Windows 8 Tablets: 5 Ways Microsoft Can Prove Forrester Wrong
Kudos to Forrester Research for stating the obvious: Windows 8 tablets will face an uphill battle when they arrive in 2012 or so. Many research firms don’t have the guts to publicly question Microsoft. Still, it’s far too early to dismiss Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet strategy. And Microsoft still has plenty of opportunity to prove Forrester wrong. Here’s why.
Imagine if Apple had given up and completely abandoned the PC market once Windows 95 gained a stranglehold on corporate desktops. Instead, Steve Jobs created the iMac and rallied the company around simple, elegant designs — giving Apple just enough breathing room to buy some time before pushing into the mobile music market, with iPod.
And what if Microsoft never showed any interest in the server operating system market, where Unix and NetWare were once dominant forces? Instead, Microsoft failed multiple times (anybody else remember LAN Manager?) before gaining a server foothold with Windows NT.
Those anecdotes — and plenty more — make The VAR Guy believe Windows 8 will have plenty of opportunity in the tablet market. Still skeptical? Consider these five arguments…
1. Annual Refreshes: Roughly once per year, Apple introduces its major iPad update. iPad 3 is potentially on the horizon, then iPad 4… and the list continues. On the upside, each new iPad gives Apple a new opportunity to wow customers and partners. But on the downside, each new iPad is a market inflection point — if Apply doesn’t get the upgrade just right it opens the door to competitors — such as Microsoft.
2. Loss Leader: Apple charges a hefty premium for the iPad. Microsoft has always focused on high-volume, low-cost offerings. Contributing blogger David Courbanou has a hunch Microsoft will work with hardware makers to aggressively undercut iPad prices. Even dead products like WebOS tablets generated strong demand during firesale prices. Perhaps Windows 8 tablets can be a loss leader while generating peripheral and application sales for Microsoft…
3. Wintel Rises Again: The classic Windows-Intel duopoly has weakened in the post-PC era. But Intel is eager to remain relevant in the mobile world — pushing far beyond notebooks and netbooks. Windows 8 tablets are therefore a huge market opportunity for Intel.
4. Seen Our Cloud?: Microsoft has promising cloud platforms in Office 365 and Windows Azure. What if the software giant took steps to offer remarkable integration between Windows 8 tablets and Microsoft’s cloud services?
5. Game On: How about having games that jump from Xbox to Windows 8 tablets… And that’s just for starters.
6. Bonus — Gone Vertical: Windows 7 and previous Windows releases already have a lengthy list of vertical market applications in health care, insurance, real estate and so on. Many of those ISVs will look to take their legacy Windows mobile apps onto the Windows 7 tablet, The VAR Guy believes.
Of course, The VAR Guy has to offer the usual qualifiers. Our resident blogger already owns two iPads. A Windows 8 tablet isn’t in The VAR Guy’s budget for 2012… at least not yet. But a few killer applications could go a long way to winning The VAR Guy’s hard-earned dough.