Tough Spot: Microsoft
Microsoft is in a tough spot. Today, there is no single defining feature of a Windows PC. You have a multitude of hardware options and software options can come from a number of sources including physical media, digital stores like Amazon and Steam and even the Microsoft Windows Store.
Although Microsoft is working on their Universal Windows Platform and it sounds like a great idea, think about what Microsoft is trying to do. Microsoft is allowing developers to build apps once and deploy them via the Windows Store to a variety of devices. However, what devices are we talking about? Microsoft’s phone division is (nearly) dead. The Xbox One is focused on gaming – I cannot see myself writing an essay in Word on my Xbox and mobile devices like the Surface all run Windows already. Microsoft claims the Surface Hub and HoloLens will also support these apps, but these devices are all aimed a specific industries or businesses.
The thing that makes Googles pairing of Chromebook and Play Store so appealing is that the devices Google has in its pocket – tablets, phones and Chromebooks - can all be targeted and used by the same group of people. As a consumer, I may have an Android phone. I probably have some kind of Android tablet. I also have a Windows PC. But, if I have a lot of apps on my two mobile devices, the next time I’m in the market for a new laptop, that Chromebook suddenly became much more attractive to me…
Microsoft is in a tough spot. It will be interesting to see what impact Google including the Play Store will have on the sales of PCs over the next few years.