PGTS Humble Blog
Thread: Microsoft (Decline Of)
|Gerry Patterson, Your Most Esteemed And Humble Blogger|
Just Whose Ass Is Apple Kicking?
Chronogical Blog Entries:
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 2010 01:06:29 +1100
Recent trends in OS usage suggest that Windows 7 is growing mainly at the expense of Vista. And Mac seems to be just growing! All of which corresponds to sales figures. In the USA, sales of Mac computers out-performed iPhones in the previous fiscal quarter. This remarkable set of numbers was welcome but largely unexpected. Everyone has come to consider the iPhone as the bette noir of the hardware zoo, and most pundits predicted that it would fuel most of Apple's growth. The unexpected result is particularly good news for Apple and their shareholders since profit margins on Mac computers are fatter than those made from iPhone sales.
Of course Apple remains grateful for Vista, which was so utterly appalling ... At the time of the initial release it was rather like an own goal by Microsoft and then just when things couldn't have seemed better for Apple ... Rather than fixing it up ... Microsoft mounted an ineffective publicity campaign ...
And that was almost like a penalty shot for Apple --- Lucky Apple!
Will Windows Seven cure Microsoft's ills? Well that remains to be seen. The mobile market may be moving too fast for them to ever catch up.
Last decade, Linux failed to make as much head-way as Linux fans hoped. This was largely due to the crafty (and insidious) pricing policies employed by Microsoft.
For example, when Linux seemed to be establishing a slim hold in the netbook niche, Microsoft dropped the price of XP to an eye-watering low $15!
Also, Microsoft offers rebates to manufacturers. And details of these deals are confidential. We do know that the more units sold, the more generous are the rebates.
Since that initial heady rush towards the Linux netbook, the major manufacturers have only offered Linux on the bare minimum form factor. These days it might be a 512K/10G 7" netbook. And all the 1G/60G 10" (or better) units ship with Windows (sometimes Windows 7 - but XP seems to be the preferred option). Who knows, the cost to manufacturers may even have dropped to almost zero (depending on volumes sold).
In your blogger's not so humble opinion, a deal has been cut with OEMs. And if Linux were a commercial product, it would be your humble blogger's opinion that there would have been good reason to investigate Microsoft ... Because such deals are anti-competitive and illegal (in the USA and Australia).
However it is probably nonsense to talk about predatory pricing and abuse of market power, since Linux is free! (As in beer and as in speech). Nevertheless dear reader, your humble blogger can't help wondering how long will the manufacturers stay in line? It only takes a few to break ranks and the dams might crumble. Already there is rumbling from Dell and HP ..
This year the challenge for Microsoft will be to keep a foothold in the mobile arena. Linux won't go away. It will always be free, and it runs on the same hardware as Microsoft. Android and Chrome-OS are being promoted by Google ... The heaviest of Internet heavy-weights! And the extraordinary success of the iPhone means that there is genuine competition in the mobile arena. That's why Windows mobile is not faring well.
There has recently been a survey of mobile developers, and here your blogger will humbly quote from an article in eWeek:
Among those surveyed, 86 percent said they were “very interested" in developing for the iPhone platform, 68 percent said the same of Android, and 58 percent were very interested in the Apple tablet. BlackBerry devices received 21 percent of the very-interested vote, while Palm’s WebOS — referred to as the Palm Pre in the report — received 17 percent, Windows Mobile garnered 13 percent and 10 percent went to Symbian. Maemo came in at the back of pack, with 8 percent showing interest, followed by Moblin, with 5 percent.
Yes, and now with the much anticipated announcement of the iPad, your blogger expects mobile platforms to be where the competition is fiercest. But take note dear reader! Maemo and Moblin are both Linux! And so is Android! ... So a lot of developers are very interested in Linux!
And it's just basic economics. As the price of hardware decreases there just isn't much headroom for Microsoft to compete with a mature, efficient OS that is FREE! Apple can compete because they have chained the hardware and the software together. (And they are using a BSD variant).
Microsoft can try reducing the price of their product to almost zero in a desperate attempt to stop the cracks forming ... But it's too late! In the mobile market the cracks have become fissures and water is already pouring through them ... The dams are gonna break soon! And the flood will most likely sweep Microsoft from the mobile market place and out to sea.
Microsoft could try forming a partnership with a hardware manufacturer, but thanks to their predatory behaviour in the past, it will be difficult for them to find a manufacturer that trusts them sufficiently to enter into a genuine partnership.
Microsoft could try manufacturing hardware themselves, but they don't have the competence or the culture ... And in any case they have built their business on generic hardware (OEMs).
And so dear reader, your blogger predicts that the real competition for mobiles will be between Apple and Linux. Nokia and Blackberry will just try to hang in there.
And if someone can put together a serious feature-packed mobile tablet, running Android, that significantly undercuts the price of Apple's iPad, the competition might start to get very hot in the mobile tablet market.