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ZDNet: Microsoft Losing its Way on Desktop, Apple Good to Go

ZDNet: Microsoft Losing its Way on Desktop, Apple Good to Go

by , 4:50 PM EDT, April 1st, 2008

Based on comments from Redmond executives, Microsoft's vision for the next generation desktop seems to be losing focus compared to Apple, according to David Morgenstern at ZDNet on Tuesday.

Recent presentations from Microsoft strategists have focused on the Surface input technology and software as a service (SaS). The problem is that neither of these pie-in-the-sky approaches remotely address the needs of users.

Microsoft's new approach vaguely reminiscent of the days when Mark Andreessen said that Netscape is the OS, no need for Windows. Microsoft may now believe that after all.

Apple's strategy, in contrast, recognizes that users not only view content but create it. The faster the desktop client experience is in doing that, the better the overall experience for the user. In fact, Apple's vision of the desktop as an elegant digital hub has never wavered.

Microsoft seems to have been both distracted by Google, as Google's Eric Schmidt has painted rosy pictures of data clouds as well as its inability to manage the Vista rollout. An extreme focus on SaS is a prescription for mediocrity at best, according to Mr. Morgenstern. "The steady stream of business and enterprise switchers to the Mac platform shows that for some tech customers mediocrity isn’t a value. Nor a vision," Mr. Morgenstern concluded.

TMO notes that the days when new features punctuated compelling new OS releases from Microsoft are long over. Nowadays, vision, clarity and focus are required to ship a next generation OS. The way in which Microsoft handled the Vista rollout suggests that not only does the Redmond giant not have that focus, but it may be helpless to reverse its course.

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