Microsoft to Test the Tablet Waters….Again

Enterprise Content Management
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It’s that time of the year again. If the New York Times is to be believed (and it usually is) Microsoft could be showing off another slew of Tablet PCs at the CES 2011. And that’s not all. A rumor doing the rounds is that CEO Steve Ballmer could take this opportunity to give us a look at a tablet running the next iteration of their OS, Windows 8. Now, Microsoft does this every year, and they couldn’t really make a splash even when there was NO competition. And this time they have a hulking behemoth in the shape of an iPad just waiting to crush them. They are finished before they even began right?

Well, could be. But the success of the Samsung Galaxy Tab has shown that there IS space for other tablets in the market. And more than that, it is a growing segment, as more and more people become aware of tablet computers and their advantages. The challenge before Microsoft is to present a product that can capture the imagination of those looking for an alternative. As a mobile OS, Windows doesn’t really register – iOS and Android take up that mindspace. So not only will Microsoft be battling the iPad, but also the various Android tablets that are bound to crop up sooner rather than later.

One of the things Microsoft will apparently be doing to distinguish themselves from the iPads and Galaxies will be targeting a more corporate, business oriented consumer base. According to a source of NY Times

“The company believes there is a huge market for business people who want to enjoy a slate for reading newspapers and magazines and then work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint while doing work,”

It’s a smart move by Microsoft to not try and go head to head with Apple and try to woo people from their consumer base. But the next decision is slightly more difficult to understand. Apparently, MS will not be focusing on apps, or rather non-web apps. Instead, the company is going the Chrome OS route with web apps galore. Apparently, Microsoft is encouraging developers to build applications for these tablets using HTML 5. Neither will there be a single, focal app store like Apple’s.

While Microsoft’s track record of tablets is hardly great, the company can ill afford to give up on the tablet market. Mobile computing is the future, and if Microsoft wants to remain relevant, it has to keep trying until it gets it right.

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