After the Windows 8 debacle, Microsoft has worked hard to arrive at Windows 10 everywhere. Apple has stuck to a purely mobile OS and a traditional desktop OS. Google concocted Chrome OS to solve one problem but now seems to want to merge it with Android. Apple has launched watchOS and tvOS and may be on the verge of carOS. What's going on here? How can these companies possibly cope with the massive technical demands of new/merged/derivative OSes and the aggressive security threats against each new OS?
It's a continuing dilemma. Microsoft wants to showcase the best possible hardware for Windows without upsetting its OEM partners. That's what's happening with the Surface Book, and the tricky part for Microsoft is spelled out with a somewhat dramatic title:: "Microsoft has trapped its biggest partners between a rock and a hard place." A notable paragraph therein:
While Apple dominates the high-end PC market, manufactures such as Lenovo, HP, and Dell (who own Alienware) all sell multi-thousand-dollar laptops. These customers are already primed to use Windows and can easily be converted to a Surface Book.
This is a scary prospect for PC makers.
What's interesting is that Apple's early vision for integrating the hardware and software continues to pose a problem for Apple's competitors. As Microsoft tries to have it both ways, the realization that they're still trapped in the 1980's business model must really annoy Microsoft executives.
Meanwhile, the two OS strategy that Apple is using seems to not be working out for Google. Since this next item was published, "Google is merging its Chrome OS into Android," Google has backtracked a little. But the fact remains, there all kinds of considerations for and tough decisions about why a company should support two OSes on the kinds of hardware they want to build. Adult supervision is essential.
As we saw with the Microsoft example above, technology changes dramtatically over sufficiently long periods of time, and having a vision that can endure is tricky business. Even Apple has been victimized by the declining iPad sales and is faced with, perhaps, rebuilding the mobile tablet concept.
Meanwhile, a modern OS with 50 million lines of code is not something a company just pulls out of the hat. (Samsung found that out with Tizen which it seems to have given up on and is relegating to its TV sets.) What makes it all very hard is that modern OSes must endure massive security assaults from the Internet. And so, changing strategy, no matter how desperate the situation may be, is a major challenge for an company whose ambitions outstrip its technical resources. With modern OSes, TANSTAFL.
So far, Apple seems to have the best of it all, even though they've launched into a delicate dance adding two new OSes, watchOS and tvOS. This OS proliferation would have scared the dickens out of Apple executives just 10 years ago.
And on the horizon is another sobering concept. The Apple carOS (#5, my name), of course, will be exposed to the Internet. Space doesn't sllow me to get into the efforts by other companies. But the scale of effort is staggering, as you can see in this example. "Toyota allots $1 billion to develop new AI, robotics technologies."
Next page: the tech news debris for the week of November 2. The lunacy of CurrentC compared to Apple Pay.