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Apple and Google have been dominating headlines in recent weeks. Google’s Android operating system is now the most popular mobile OS in the world, and Apple continues to launch wave after wave of best-selling products. This has been going on for the past several years.
However, some analysts believe that the situation could soon change. In a recent article on TechNewsWorld.com, writer Rob Enderle listed a number of reasons why Microsoft could soon beat both Google and Apple. That article concludes by stating that “the planets seem to be aligning for a Microsoft decade.”
Microsoft’s huge opportunity in 2013
Here are a few reasons why Rob Enderle thinks 2013 will be a great year for Microsoft:
Google versus Apple and nobody wins
Google and Apple are currently engaged in a legal war of epic proportions – and we may only be getting started. Apple is (understandably) upset that Android devices are outselling iOS devices, and as a result, Apple has started pointing out the various ways in which Android copies iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system. These battles are being fought in courts around the world, with the objective being to lock either company out of major consumer markets.
Microsoft isn’t involved in this war. Its mobile operating system is very different from Android and iOS and its devices are unique enough to avoid lawsuits (thus far). Microsoft can comfortably sit back and watch Apple and Google tear each other apart.
We would say that it was a genius move for Microsoft to sit back and wait for its two biggest rivals to start fighting each other, but Microsoft didn’t orchestrate this. As far as we know, there wasn’t some grand ploy to pit two massive rivals against each other in an all-out war. Nonetheless, Microsoft could benefit enormously from this ‘war’.
Consumers are getting angry
Apple is increasingly looking like an evil company. Its nice guy image is fading with every lawsuit it files, and ridiculous actions like suing a Polish deli for using the A.pl domain are turning the company into everything it didn’t want to become in this video:
While Google hasn’t been quite as litigious as Apple, it has faced some issues with privacy concerns in recent years. Google keeps track of everything users do online. It knows which advertisements you click, what kind of topics you search for, what kind of emails you get, and all sorts of other information.
When consumers get angry about a company’s actions, they’re less inclined to buy products or services made by that company. Microsoft, on the other hand, hasn’t done much to raise the ire of consumers in recent years. Aside from problematic brands like Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s brand image remains fairly healthy. If it can release the right products, consumers are going to start to notice.
Apple is ignoring regulations
Several years ago, the European Union passed a regulation that required every mobile phone manufacturer to use the same socket – micro USB. Today, you’ll find that all phones made in the last few years have micro USB, which can be used for charging and transferring data. It’s an easy format that prevents us from having 300 different types of chargers lying around our homes.
Unfortunately, Apple has decided to completely ignore the European Union’s ruling. The iPhone and iPad do not have micro USB ports, which means users are forced to buy custom Apple cords in order to charge or transfer data from their devices. Users who want to use micro USB are forced to pay $29 or more for an adapter cable. Apple makes billions of dollars from the sale of these accessories.
Every other phone manufacturer changed its hardware months ago. Apple has until December 2012 to make the switch, and it has clearly decided not to bother. The company will likely face steep fines from the EU for these actions. And we’re not talking a few million dollars in chump change. The EU is not afraid to hand out fines worth $1 billion or more, and Microsoft was hit with a recurring fine of $1.3B in 2008 after refusing to abide by EU regulations.
Attacking the sheep
A decade ago, Apple was the underdog in the computing world. Today, the iPhone and iPad are dominating the markets, and there are more Macbooks in college classrooms than PCs. Unfortunately, public perception of the brand appears to be shifting. More and more consumers are becoming disillusioned by Apple’s promise to keep things simple, and Apple’s frequent product updates are lacking innovation.
All of these issues have led many people to label Apple users as ‘sheep’ because of their tendency to blindly follow the leader. There are more and more ads attacking Apple users, including this ad from Samsung:
And hundreds of others. Some people are starting to realize that Apple’s products tend to be overpriced and under-equipped. And that criticism might turn people towards Microsoft.
Innovation is drying up
Apple’s key to success over the last decade has been innovation. People didn’t think the iPhone would succeed, but it did. The same can be said about the iPad. These were markets that Apple carved on its own, and it did so through innovation.
Unfortunately, it appears that Apple’s innovation has dried up. Just look at Apple’s last few product launches. The iPhone 5’s most notable improvement is a larger screen – something that other smartphones have had for years.
Time for OEMs to make the switch
OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturers, and it’s a broad term for those who license software from other companies for use on their own devices. Samsung is an OEM which uses Android on its devices, for example. OEMs can choose which operating system to install on their devices, and they might start to choose an operating system that is less likely to be sued.
Windows 8 (and Windows Phone 8) can be that operating system. With Android facing lawsuits from Apple around the world, OEMs might start using Windows 8 devices in order to reduce their chance of a lawsuit.
While most of these suggestions of a Microsoft decade are pure speculation, there is one thing that’s certain: Microsoft is about to experience a huge opportunity. With the release of Windows 8 coming shortly and a new line of tablets about to be launched, the planets could indeed be aligned in Microsoft’s favor.
The only question is whether Microsoft will capture the opportunity or let it slip.