A little earlier today I read an opinion piece at PC World stating, “Microsoft Should Make Its Own Windows 8 PCs“. It was a fairly interesting opinion piece and certainly worth a read.
To summarize, the writer believes that now is the time for Microsoft to get involved with making its own hardware since PC sales are slowing down a little as the tablet/smartphone market sees growth.
The article talks about Microsoft either going the Google-route and making its own branded machines that are more like showcase devices for Windows 8 (which is something I’ve suggested in the past), or even buy its own existing brand.
The only problem I see with Microsoft purchasing its own existing PC brand is that I don’t think it would take long for a monopoly claim to be brought against Microsoft for such a move.
Additionally, I don’t think that current PC vendors would take such a move by Microsoft lightly, and eventually they could make a push to something else, like perhaps Google Android optimized for x86 PCs (it could happen).
Again, claims of foul-play would probably arise if MS created PCs since they would be able to produce its PCs for less, since it wouldn’t have to pay for Windows licensing.
Do I think that a signature phone or tablet would be a bad idea though?
No, I think one model that acts as a showcase device, and acts as an extension of the Microsoft Signature program, wouldn’t really step on too many toes and would be okay.
So what should Microsoft be doing instead?
I think that just releasing Windows 8, something substantially different from past offerings, is a good step in the right direction.
Working close with vendors like Nokia to create tablets/phones that help them become more competitive in the mobile market is also a good move.
Ultimately, I also think that expanding the Xbox strategy will eventually become an important expansion strategy for Microsoft.
This could come in many different forms such as my previously stated Xbox tablet idea, or just creating multiple different Xbox models for different markets.
For example, an Xbox Media Hub could have no media drive and instead offer multimedia streaming, Kinect gaming, and Xbox Live Arcade capabilities.
This would be the ultimate TV device with all the new Xbox 360 TV content and more.
Meanwhile, for the ‘hardcore’ gamers a more powerful model that can do everything the hub can but also has a media drive (like blu-ray) and supports better gaming.
Both could likely benefit from a DVR option, perhaps allowing direct recording to an internal and/or external HDD.
So to summarize, I think that Microsoft is better set up for a strategy of expanding multimedia and mobile markets.
The PC market has Windows and getting involved in the hardware side of things just doesn’t seem necessary, at least in my humble opinion. What do you think?
Should Microsoft go ahead and make its own PCs or would this kind of anti-competitive measure backfire in the long run?
Is focusing on changes with Windows 8, the mobile front, and Xbox instead the best way to proceed? Share your thoughts below.