Microsoft Windows Tablets Can Overcome Apple's Dominance: 10 Ways to Do It

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-01-16 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Microsoft might be down, but it's not out of the tablet market just yet. With the right moves, Microsoft might be able to catch up to Apple and perhaps even overcome the iPad's dominance.

Apple's iPad is dominating the tablet market. Whether vendors like it or not, they simply don't have what it takes right now to overcome the style and functionality that Apple's offering boasts. Google's Android platform might help some companies, like Motorola, get close. But at this point, there's no telling if that company's Xoom tablet will be able to deliver on all the hype it enjoyed at the Consumer Electronics Show recently.

But at least the Xoom tablet has a chance. After Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's disappointing keynote at CES failed to illustrate what his company's future plans are for tablets, most believe the software giant will find itself even further behind Apple. But as far behind as Microsoft might be, it's important to not discount its ability to stage a comeback.

Microsoft has the ability (and cash) to overcome Apple's iPad dominance in the tablet space. It just needs to make some drastic strategic shifts to do so.

Read on to find out how Microsoft can help Windows tablets overcome Apple's tablet dominance.

1. Deliver a real tablet version

The first thing Microsoft must do if it wants to compete at even close to Apple's level is to develop a tablet version that can actually rival the competition. Right now, Windows 7 is not ideal for tablets. However, iOS and Android are. Microsoft cannot expect to compete with Apple and Google if it can't even offer an operating system that works exceptionally well with tablets.

2. Partner with hardware makers on tablet design

Once Microsoft decides it wants to develop an operating system for tablets, it must do everything it can to partner with hardware makers on tablet designs. The last thing Microsoft needs is to see companies offering Windows-based tablets in shells that can't compare to the iPad or Motorola Xoom. Hardware design is just as important as the design of a product's operating system. Microsoft must not forget that.

3. Get rid of Ballmer

It might sound drastic, but it's clear now that if Microsoft wants to overcome Apple in the tablet market, it needs to remove Steve Ballmer as CEO. From a financial perspective, Microsoft is doing quite well, generating billions of dollars every quarter. But when it comes to achieving growth in important areas, like tablets, smartphones, the cloud and the Web, he's lacking. Ballmer is still too focused on Windows and Office, and right now, those aren't areas where the software giant should be focusing.

4. Focus less on Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone 7 has only been out for a few months, but already it's showing that it might not perform as well as competing mobile operating systems. In fact, Microsoft revealed in December that its vendors sold 1.5 million devices to retailers in the platform's first six weeks of availability. Google, on the other hand, is seeing hundreds of thousands of Android devices activated each day. Now more than ever, Microsoft should realize that it won't have a dominant presence in the smartphone market and so should turn its attention to tablets.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, 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

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