Microsoft has lost the mobile war. The disappointing performance of Windows Phone even after two years of its release is evident that the market has moved on. Microsoft’s last bet is Nokia which dropped all of its own open source projects and promising OS such as MeeGo to become a hardware delivery truck for Microsoft’s Mobile OS.
Nokia used to have a very strong position in the Asian market and Microsoft wanted to get a free ride of that popularity. Which again is the indication that people won’t go to buy a Windows phone they will be looking for a Nokia Phone. That leaves on to wonder what is going to be the future of Windows 8 Tablet.
No Incentive For OEMs
Hardware vendors such as Samsung or HTC will be manufacturing Windows 8 Tablet (which I guess will be due to the deals Microsoft signed with these vendors ‘projecting’ as Android patents deal). Windows 8 Tablets will be less attractive for these vendors due to various reasons one is the non-existing market of Windows Phone and second the lack of customization. Companies like HTC, Samsung and Motorola have created their own customized UI for Android which not only offers users more choice but also give these companies edge over each other. I think OEMs will just be doing lip-service to honor the ‘Android’ deals and manufacture some Windows Tablets.
Even if there are Windows tablets who is going to buy them?
Weak App Ecosystem
When Apple talks, it only talks about the number of apps the AppStore has or the number of devices being sold. Windows Phone is a distant third with only a few thousand apps for the phone (despite the availability of the phone for such a long time). Due to the non-existing market of Windows Phone, not many developers will be interested in wasting resources to port apps for Windows 8 Tablets. It’s catch 22, since there are no apps there won’t be that many customers and since there are not that many customers why will developers write apps for Windows Tablet? Microsoft may try to ‘pay’ to get apps from leading publishers but it will never become a lucrative platform for developers as is the iOS and Android.
Windows Is By Force And Not By Choice
User have shown that they use Microsoft technologies by force and not by choice. Google or Firefox have no access to PCs which come pre-installed with Windows. These PCs come with IE pre-installed with Bing set as the default search engine (where unlike Google Chrome it is extremely hard to change the search provider). Still the market share of Firefox and Chrome is rising. Why? Because the same Microsoft customer chose to not use Microsoft technologies when given a choice. These users consciously go and install Chrome or Firefox on their systems. So, when the same user, which looks for Chrome and Firefox, goes to the market she will pick a non-Microsoft product. Especially when Google’s name is associated with it.
Windows users are scared of virus and users will be concerned about the security of their Windows devices. Buying and maintaining anti-virus solutions will only add headache for users. On the other hand Android is extremely safe (if not immune) from viruses. The security issues around Microsoft’s technologies will keep users from buying a Windows tablet when they have the choice of secure Android tablet. Would you want to buy a product which is plagued by attacks all the time when you can get one of the most secure Android tablets?
Amazon is selling its Android tablet for around $200 and Microsoft can’t beat that price. Most top-tier Android tablets are in the range of $600. If reports are to be trusted Windows 8 (Intel) tablets are going to cost twice as much as high-end Android tablets. So, we are looking at a $1000 plus price tag. Who will buy a Windows tablet (despite all the problems mentioned above) when you can get two Android tablets in the same price?
Developers Won’t Buy Windows Tablets
Windows 8 tablets won’t have any buyers in the developers or enthusiast segment due to the use of secure boot on such devices. Microsoft has asked device makers to not allow booting of any other OS on Windows Tablets. Android tablets are a rage amongst developers as they can put the OS of their choice on these tablets. That won’t be possible on Windows tablets. There is no question of different locking mechanism on such devices and it will be close to impossible to run custom ROMs on these devices. So, these tablet will not have any takers in the developers or enthusiast community. Note to be made that this is also the segment which influences ordinary users. So, Windows 8 tablets will not have the ‘word of mouth’ marketing.
Unfortunately, Nokia is not a player in the tablet segment so Microsoft won’t be able to get a free ride in this segment. Looking at these possibilities, I believe there are very slim chances for Windows Tablets to succeed.