By Gauri Jagatap:
“Be what’s next”, says the Microsoft tagline. So what’s next for one of the largest technology companies in the world?
From establishing a steady and fast growing market in the software sector, Microsoft has now announced its foray into the hardware part, hence integrating their hardware and software services in a bid to encapsulate the market of tech-wizards and amateurs alike, a la Apple.
In the press release, Microsoft proposed two tablets; the smaller Surface tablet, 9.3 millimetres thick, will run Windows RT (a variant of the company’s new operating system) and sport the highly popular ‘Office’ suite of applications.
The bigger version, 13.5 millimetres thick, will be powered by a third-generation Intel Core processor and run Microsoft’s yet-to-be released Windows 8 Pro operating system.
Features such as a QWERTY keypad, which will double as a cover, as well as a full-sized USB port have been suggested, whereas the pricing and availability details have not been spelled out as of now. However a release date by end of this year is anticipated.
Microsoft’s venture into the tablet market seems intelligent, as the market sales of tablets are expected to triple in the next two years, topping 180 million a year in 2013, easily outpacing growth in traditional PCs. Apple has already sold 67 million iPads in two years since launch.
Apples have always been path breaking. They led Newton to a series of laws, and they led Steve Jobs to changing the laws of modern and chic computing.
They made any gadget with an ‘i’ attached to it, a statement, a symbol, a niche. And so we have an iPad. The next generation tablet. Tech savvy people all around have been great fans of Apple since long. And in coming up with the iPad, “each day”, Apple has captured a new batch of customers and has kept “other companies away”.
While Apple seems to be a major opponent to the upcoming Surface tab, Surface boasts of a number of advantages over iPad, at least in India, where most people are still accustomed to seeing a “Start” menu at the bottom of their screens and are not too comfortable with the Apple OS. Moreover, buying an Apple product requires shelling out more. As well, one needs to use Apple specific hardware parts and apps.
Meanwhile, Windows is more user-friendly. As well, with the introduction of the quintessential MS Office tools, it should lead to high tablet productivity, when most users of the iPad have exploited the tablet solely for video, audio and internet purposes. However for an outside market, Apple still seems to have an upper hand, as more and more Apple fans flaunt their latest gadgets from the i-stable.
Of late, several tech-giants have tried expanding their base by constant innovation and differentiation in their products. We have had Google coming up with Android and Windows coming up with its own Windows Phone. Facebook also plans to come up with its own phone. In this light, Microsoft seems to be racing ahead, as it plans to bite the Apple.