This whole journey started for me several years ago when, as the Microsoft Product Manager for my company, I visited the Redmond Campus for some meetings and trainings and pulled out my 1st generation iPhone in a room full of Microsoft employees.
Let the razzing begin! I was repeatedly asked why iPhone? Why Apple? Why not Windows Mobile? My response was simple, give me a Windows phone that can do ‘this’ and I will gladly move over. I am happy to say that I was an early adopter of the Windows 7 Phone, and have never looked back. (Samsung Focus is the one I rock now!) Although it took a longer amount of time than I would’ve liked, today I genuinely outperform my co-workers iPhone’s, and being in a business environment, integrate better with my work spaces. We all know that Apple pulled ahead of Microsoft in the mobile and phone arena, similarly Google took the lead in web and drive to the cloud. But Microsoft seems to have taken their lumps, learned some lessons, and as Microsoft System Engineer, James Whittaker, recently stated in his blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jw_on_tech/archive/2012/03/14/why-i-joined-microsoft.aspx) ‘every time I tell someone who uses the mobile web what I am working on and what experiences it provides they want it now.’
This is where we find ourselves sitting today with Windows 8 on the horizon. We want it now! We want to see the devices, now! We want to understand what changes we are really going to experience, now. Let’s face it, things are moving faster and faster, and our expectations are higher than ever thanks to the experiences delivered by Apple on mobile devices and the likes of Google for the rush to the Cloud. So how will Microsoft compete? How will they stay relevant? …Would you believe me if I said Xbox?
OK, so it’s not Xbox alone that will bring us the Windows 8 and Microsoft experience that we’re all dreaming of, but it is a big part of the strategy. The whole thing appears to me that regardless of the ‘glass’ you’re using, the Windows experience is going to be consistent, and evolving and Metro. In reality, the initial wave of Windows 8 experiences and devices won’t surmount the Apple and Google respective market dominance. But Microsoft has something they don’t. It’s a complete solution and time, and I want it. NOW!
From your Windows phones, Xbox, PC, Mobile devices to SkyDrive, Windows Live and Bing – Windows is presenting itself across platforms, across markets, across devices in a consistent and frankly awesome interface that just simply works. You are seeing Microsoft products integrated in a way that only a company like Microsoft can deliver to us, and something we have not seen from them in the past. The Windows 7 and soon Windows 8 experience will be streamlined whether it’s a phone, a tablet, a full PC or some other device utilizing the web interface to access. In contrast to Apple who does claim we’re ‘post-pc’, the iPad still needs a Mac or Windows PC to be fully functional. The iPad is predominantly a consumption device. Also, contrary to Google, whose entire platform is driven by web connectivity, without that connection you lose the Google platform, and any ability to develop or access your content. Windows will have their traditional platforms, but it will now play on everything you throw at it. TV, PC, tablet, phones, Xbox, Cloud, it will adapt to whatever format or method you want it delivered on.