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January 5, 2010
3 Min Read
Steve Jobs will close his chokehold on tech's buzz machine this month with the Apple tablet. Google is set to grab hearts and minds with its Nexus One phone. And Microsoft? Oh, right, Windows 7. But that was so 2009.The 'teens are less than a week old, but it's already clear this decade will belong not to the gang in Redmond, but to a pair of companies that have Microsoft in their pincers.
With the iPod, iPhone, and now the iSlate (or whatever it's called), Apple will own portable computing. And we're not far from a time when there will be no computing market other than portable. Tethered PCs running big fat operating systems like Windows 7, or 8, or 9, aren't exactly the rage these days.
In fact, Windows sales were off 13% in the last quarter.
Of course, client hardware and interfaces, no matter how elegant (and Apple's are powerful elegant), only exist to get you to apps and data. Where will that content live? On Google's servers. Nexus One is hypeworthy not because it's a cool new gadget. Rather, it's an open gate to pervasive cloud offerings-Google Search, Google Apps, Google Books, Google Maps….you get the idea.
And Microsoft? It held the spotlight for about four weeks in October with the launch of Windows 7. We might not hear from them again for another four years. No one really cares about operating systems anymore, they just want to get to their stuff.
Users, in the consumer space or enterprise, want slick, mobile devices that can take them quickly and easily to information and media that can be viewed, manipulated, and shared over the Web. Traditional, hidebound Windows desktops and notebooks are a poor substitute for the sort of all-in-one device Apple envisions.
The first dude who shows up for work carrying an iSlate will spark a chain reaction culminating with the sound of PCs crashing on the pavement. Look out below.
Microsoft's problem is that it's failed to innovate at a time when the only acceptable answer to the question of what business you are in is…innovation. Redmond has become the tech industry's version of Detroit, which is facing oblivion because for the past 100 years it's done nothing more than deliver iterative versions of the same old Model-T.
But tech doesn't give idlers a century. Once upon a time in this business you could live off a solid product for ten years or so. In the 2000s innovation cycles went annual. Now, in this new decade, we're down to fifteen minutes.
Microsoft, your time is almost up. Tick tock, tick tock….
Hit these links for more on the Apple tablet:
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