After the success of the Apple led revolution and its subsequent domination, the demise of Microsoft has been the subject of discussion for industry analysts for years. However, have we been duped by the proverbial duck that is quiet on the surface but paddling furiously underneath? Bill Gates’ old brand is back with new ideas that are set to rival its main competitor, Apple. Alongside its takeover of Skype, entry in to the communications market with the Windows Phone 7 and now Windows 8 tablet (named ‘Surface’) is set to be released in 2012.
Microsoft may be arriving fashionably late to the ‘tablet’ party behind the likes of Google and Apple, but tablets are a hot commodity in the world of technology; so better late than never is what we say. They already account for a large portion of the market (totalling an eighth of the global PC market) and that is predicted to rise to 40% by 2016.
Faster, smarter and sporting a brand new interface design as well as the new Windows 8; that boasts improved multi-monitor support, increased personalized options for your home screen and new Family Safety features. Also, expect Bing powered news, sports and life style apps, alongside Internet Explorer 10 with new functions such as ‘flip ahead’ and the one thing Apple have unable to come to an agreement on, the Adobe Flash Player is fully integrated and secure. In this latest edition of Microsoft software, Microsoft has completely scrapped the old design that has been a stalwart for them for so many years. That has been replaced with an almost unrecognisable Metro user interface.
It’s evident that the thinking behind the design wasn’t just about access; it was designed to create a constant live stream of updates about news, people and more. The user can also customise and tailor the interface to their own tastes; adding yet further personal dimension to the ‘Surface’. With their latest offering it seems that Microsoft is pursuing a new direction of strengthening their brand and products; as opposed to stopping at distributing software programs. This is a direction that is similar to that taken by fellow technology giants such as Google, Samsung and Apple.
Microsoft also purchased the popular messaging service Skype in an $8.5 billion deal in 2011. Skype is used by businesses, as well as by individuals for personal use; this gives Microsoft a significant increase in terms of their user base. By investing in Skype Microsoft are securing a stake in Skype’s bright future; they have already introduced services which users would pay for; such as three-way conferencing, local numbers and long distant calls. Microsoft realised that conversations usually involved brands and consumer goods; this led them to introduce targeted advertisements in the conversation window. Many have speculated that Microsoft’s main reasons for pushing for Skype is the competition provided by FaceTime on iPhones.
So, as the title suggests, this is do or die time for Microsoft. They have invested a lot of money, time and patience in the ‘Surface’ and have also subtly maneuvered themselves into their strongest position in the tech market for nearly a five years, with wise investments in Facebook (watch this space to see how wise this investment proves to be!) and Skype.
Josh Hansen writes for Get Me TV Jobs a company that lists the latest jobs in the television and media industry.