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Traditionally, when it comes to Windows competitors there has been only one of major consequence, at that is Mac OS X. To be fair even Mac OS X’s market share is hardly a threat to Microsoft’s dominance with Windows and Linux doesn’t even register on Redmond’s concern list I’m sure.

Windows 8, however, has plenty of new competition thanks to the addition of ARM processor support. This means that that Windows 8 competes directly against: Linux/Unix Desktop derivatives, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS.

Not to mention it also has two big competitors in the form of its own Windows Phone and Windows 7 (and earlier).

Self-competition is often a difficult circle to get caught in to, and something Microsoft is rather familiar with. To this day Microsoft still has stiff competition from XP, trying to get users to make the switch away from the aging OS.

This is something they will likely face even more with Windows 8, especially trying to convince those that don’t care for Metro to make a switch.

On the Windows Phone front, I suppose this will only become self-competition if Microsoft directly brings Windows 8 to the phone, which right now doesn’t seem like the plan.

Anyways, the point is that Windows 8 has to fight for recognition and acceptance on multiple fronts, which isn’t going to be an easy battle  by any means. Can Microsoft win this war? I think it is certainly possible.

The biggest part of the war will certainly be the mobile front, this is the place that Microsoft has stacked up all its cards against.

So what does Microsoft have to offer for tablets (and other mobile solutions) that can set it apart as a worthy option?

First off, Apple’s strength is in its closed, mostly secure platform. It is a cozy and safe place that offers great apps, ease-of-use, and alluring aesthetics. How does Windows 8 fit into such a picture?

They also offer a unique and alluring interface (although this could be argued), they want to keep things simple as well and offer a closed and controlled environment while still allowing open-source apps and other features that seem more Android-like.

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Okay, what about comparing against Android? Android has tons of options from hardware, to software version that allows every type of user to find a phone/tablet within their budget.

They also offer tons of different sources for apps and a very open model. The downside to such an open model is malware problems that now plague the platform.

Microsoft likely has Android beat on this security issue, though for those looking for multiple app stores you will be a bit disappointing with Windows 8. On the shear number of options though, Windows 8 is looking like the best choice.

Don’t get me wrong, there are probably more hardware types out there for Android than Microsoft will have to offer, but this doesn’t mean that Android has better hardware options.

The problem with Android is that the experience is highly fragmented for two reasons: Multiple very different versions of Android are out in the market and there is no hardware standard.

With Windows 8 it seems likely they will follow WP7’s example of setting ‘hardware minimums’ that keep fragmentation from becoming an issue.

The shear number of choices of Android devices can be confusing to some consumers.

After all, consumers might think “this $80 tablet has Android on it, and so does this $300 one, so why spend so much since its the same OS?” In reality that $80 tablet has a 350MHz MIPS (or maybe ARM) processor, limited app support, and few functions.

Microsoft will have hardware options without the fragmentation, and that’s a good thing.

So in short, what does Windows 8 have to offer versus Android and iOS? It will have more options than Apple’s iPad, less fragmentation and better security than Android, while still offering many of the same ‘good’ features of both.

Is that enough to ensure its success? Only time will tell.

What is your opinion of Windows 8 when leveraged against the other major mobile competitors? Share your thoughts below!

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  1. The current mobile market is a DEJA VU of the early PC market.  

    The PC with GUI was popularized by Apple and Microsoft jumped on it with the IBM clones.  The CLONES RULED by offering the masses a wide range of choice in specs and in price.

    The smartphone and multi-touch tablet was popularized by Apple… again!.  But Google (not Microsoft) jumped on the market with the release of the ANDROID. Like the clones, the DROIDS WILL RULE  by offering the masses a wide range of choice in specs and in price. (they rule the phone now and will soon rule the tablet market) 

    In a world of gazillion gadgets with gazillion specs and nearly similar functionality — what really matters is CHOICE and the ABILITY TO BUY your choice.  Apple will always maintain a steady following and market share (as it did with its MACs) but because it is only ONE SPECIES, it will be overwhelmed as by newly evolved CLONES and DROIDs. 

  2.                  ATTACK OF THE CLONES AND DROIDS


    The current mobile device market is a DEJA VU of the computer
    market of the past.  The PC with GUI was popularized by Apple, then Microsoft
    entered the fray as the LIFE FORCE of the IBM clones.  By offering the masses
    a wide range of choices in PC specs and prices, the CLONES ruled the market. The
    smartphone and multi-touch tablet was popularized by Apple (again), but this time
    Google (not Microsoft) is attacking the market with its arsenal of ANDROID
    desserts and devices (the droids).  Like clones,
    DROIDS are invading the market by offering the masses a wide range of choices
    in specs and in price.  Droids rule the
    phone market now and are poised to rule the tablet market in the near future.

    In a world of gazillion gadgets with gazillion specs (most with common functionality)
    what matters most is CHOICE and the ABILITY TO BUY a particular choice.
     Apple will always maintain a steady following and market share (as it did
    with its MACs) but, because it is only ONE SPECIES, it will be overwhelmed by rapidly
    evolving DROIDs.  Apple will approach a “saturation point” …
    but DROIDS?  No.  They will only keep on multiplying and mutating.  They will evolve into new forms, new variants,
    new species, new distros … making it harder and harder for Microsoft to stage
    a comeback.  For all you know, they might even breed with Linux distros
    and invade the desktop PC/enterprise space.

    What’s becoming more and more obvious is that the DROIDS (not Apple) present
    the greatest challenge to Microsoft’s comeback as ruler of the gadget world.
     For Microsoft to have a chance, it must employ the same old tactics when
    it led the ATTACK OF THE CLONES, including alliance with many developers and
    hardware manufacturers and use of a variety of weapons.  Microsoft
    must release different flavors of Windows for different mobile
    devices (e.g. WP7 phone edition, WP7 tablet edition, Win8 tablet edition, Win8
    desktop edition, etc.) – just like what it did for PCs.  Even in the world of gadgets, “phenotypic diversity”
    is key to survival and victory.  Only by
    offering consumers a wide range of mobile device choices and options will
    Microsoft be able to counter the ATTACK OF THE DROIDS. 

    May THE FORCE be with
    Microsoft… AGAIN!!!

    ECM2 BLOG 12/30/11 

  3. Thank you for an interesting comparison of the platforms, but you left out the biggest reason that I am looking forward to Windows 8: Full computer functionality on a tablet. Right now I use my home computer and laptop extensively for things that are really awkward with the iPad or Android. Like writing a letter or watching a movie. With Windows 8 I get the portability of a tablet but I don’t loose all the great stuff that my full-size computers can do. I think that’s a big winner. Why would I want an Android or iPad when I can have a full Windows computer packed into my tablet? I wouldn’t — I expect Windows 8 to dominate. Honestly, I think they could have just ported Windows 7 to a small form factor and would have already dominated the tablet market.

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