Microsoft's adaptable strategy

Microsoft's adaptable strategy: Where Android, iOS and Windows 8.1 fit in

This is not your dad's Microsoft. In the aftermost few months Microsoft has been refocusing on Web casework and accessories instead of its adaptable operating systems, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 (WP8). Neither OS accept been acid the alacrity in the market. Moving forward, I see Microsoft acclamation its adaptable OS issues in two ways.

First, in the connected run, 2014 and beyond, I see Microsoft replacing RT and WP8 with Windows 8.1. As Ed Bott said, with Windows 8.1, Microsoft is aiming absolutely at adaptable devices. How can Microsoft do this with ARM assertive tablets and smartphones? By eventually  replacing its ARM-powered RT accessories with Intel Silvermont/Bay Trail tablets active Windows 8.1.

It makes sense. This new Atom-based, long-battery activity processor ancestors can accord Microsoft a low-end book that can run "real" Windows instead of crippleware RT or the abhorred WP8. This would additionally save developers time. They can aloof focus on Windows 8.1 after annoying about the basal dent architecture. They would be alive already added with the accustomed x86 architecture.

Indeed, I anticipate Microsoft may go alike further and alter WP8 with Windows 8.1 on smartphones. The Intel Silvermont/Merrifield dent ancestors is advised for smartphones. Aloof as with Bay Trail, Microsoft could accord its developers the accustomed ambiance they already know. The tens of bags of Microsoft developers who now focus on the desktop could far added calmly address or anchorage software to smartphones and tablets.

Can a new WinTel bond win over ARM fans? Intel thinks so. Intel's Silvermont book and smartphone chips are expressively advised to abutment Android and Windows 8.1.

Some analysts additionally accept that Intel has a attack at abolition ARM's authority on the adaptable space.  As Wells Fargo analyst David Wong afresh said, "Intel’s able technology position could accord Intel’s book and smartphone articles a aggressive bend over ARM-based chips in 2014 and 2015, and beyond."

In the abbreviate run, it's a altered story. The adaptable apple is an ARM world. Since Microsoft's own ARM-based adaptable operating systems aren't accomplishing well, Microsoft has apparent that it isn't abashed to abutment its applications and casework on Android and Apple's iOS.

Although Windows 8 has had its issues, it's a agitative success compared to Microsoft's adaptable OS acceptance rates.  Microsoft has additionally fabricated it bright clear that it's advancing the Windows 8 ancestors with Windows 8.1. It's not giving RT and WP8 the aforementioned vote of confidence. There's lots of Windows 8.1 account advancing out of Microsoft's Build 2013 developer conference, but little said about RT or WP8.

How abhorred is RT? By IDC's numbers in 2013's aboriginal quarter, Windows RT tablets stumbled out of the aperture aboideau to 0.2 percent of the market. Windows 8 tablets, at 3.3 percent bazaar share, were annihilation to address home about either, but it was far bigger than RT.

True, WP8 has clawed its way up to the third abode atom amid smartphone operating systems with 3.2 percent of the market. But third abode isn’t abundant to blow about back Android owns the smartphone bazaar (with 75 percent) and Apple's iOS hangs on to 17.3 percent.

You ability anticipate WP8's advance is acceptable news, but its acceleration seems to accept far added to do with Windows and Symbian's abatement than with its own amoebic growth.

Let's additionally not balloon that Windows Phone 8 and RT are both affection abridged for business use compared to their competition. WP8 still doesn't abutment basic clandestine networks (VPN) and RT will alone get Microsoft's amount e-mail program, Outlook, backward this year... if it alike gets Outlook then. It may now appearance up until October 2014. It additionally doesn't advice that RT, which is all about Metro-apps, won't get the abounding Metro-Style Office until 2014.

What's added cogent is that Windows developers assume to be abandoning the WP8 platform.

A technology incubator group, afresh observed, "Since mid-2012, app accession on the Windows Phone belvedere seems to accept flat-lined. This is in abrupt adverse with app accession on Android & iOS over the aforementioned timeframe, alike admitting the developer citizenry at the time was smaller." Singh continued, "The apparent cessation … is that developers are accident absorption in the Windows Phone platform."

See Debate: Is Microsoft acceptable or accident the war for developers?

But, you apperceive what absolutely told me that WP8 is in trouble? Microsoft's own developers aren't abetment WP8. Microsoft aloof adapted its Skype Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) affairs to abutment video mail with Skype video messaging. This affection is absolutely accurate on Windows desktop, Windows 8, MacOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry... but not on WP8.

Yes, you apprehend that right. Alike BlackBerry gets the abounding Skype video messaging, but Microsoft's own WP8 doesn't. Skype's “how to use video messaging” FAQ doesn't alike acknowledgment WP8 or RT.

That’s aloof one archetype of Microsoft’s alertness to abutment added adaptable platforms at the amount of its own. Microsoft is additionally assuredly alms the acme jewel of its applications, Microsoft Office, to iPhone users. The adaptable adaptation of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are now accessible for iPhone users via its Office 365 Web services. It's alone a amount of time afore a abounding tablet-sized adaptation is accessible for iPads.

A hands-on attending at Microsoft Office for the iPhone

Where would they draw the line? A advantageous bazaar is a advantageous market, and if they don’t get barter from their own adaptable customers, they’ll booty the money from adaptable platforms that do accept a cogent bazaar share. I'm abiding Microsoft will anchorage its adaptable Office apps to Android smartphones and tablets as well.

After all, Microsoft apparently profits added from Android than it does from RT and WP8. Why not add on to their profits, and attack to wean users abroad from the Google appliance ecosystem? It should prove a win-win for Microsoft.

Maybe WP8 will survive. At atomic it's accepting some traction. But, bluntly I agnosticism Windows RT will alike be about in backward 2014. Microsoft started auctioning Surface RT tablets in aboriginal June and in mid-June they started an educational bazaar fire-sale for the abhorred tablet.

Add up the numbers. The better adaptable operating arrangement markets are Android and iOS. Windows 8/8.1 at atomic has a attendance on tablets, but RT? Why accumulate it on life-support if Microsoft can alter it with Windows 8.1 on Intel chips?

Mobile users are absorbed in Android and iOS. Microsoft's best loyal users and programmers are absorbed in Windows. Why not accomplish them all blessed by giving the aboriginal accumulation the Microsoft applications they demand and the additional accumulation not aloof one interface, Metro, beyond all platforms, but one operating system?

When I put it all together, I anticipate Microsoft will acknowledgment to its old ally, Intel, for its abutting bearing of adaptable accessories while continuing to abutment its Web-based applications and casework on any platform—not aloof its own.

In time, Microsoft's adaptable operating systems, WP8 and RT, will be larboard to atrophy and die. They'll be replaced by Windows 8.1/Windows 9 as the next-generation x86 dent ancestors becomes added tablet- and smartphone-friendly. Then, no amount who "wins" the adaptable belvedere wars--Android, iOS or Windows; ARM or Intel--Microsoft will still acquisition profits.