July 27, 2012
Microsoft Admits It Could Be Burning Bridges With Surface Tablet
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Apple and Microsoft are both competing companies when it comes to making operating systems in the computer realm, but their way of doing things has almost always been just a little different.
Microsoft has partners to build computers for them, while the company just focuses on software. On the other hand, Apple only trusts itself to build computers for its own operating system.
It is this platform Microsoft has followed that has allowed it to offer-up both cheaply designed computers, and higher-end computers to its customers. It has long-standing relationships with many manufacturers that have built Windows-powered PCs over the years.
Now, the game is changing with tablet computers, and Microsoft is being left in the dark in a freshly brewed technology market that could one day takeover computers.
In its annual report submitted to the SEC, Microsoft fesses up that its upcoming Surface tablet line could jeopardize the relationships it has had for years with its original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
The company wrote that "our Surface devices will compete with products made by our OEM partners, which may affect their commitment to our platform."
Considering that Microsoft still dominates the computer world with its Windows operating system, this may not come as a surprise. However, PCs are staying stagnant, and tablets are rising. One could argue that it is because everyone has a computer now-a-days, and only a small percentage own a tablet. However, the future will ensure tablets in every household, and computers in every business, along with tablets.
Once this shift becomes more and more apparent, Microsoft's OEMs will feel less and less inclined to stay loyal to it, and more inclined to latch on to Google's Android operating system instead.
Despite the gloomy outcome one could predict about Microsoft's recent admission, it doesn't mean the company can't rise up and become a powerhouse in the tablet market. All the company is doing is following the footsteps of Apple, yet again.
For Apple, it has gained popularity for its sleek looks, and also because it builds reliable products. If you are using Apple's iOS software, then you are using an Apple device. Part of this reliability lies in the fact that the manufacturer is also the software developer, helping the machines work the way they were designed to. When it comes to Google's Android, there's a slew of devices that could be in your hand, each one offering up different reliabilities.
Microsoft has seen Apple's success of merging itself into both a device maker and a software maker, and its attempting to cash in on it.
Another hurdle Microsoft is facing is trying to find developers to make software for its tablets. The tables have really turned this time though.
In the 90s, everyone flocked to Windows-based computers, and Apple was struggling, facing bankruptcy. The biggest flaw people saw in Apple computers back in the 90s was the lack of software available. Now, Microsoft is facing the same problems.
Developers are far less likely to want to build applications for a separate operating system if that OS has just barely penetrated the market.
In conclusion, Microsoft currently needs its OEMs to help push its way through the tablet market, but it even knows that creating its own devices for that market is a risky move, hence the filling about OEMs under the "Risk Factors" section in Microsoft's 10-K.