back to article Microsoft - do you really think you can take on Google with Nokia?

Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's phones business – which outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer has since described as a way for Redmond "to accelerate" – appears to be an attempt to add another weapon to its anti-Google arsenal. Ballmer is quoted as saying: "By the early part of this year it was clear to me that perhaps acquisition would be …

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"It's nuts for Ballmer to have announced his pending resignation at this time."

Didn't he clearly state in his farewell letter that this timing was not his choice?

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft will never be able to challenge Google.

Quite simply, they need to make products that CONSUMERS want. Right now their strategy is to force feed consumers what MICROSOFT wants consumers to want.

Until they understand that they can't polish the Windows Phone, Surface Xbox and Windows 8 turds to be any brighter, and that they need to reboot, nothing is going to change, no amount of acquisitions, no amount of changing of CEOs, no amount of press bribery.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft will never be able to challenge Google.

But Android is absolute dross in comparison and that sells. Google are on about major release 6? And it's still slow, inefficient, bloated, laggy, buggy, insecure and vulnerable to Malware.

Microsoft definitely have the better foundation in the Windows Phone OS. They just need to match the features and the app store....

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Business is nuts...

...I can no longer predict what may or may not happen, so much so, that I reckon that this deal will allow MS to finally bolster their presence in the phone market that they will become #2. Phones are now mini computers so it makes complete sense for MS to be directly in this space and not relying on 3rd parties to get it right. They got it right with the Xbox so there is a reasonable chance they will get it right with their new Lumia phone unit.

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Re: Business is nuts...

I think you miss the subtleties. Microsoft needs profit and profit growth from mobile to replace profits declining as pc sales flatten.

If Microsoft does well with its phones, are other phone makers going to jump on the Microsoft Phone platform or are they and Google going to continue to press ahead with Android, which, other than the Microsoft ip tax allows Android makers to start with a lower bill of goods.

Microsoft will be converting its license fees from Nokia into an internal transfer, i.e., a net wash, and their play is to make Windows Phone the clear, undeniable standout in interface so as to justify a higher profit margin on their phones. Otherwise, it's a spec and price war, and Android has the head start.

Why am I not putting Apple into this mix? Because Microsoft sells operating systems and any one who could choose a Windows variant has no access to an Apple os, but can license an Android (or Linux) os.

Did you notice that Nokia is keeping some of its business? After the deal clears, Microsoft will be a customer of Nokia-prime, but Nokia-prime, other than desktops and maybe servers, will not be a customer of Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Nokia had been having difficulties selling phones profitably. Microsoft now owns those difficulties. Redmond knows better than Finland on how to turn it around?

I was joking that the headline could have been written "Nokia Ditches Dying Business, Fires and Outplaces CEO."

Number 2? Samsung, Microsoft (formerly Nokia), Apple, all the other Android makers, all the other Windows Phone makers, if any. I don't see that. Do you think that Nokia was holding back and didn't really want to sell smartphones powered by Windows? That would seem insane to me. If so, Microsoft overpaid for a business and is retaining the wrong people if it's a company that was held back by its sandbagging.

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Perhaps this is Ballmer's spanner in the works.

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Devil

Re: Microsoft will never be able to challenge Google.

> But Android is absolute dross

Keep on telling yourself that. Doesn't make it any more true. Won't help you compete in the market.

YOU are the perfect illustration of why Microsoft is in the toilet right now.

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Re: Microsoft will never be able to challenge Google.

Many people said the same thing about DOS and Windows back in the early days. And thy were right.

It doesn't matter. Android has critical mass, Windows Phone does not. It doesn't matter how good Windows Phone, Blackberry OS for that matter is, they are not going anywhere.

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HMB

Re: Microsoft will never be able to challenge Google.

>> But Android is absolute dross

> YOU are the perfect illustration of why Microsoft is in the toilet right now.

Children, children!!

Both of you are right. I've always bought Nexus phones and I've watched Android get better and better and then, after around 4.1.2, worse and worse. It's like Google don't understand what "testing" is.

Android is a great OS that is nice to use, up until Google changes something in a way you didn't like or "updates" your phone to introduce bugs into it while also adding a good feature. Google are going off the rails slowly and they're making Microsoft's job of competing an easier one.

Microsoft on the other hand have great ideas in theory but just don't understand how to temper them with exactly what people want. My friend's WinPho voice recognition does a lot better than my Nexus' quite frankly laughable performance. However, I really want a phone that has more than freaking brightly coloured squares of solid colour for a user interface.

I guess we should all be grateful there is competition in the market place. For me, Google is pushing me (a long term customer) away and both Apple and Microsoft are intriguing me. Come on Apple, release a phone with a screen with 4.5 inches or a smidge more.

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Happy

"Android is [...] slow, inefficient, bloated, laggy, buggy, insecure and vulnerable to Malware."

But the hardware gets better by the day (who cares about inefficient), there are third party apps for everything (choose the least buggy or vulnerable if you care about it).

Smartphones are a new product, just like personal computers were in the late 80s -- and look who won that battle. The slow, inefficient, bloated, laggy, buggy, insecure and vulnerable MS Windows. It gave users what they wanted: an affordable, flexible system that does whatever the user wants it to do. Anybody think there is a lesson to be learned?

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Holmes

Re: "Android is [...] slow, inefficient, bloated, laggy, buggy, insecure and vulnerable to Malware."

@Schultz:

Of course there is a lesson to be learned, but your analogy with Windows is flawed - the number one reason people bought, and still buy Windows is compatibility, and that currently counts AGAINST microsoft.

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Re: Business is nuts...

You make some very good points, however, it's now a matter of MS survival to get this right and given a new CEO, unless it's the Eloper, they have a good chance of making great headway.

We are all moving to tablets, phablets and phones and I can understand what MS envisioned when they conceived Win 8. Yes they executed poorly in terms of trying to drag existing users forcefully into this new world and imposing upon them Win 8 GUI in their Win 7 / XP world.

Looking forward MS may well just repeat the mistakes of the past but they do have some notable successes and they could get it right.

To get it right I think they need to ditch MS and Windows branding and just focus on Lumia and Asha because far too many consumers have been burnt by bad MS experiences on the desktop and consciously or sub-consciously will avoid the MS brand.

Fundamentally my earlier point is that business is completely unpredictable, who would have thought at the time that Apple on the ropes would fight back and indeed score some huge winners? Clearly Bill Gates did because he saw something in Jobs and Apple and saved their ar$e$ financially.

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Re: Business is nuts...

We are not "all moving to tablets and phones". I have a tablet, and it's good for reading in bed or playing games while travelling. I have a smartphone and it's good for being able to look stuff up while out and about.

The actual work - and stuff like this - gets done on a PC because it is vastly more powerful than either, with a much better screen, proper keyboard and trackball.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Microsoft will never be able to challenge Google.

I use an iphone and an android phone. So I'm neither ifan or fandroid and I still think you're wrong.

Slow? - Not on an N4 no, £139 phone.

Inefficient - Compared to what? Where is a comparison of a windows mobile and android running on the same hardware and being shown to consume what, more ram? more energy, more disk space? What is it inefficent in it's use of?

Insecure - Newsflash, they all are.

Only for Windows Mobile, not all versions (shall we go back to CE and see what's still vulnerable?)

http://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list/vendor_id-26/product_id-9709/Microsoft-Windows-Mobile.html

For all versions of android

http://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list/vendor_id-1224/product_id-19997/Google-Android.html

(Coulnd't find one for 4.3 android alone)

IOS - All versions

http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/search-results?query=apple+ios

Malware - Newsflash they all are.

How about upgradeable?

Ios - all of them (all the phones have been able to upgrade for about 2 years after release to the latest OS)

Android - some of them. - Nexus devices yes, lots of others no.

Windows Mobile - Since we're talking about Nokia here, first Lumia phone...nope not upgradeable.

Lumia 510 Lumia 610 Lumia 710 Lumia 800 Lumia 900

Last one release September 2012, so less than a year ago, can I upgrade to Windows 8 Mobile..nope

So if for example your Windows mobile phone that's less than a year old wants to do.

Update 8.0.10327.77 or 8.0.10328.78*

Google accounts. Windows Phone 8 now supports the CardDAV and CalDAV protocols that allow people to sync Google contacts and calendar information when they get new phones. (Existing phones that are synchronised to a Google account prior to 31 December 2013 will continue to sync as before.)

Nope, you can't do that, it's Windows 8 mobile only.

To be fair, that's the way Nokia has always done it, don't bother to release new software to fix bugs, unless we're going to get sued or we promised a carrier.

So they are in good company with microsoft and all their mobile devices. WinCE upgrades anyone?

Personally, I'd rather have a blackberry than a windows mobile for exactly the reasons above, oh and the fact that nobody wants to develop apps for it, or if they do, it's when ios and android have already had it for a year.

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Anonymous Coward

Ballmer needs to appoint the new boss this week. But given the Nokia vote isn't until November 19th he can't appoint Elop yet (unless Elop resigns of course).

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JDX
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Will WindowsPhone become Nokia-only?

I mean directly and deliberately, rather than just because nobody else wants it... with full control over the hardware like Apple do?

Despite the shoddy BBC news coverage which makes it sound like Nokia hasn't moved into smartphones yet, WP is slowly gaining ground and is at least credible. MS don't need to own the market, just hold a non-negligible share of it, 10-20% perhaps.

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Boffin

Shoddy BBC News coverage?

Never!

Those BBC tech journalists are shit hot and like their finance journalists, they have their 'fingers on the pulse'.

For those whose native language is not English: I am being sarcastic, ie. BBC tech and finance journalists are narcissistic retards.

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Windows

@JDX

I most certainly hope not, but I guess Microsoft are crazy enough to do just that. It would most certainly do them a lot more bad that good in my opinion.

Personally I actually like the Windows Phone (I own a WP7.5 device) but I never liked the weird looks of the Nokia devices. So I ended up with my favourite brand when it comes to cellphones: Samsung.

But if they would stop allowing others to make Windows Phones too then I'll most certainly won't be buying one anymore.

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Re: @JDX

@ShelLuser

I'm curious to see if anyone (aside from MS) will be game to continue making WinPhones. MS has a well earned reputation of hobbling anyone who dares to complete on (what MS sees as) their turf.

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Re: Will WindowsPhone become Nokia-only?

I dare not even read the BBC coverage to see how terrible it is - I remember for years how they completely ignored the number one smartphone platform Symbian, instead raving on about iphones the entire time. As someone else notes in these comments, it's a sad day for Europe too (I believe Nokia was Europe's number one technology company, and Symbian was of course a Europe-developed OS), but it's hard to blame Microsoft when the European media would rather celebrate only US tech all this time.

Interesting question that you ask - the flipside is, I was wondering if the Nokia software like maps would be made available to other WP phones.

I agree about market share - Apple were doing fine for years with iphone on just 5-10% (not to mention that translated to a smaller number back then in absolute numbers), and still do fine with Mac OS at 6%, after all. http://allaboutwindowsphone.com/news/item/18284_Kantar_data_shows_Windows_Phon.php shows that it is growing.

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Re: Re: @JDX

If I was them I'd use some of the increased margins on Nokia devices to fund a little largesse to the WinPho OEMs. After all Android isn't making real money for anyone but Samsung and Microsoft, so dangling a decent margin at device manufacturers* might be enough to move WP up a gear.

* Of course they will be well aware of MS's penchant for stomping the competition, but as long as Google remains the primary target I'd be willing to bet the device manufacturers will go along for the ride. MS can't afford to burn its WP OEMs right now, and won't be in a position to for many years to come if ever.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Will WindowsPhone become Nokia-only?

WP likely already hit 10% in the UK, It was at about 9% a couple of months ago...

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JDX
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Re: Will WindowsPhone become Nokia-only?

Yes but the UK is only one market. You want 10% of the US or Chinese market too :)

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Re: Will WindowsPhone become Nokia-only?

I expect Window Phone will soon be Nokia only.

- No one else wanted it when it was Nokia, now when it's MS-Nokia to compete with.

- MS want to be Apple.

I think bigger question is what will MS do with the cheap Nokia phones?

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Re: @JDX

What WP OEMs... Isn't the only one left Nokia?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Will WindowsPhone become Nokia-only?

@Mark. You know that Kantar is just wild speculation, like the old panels they bought, right? A sample size of 3000 worldwide, already known for their disconnection with the biggest public when they were called Nelson or IBOPE, doesn't have much credibility...

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WTF?

Re: Will WindowsPhone become Nokia-only?

Oh, it seems that the truth offended some crybabies... Keep downvoting, it won't change the fact that Kantar is just a panel, has no real numbers just projections made from a very small sample, and that its numbers have as much credibility as the ratings the panels that compose it published before.

If you have any real information, then post it and correct the wikipedia article. Downvoting because you don't like the facts won't change them.

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Finger on the trigger

All of the Microsoft smart mobile device and services weaponry appears to be aimed at the Google target – apparently with Elop's finger on the trigger, with an outgoing CEO to guide him.

Poised and ready to shoot himself in the foot by pissing off the (few) other OEMs who haven't fled from WinPhone? You'd think given how things have actually one in the real world, they might have learnt something from the Surface and how OEMs love having their supplier also as their competitor...

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Re: Finger on the trigger

> how OEMs love having their supplier also as their competitor

Ah yes, you mean like how Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG, etc. stopped using Android when Google bought Motorola ... two years ago ... ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Finger on the trigger

"Ah yes, you mean like how Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG, etc. stopped using Android when Google bought Motorola ... two years ago ... ?"

That is slightly different, as they could fork Android if Google were to play hard ball with them. Also there is little (no?) cost in terms of license fees AFIK, so it is not the same as Windows phone where OEMs pay out to MS but "Nokia" in effect will not.

Still, I bet there were (maybe still are) uneasy about preferential treatment for new stuff.

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Re: Finger on the trigger

Regarding Android, the OS doesn't cost money for them to integrate it, but integrating Google Play and other Apps does.

I doubt they'll leave as they might be paying MS for royalty fees to use android and might get a deal on licensing WP.

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h3
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Re: Finger on the trigger

Having the Gapps costs $5 afaik for Android. (Plus Paying Microsoft for patents) probably makes it more expensive.

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Stop

Re: Finger on the trigger

"Ah yes, you mean like how Samsung, Sony, HTC, LG, etc. stopped using Android when Google bought Motorola ... two years ago ... ?"

Like one said already, totally different. All the OEMs were well established with Android offers. I think the reasoning at Google was simple: if Samsung(from times to times they threaten with other routes, I wonder why...:-) ) and many of the other Android partners abandon ship, Google would have an hardware manufacturer at the backyard to keep things going on. Right now, with Motorola they have a place to play with different paths and create prototypes. If the OEMs can't differentiate their Windows phone offers (UI) and Nokia mastering the black art of miniaturization of cameras on mobile phones, what's left?

I will repeat myself again because the "DIFFERENTIATION" argument its used often and more after Elop used it. It's uter crap.

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LDS
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Stop

Re: Finger on the trigger

An Android fork would mean to put a lot of resources in developing it, which would offset the advantage of just customizing a free OS developed by someone else.

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FAIL

Re: Finger on the trigger

@LDS - google Xiaomi and MIUI. Seems like it pays, to fork android and develop it.

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LDS
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Re: Finger on the trigger

Great fork, still based on Android 2 <G> And of course used by major Android vendors....

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Some Apples and some Oranges

•We have Bing, Microsoft's search engine, going up against Google's own search tech.

OK, 1 Point goes to Google for a far better product.

•We have Azure going up against the Google cloud.

Can't comment, don't use either

•We have Microsoft's SkyDrive product going up against Google's cloud storage.

Skydrive is more in competition with Dropbox than it is with Google. ( no points given out)

•We have the Windows family of operating systems – PCs, notebooks, tablets and mobile phones – going up against Google's Android device software.

Completely different markets, I can't do with Android what i can do with MS OS's. Google do not have a desktop operating systems. ( at least not one that we can use in the office).

1 Point to MS.

•We have the Internet Explorer browser going up against Chrome.

Neither side wins. The browser market doesn't bring new users; they are merely entry points into other products/usages.

•We have Microsoft Office going up against Google Docs, etc.

No comparison - MS wins hands done...

Yesterday's purchase adds two new weapons.

•Microsoft's Nokia Lumia phones, which will now be pitted against Google's Motorola units.

Google don't need to build their own phone, others do it for them.

1 Point to Google.

•Microsoft is licensing Nokia's really decent mobile mapping services, which will be competition for Google maps.

Fail again for MS, late to market and expensive. Googl's mapping products are mature, free (relatively) and omni-available.

Google = 3 points.

MS = 2 points.

MS are trying to hard to expand into markets which are too difficult for them to master.

In a sense Google provides what we want, MS provides what we need. 2 very different approaches which are extremely difficult to compare.

Winning is just an ephemeral side-effect of being temporarily successful.

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Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

•Microsoft is licensing Nokia's really decent mobile mapping services, which will be competition for Google maps.

Fail again for MS, late to market and expensive. Googl's mapping products are mature, free (relatively) and omni-available.

So are Nokia's. HERE Maps is available on iOS and Android as well as WP.

So maybe 3 each.

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Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

Can't judge on other platforms, but Here maps on iOS is crap. I was really disappointed after hearing about how good it is on Nokia phones. Partially this judgement is due to the user interface being crap. Apple maps (which have significantly improved, with the best yet to come on iOS 7 which I have in beta) is significantly better. The biggest problem for Apple maps was simple but a large one, the indexing and aliasing of place names / points of interest was crap. It's still not as good as Google maps, but it is probably now about as good as Google maps was just before Apple maps was released (for the UK at least - can't comment for elsewhere). Even when struggling with the Interface and trying to ignore the negative feel it brings Here maps place names and points of interest seemed to be no better than Apple maps.

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Megaphone

I basically agree with practically everything you say.

I would just like to point out that Microsoft is in a much worse situation than Google, because Google doesn't really care what platform you use its products with, whereas Microsoft is currently in the process of cannibalizing its Office product to set its presence in "the cloud".

That's all fine and dandy, but even if MS does manage to cloudify Office, sooner or later it will have to open it up to other platforms, meaning it will have enormous market pressure to make its Office 365 available to Android platforms.

That day MS Windows is dead as a dodo. Not because its Windows, but because people don't use PCs all that much at home anymore. Home computing is with tablets and smartphones because they are simple to use. PCs are the tech specialists tool, the platform for heavy computing (programming, CAD, video editing etc).

I'm not saying PCs will disappear, nor am I saying Microsoft will, just that until today, people only had PCs to surf the web, go on YouTube and write their emails/tweets/sms. Now they have many more choices, most of which are a lot easier to come to grips with. So, IMHO, MS is inevitably going to lose this war against Google, whatever happens.

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Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

I think Nokia's Maps are better than Googles for the most part.

You can use them completely offline for a start.

And it always knows the side of the road the house is on and stops you near it.

(So does Navigon on Android but it is not cheap).

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Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

And the Web version of Bing maps has Ordinance Survey which are hands down the best maps for the UK.

Another thing the WP7 keyboard can be operated 100% perfectly no matter how hammered you are.

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LDS
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You all forgot there's always a server side....

Maybe people will use less PCs - but all the services they run on their phone or tablets often need a server backend on the other side. And Microsoft is no longer on the desktop only, it has a strong server offering as well. Sure, there's Linux also, but MS server OS are getting more and more capable and powerful (see 2012), while Google makes money reselling user data - how long it work is still yet to see... one day someone will awake and understand that internet advertising is useless...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

I have used google Maps on android phones for navigation and Here maps on Nokia Lumias and I can honestly tell you (and I LOVE google maps) that Nokia's Here maps are better.

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Anonymous Coward

rubbish

Home computing is not done on PCs "all that much"?

I happen to work in this sector and I can tell you for a FACT, they ARE very much used and "tablets and smartphones" are mainly used as "sitting in front of the TV want to check my emails but can't be bothered to boot up the PC". Anything that involves any amount of writing / working, you'll find people in front of their PCs...or Macs, or uhm Linux boxes.

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Whilst Google may well be in a better situation, I'm not sure I agree with your reasoning. Google are pushing people into their cloud products far more so than MS. And MS's products, including Office, are cross-platform too (I have One Note and Sky Drive for my Android phone, no different to WP; they've released for Macs for years).

"Home computing is with tablets and smartphones because they are simple to use."

Some people may prefer tablets, but as much as I love my Nexus 7, I still prefer using a laptop. Simpler to use with its keyboard, touchpad and larger screen. And I like just laying it on my lap, rather than have to hold it. And typing on a touchscreen is unbearable. Whilst a few people may use phones at all, I don't find it better. I think the biggest advantage tablets will have for their prevalence is having a far lower cost than laptops. But despite being around for years, we've yet to see the death of laptops - if everyone preferred them, why aren't they already using them, in place of laptops rather than in addition?

For all the people I know buying phones and tablets, they seem to be getting these gadgets as additional devices.

"I'm not saying PCs will disappear, nor am I saying Microsoft will, just that until today, people only had PCs to surf the web, go on YouTube and write their emails/tweets/sms."

People used PCs to write SMSs?

Also remember though, up until the mid-2000s, people weren't doing things like Facebook, Youtube etc at all. There was actually only a relatively small window of time where both people were buying technology to do these things, and when laptops and desktops were the only choice.

So yes, we may find the market size drops a bit - perhaps as much as say 50% of the set of people who only use a computer to browse Facebook/Youtube no longer need a PC. But you'll still have the people who prefer laptops; and you'll also have all the reasons that existed before the mid-2000s for why people had PCs - such as for word processing, printing, games (not all of which translate well to tablets), working from home. I find it odd that on forums where people seem to hate the idea that Windows 8 "only works with tablets" (even though it isn't true), also seems to have the prevalent view that laptops are dead, and we should be doing everything with small phones and tablets.

Also the laptops vs tablet argument is starting to become irrelevant, with tablets that are convertibles and full blown PCs. Did we have these debates about the death of the desktop, because laptops were appearing?

Long term I think Android will be far more prevalent than anything else, because it will be more suited for an increasing number of devices that become computerised (TVs, cars, home appliances, etc). But even though my British Gas boiler now connects to my wifi network, that doesn't mean I'm going to throw my laptop away to do computing on the boiler or fridge-freezer.

I'd also add that Apple would have more to lose if people switch from laptops to tablets, as the strongest market for Macs is in the ultra-portable segment, competing directly with tablets.

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Re: Some Apples and some Oranges

HERE works I suppose, but it runs in a browser. I hope one of the first things the old Nokia does (which still has the rights to their maps) is come out with a proper map app for Android and iOS, similar to their Symbian and WP apps.

I'd pay for it because it runs rings around Google Maps or frankly anything else on Android.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft is monetising it's Office products I think you mean. Changing them (quite successfully) to a subscription model.

Office 365 is ALREADY available for other OSs. And Microsoft share of PC OSs is still at over 92%....

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