Friday, 22 June 2012 11:01

Microsoft Continues to Hurt Partners As They Plow On Towards the Windows 8 Launch

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untitledIn our continuing coverage of Microsoft and their push to the cloud with their next generation of Windows we are hearing something that we expected people (consumers, analysts and journalists) to pick up on long ago. Microsoft has had a tradition of thinking “if we build it they will come”. This is mostly due to their heavy footprint in the marketplace. Let’s face it; Windows is the most widely used operating system in the world by a longshot while the Xbox is the most popular (in terms of sales) gaming console. The problem for Microsoft is that many consumers have bought into the push that hardware manufacturers (and yes software developers) have been touting “good enough” and the popular myth of “you can always upgrade”.

Now Microsoft has pulled much of that out from under the consumers’ feet. If you just bought ANY Windows Phone 7.x models not only are you out of luck for an upgrade to Windows Phone 8, but you will not have access to many new features of the Microsoft store. Forget about Smart Glass as that is a Windows 8 only feature. This means that the 5% of the market that have put their trust in Microsoft and their Phone partners just got informed that their relatively new phones will be obsolete in a few months’ time. This has caused analysts to down grade Nokia and their sales forecasts; which will hurt Nokia financially in a rather big way.

This is not a smart move on the part of Microsoft as Windows has always been the choice of people that are looking for flexibility in their products. Now Microsoft is doing the right thing by attempting to create an ecosystem around their devices, but what they should not be doing is hurting their partners in the way that they are. Remember, Microsoft only got to the position they are through their partnerships with OEMs, ODMs and other manufacturers. Without them they would be nothing. Every time they have tried to dive in and do things their own way (outside of the console market) they have failed.

Microsoft is not Apple and has never been Apple. They are not a single vertical company like Apple that is a one-stop-shop for their devices. Microsoft cannot be a company like Apple for many reasons (too many to list here) and anything that hurts the relationships they have with their partners is going to have an impact on sales. If on launch day there are not the anticipated 20+ tablets for Windows 8 and Windows RT Microsoft will lose money. The same thing can be said if they lose a phone partner or consumer trust going into the launch.

Unfortunately Microsoft has done almost all of these things as they move toward the launch of an OS that, right now, is not getting the best reaction from consumers and the enterprise. We have said it before and will say it again, in many ways Microsoft is their own worst enemy. They cannot continue to ignore the comments and input from the market and plow on with what they think is the best choice. Microsoft is no longer in a position of “if we build it they will come”. They MUST court the market with compelling products that are more than barely hidden attempts to force the consumer into the Microsoft cloud.


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