Microsoft has had a pretty rough time the last few years. Steve Jobs innovated like a mad genius and came up with the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. That’s alot of ground to cover and Microsoft has not been able to keep up. At best, they tread water.
However, Steve Jobs is gone and I have serious doubts that Apple will come up with the next great thing without him. In the meantime, Microsoft has gone all-in on their latest products. Their bet is that touch screen laptop-tablet combos will be big and Windows 8 is designed from the ground-up to be the operating system for it. A slew of sexy new devices have arrived, just in time for Christmas.
The Microsoft stores are sexy too. For decades the strategy of Microsoft has been “embrace and extend”. It means they embrace what works and then take it further than the original idea. They took the Apple Store design and made it even cooler with built in wall videos and interactive gaming with Kinect. They took the iPad and extended the idea to house an entire operating system, not just an “app” device. Devices like the Surface and the Acer Aspire S7 are gorgeous and provocative.This is Microsoft’s moment to create a big buzz around themselves.
I have been using Windows 8 for a while now. It works well. I am taking alot of new design tips from their approach to Metro and a slew of new apps. The touch screen will become part of the design process and you will see a merging of “deskop UI” with “touch UI”. Bigger buttons, gestures, the whole shebang.
If I traded stock (which I don’t), I would buy Microsoft. They have a great collection of new technologies and they seem really solid. I would also short Apple stock. I think their high-water mark is well behind them. Mac Mini and iPhone 5 were boring before they even came out. Innovation drives success in technology and right now Microsoft is doing exactly that.