intel processors which were not suitable for a tablet or Smartphone.
Now Intel has a tablet solution with their new Ivy Bridge offering. The new processor will be manufactured on the 22nm production process. That means higher performance and lower power consumption making it ideal for tablet manufacturers.
While Apple has access to Intel processors the new Intel offering allows the likes of Samsung and Toshiba to deliver a Windows based tablet running fast processors while giving consumers access to thousands of existing applications that currently run on a Windows platform.
This could result in millions of businesses deciding to invest in a Windows tablet as opposed to an Apple or Android based device. It could also clear the deck of several patent claims as Microsoft has been delivering both pen and touch capabilities with their software for several years.
Ballmer knows that all he has to do is win back the developers he lost to Apple and Google.
His speech last night rekindled his infamous, emotional and downright sweaty “developers, developers, developers” call-to-action back in 2006.
While it did not work then it could work now as the once mighty software Company realises that they only have one roll of the dice left if they are to beat both Apple and Google at a game they have dominated for so many years.
At the end of the day an Apple Vs Microsoft and Google will a tougher battle to fight than an Apple Vs Google fight.