Win8/RT/WP8 Smart Moves and Miscalculations
Just for fun, I'd like to compile a list of Microsoft's smart moves and miscalculations around their recent reinvention. I'll start us off:
- Touch/Mobile focus - it's obvious at this point that mobile is very much disrupting the professional PC market. The next 5 years will undoubtedly only see a continuation of what we saw this year; tablet/touch device marketshare continues to grow, while desktop/laptop share continues to shrink. The PC might not ever disappear entirely, but it will likely become more niche than mainstream as time goes on.
- Bold aesthetics, without skeuomorphism - Though a bit controversial, I would say that, overall, Microsoft's Modern UI is a visual win that moves them ahead of both iOS and Android.
- Tighter hardware/software integration - while I do feel that Google's open, all-inclusive model has actually been very effective for them in the long run, I also think that Apple showed us the best way to ensure extremely high-quality products, now; controlling both software and hardware development.
- Consistency across products - In the long term, I think the fact that Win8, WinRT, and WP8 all share the same kernel will be a great boon to developers and will help establish a large group of high-quality apps available across all Microsoft platforms.
- Focus on Productivity - Productivity is, without question, Microsoft's competitive advantage. Apple has always been the tool of the media buff, while Android has been reserved for the tinkerer and penny-pincher. MS's inclusion of Office 2013 for free in WinRT (as suboptimal as its interface is for touch) was a brilliant idea, and the keyboard cover was a stroke of genius.
- Desktop Mode in WinRT - silly and confusing. Also, the earlier they start moving people onto 100% metro, the better, as that seems to be their obvious trajectory. This was more a time-crunch issue than anything, I think.
- Sub-Optimal WinRT performance on ARM SoCs - as an owner of the Surface RT, I love the concept and find it an extremely useful device overall, but I feel the OS as a whole is bloated and not even close to 100% optimized for performance on the ARM architecture. Yet another time-crunch issue, more than likely.
- Staggered Surface releases - In my opinion, had the Surface Pro and RT been released simultaneously, there would have been a lot more positive buzz generated all around, which would have undoubtedly been a boon to sales and would have propped up the as-yet-lackluster Surface RT sales numbers.
- Limited Distribution Channels - this was a boneheaded move. The Surface should have been in every store from day 1. It was silly for MS to think they had generated enough market interest that supply limitations would actually help them.
- Lack of finish on Modern UI apps - XBox Music, Xbox Video, Mail, no Modern UI Office, no Modern UI File Explorer; again, if they were looking to give people a reason to spend all of their time in the Modern interface, they certainly did a poor job of it.
Anyway, curious to hear your take on the matter. And try to be as objective as possible in your evaluations, for my sake. :)