Microsoft can easily beat Google and Apple on mobile with the cloud (Part 2)
As usually, apple, once again, change the mobile game with the introduction of the iPhone. It was a refreshing, new take on the mobile computing. The hardware was different and beautiful. Akin to the desktop age, one element that would put iPhone over the top was the large availability of applications, known as apps. Quickly, iPhone was amassing some of the top app with the highest quality. This is still true these days. Developers tend to released their apps for iPhone first, then android and maybe windows phone. Google understand the treat of the iPhone and was very lucky to put their hands on Android. Sure, Android was significantly buggy but it was refined overtime and become the most versatile operating system today. But unlike the desktop battle, android was quickly able to get a significant number of apps and being free made it even more attractive. As the only alternative to iOS, Android quickly gather significant market share with free and relatively less expensive hardware. So the new mobile era, great hardware, good online service and lot, I mean lot of apps were all important to have a successful platform. Today, all three platform have great hardware. When apple introduced the iPhone the first time, there was nothing to compete against it. In fact, the iPhone was king but things are very different today. IPhone, Android-based based, and the Lumia line are equally good. In fact, there are instances when Android and Windows Phone have surpassed the iPhone in terms of hardware. Today Microsoft and Nokia is leading the chart in terms of mobile imaging technology. The Lumia 1020 has the best camera phone and it is fact very advanced compared to the rest. Android leads the chart in terms of specification. Already Windows Phone is already catching up with the update 3. IPhone still remain third in term of specification, screen size.
In terms of online service, SkyDrive, iCloud and Google suites are equally excellent. Services like email, productivity suite, cloud storage, music and video are excellent on each respective platforms. I mean SkyDrive, iCloud and Google are great services that offer similar and equally excellent support for each platform. In terms of service, you cannot go wrong if you decide to stick with Microsoft, google or Apple offering. Xbox Music and Video are very good service with the potential to get better. Google's music is really great. ITunes is still king on the desktop and equally good compared to Xbox and Google music on mobile. In terms of suite productivity, Microsoft is leading with office available to Windows phone users, free. I mean Google just recently bundled its recently acquired office suite and it is good but not as good as office on Windows phone. iCloud is well apple offering and it is good enough for people with iPhone. But there is one area where Apple and Google will always dominate: apps. let me just be clear that Windows phone will never get similar number of apps as Apple and Google; and this is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, sure Microsoft would like a significant number of apps for marketing purposes. But it is more important to have key apps than to have a large number of apps where actually do the same thing. So how does Microsoft should go against Apple and Google when it comes to app? Short answer: it should not.
First, with more than 1 million app, there is no shortage of app on iOS and Android, in fact, an operating system without apps is like having car without fuel. This is the same thing that happen 20 year ago when Apple was trying to fight Microsoft with the gazillion of apps that were available on the operating system. Apple did not pursue Microsoft, the changes the game but focusing on mobile. Until today, there is no way that apple will get the number of app available on windows. Same goes for Chrome OS. Microsoft should not try to spend the time, resources and money to get a great number of apps for Windows phone. They should focus on something innovative and refreshing that does not involved apps. But how? Well the answer is with the cloud. When one puts the number of apps available for is and Android, there are like maybe apps that does the same thing. So really like 1 million sounds like a big number, there are not 1 million apps that offer a unique experience. The number of apps that offer a very unique experience is significantly smaller. It is necessary to have 100 calculator apps or 20 different apps. Some people might find this useful, but the truth is that it is having 30 YouTube app is not different than having only 2 YouTube apps. The feature gap between the 20 you tubes app is not small between the features that 2 YouTube app offer. With the cloud and voice assistance, Microsoft could reduce the significance of app and focus on the experience. Let’s say for instance, you want to get tech news. With the soon-to-announced Cortona, one could go "Cortona get tech news". Cortana will then go on the cloud on search for the news. Whether the news is from Verge, Neowin, or Betanews do not really matter. So instead of focusing having the verge apps, you should focus on the content because what apps are doing is giving you access to the web content. Another instance is booking a flight. one can go "Cortana look for a ticket from LAX to ATL", then cortona will go on the cloud and search for the best price. That element the need to have separate app for travelolicity, or any other airlines app for that matter. If one can have a centralized system to book search for a flight, book the flight atomically and maybe receive notification about the flight, this will eliminate the need to have app for each airlines. This is only possible through the cloud and very smart voice assistance.
There have been rumors that the candidates to be the next CEO of Microsoft will decisively try to spin off Bing, but I believe that Bing should be at the center of the next mobile evolution. Smartphone need apps because smartphone without apps are quite dumb. It is the same thing like the old days of desktop but internet changes everything, the cloud can do the same thing. With the cloud it is really not necessary to have a Pandora, Hulu Plus apps. The cloud can solve the Microsoft’s app situations. Just look at Xbox and see what is possible with a smart voice assistance system. So, I hope that the next CEO of Microsoft understands what Bing really mean for the future of Microsoft. Bing is not about displaying blue link, it is about understand the information and brings that the end users on many ways. The cloud can do for Microsoft what the internet did to Google, or how apps contributed to the success of the iPhone. Microsoft cannot compete with Google and Apple when it comes to app. so Microsoft need to focus other than games or create a new game. If Microsoft can create a cloud system that give you answer to anything that you want, or organizing your life, find tickets to a concerts, travel tickets, news or any other information, the need to have separate apps to access the same information disappears. Like the people hub, photo hub, having the integrated system with a smart voice assistance can really alleviate Microsoft's app situation and arguable better solution to information management. There will still be a need for specific apps and I am sure Microsoft can solve that, but Microsoft should also bring something that one app cannot bring as a standalone apps.
This is not about using HTML 5 instead of native app, or wrapping mobile webs to mobile apps. This is about creating an intelligent and smart system that give on the information that one needs without depending on specific travel, weather, movies tickets, news apps.
What do you guys think? Hope for an healthy discussion.