The tablet market is heating up. Now that Apple has sold more than two million iPads, several vendors have already jumped on board with Google's Android operating system. Rather than wait and see how the market will turn out, they have instead decided to partner with Google to deliver, what they believe, is the best alternative to the iPad.
Microsoft disagrees. In a recent interview, Microsoft executive Steve Guggenheimer said that his company isn't concerned by vendors, including Acer and Dell, that have decided to bundle Android in their tablets, rather than Windows. He said that the market is still young and there is little to worry about.
But perhaps by brushing aside Android's threat, Microsoft is missing the mark entirely. Android is a fine alternative to Apple's iPhone OS. It's also arguably the best option after iPhone OS. And all the while, it's Windows that will have difficulty trying to compete in a market that wants apps and entertainment over a full-fledged operating system. These are the reasons why.
1. It's too late
Microsoft might think that it's just the beginning of the tablet arms race, but it's sorely mistaken. Apple started the market, but it also ensured that every other product to be released needs to compete with it. In other words, Microsoft was late to the game. And once again, the software giant will need to catch up to Apple. This is becoming a common issue with Microsoft. Rather than see the writing on the wall and break into a market first with outstanding software, the company waits for Apple to do it. And then, after months or years of waiting, gets into it on its own. Windows is already in trouble in the tablet space.
2. Google is playing to win
As Google has shown as of late, the company is prepared to take on Apple and ensure that Microsoft Windows doesn't get sure footing in the tablet space. Recently, both Dell and Acer, the world's second- and third-largest PC manufacturers, announced that they would be delivering Android-based tablets in the coming months. Windows was nowhere to be found. With Google focusing so much of its time on being the "other Apple" in the space, it's leaving Microsoft to wonder why its own operating system just isn't cutting it.
3. Apple is there to stay
There's little debating that Apple wants to totally dominate the tablet market. In fact, the company wants nothing more than to have the kind of market share that it once enjoyed with the iPhone. That could spell trouble for Microsoft and its Windows platform. Apple understands what it takes to be successful in emerging markets. It also has a firm grasp on software and hardware design, making it increasingly likely that the company will be able to continue innovating beyond the first iPad. All the while, Microsoft is left offering Windows 7 to vendors that realize quickly that in the tablet market, that software just won't appeal to consumers as much as it would elsewhere.
4. It's not like the PC market
Following that, it's important to realize that the tablet space is nothing like the PC market. Having a company's software on as many products as possible might help sales, but it probably won't be enough to corner a market. In the tablet space, consumers are looking for solid hardware that has the software that they covet. That's entirely different from the PC space. When buying computers, consumers are first concerned with the software they want to run, and then focus on the hardware. That mentality helps Microsoft. A hardware-focused consumer base does not.