It's not often that industry observers will look at the mobile market and think that iOS and Android have anything to worry about. Both platforms are finding that a growing number of people want to use them, and the companies behind them--Apple and Google--have enough cash on hand to solidify their positions in the marketplace for an inordinately long time. Simply put, Apple and Google are currently making the barriers to entry in the mobile space even higher.
But with Windows 8, Microsoft might just have what it takes to at least threaten iOS and Android. Microsoft's operating system, which is slated to launch sometime next year, won't hurt Android or iOS in the smartphone space. The software giant still hopes its Windows Phone 7 makes a dent there. However, Microsoft does have its sights set firmly on the tablet market with Windows 8. And by the look of things, vendors hoping to score some quick revenue off the tablet craze are willing to follow Microsoft into that space.
Realizing that, a Windows 8 tablets might just be bigger threat to iOS and Android than Apple and Google want to admit.
Here are 10 reasons why Windows 8 is in a good spot to challenge these other tablet operating systems:
1. It's Windows, after all
Like it or not, Windows is a huge force in the operating system market. The OS has been installed on billions of computers around the globe, and there are still millions that would rather use a Windows PC than any other device. When Windows 8--which reportedly will work quite well with tablets--comes to that form factor, it's quite possible that many of those folks will want a device running the OS. Windows cannot be discounted.
2. The enterprise might bite
Looking around the tablet space, there aren't many solid options for enterprise users. The Research In Motion BlackBerry PlayBook is a sub-par corporate option, and the Cisco Cius, which launched over the summer, hasn't gained much traction, due to its Android installation. But tablets running Windows 8 could be a different story for enterprise decision-makers. Not only will it support the applications companies use, but it'll also limit productivity issues, since employees will be familiar with it. The corporate world could very well drive the growth of Windows 8 tablets.
3. It's not too late
Some say that Microsoft's decision to jump into the tablet space now is a mistake. They say that Windows 7 should have been more tablet-friendly, and thus would have given Microsoft more time to try and limit Android's success. But such an opinion is short-sighted. The tablet market is poised for huge growth in the coming years. And Microsoft might just be coming in at the right time with Windows 8.
4. Vendors are lining up
The interesting difference between Windows 7 tablets and Windows 8 tablets is that, unlike the former, several vendors are lining up to support the latter. As of this writing, several companies, including Dell and Samsung, are expected to bring Windows 8 tablets to the market. Realizing that, Microsoft should have the kind of support it needs to take on Android and iOS. Will that guarantee success? Of course not. But as more vendors jump on Windows 8 tablets, Android and iOS could face increased pressure.
5. Consider the Motorola Mobility acquisition
Following that, it's important to look at some of the factors that might hurt Android. The most notable issue could be Google's recent decision to acquire Motorola Mobility. If the deal is approved by regulators, Google will have an Android hardware vendor to itself. And other Android vendors, like HTC and Samsung, could balk at that. If that happens, they might turn to Microsoft and Windows 8.