Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 14th Apr 2013 18:22 UTC, submitted by MOS6510
Windows You can say what you will about Windows Phone and Windows 8's Metro interface (I refuse to drop that name) - it's inefficient, unpopular, cumbersome, beautiful, ugly, organised, clean, limiting - but there's one thing we can all agree on: it's unique and distinctive. CNet has published a profile of Microsoft's Albert Shum, the man behind Metro, and he highlights what I think is at the very core of Microsoft's problems in mobile right now.
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Consider a parallel universe
by Tony Swash on Mon 15th Apr 2013 09:56 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

Consider a parallel universe. In this parallel universe Microsoft faced the same challenges from iOS, Android and mobile devices that it did in this one. But in this parallel universe Microsoft did not opt to defend Windows above all else with the unappealing silliness that is Windows 8 on the desktop PC.

Instead in this parallel universe the first, and fast, response by Microsoft to the rise of iOS and Android was to produce a really good designed for touch inexpensive version of Office to run on those platforms. In this parallel universe Windows 8 was just an upgrade to the familiar Windows 7 interface but one which included absolutely first class tools for integrating and linking to the iOS and Android versions of Office, and Microsoft also produced a suite of tools for the Mac that made linking to the touch version of Office very easy.

The difference in the approach that Microsoft took in this parallel universe was that instead of focussing on defending Windows and it's sales of an OS, it instead focussed on defending Office and on becoming the biggest productivity software supplier in the booming mobile device markets. This different approach in the parallel universe was based on Microsoft trying to actually solve problems and offer solutions for customers, by making an integrated and excellent touch version of Office. Instead what it did in this universe was to try to solve what it perceived to be it's strategic mission, which was to defend Windows, by forcing customers to accept a disruptive and inappropriate new interface for the desktop which solved none of their problems.

In the parallel universe Microsoft did build the Metro interface for mobile devices and it failed to take off just as it did in this universe but in the parallel universe it didn't matter because Microsoft had become a major software player in the new mobile markets with it's productivity software.

What will probably actually happen in this universe is that Microsoft will eventually create a somewhat clunky and probably expensive version of Office for iOS and Android but it will be too late, by then nobody will care.

Microsoft defended Windows when it should have defended Office.

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