The Mobile team explore whether Microsoft's new operating system can threaten rivals Android and iOS.
Zak Garner-Purkis says….YES
No other software company has the number of users that Microsoft does. For many businesses and consumers the Windows experience defines how they interact with technology. There are 1.5 billion Windows users around the world and many of those will be able to upgrade to Windows 10. This new system has been designed to take the Windows 10 experience to the next level. Built with interoperability at its heart, the new systems capabilities extend beyond any product category or rival system, demonstrating an impressive clarity of vision.
The market is crying out for an Android alternative. Manufacturers are forced to put more and more abrasive user interfaces onto their handsets in order to differentiate their products. The Windows OS offers a true alternative for manufacturers to use and develop. Microsoft’s original tiled system can be tweaked in ways which offer true differentiation for hardware makers.
Consumers are already familiar with Windows products which means that the biggest obstacle that most operating systems face; gaining acceptance is not an issue for Microsoft.
Leveraging the huge number of businesses that put their trust in Microsoft products will be another tool in gaining widespread adoption for the OS. You only have to look at the strong growth figures in the mobile B2B space to see how much businesses want to use Windows products. Offering Windows 10 for free can only encourage this trend. Just as the ubiquity of Windows desktop OS extended from the workplace to the home so can the multi-platform Windows 10 be a catalyst in turning consumers on to its mobile and tablet platforms.
In the past Microsoft may have been adversely affected by an insistence on a software licensing model. But now it has changed its approach and its rivals must be worried. The US giant is looking to unlock the potential within its user base turning them into an active developer community. There is no other company in the world with the capacity to make this change at this level.
The largest mobile OS is Android, there is no Android desktop, and there is no Android games console. Microsoft can use areas like this where it has an advantage to push its operating system and take a bite out of the Android customer base.
Kezia Joseph says….NO
Windows is not an operating system that mobile phone users have adopted in the past. Microsoft has failed to impact the smartphone market to the same level as its rivals and this time around won’t be any different.
Microsoft does not have the same global high street presence that Apple has, with the latter selling the iOS platform throughout its stores. It’s not always necessary for a company to have this kind of presence, but it’s one that is boosting the success of Microsoft’s rivals.
By putting the operating system in the hands of third party businesses, Microsoft’s new system will be introduced to consumers indirectly. With no retail presence, the company will have to pay to market the product in other ways, which won’t be enough to challenge Android and iOS.
The brand has long been associated with PCs, and so in the tablet market where computers, laptops and mobility collide, the company should be leading. Instead Android is dominating and it seems very unlikely the launch of Windows 10 is going to change this.
Microsoft’s mobile developer community is less well developed in comparison to Android and iOS. Its previous closed system meant that it has no managed to build a community as engaging or vibrant as its rivals. This is especially important in mobile, where the number of apps available on an operating system are part of the appeal it has on consumers.
Microsoft has said that Windows 10 will be an open platform, but the company have a way to go before its developer community reaches the scale it needs to rival that of Android and iOS.
Microsoft believes the launch Windows 10 ‘marks a new era’ for the company. However, it comes following a quarter when the company recorded a $2.1bn operating loss, amidst a company restructure and the cutting thousands of jobs.
Android and iOS are the ‘go to’ operating systems and, as it stands, Microsoft doesn’t have a strong enough proposition to convince consumers to alter this.