The platform war of 2012

I have been writing as much in past few weeks, not because I was lazy, but more because there was not much to write about. Summer is in full swing and not many things are happening in food and technology. Perhaps not in that combination, but technology is moving swiftly towards new ways of personal computing. The most significant change coming at us is the complete convergence of private and business computing with the introduction of Windows 8 set to be released in October of this year, right in time for our Christmas shopping.

As it stands today, our smart phones and tablet computers essentially run on operating systems that do not support our most common business applications: The MS-Office Suite. Whether we run Android devices or iOS Devices, we need proprietary software to work with these devices effectively, and these applications do not run today on our desktops. Some efforts have been made to bridge the gap via different cloud computing options (of which none really works great as I have written in a previous post). Google with Android at its heart and Apple with iOS at their heart are not really providing just devices, they provide complete ecosystems in which music and magazines are traded, private data are synchronized and new services provided. These ecosystems just don’t extend to the business world fully; just some isolated applications extended from the business world to these new eco systems.

Here comes Windows 8. Windows 8 will bridge the gap. It will introduce another eco system with another platform to create proprietary apps, but this time you will be able to run these apps seamlessly on your desktop without switching devices. Your Desktop will become fully compatible with the applications you run on your Windows Phone or Windows Tablet, unfortunately not the other way around. Windows 8 devices will come in two flavors, full desktops and laptops that can run pretty much anything you run on Windows 7 and so called Windows RT devices, which will run only the new applications called ‘Metro Style Apps’. Metro Style apps will be able to synch seamlessly between all device used by the same person. I would expect that Microsoft will sooner rather than later release full versions of its MS-Office suite for Windows 8 RT Metro Style, which can turn out to be a killer-app for that platform.

I think we will all witness a big platform war over this Christmas shopping season. Blackberry is all but dead, Android hasn’t really been able to take a big bite out of the Apple and there are little options for people that want to get good technology for a reasonable price. Apple is the market leader because it hasn’t been really challenged yet by anybody. Microsoft will be a serious contender for Apple, especially with its strong foothold in the enterprise and probably the strongest technology backend among them all. Apple will give up market share in tablet computing, the question will be how much.


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