The Omnibus AFB Surface Topic

  • Posted: 20 June 2012 05:03 PM #121

    The Apple iPad is eating the Windows PC market for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Do you really think the Surface is going to bring back buyers?

    No, that is not what I am saying.  My point is that all the trends you mention were well established and likely irreversible, well before the Surface showed up.  Your point in the original post was that this weeks news on Surface was the clearest indication yet that the Windows PC era is over.  I see it as an inconsequential and irrelevant with regard to what is happening already in the PC market.  PC OEM’s have no where else to turn, so they are forced to continue with their reliance on Windows.  Nothing that happened this week changes that. 

    Maybe we disagree on what it means for the Windows PC market to be “over”.  I think that is way too strong of a statement to be making.  Declining I can agree with, but not declining to zero or anything close to it, which is what “over” means to me.

    [ Edited: 20 June 2012 05:18 PM by Lstream ]      
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    Posted: 20 June 2012 05:06 PM #122

    Maybe DT’s saying something like, the PC is now a truck and Microsoft is offering their version of the Ridgeline.

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  • Posted: 20 June 2012 05:10 PM #123

    I just finished watching the Microsoft Surface video that was posted on The Verge.

    I found it interesting that the stand and keyboard combination were so highly promoted. Both of these items (integrated stand and physical keyboard with trackpad) are two things the iPad does not have. At least that is the perception.

    But think about this for a moment. The Microsoft surface cover has a 3mm thickness. The keys don’t actually have any travel—they are just capacitive sensors on a flat surface.

    Now think about the iPad with a SmartCover. The SmartCover is a stand, and the iPad has a built-in capacitive keyboard.

    If you take another step back and think about why you need a physical keyboard, trackpad, and a lot of screen real-estate, I think you will realize you are really needing a MacBook Air or Ultrabook.

    If I were in the business of making predictions, I might say the selling proposition and sales trajectory of the new Microsoft Surface will be similar to the Microsoft Zune and fill a niche about as big as the toaster-fridge market.

    [ Edited: 20 June 2012 05:55 PM by Francisco Geraci ]      
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 05:18 PM #124

    Lstream - 20 June 2012 08:03 PM

      PC OEM’s have no where else to turn, so they are forced to continue with their reliance on Windows.  Nothing that happened this week changes that.

    There is an option. It’s called exiting the market. Exiting the PC consumer market may be the next big steps for HP and Dell. The issue with Dell may be righting the payables/receivables imbalance. For HP, it may be just a matter of time.

    Both HP and Dell have migrated into services and enterprise solutions. The introduction of the Surface may accelerate the transition away from consumers PC for both HP and Dell.

         
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 05:21 PM #125

    Mav - 20 June 2012 08:06 PM

    Maybe DT’s saying something like, the PC is now a truck and Microsoft is offering their version of the Ridgeline.

    No. I’m saying the Windows PC market is running out of gas (to use your vehicle analogy). The traditional PC market is in a state of economic decline.

         
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    Posted: 20 June 2012 05:25 PM #126

    Basically the same thing.  A more marginal market.  And when Steve meant “trucks”, he meant “lower units over time.”

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  • Posted: 20 June 2012 05:52 PM #127

    Mav - 20 June 2012 08:25 PM

    Basically the same thing.  A more marginal market.  And when Steve meant “trucks”, he meant “lower units over time.”

    Lower unit sales, heavier lifting compared to mobile devices.

    If you look at the new line of Mac portables and in particular the new MacBook Pros that combine the discreet graphics processor and the Retina display, it’s game, set, match for Apple versus the competition.

    As I said, this is not a pretty picture. In my view MSFT is abandoning its Windows licensing model in favor of a tightly integrated OS and device approach. The particular problem with the the Surface is that it’s ill-designed and is a mix of everything except what might work.

         
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 06:01 PM #128

    DawnTreader - 20 June 2012 08:18 PM
    Lstream - 20 June 2012 08:03 PM

      PC OEM’s have no where else to turn, so they are forced to continue with their reliance on Windows.  Nothing that happened this week changes that.

    There is an option. It’s called exiting the market. Exiting the PC consumer market may be the next big steps for HP and Dell. The issue with Dell may be righting the payables/receivables imbalance. For HP, it may be just a matter of time.

    Both HP and Dell have migrated into services and enterprise solutions. The introduction of the Surface may accelerate the transition away from consumers PC for both HP and Dell.

    Dell and HP will continue to market desktops to Enterprise, which will be slow to change both OS and traditional desktops running legacy apps (it’s still the software, folks).

    However, I wouldn’t want to be a member of the Wintel club longer term (5-10 years).

         
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    Posted: 20 June 2012 06:32 PM #129

    How many PC OEMs are going to build an RT tablet to compete with Microsoft? Unless RT tablets quickly surpass Android tablet sales, how many developers will create Metro apps?

    On the traditional PC side, will businesses stick with Windows 7 and simply avoid Windows 8 as they avoided Vista? Again, what then will be the incentive for developers to create Metro apps?

    The traditional Windows PC market is not dwindling into thin air anytime soon, but these moves by Microsoft will accelerate the move towards post-PC devices and apps. That’s good news for Apple.

         
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 06:50 PM #130

    Drew Bear - 20 June 2012 09:32 PM

    How many PC OEMs are going to build an RT tablet to compete with Microsoft? Unless RT tablets quickly surpass Android tablet sales, how many developers will create Metro apps?

    On the traditional PC side, will businesses stick with Windows 7 and simply avoid Windows 8 as they avoided Vista? Again, what then will be the incentive for developers to create Metro apps?

    The traditional Windows PC market is not dwindling into thin air anytime soon, but these moves by Microsoft will accelerate the move towards post-PC devices and apps. That’s good news for Apple.

    I doubt Microsoft actually wants OEM competition. The Surface seems to have all of the characteristics of a proof of concept. MSFT is saying: hey OEMs, this is what we want you to build (assuming they didn’t already tell them this but got push back). MSFT is trying to drum up support for the device and hoping OEMs will follow along. I would imagine there are many IT folks who are drooling when they saw the Surface. Granted these same people were drooling at every other non-Apple product that was clearly inferior to iPad.

    I don’t think the Surface will resonate with consumers though because MSFT is not answering how the Surface is better than a phone or laptop for a certain feature subset. Instead, MSFT took a laptop screen, gave it touch technology, a removable keyboard, and stylus. Hmmm, so we have a laptop that really isn’t a laptop.  Meanwhile, consumers can’t get enough of iPad because the hardware just melts away as you interact with apps. You are definitely not using just a laptop or an oversized iPhone, you are using a completely unique device.

    I think the Surface (assuming it actually makes it to the market) will have a similar fate as all of these other non-iPad tablets. Might hear some reports of IT people placing orders, but there probably won’t be much more beyond that.

    Consumer and enterprise tech hardware are merging and while the process may be slow, the train is indeed moving.

         
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 07:44 PM #131

    Lstream - 20 June 2012 07:38 PM

    Not only will it not create market share, Microsoft may have kicked its own PC OEMs in the shins. It?s the clearest indication yet the Windows PC era is over.

    I think this is a leap that cannot be taken yet.  For the Windows PC era to be over, there must be an alternative for those OEM’s.  What is it?  I don’t believe that Linux is the answer for the vast majority of Windows users.  These OEM’s have no real choice, but to grit their teeth and bear it. Microsoft likely knows that they will alienate their PC OEM’s with this move, but they also know that there is no viable alternative, so they have a free pass to choose whatever strategy they want for tablets. 

    I see more of a gradual decline, instead of a watershed moment that says the era is over.  I also think that trend was in place anyway, and that this week’s news will have little impact one way or other on a trend that already in place.

    I wouldn’t dismiss Linux so easily. Linux is a superior server OS. from there any platform can access the server using a browser. Ellison’s ‘thin client’ agenda may be closer than one thinks.

    The only element that may be a weak point is “Office”, but if enough corporate accounts start making the move to MacOSX MSFT will be compelled to flesh out the Mac version.  That, or look for a signicant lay upgraded iWork Suite.

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  • Posted: 20 June 2012 08:24 PM #132

    Apple management is so incredibly smart, I don’t know where to begin with the accolades.

    Think about it: the original iMac was a product for the faithful, it turned Apple’s financial condition around and provided the breathing room to develop OSX.

    Then the next step was to compete in a market not dominated by MSFT, or any of it’s ‘partners’. The iPod made Apple relevant again, and provided the platform for an ecosystem of the future.

    Along the way Apple dropped Motorola as a processor vender in favor of Intel. Instantly, gone were the arguments of hardware specs. The differentiating factor was now the OS.  Enter OSX for Intel and Bootcamp.

    The iPhone addressed another market not dominated by MSFT and/or it’s ‘partners’.  Dismissed by the heavyweights in the handset industry, the iPhone has crushed such stalwarts as Motorola, RIMM, Nkia and HTC in under 5 years with its totally unique user interface (no fixed function buttons).

    The iPhone expanded the iTunes ecosystem when it was opened for 3rd party development. ITunes did for the iPhone what no other smart phone manufacturer had considered important before…it created a single marketplace for all those apps. You didn’t have to engage in hit or miss web searching to find that one special app, and there was no, as in nada, OS fragmentation.

    Then came the COUP de GRAS, the iPad. The iPad expanded on the technologies of the iPod and iPhone, and was fully compatible with an existing library of tens of thousands of iPhone apps. The iPod/iPhone ecosystem embraced the iPad like an old family member. The result was instant user acceptance and developer support for general and proprietary apps.

    It took 10+ years for Apple to pull this off.  With Apple’s roadmap revealed in its entirety, it will take 5+ years for the competition to catch up, but first the OS licensing model has to be discarded, otherwise Apple’s competition will consume each other with no margin me too products.

    This is where MSFT leadership is essential, but without an innovative bone in its bloated body, that ain’t going to happen.  MSFT will put out poor copies of Apple’s innovations with a different look and feel (lipstick on a pig).

    I give no credibility to Android. Before the iPhone it was going to be another me too mobile OS, only developed around Linux and made Open Source. The introduction of the iPhone forced a quick rewrite of the interface, but with its Open Source licensing strategy fragments the OS, and destroys any possibility of a credible ecosystem.  Samsung, because of revenues from other related divisions will survive as the sole Android manufacturer (Motorola may survive as well, it depends on whether GOOG wants to compete in the hardware sector, or charge a licensing fee for exclusive Android use.

    All of this has come/will come about because of the long range planning by senior Apple management. Nobody, but nobody, has the wherewithal to stop Apple’s train.

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    Posted: 20 June 2012 08:56 PM #133

    The Windows PC market isn’t dead, but its growth is.  It is stagnating, however it will remain as a market of annual shipments in the hundreds of millions of units for years to come, even if its just primarily to the enterprise & professional creatives sectors.

    The problem for Microsoft is that the PC market is set to be vastly overshawdoed by the Personal Mobile Computer Device Market (tablets) which will soon become a market of 500+ million devices annually.

    Couple this with the billion+ smartphone market, and Microsoft now finds itself only “winning” in the least profitable & lowest growth market of the now 3 major technology markets.

    I dont blame them for trying to replicate the Apple integrated approach with Surface, as even if they only end up with 15-30% of the tablet market - it will be a HUGE WIN for Microsoft - compared to where they are now (which is 0% marketshare).

    On another note, it they release MS office for iPad with blutetooth keyboard/trackpad support, this would open up another billion dollar opportunity for Microsoft.

    A realistic near future for Microsoft:
    80-90% of the traditional PC Market
    15-30% of the tablet market
    5-15% of the smartphone market
    MS office for iPad shipping 10 million+ units a year.

    = not completely horrible.

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    Posted: 20 June 2012 09:03 PM #134

    Sammy the Walrus IV - 20 June 2012 09:50 PM

    The Surface seems to have all of the characteristics of a proof of concept. MSFT is saying: hey OEMs, this is what we want you to build…

    Unless Microsoft makes it very clear to their hardware partners that distribution will be very limited, I don’t think that is how the OEMs will translate the message.

    If Microsoft fails to deliver Surface after all the boasting about hardware design and development during the presentation, they will lose much credibility. They can’t back down now.

         
  • Posted: 20 June 2012 09:05 PM #135

    It’s my view this product was pre-announced due to the impact the iPad is having in the enterprise market and MSFT’s inability to deliver on mobile solutions in the past.

    Again, I see it as capitulation. There will be buyers for the device. But these buyers are not buyers that would have easily or quickly transitioned to Apple’s product paradigm.

    The Surface raises more questions than it resolves. In the meantime, Apple continues to ship iPads in record numbers.