Monday, May 13, 2013

Less Microsoft and Apple Coverage

Microsoft and Apple are now considerably less relevant to the future of Computing than when I started this blog six months ago. The "news" is consistently about what they are doing badly and is generally boring...

Let me give you some examples:

Apple now has a minority market share in all its major product lines. They now hold less than 20% of the world-wide smart phone market, less than 40% of the world-wide tablet market and a small enough portion of the desktop market, it just doesn't matter. The most interesting Apple "news" revolves around speculation of what color, materials and thinness the next iPhone will have. There are also many speculative articles on how Apple can turn things around and many pathetic articles about how there is no need for Apple to turn things around. In short, none of these things are worth anybody's time to read. Apple is not only no longer relevant to the future of Computing, but they could die rapidly because they don't really make anything someone has to have.

Windows continues its dominance of the desktop market, but the market as a whole is rapidly shrinking. It holds tiny portions of the smartphone and tablet markets, despite spending many hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising. It would not be surprising to find that Microsoft has in fact spent more on advertising than they have received in revenue in the smart phone and tablet markets, though firm numbers are not available. They certainly have not made a profit in either market.

Microsoft also continues its dominance of the Office Suite market, again that market is rapidly shrinking.

The lastest Microsoft news is about "Windows 8 Blue" which is the next "point" release of Windows. Speculation is rampant, but the likelihood is that Microsoft doesn't really understand the problem with Windows 8's UI. Windows 8 forces users to use both UIs, which work in a decidedly different fashion. This would not be bad if the user simply chose which UI to interact with, but Windows 8 often forces you into the other mode to the simplest tasks, then doesn't give you and easy way back. This violates pretty much every UI design principle. Until Microsoft acknowledges this and quits forcing users to use both UIs simultaneously, Windows 8 will continue to be a flop. Pretty much everybody but Microsoft understands this.

On the smart phone and tablet front Microsoft is unlikely to gain major amounts of market share because the UI is weak and its underlying WinRT API is missing a huge number of things. (For example, text-to-speech, voice recognition, midi.) The APIs for tablets and smart phones are actually different environments, developers need to write two separate apps (though there are commonalities).

In short, Microsoft has plenty of revenue, but its long term prospects are grim. They seem to have no future. They are strongly entrenched in businesses, so it will take years for them to die, but I think it is safe to say they are no longer relevant to the future of Computing.

The long and short of this is I won't be covering either company in this blog unless there is major, positive news indicating a possible turn around. I'll also occasionally have articles about how to escape these legacy, dead-end environments.

I guess I am just sick of sorting through the dozens of negative articles I see each week about these companies. Especially since I see no signs they will be relevant to the future of Computing even a year or so from now.

I'd love to see comments about this change in blog focus!

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