Microsoft Out in the Cold?

Jason Perlow on what comes next, after Apple introduced the first 64-bit “desktop class” mobile CPU:

I expect that our smartphones will become the center of our computing experience and even extend themselves to tablets and the desktop, through a unified operating system that runs identically on all three form factors and is supplanted by back-end Cloud services which will do the heavy lifting for our line-of-business applications and data.

To take the concept even further, I expect that smartphones will become the “brain” of modular tablet and notebook PC designs, much like was envisioned for the Ubuntu Edge.

For this transformation to occur, the operating system must be converged first. I believe that within just a few years, all of the major players will have converged systems to offer.

Microsoft has already ported Windows to ARM and is unifying its developer target by bringing Windows Phone and Windows 8.x closer to API parity.


Apple started it. Google is ready for it. Microsoft is getting left out of it. Yeah, Windows has been ported to ARM — resulting in a billion-dollar writedown on unsold tablets. Three to five years out is when iOS and Android/Chrome will really start to put the squeeze on Redmond’s Windows/Office cash cows. Perhaps sooner.

However, I’m ambivalent about this whole convergence idea. I like my desktop to work like desktop and to do the things a desktop does. Ditto for my laptop. And I want my phone to be a phone and my tablet to be a tablet. None of them work quite the same way as the others, and I lean on each one most heavily for completely different functions. I’m not sure what is gained by slipping my phone into some larger device to provide its brains, when the cloud will (or at least should) “just work” at synching my data and documents.

Services seems to be the core function to me, not convergence.

But Google does services better, while Apple is better at hardware. So Apple might have a vested interest in making some insanely great converged hardware, to better compete with Google’s hardware-agnostic services.


As of right now though, I view convergence the way I view the mythical iWatch: Until I see it in action, I remain dubious about its prospects.


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