Once again today the tech world was set abuzz about Microsoft’s foray into the hardware world. I’m not sure how much more I can add here to the dialogue, but I wanted to point out one article in particular. Entitled Microsoft has warmed my cold cynical heart with hot new hardware author Vlad Savov muses about how Microsoft, a company always known for software, is now a major force to be reckoned with in the hardware space. In fact, Microsoft has learned how to play the same game the Apple has been playing for many years, and may be starting to play it better.
The hardware that was released today is obviously very powerful form a “specs” perspective, but unlike the old nerdy Microsoft, the new Microsoft showed that is can actually merge technology and design into a functional piece. The Microsoft Surface line has been the subject of emulation since it debuted, much like the original iPad spawned numerous competitors. In fact the iPad Pro is very much a direct response to the Microsoft Surface paradigm.
The overarching issue that myself and many people still have with Microsoft however, is Windows. As any techie who grew up in this 90s can tell you, Windows has been a necessary evil of computer life for decades. The system is often convoluted, filled with driver issues, technical glitches and relies on third party software that is sometimes of questionable quality. Windows 10 seems to have the most polish of any Windows system in recent history, but divorcing themselves from this legacy will take many years, and will require a lot more focus on making Windows an attractive competitor to Mac OS X.
I use Windows every day for work, and much like with Apple, if I stay within the Microsoft ecosystem (specifically their productivity suite), everything works wonderfully together. The Microsoft of the future has learned from the Apple of the recent past, that relying on third parties to form the cornerstone of your system is a recipe for failure. Apple learned this when it depended too heavily on bloated Microsoft Office products of the mid 2000s. Now, Apple’s iWork office suite is a capable competitor to MS Office, and for home users, provides them everything they need to be productive.
I will be anxious to see what Microsoft can do in the future now that they seem to have found their legs. If nothing else, the hardware that they are putting out pushes others, like Apple, to be the best that they can be. In the end, every ecosystem benefits from that.