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Saturday, 18 February 2012 09:39

Is Microsoft Making Google and Apple Nervous with Windows 8?

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win8logoredesignedSo Microsoft is on a push to get out as much information as they can about Windows 8. This new operating system represents a massive change for Microsoft and not just in the way the new OS will function, but also in the manner they are interacting with the public. This is evident in almost everything they are doing, from the building Windows 8 Blog to the public statements, demos and interviews that are happening frequently.

In the past Microsoft has not been as open as they are now, sure if you are on the BETA team or are a member of Technet you can get access early and starting with Windows XP x64 they had the Customer Preview Program (CPP), but these were not pushed or hyped like they are now. Right now the CPP for Windows 8 is one of the most anticipated product demos from Microsoft that we have seen since we started working with them.

Now, we have been critical of many things that Microsoft is doing with this OS (mostly technical and the forcing of the MetroUI), but we are very excited to see them interact with the public the way they are. You can even see they respond to popular or repeated questions on their blog. In fact Microsoft’s move with Windows 8 is causing something of a stir with both Apple and Google.

Apple is known as one of the most secretive companies out there. Even as a member of the ADC (Apple Developer’s Connection) there is very little advanced information. Apple does often have events and demos for selected members of the press (ones that they know will write good things about their product) and will tease things, but as far as public demos or public BETAs? No, that is not the Apple way.

All of this changed very recently though. Apple has pushed out a developer preview of their next operating system named Mountain Lion. This is was out of the norm for Apple and no one seems to know exactly why they are doing this. One of the thoughts is that the new CEO, Tim Cook, knows he is not the showman that Steve Jobs was and cannot really pull of the hyper or public presence that Jobs did time after time. To maintain the hype for the new OS Cook could be taking a page from Microsoft’s book and we will see a release schedule similar to what Microsoft currently uses.

Another possibility that we have heard is that Apple is concerned about some of the features and the general “flow” of the new operating system from Redmond. Microsoft is working hard and fast to build a combined eco-system for their products (much like Apple has been doing). So far we know that Windows 8 will work almost seamlessly with the new Xbox360 UI and we have heard will do the same for Windows Phone8. The stated goal is to have the PC as the central hub for a family of products.

This strategy will make devices like a tablet (ARM or x86/64), phone, gaming console, or other a compliment to the PC instead of a competitor. The desktop PC will still be more powerful and functional than the other devices, but it will help to build on their portability and accessibility. This was also the thought process behind Windows Home Server. It was intended to combine many different functions being handled by multiple systems in a home into one central and easily controlled device. The Desktop PC will now be that for your mobile devices and gaming consoles.  

Meanwhile Google with their single vertical in the market are rushing to push out Jellybean (possibly in Q2 this year) to meet the Microsoft drive. We do not even have Ice Cream Sandwich on our Android devices yet and a new update is coming? The new OS from Google will allow dual booting between Android and Windows 8 and will be for the Tablet only (according to the rumors). If this is true it would be Google fragmenting their product again. When this happened with Honeycomb the market did not respond well. Besides that, I am not sure how many people would really want (or need) to dual boot on a tablet with limited resources (meaning storage space).  The timing is also very significant as around Q2 of this year we will start seeing more Windows 8 on ARM demos and the CPP of the x86/64 version will be in full swing.

With this single move Microsoft has put both Apple and Google on edge. I would not say that either company is scared, but I will say that they want to try some of the wind out of Microsoft’s sails and quickly.

Now for the potential bad news; Microsoft is riding high on a wave of press attention (let’s face it most of the press it tired of talking about Apple and Google Operating Systems) driven by what appears to be a complete redesign of the Windows desktop platform. Will this positive attention remain after the first CPP release on the 28th of February? That we are not sure of, we saw some significant concerns raised after the release of the Developer’s Preview and have a feeling that if these were not addressed in this release Microsoft could see their positive wave of press quickly turn sour.

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Read 10184 times Last modified on Saturday, 18 February 2012 09:58

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