Will Microsoft emerge victorious?
So, Microsoft has a really amazing (if underrated) ecosystem. First of all, you have the core of Microsoft, which is Windows itself. The most popular computer OS out there. Then you have the Office suite - the most ubiquitous productivity tools out there. You have Xbox for gaming & media consumption, which just totally beat the crap out of Nintendo & Sony. They now own Skype, one of the most (if not THE most) popular messaging services out there (widely spread as well). They have a stake in Facebook, a social network which arguably redefined the way humans interact with one another. MSFT also has Hotmail, Zune, SkyDrive, Bing, etc.
They have really amazing products which, I believe, blow the competition when viewed as an ecosystem. While Google also has amazing products which are used more than their Microsoft counterparts, it is missing a popular OS for the computer (Chrome OS.. really?!). While Apple may blow the waters when it comes to smartphones and tablets, they lack a LOT of things in its ecosystem. such as a counterpart for Xbox, Office (I am aware they have iWork or something but it's not successful), Bing, etc.
Obviously, with Apple doing so well, the future lies plainly in portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. While MSFT MAY have the rest of the ecosystem, these two(?) areas are actually the most important ones in our transition to the dominance/proliferation of handheld portable devices.
We know that MSFT has been doing efforts in these areas, such as Windows Phone and Windows RT. However, I DO have to say while I love Windows Phone (I have an HTC HD7), that if given a choice, I would actually switch over to an iPhone or an Android phone, for the sole reason that Windows Phone has dismal support outside of the US when it comes to apps. If US customers are already bemoaning the small number of apps available to them, Windows Phone users in my country are unable to even buy Xbox Live games when the Marketplace is set to our country. Even if we do set the Marketplace/phone to be based on the US, we are still unable to buy "un"free apps since these apps requirre a US credit card number.
I really want Microsoft to emerge victorious in the long run with Windows Phone, but if they have such oversights as these, do they even stand a chance? Microsoft HAS been making a lot of (in my opinion) dumb moves when it comes to Windows Phone. While I dearly love my HD7, at times, I feel as if Windows Phone is a rushed product - a desperate move by Microsoft to gain traction in the mobile market. I do not regret jumping ship to WP but I have to admit that I would have preferred to wait if it means having wide international support for apps right away from the get-go and also having a lot of Bing's features integrated in it. I really find MSFT's way (introducing the Marketplace to a few countries at a time) disconcerting. Not only does it turn off buyers from international countries (there ARE other markets outside the US, you know) but it also hassles developers who have to keep resubmitting apps to be published in these countries every time a new block gets added.
I really do hope MSFT gets its act together soon, and avoid the same mistakes in Windows RT (although I believe that they have already done so - there are already people from certain countries complaining about being unable to buy apps in the Windows Store in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview).