Will a Desktop OS Succeed on Tablets?

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-10-05 Print this article Print


5. The applications strategy 

Microsoft's decision to make Windows 7 available to tablet makers could be either good or bad from an application perspective. On one hand, Windows 7 works with the vast majority of applications in the wild, so the company won't need to worry about compatibility. But at the same time, consumers might expect an App Store-like experience for programs. If customers see more value in simple applications than full-blown programs, Microsoft will have to scramble to change things up if it wants its tablet strategy to survive. 

6. Android OS is the better option 

Google's Android OS is quickly gaining ground in the mobile market. And most believe that the company will perform just as well in the tablet space once vendors start delivering products running on the software in the coming months. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the more successful Google is in the tablet space, the less successful it will be. Both companies are vying for a finite number of vendors that want to build tablets. If more companies see value in Google's operating system over Microsoft's, Windows 7-based tablets might not be around for long. 

7. HP won't be on-board 

When Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled Windows 7-based tablets at CES, the focus of his presentation was the HP Slate. For a while, some believed that the device wouldn't be made. But it has re-emerged in the wild. Regardless, Microsoft shouldn't expect HP to be its key partner. With the acquisition of Palm, HP has made its true intentions in the mobile market known. Going forward, even with a Windows-based Slate on store shelves, the company will likely focus most of its efforts on WebOS to the detriment of Windows and Microsoft. 

8. The functionality question 

Apple's iOS is designed for tablet use. So is Android OS. But Windows 7 isn't. It's a desktop-focused operating system that helps users be more productive with the help of a mouse and a keyboard. It's not necessarily designed for a finger and simple use. Of course, Microsoft would disagree. But perception is what matters most in this context. And functionality comes second. Few would think Windows 7 would be an ideal tablet platform. And even fewer would like its functionality on a tablet. That alone could derail the company's tablet plans. 

9. Wait for the smartphones 

Over the past few years, Microsoft's inability to compete with Apple and Google has caused the company to rush. It rushed Windows Mobile 6 to the market, it rushed Kin smartphones, and now it's trying to get into tablets when its own smartphone platform isn't available yet. If Microsoft wants to see its tablet strategy work, the company should take a step back, evaluate how Windows Phone 7 is doing, and go from there. Patience is a virtue for the software giant. 

10. Google is too powerful 

As mentioned, Android OS will likely be the biggest competitor to Windows 7. But that's the least of Microsoft's worries. Google has its sights set on Microsoft in every market that they both compete. It wants nothing more than to take the company down. It can do that with Android and by leveraging its relationships with vendors. Microsoft knows it. And so does Google. That's precisely why Google and its power could be too much for Microsoft to handle in the tablet space.


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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