Microsoft missed the boat (at least the first boat) on smartphones. They were the leader before, but those phones weren’t really smart. They were just phones that had PDAs attached to them.
So Apple came in and totally changed the game by giving our phones a beautiful and easy way to access the internet. BOOM. Suddenly everyone wants a smartphone, and then Android comes along and offers essentially the same thing for OEMs to be able to make their own iPhone copycats. Android essentially is to iOS what Windows was to Mac OS in the 80s/90s. Now Android is killing it in smartphones, and you’d think that there would be a pretty easy transition from smartphones to tablets, but it hasn’t turned out that way and nobody seems to know why.
This brings me to why I think Microsoft is poised for a comeback. In a word, tablets. You see tablets are NOT big smartphones. This is why Apple has done well with the iPad while RIM has struggled with the Playbook. Playbook is a BIG smartphone. iPad is a touch screen tablet COMPUTER. Sure it utilizes the interface that iOS provides, but it’s success is dependent on BOTH iOS and Mac OS X. Case in point, iPads are cannibalizing laptop sales, NOT iPhone sales.
Android doesn’t have the desktop OS to support it’s efforts in the tablet arena. THIS is why Microsoft will succeed in tablets, while Android hasn’t. Microsoft has a HUGE number of developers who make productivity and work related applications for the Windows platform, and most importantly with Windows 8 coming in the near future these apps will be easily ported to the tablet form factor. Microsoft essentially baked this into the new OS. So this means that OEMs will have a platform that they can license that will help them sell tablets, LOTS AND LOTS of them.
Then once they have tablets kicking butt they will be able to support their smartphone OS because it will be a smaller jump for developers to make, and OEMs will have more faith in the platform. If I had some money to spare, I’d start buying Microsoft stock, and this is coming from one of the biggest Apple fans you’ll meet.