Microsoft’s executives may not fully appreciate what I’m about to say, but I believe it to be true. Why is the traditional PC industry shrinking? Why hasn’t Microsoft’s smartphones and tablets sold well?
The answer is easy.
Yes, Windows is a bad name, a tarnished brand, and, other than a continuous stream of failed projects from Microsoft’s executives, the number one reason Microsoft hasn’t gained traction in the rapidly growing mobile device business, even losing the lucrative enterprise to Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
Why is Windows a bad brand name (as opposed to a well known brand, which is different)? Customers have struggled with the complexities and insecurities of Windows PCs for about 20 years. Usability is the hallmark of the new mobile generation and Microsoft just doesn’t get what usability is all about (check out the Samsung TV commercial where a Windows tablet use is asked to move his notebook but defends it as a tablet, even though it has a power brick and a keyboard).
Windows Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. It provides both PaaS and IaaS services and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.
See? There’s nothing in Azure that’s Windows-based (in the traditional PC arena) so why call it that? Because at Microsoft it’s always been ‘Windows Everywhere.’ That needs to change and soon.
Unlike Apple’s Mac line, which continues to prosper as the PC is in decline, Windows is killing Microsoft. Today’s mobile customers do not want complexity. They want usability. Microsoft’s Windows, in one form or another, has been around mobile devices for a decade, but it’s Apple that made the smartphone usable. It was Apple that made the tablet usable. A few hundred million Windows PC customers have found a better way to use the most personal of computers, and it has nothing to do with Microsoft or Windows.
Wait. Isn’t Microsoft Office coming to the iPhone and iPad soon?
Too little, too late. Windows and Office are two lumbering dinosaurs on the verge of extinction. Remember, desperation rules at Microsoft these days. Why else would the company spend billions and billions for add-on, bolted-on companies that never added anything to the bottom line (Navision, aQuantive, Danger, Fast Search, Greenfield, Skype, Nokia, I’m looking at you)? Instead of inventing the future, as Apple did with iPod, iTunes, iPhone, App Store, and iPad, Microsoft tried to buy the future and that effort has failed miserably.
It’s almost sad to watch. Microsoft still trumpets Windows on smartphones and tablets all the while marching off into oblivion. Windows is a name synonymous with difficulty, problems, complexity, and frustration. The company would be better of with a new brand and leave Windows for traditional PCs.