Thanks To Apple, Microsoft Is Doomed In The Era Of Mobile Computing

The war isn’t over, but the major battles have been fought, the handwriting is on the wall, the obituaries are being written. When it comes to mobile computing, Apple is crushing Microsoft to death.

A mere 10 years ago Apple was struggling toward the mobile future with the iPod and iTunes Music Store. Microsoft dominated the PC industry and was making headway into games and search. Apple was an afterthought.

Five years later, Apple’s Mac was running on Intel CPUs, the iPod was the king of portable media players, and iTunes Music Store ruled online sales.

Meanwhile, Microsoft struggled to advance beyond Windows XP. Redmond’s search efforts continued to lose money. Xbox 360 had market share but no profits and was far from giving a return on investment. Microsoft’s Windows on smart phones paled in significance, market share, revenue, and profits when compared to Windows on PCs.

In the interim, Apple’s iPod paved the way for mobile computing devices that have all but swept desktop and notebook PCs into the history books, and rendered Microsoft not a sleeping giant, but an old, feeble, comatose giant; a bloated relic of a bygone era.

How did that happen?

First, Apple protected the iPod’s well earned perch atop portable media players by launching an even better product– the iPhone. Apple’s success caught all major makers by surprise and quickly drove desktop and notebook computing to the pocket.

The ultimate personal computer is the one that fits into the hand, browses the internet, checks on email, and features a plethora of apps.

Microsoft was caught flat footed and has yet to recover.

Second, Apple extended the iPhone’s success by redefining the tablet segment of mobile computing with the iPad. Again, Microsoft was caught stuck in the mud, and despite some attractive new products, remains the industry giant of also-rans in a burgeoning new market that is sweeping the world– handheld devices.

Wait. Isn’t Windows Phone highly touted? Isn’t the new Microsoft Surface tablet just like the iPad? Doesn’t that mean that Microsoft is back in a big way?

When it comes to mobile computing, Apple owns the lion’s share of revenue and profits. No other manufacturer is close, and Microsoft is far, far down the list.

While technology pundits applaud Microsoft’s late-to-the-game Windows Phone for having a unique user interface that doesn’t copy Apple’s iOS, it hasn’t proven to be a better interface for users, and doesn’t provide a compelling reason for users to switch.

The same holds true for tablets– Surface vs. iPad. Surface is thin, light, and has a unique user interface. But no apps to speak of. Remember, the Mac suffered for a few decades because all the best apps were running on Windows PCs.

Today, all the best mobile device apps are running on Apple’s iOS devices. Not Microsoft. Not Google. Not BlackBerry. Not Nokia. The best mobile device user experience is subjective, of course, but it’s hard to argue that iOS has much competition.

Google’s Android OS has a substantial unit market share, but profitability remains unattainable for most Google hardware partners (Samsung being an exception; probably by copying Apple’s products atom-for-atom). Nokia, RIM, Motorola, and Microsoft’s mobile efforts are spilling red ink all over the world while Apple sits on a $100-billion pile of iPhone and iPad-generated cash.

The mobile computing war may not be over, but who is winning the battles? Even Google has yet to make a return on investment or profits from Android. RIM, Motorola, Nokia, and Microsoft fare even worse.

For now, Apple rules mobile computing devices with iPhone and iPad, and their halo effect gives the Mac a larger-than-life market share of revenue and profits.

Goodbye Microsoft. We hardly knew ye.


  1. Totally agreed with you.

  2. Amen, sister. Amen.

    Microsoft since Windows and Office has been mostly a losing proposition. They lose money on search, Xbox, phones, and now they come out with a good looking tablet-like device, and they refuse to show anyone how it works.

    Clearly, Surface is not ready for prime time.

  3. What an assh@le bashing. I sense fear around fanboi’s playground. Starting Fall, the real game begins. Apple’s mobile strategy will merely be remembered as just a toy for kids to play around. Mature audience who gratuated from that state will soon realize that there’s reality on toaster/oven convergence.

    • You don’t have a clue do you you ignorant child. Microsoft has been on a slippery downhill slope for so long you don’t even realize it. The whole IT workers kingdom is about to come crashing down like it should have years ago. All the Surface is is more junk from a has-been company. Talk about fanboy-Microsofties are the worst.

    • The Fear “Really?” is from all the PC Users that think Microsoft is STILL the only game in town. The fight Microsoft is in right now can’t be stolen or bought or bullied out of smaller companies. They have to innovate and that is something totally lacking in and unknown to the Microsoft Eco-system. They have never had an original thought in their heads. The surface tablet is just the latest example. It will flop like the Zune, like Windows Phone (Poor Nokia), like Windows Tablets from the past 10 years. Oh Yeah! MS has been doing tablets for a decade and FLOPPED over and over and over again but no one seems to remember that nugget but NOW Microsoft is going to succeed because they stole the Apple paradigm of how these things should work. Not likely.

      Things wont change for MS until MS figures out that every product they release does not have to have the ability to run every software package ever written for it. The surface is a laptop with a touch screen and a soft keyboard in the lid, not a tablet. If you need all the functions of a laptop BUY a laptop for the love of GOD. There are plenty of them out there. If you want a slim design buy a Macbook Air knock off Ultra book.

      I smell the fear, PC Fan Boys talking about how THIS will kill iPad and iPhone and Mac. Reality is that it wont. Like the PC in the early 90’s Apple is intrenched now. Is Apple unstoppable? No. BUT People don’t think Tablet anymore, they think iPad. They don’t think Smart Phone, they think iPhone and along with that Apple is selling millions of Macintosh computers every quarter. Apple is far from danger for a long time. You don’t have to believe me the statistics are available online. PC sales are down for the 6th quarter and Mac and Apple sales are up for more than 15 quarters. Apple is worth 2 times what Microsoft is and makes more money than they do. When they innovate the rest of the industry poop their proverbial pants to see how they can offer a product that at least looks like the latest Apple product, forget the functionality.

      You Speak of Mature Audiences but fail to realize that they are exactly who is pushing Apple forward. Not Gamers or PC Geeks Or The We-Build-Our-Own-PC’s-And-Steal-All-Your-Software fan boys. It’s people that speak with their wallets, Companies that want a robust platforms that they can develop for and roll out applications WITHOUT paying the Microsoft tax associated with development or fearing the Thousands of Virius, malware, Botnet and Phishing attacks that go along with using Microsoft products. Its people that work hard and play hard and are uninterested if their iPhone, iPad or Mac can run World of Warcraft. I suggest that you look around and see what is actually going on in the Market instead of Crying because you realize that Microsoft blew the best position any company has ever had and is unable to compete in a fair fight.

    • To bad you are not one of the “Mature Audience”.

      Your jealousy of Apple is quite obvious.

    • I am the head of our IT department and all computers, phones, tablets we issued to our employees are Apple. So for you (really?) to say that these Apple products are just a toy is wrong. I reguarly speek to friends and colleagues in our business (IT) and they either tell me that the have made the switch over to Apple products or that they are seriously evaluating Apple products for a 2013/14 launch. So in conclusion I believe that it is Microsoft who should be scared. Apple has a whole eco-system for all of their apple products. Microsoft does not PERIOD

  4. Lol you’re demented and must be addicted to eating crow, just like Microsoft I guess.

    • Mature audience who gratuated from that state will soon realize that there’s reality on toaster/oven convergence.”

      I believe sarcasm was implied.

  5. MSFT has never been more than a two trick pony.

    The first (WinXX) succeeded, not because it was any good, but because corporate America desperately wanted a standard they could plan with, and because of MSFT’s heavy handed anti-trust business practices. Any advances in WinXX were copies (generally stolen from those too weak to seek redress) of other’s work.

    The second was the result of incredibly bad decisions by competing firms (with a little help from MSFT). Office succeeded because the competition ignored MSFT’s published roadmap that emphasized a graphical user interface.

    In mobile computing, which relies on an OS agnostic Internet, instead of true innovation, MSFT was too busy protecting its core products to see the importance of it.

    Desktop computing will be around for a very long time, but with 70% of all computer sales going to consumers (vs corporations), and with both corporations and consumers rapidly adopting iOS platforms, there is no guarantee that Windows will remain the dominant desktop OS.

    MSFT’s past success can be attributed entirely to luck, predatory business tactics, and myopic focus on protecting its franchise. It did not come from innovation, and when the DOJ stripped MSFT of its ability to abuse it’s monopoly power, the innovators passed them by.

  6. Kate, it feels so good to be an Apple customer does it not?!
    I have the fabulous iPad/iMac/iPhone trio and it’s just a blessing to use.
    I’ll be getting ML in a few weeks and sooo looking forward to being able to do Messages and FaceTime on my desktop.

    When I feel down tho’ and think that Apple is not moving quick enough I simply watch either the ‘Surface’ event (ha ha) or almost any news story involving W8 and ‘Metro’ and suddenly I feel better.

    Steve was right, M$ have no taste.