I really had high hopes that today was going to be a great day. Not that other days AREN'T great, but today Microsoft was releasing information on its new version of Windows. I had high expectations for the event and when all was said and done, much of the interface elements were exactly what I was hoping for. I even think that naming the release Windows 10 is a BRILLIANT move by Microsoft as it signifies NOT a new version of Windows 8, but a new version of Windows! By skipping the Windows 9 moniker, Microsoft is truly showing, in a most basic way, that they're starting fresh and looking at the Windows operating system in an entirely new way.
And then all my hopes, high expectations and overall excitement at what was presented and discussed were shattered: Windows 10 won't be available until "mid 2015".
What?! Wow...what a lost opportunity!
Why do I think that? Well, let's take a step back and look at what's happened over the last 45 days, just to put some things in perspective.
First off, Apple has suffered a number of mistakes and missteps.
- The Apple Event to announce new iPhone's and the Apple Watch was less than spectacular. (When the live video feed would actually work).
- The Apple Watch didn't seem to strike the same chord as some of their past product announcements. It's hard to know if it is because Steve Jobs and his passion wasn't there, telling us why we needed it or it it's because, at Steve Jobs' Apple it would have been available in a week not MONTHS.
- Then we had the releases of the iPhones and iOS 8. It seemed every other day there was something going wrong. Health Kit was being delayed...iOS 8 issues and then 8.01 and now 8.02 seems to have problems….the iPhone 6 Plus bending issues...and now iCloud Storage is deleting files.
- And if all that weren't enough, let's not forget about the iCloud security issue that has led to what the Internet has dubbed "The Fappening", an issue that Apple apparently has been aware of since earlier this year.
I would argue the latter.
In a recent article Eric Schmidt made a comment that Apple and Google are more competitive than ever right now, and that in a the fast-paced world of technology, the speed with which both companies are moving means that we, as consumers, are benefiting from that competitive spirit. But are we, really? Because I really feel that some of the issues Apple is having might be the result of this FAST environment.
As for not capitalizing on this, Microsoft really missed the boat, and it seems like no matter how good their intentions are, they just can't seem to get their house in order.
The Windows Event held earlier this year was Satya Nadella's introduction as the new CEO and his time to tell the world: Things are going to change. We are the NEW Microsoft! And yes, he did imply that, but it hasn't really happened. Microsoft is still Microsoft, with the left hand making questionable decisions that the right hand isn't aware of. For example, they're going back to the MSN Brand? Does anyone really think that highly of the MSN Brand?
Today's Windows Event was going great: Windows 10? As I said, a brilliant decision to start fresh while avoiding all the negative publicity that went with a lackluster Windows 8 release.
All the changes in the UI and its evolution into a really nice hybrid desktop / tablet solution, a unified platform across all device types (which we are working with today for some new projects)...And then the kicker to really ruin all of the good news and great ideas: a mid-year 2015 release target.
Why?! What are the issues that are preventing Microsoft from taking advantage of Apple's missteps? Why aren't they leading rather than continually playing catch-up? How can you fight the "war for mobile" if you can only update 40% of your phones and it takes over 4 months to do it? (One of our staff has a Samsung device that STILL hasn't received the 8.1 update, and there's zero indication it ever WILL get the update). To Apple's credit, they have a great model for distributing core operating system updates. Android has a similar issue to Microsoft, sure, but Google OWNS the mobile market! Plus, many people don't realize that a majority of the functionality in Android is handled via apps, not from the core OS. Therefore, Google can update their functionality almost immediately for most Android users and can introduce new apps and or services with ease.
Microsoft really let me down today, and they didn't just shoot themselves in the foot, they blew the darn thing off. Windows 10 should have been released before Christmas. There are some great and very cost effective tablets, laptops and mobile phones that should be flying off the shelves this holiday season. I feel bad for the hardware vendors trying to rely on Microsoft. It's amazing we haven't seen more damage to the likes of HP, Acer, ASUS, and Toshiba, who have hitched their businesses directly to the success, or failure, of Microsoft. If it weren't for Android, some of these manufactures wouldn't even be relevant right now.
The question is, can Satya Nadella make Microsoft relevant again? Apple's lost some of its polish the last couple months, but Microsoft has nothing in the pipeline that could really put the pressure on Apple. When you're an organization that has 24% of your market share using an operating system that was released in 2001 (Windows XP) and you have failed with your two most recent updates (Windows 8.0 and 8.1), you simply can't announce what looks to be all the right moves for that operating system, and a huge improvement to the direction of your company as a whole, THEN say NONE of this will happen for at least 8 months. In a fast-paced world, people simply won't wait.