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So that's going to end well.
Ballmer is haunted by the ghost of Jobs. He desperately wants to turn MS into a hep kewl company. Unfortunately MS has become the industry's creepy fat uncle - the one who thinks he can hold a conversation about pop music with his sixteen year old niece because he bought a Madonna album in 1988.
RIM is going out of business - Windows Phone is poised to steal all of their business customers. The Iphone is not quite up to the enterprise standard and Android phones aren't allowed on any serious network.
As for desktops/laptops Windows 7 was a great product and people are ready for the next one.
I think Microsoft is going to have a terrific year in 2013 as will Nokia alongside them.
The tile/icon interface may work on touch devices, but Surface is probably going to be overpriced, and it's not clear that the usual suspects can produce better hardware.
Add to that the confusing difference between ARM-ready Win 8 RT (or whatever it's going to be called) and incompatible Intel Win 8 and it's shaping up to be a mess.
Win Pho 8 has already alienated users by making Win Pho 7 handsets obsolete with no upgrade path. Most early iOS apps still work on the iPhone 4 and will likely continue to work on the iPhone 5. MS has an annoying habit of killing its mobile OS before it gets any serious traction, and then starting from scratch with the next version.
So I'm not seeing it. I think a lot of people will hate it and ignore it. A minority will upgrade or go along with new hardware. But considering PC sales are flat and iOS/Android are existing cheaper alternatives for touch, I don't see a convincing USP for typical MS customers.
The difference for the tablets is not confusing at all - ARM tablets designed like an Ipad with a "built-in OS" have RT and the other ones act like pc's and have a full version of Windows on them.
MS previously has released weak mobile OS's but they've clearly been building for this Win8 move for several years. This is a long-term strategy about to be unfurled and thus far it's generating a whole lot of positive buzz outside of blogger/twitter circles, ie in the real world.
Apps are overstated - a mobile phone needs a few key apps and services. Most "apps" are novelties or games. Meanwhile Microsoft just demonstrated an overhauled Office 2013 and an entire OS designed for mobile. They've been moving in this direction for years and are offering a complete package. It's the best mobile/tablet/OS integration thus far.
As for Win8 phone they're literally going to eat RIM's lunch. I'm going to replace all of my business blackberries with Windows mobile phones almost certainly. And all of the new pc's I buy will be Windows 8. And once I see some details on these tablets I will probably deploy a number of them to replace laptops. The RT edition ones will be cheap - and their biggest weakness at first glance (no domain access) has turned out to be a clever security move on MS part.
Microsoft makes its money in the Enterprise. Windows 8 is a winner, and Windows Phone 8 should be the same. The one thing Iphone and Android can't compete with RIM on is BES. Blackberries are king of email - the primary feature for business phones. MS happens to be the biggest email server vendor in the world by a large margin and offer the best integration. Exchange sync on Windows mobile is the only thing I trust to replace BES - and it's cheaper, too.
On the consumer end Windows Phone will have plenty of games and media features. MS has built quality in this area for years and has deep market penetration on the gaming side via Xbox.
I personally have an Iphone and use a mac at home - I have no inherent loyalty here. My favorite phone ever was a Nokia but there was nothing new to replace it with so I got the Iphone. I've had Windows mobile in the past iterations and it was promising but the hardware was garbage (Motorola, etc). An actually good windows mobile OS plus Nokia hardware? It's going to be the best thing on the market.
Careful on this, though. The apps I want may just be novelties or games, but if you don't have them--or if your library of them is full of viruses and address book forwarders--then I'm not interested in your system.
The reviews about the new tablets are funny, because they talk about the screen size and camera resolution and battery life, but what they (mostly) miss is the need for integration with the rest of your environment. The ongoing success of Windows will hinge on that point.
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