Why Android is a serious problem for Microsoft
Earlier this month, the unstoppable Android machine achieved the inevitable: Android finally overtook Windows as the most used OS worldwide, according to StatCounter, a company that measures worldwide OS usage.
This is a serious problem for Microsoft. As the dominant force in personal computing since the 1980s, the "immovable object" that is Windows has been displaced by the "unstoppable force" that is Android.
The troubling part about this for Microsoft is that it took less than ten years for Android to overtake Redmond's multi-decade reign. With unrelenting momentum and pervasive ubiquity, what might the next ten years yield for Google and Android as Microsoft struggles to make Windows relevant in the modern age of mobile computing?
Writing was on the wall
I can't say that I'm surprised by Android's surpassing of Windows as the most used OS. In fact, no one who follows tech should have been. Since Android's introduction to the consumer masses in 2008, it has seen a meteoric rise.
Part of what is an open source OS, Android Open Source Project (AOSP) became Google's "proprietary" OS of sorts via company-driven updates and the Google Play Store. In other words, Google found a way to make an open source OS a leash that keeps most Android-using OEMs tethered to Google. (China-based smartphone maker Xiaomi and online retailer Amazon are exceptions.)
Google established agreements with OEM partners that effectively locked them in if those companies wanted the invaluable benefit of the Google Play Store on their Android phones. Without the popular suite of Google-branded products and the Play Store, most OEM devices would have little consumer appeal in the fierce smartphone market. Ultimately, as a free OS, a host of manufacturing partners embraced Android in hopes of staking a claim in the highly competitive consumer smartphone space that Apple, by way of the iPhone, had established as its domain.
Google, of course, reaped the benefits produced by the intense competition between Android OEMs. Regardless of what Android OEM "won," after all, Google was also a winner.
Samsung eventually rose to be the dominant Android OEM worldwide. As the provider of a host of popular Android-based devices including smartphones, tablets and wearables, Samsung is a major force in pushing Android to the masses.
With the help of the Samsung powerhouse and other OEMs, Android dominates the smartphone space with over 80 percent market share. This position in what is currently the most relevant personal computing space echoes Microsoft's 90 percent market share in the PC space. Both positions seem entrenched and unalterable. Of course, Google's pursuit to rule personal computing does not end within the confines of the smartphone space.
Like Microsoft, the Mountain View company is pursuing dominance across a range of personal computing platforms. The benefit Google has is that mobile, which it rules via Android, is a portal to virtually all other computing platforms such as IoT, wearables and more. Consumers and developers alike are embracing Android's steady march into our daily routines.
The pervasive nature of Android in the everyday lives of consumers is a major problem for Microsoft. In years past, when personal computing was limited to the sedentary context of the PC, consumers saw Microsoft's Windows OS and its suite of products and services as the platform for computing. Today's transient computing reality, where our digital experiences live in the cloud, are supported by AI, and transition across an array of devices, is the new reality in which consumers live.
Sadly, this reality is one for which Microsoft has big dreams but little consumer presence. Android, however, is front and center, and it is aggressively seizing consumer mindshare.
An AI-driven vision
Google's CEO Sundar Pichai shared in an interview last year that said he wants to bring computing to "your phone, your wearables, your car, and your home." At the core of this drive is AI. Whereas Microsoft's vision is a cloud-first, mobile-first strategy, Pichai is moving Google from mobile to AI. This is evident in the company's hardware portfolio, which is positioned to showcase AI, as with the Pixel.
That isn't to say that Microsoft has no AI strategy. I have written extensively about Microsoft's AI vision, cognitive services, Conversation Canvases, Bots FrameWork and quantum computing investments.
Gates and Ballmer paved the way for Nadella's AI and bots
Sadly, when it comes to actual products that consumers use and recognize as Microsoft-branded, not even Cortana's integration in 500 million Windows 10 desktop PCs seems to be making a mark for Microsoft. The new Google Assistant, an evolution of Google's well-known Google Now, and Siri are increasingly part of our culture, however.
Samsung is Viv-ing it up
Furthermore, Samsung purchased the startup Viv whose founder Dag Kittlaus helped to create AI that was designed for a ubiquitous, unbounded presence on various devices.
Kittlaus stated the following when asked about selling the company before the Samsung acquisition:
The manifestation of the Viv AI as Bixby on the Galaxy line of smartphones is just an initial step of Viv's AI integration in Samsung's broad range of products. Post-acquisition, Viv still runs independently, and as Kittlaus keeps Viv as an open platform, he sees an opportunity with the more than 500 million products (not just smartphones) Samsung ships every year.
Like Siri and Google Assistant, Bixby, with Samsung's product integration and promotion, may become a more recognized part of our lives.
The Internet of Intelligent Things: Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and the new battlefront
At a recent doctor appointment, my one-year old daughter activated Cortana on my Windows phone. The nurse responded, "She's talking to Siri." I muttered an indication that it was Cortana but didn't bother explaining further.
I wish Microsoft was making greater efforts to promote its products. It would make advocacy from fans like myself a lot easier. Google, by contrast, is putting forth great efforts to ensure consumers are aware of its Assistant, as seen in the television ad below:
Aggressive ads in conjunction with integrated services, such as Google Assistant integration in Google's messaging platform Allo, help to put this Android-based AI and other products in front of consumers.
I recently asked, "With Surface phone, will Microsoft learn from its past marketing mistakes?" As I emphasized in that piece, Microsoft leans heavily on a marketing strategy where it uses its products to advertise its other products rather than spending massive marketing dollars on TV ads and other marketing. An example is Microsoft's hope that Cortana's integration in Windows 10 and Edge will help promote Cortana. Though there were TV ads using Cortana in the past, we see nothing promoting the assistant's benefits on Windows 10 for PC or other platforms.
By contrast, Google uses sensory and emotionally compelling ads to supplement product integration. The little mindshare Cortana has among consumers despite integration in Windows 10, iOS, Android and Windows phone is indicative of which strategy is more effective.
AI, bots and Canvases Part IV: The war is on! Microsoft is not alone.
A home run … by Android
Google Home is Google's Alexa-like voice-activated smart home control hub. Consumers who have grown accustomed to initiating a digital assistant on their Android phones with the phrase, "OK, Google Now," are doing the same in their homes with the command "OK Google." For consumers like myself who have not purchased a Google Home, the ads that demonstrate its functionality are still helping Google capture mindshare.
While consumers are buying and using these devices that are pushing Google's AI-driven Android vision, techies and enthusiasts are reminded that Microsoft's Cortana-based alternative is coming soon. Sadly, regular consumers have no idea such an alternative even exists.
By the time Microsoft gets to market with its alternative (particularly if Microsoft continues its less than aggressive advertising legacy), Alexa and Google Home may leave Microsoft's Cortana speakers homeless.
Furthermore, though Microsoft is providing a broad platform (opens in new tab) for the automotive industry using its cloud-based intelligence services, the lack of a consumer-facing tool like Android Auto is a void in Microsoft's personal computing portfolio.
Who are you wearing?
Wearables such as smartwatches and fitness bands have not taken off with consumers to the degree some would have hoped. Still, it is a space that is being addressed by Android Wear, a version of Android for wearables and smartwatches, and by Apple via the Apple Watch. Microsoft had two iterations of its Band on the market before unceremoniously vacating the wearables space.
Consumers, who are looking to extend their personal computing experiences to their wrists have a number of Android-based options. If a customer wanted a wearable based on Windows 10, the OS that is supposed to conform to all form factors and device types, not so much. Even if Microsoft is planning something to replace its now defunct Band, retailers can't stock their shelves with plans.
One of the few spaces that Microsoft seems to have an undisputed lead in a new personal computing form is "Mixed Reality." With HoloLens and the Mixed Reality platform, Microsoft is a leader. As a platform company, Microsoft has utilized partnerships to help bring VR headsets to market. Unfortunately, with a delay of the next version of HoloLens, the more interesting augmented reality (AR) headsets seem a long way off for consumers.
Will an Android-based (or iOS-based) option swoop in and capture the consumer mindshare that Microsoft's older technology could - should - have possibly garnered?
Does Microsoft know how to reach consumers?
For many years Microsoft has been an enterprise-focused company. Its success in the PC consumer space was a result of its enterprise success spilling over into the home. There was a personal computing void in the home that needed to be filled. Consumer experiences with Microsoft's products at work, combined with few other options, made Microsoft's trek into the consumer space a journey with little resistance.
That legacy and a marketing strategy that obviously lacks the aggressive appeal for consumers does little to stall the unrelenting march of the Android machine. Given the ground Microsoft has lost in such a short time, one would hope the company would alter its marketing methods. If Microsoft isn't careful, even its dominance in the PC space may lose ground to Android.
With all the excitement over Windows 10 on ARM, don't forget about Google's Andromeda
Samsung's Galaxy S8 and its desktop emulating Continuum-like capabilities via the DeX dock won't put a dent in Microsoft's 90 percent dominance in the PC space anytime soon. Still, Microsoft should be wary.
Like Android apps on Chromebooks, Samsung's Galaxy 8 Continuum-like features are yet another step of a seemingly unstoppable OS into Microsoft's personal computing territory. From smartphones, AI, smart speakers, wearables and the PC, Android is either dominating these personal computing platforms or making inroads on Microsoft.
So, yes, Microsoft has a very real Android problem.
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Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!
I will always say that MARKETING is MS's biggest issue. Marketing in every aspect of the word.
... Like it says in the article, MS hopes that marketing of It's products will happen by way of It's other products... "Hopes that marketing will happen". Pathetic, and I've been saying this even before Jason was here as an editor. MS shouldn't guess, hope, or gamble on what might happen, instead they should make it happen.... Spend the money to make things happen.. DO MORE TELEVISION ADS!... And, don't tell me there's no money. Money???? Ummm, they have enough money to spend on buying a predictive text, and keyboard technology company, and still have $hity keyboards on WM, and really on all their products.... Answer this question for me... Why, how, and why, are they so damnz clueless?
MS is just a proof of concept company now. MS has good ideas, and can build great products, and other companies take MS's ideas, and make it happen... For that reason MS will always be around... The money MS makes on patents' alone could pay for heavier advertisements for their products, but they don't care..... Question is, why, how, and who, took care of Surface?... Still, MS has many other products with their name, that nobody knows about.. Band was a ridiculous waste of time. All that money could've gone towards WP marketing... Just stupid **** happening. Horrific management of terrific products. What a stupid way to fail.
Right now cortana is not worldwide, Never heard of any android exclusives, they treat everyone as equal.
They are selective on implementing features from user feedback,
Why was here maps removed, leaving us with half baked Windows/Microsoft Maps.
The only part that isn't is the first paragraph. Gates was and is a genius. he's isnt, and never was, a usability genius like Jobs, he's a business genius, and whether pushing PC's or Malaria medication he revolutionizes the industries he's working in. He had his role and it grew MS into the global powerhouse we know it as now. Balmer cemented that and made billions in cash, but didn't have the consumer knack either. Nadella? Unclear at this point. His vision for what microsoft is seems to be quite different from his predecessors. Whether comsumer electronics remain a major part is currently unclear. he may be willing to cede that market and instead go towards backend IT, powering the devices everyone else makes and sells. It's possible he thinks he can compete with google and apple better there, and he's probably right. Even should MS release a hololens it isn't going to sell. Nothing can likely be done about that at this point. It's simply too late, and the consumer mindshare is entirely google and android. "normal guys with common sense" aren't the guys who should be running enormous companies or governments. Not if you want them to survive anyway.
- start streaming netflix on my chromecast on the TV (even if it has apps built in)
- whatsapp messaging
- stream spotify through my chromecast on TV while dining
- setting a timer while cooking
- reading some articles in on my news aggregator
- checking work mail and flagging what I should respond to the next day
- working out upstairs, checking my timer, logging my weight and hearbeat
- dimming the lights
- playing clash royale on the toilet
- videocalling my parents My phone is really "the remote to my life" at home. I also have a bluetooth keyboard that works on iPad and my phone for longer typing. (like this comment) While at work I barely use it and I'm a PC only guy. My partner is an IT manager as well and has the same workflow. Can't remember the last time he booted his laptop at home.
Food & Drink (3,715)
Health & Fitness (10,010)
Movies & TV (4,288)
Music & Audio (16,593)
Photo & Video (9,844)
Weather (721) FireOS since its based on Android is 10 times more popular than Windows Phone or Windows 10 appstore so probably you need to try harder to convince me on why cloning Android is not a good choice for Microsoft. To be honest I don't care, I just know that Microsoft's mobile strategy needs to change and forking Android like Amazon does with their Amazon appstore is much better than what we find today in Windows Mobile.
... The reason people don't like MS's NEWER products, and services, is because they don't know about them. You can't like what you don't know about.. End of story. See, it's easy.
But, what makes things hard is that MS either doesn't know that, doesn't know what to do about that, or simply doesn't care..... Don't over think this.. This is all just the effects of inaction.
Actually, after your first three words.
Imagine if MS kept building on the "growth" of WP8.1, with care, and continued the release of devices like the 1520, and 930... Pushing WP full steam right up till they were ready to release the "next big thing in mobile"..... Can you imagine where our devices would be today?? Why would MS not want that?🤔🤔🤔
I think to achieve that, it has a long long way to go, if ever.
The way you think, and word things, I'm thinking you're a car guy, and read a lot about the auto industry.. We see these same dynamics between auto manufactures. Some are great for decades, then some (like Hyundai/Kia/Genesis) just execute out of thin air, and begin to innovate in design, and gain mindshare..... You should use these analogies in your writing.
Now that same fox has morphed into a giant ogre of gargantuan proportions consuming everything in it's path, meanwhile MS looks on doing nothing, presuming it will give up and go home.
Or just like David V Goliath, Android gave MS a stone to the forehead in the opening round, from there it was all over.
So mostly non serious child/consumer stuff.
- their opinion is based on some ancient Android version, the galaxy S2, S3 days
- they compare the fluidness of the latest 900 dollar iPhone with a 180 dollar Android phone
- they used some japanese terrible OEM skinned version without google play services When you use the latestes version of Android on flagship it works and looks very good.
But - what the hell did they expect? This is the decade of the smartphone. MS had the most well known phone brand when they bought Nokia. They had a great mobile o/s in win 10 mobile. Great looking, potentially powerfull in what it could link up with, easy to use. Unique in design...
So what did they do? Renamed the phone and skrwed the business up and then closed the phone company down. Why the hell did the buy it???? And then they messed the o/s up. And yes it IS messed up because I cannot even do banking on it. In this age. In this the decade of the smart phone.
What's going to happen the day when Google announces an Android pc and laptop o/s that runs on all "intel machines"?
And provides it for free... fully conected to Android mobile.... ?
The fact that Nadella decided to sack all the employees later on and close the factories is regrettable. I'm not saying they should have kept all the factories because that would have been essentially throwing money out the window, but they could have kept a few factories if they wanted to. Messed-up OS: are you talking about the phone or the desktop? Because all that keeps me from "banking" on my devices is the lack of apps for mobile, which I really don't care about, frankly. Also if you want that, take it up with your bank. It's not Microsoft's fault that developers don't make new apps for their platforms or port their existing ones over. It's a cost-centric decision in most cases as the miniscule market-share doesn't justify the cost of developing and maintaining an app for the platform.
MS did always have vision, but the whole achieving and a path to the vision being fulfilled has been a huge problem for years. I jumped ship and awaiting a Galaxy S8. They're going to have to show me something amazing in the future to get me back
BASH is already there, in form of the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). When you take a closer and deeper look: Linux is ruling the roost. Servers, cloud infrastructures, AI, what not plus IoT and embedded applications
do rely on Linux all over the (market) place, and Linux is getting more dominant every day.
Microsoft is working on having Docker images with Linux run under Windows
(Windows Pro, Windows Server and of course Azure) utilizing Hyper-V.
CSHELL or other methods might help to provide an UX. Run your Docker container on Linux or on Windows - will not matter too much.
We are not there yet, but it will come (as Microsoft has explained).
As Linux is becoming part of Windows, the same may/will happen with Android.
Android will be just one more Docker container. Or something to this effect. Microsoft historically has always been very proficient
when it came to embracing other technologies, concepts and ideas
and make it their own. Watch that space ... ! -
Though many of them who knows about Cortana hate Cortana citing its a privacy breaker. But don't care about using android or google or google assistant, which practicallly robs the private infos. The mindshare of people about google is at God level. Whers as people treat Microsoft as a money sucker. Still many people write M$ and refuse to use any of thier product on Mobile. The only heavenly appearance people has in their mind is about MS Office on PC not much in Mobile. Microsoft is going to face very tough situtaion in near future, which has already started in Consumer Space and I think will soon spread to Enterprise market if Microsoft continues to ignore google's steps, not others.
Should change name again,something like Y'ALL CENTRAL
It really is baffling to see the ship stay on the same basic course with only a few deviations that raised our hopes.
Groove: Why do they even do this? Give the **** up Microsoft! Nobody on the planet uses it or knows of its existence. The music database is limited as hell
Xbox: Losing always to ps4
Mobile: Epic fail, no words.. (alarm toggle STILL takes a second to toggle.. LOOOL)
Desktop: Most focus is on a platform with no future! How stupid can you be??
Office: People only use it because they are forced to. Once google offers something similar it's over for Microsoft.
HoloLens: Epic fail. 2 years later and the thing is still in a dungeon. Google/Apple/fb will take over
Band: Failure, zero marketing
Cortana: After many years still useless around the globe.
Any Microsoft product: Worse experience outside the US
Any Microsoft product: Awful marketing.
I seriously can't comprehend how slow this company is at everything. They don't seem to be able to develop fast enough. Look at something simple like a to-do app. It takes them like 2-3 years to make any use of their wunderlust purchase.
HoloLens is perhaps the biggest joke after mobile. It was the only product that rocked the media worldwide.. Then what did they do? Rofl 2019...
And do they really believe android and ios consumes will install their crap apps? Rofl no. Even if they are good or the best, in the end they will use google now, google docs, chrome, safari, etc. Not Microsoft apps. If this is their plan B, start thinking about plan C LOL! Nutella: Best payed CEO on the planet, worst CEO on the planet. Amazing.
The Windows PC is still the most versatile platform to date. The success of the Surface line (even stealing Apple stalwarts) is evidence that we're a long way way from writing a eulogy for Windows. MS has what is potentially the most effective and far-reaching unified platform for actually getting stuff done these days, its's already in place in most organizations, and pros and producers know that. Consumers on the other hand may not know or care, and that is where MS - as has been echoed countles times over the years - needs to place a very high importance and skilled focus to their marketing. Windows desktops, tablets, and phones have been playing quite seemlesly together for some time now. The problem is that MS never does a damn thing to point this out and comnmunicate the simplicity and advantages of it to the masses.
Most people that use computers for their job, could not do it on a tablet. Accountants, developers, designers, there is a huge list. Gamers will also continue to buy gaming rigs, tablets will never have the power to replace that. The number of people that could do their job on a tablet and use Android instead of Windows is actually quite small. The day will come when a mobile device will be good enough to also be a PC, as Microsoft have done with their windows Phones and docking solution, which may well be the solution for business users. And Android are also doing something similar.
But in order for this to happen, mobile devices will have to stop trying to be as thin as possible and start prioritizing bigger batteries and longer battery life. Already current devices cannot last 1 day even with moderate use, which is useless if you are planning to use it as a PC as well, unless you are going to carry around all your docking/charging equipment. In which case it is no better than a laptop. All the business software people need will also need to get rewritten for Android. Neither of these things is going to happen anytime soon, it will take years until any phone manufacturer will accept that bigger is better.
He lacks the vision for the future that Gates had, along with his geekery.
He lacks the business sense of Ballmer and his ability to tackle hard decisions.
But hey, he's been with ms for 20+ years and likes cricket, so it must be good, right? All he ever does is repeat his "cloud first" mantra, essentially neglecting the potential MS has. I'm not saying he's the singular cause of all their current problems and roadblocks, but he sure as hell doesn't seem like someone who tries doing something about it.
And sure, you can spew crap about a "category defining device" all you want, but at the end of the day we all know that it's not much but hot air at this point because they have alienated most of their fanbase and all but killed off their userbase in "mobile", essentially creating a second uphill battle for themselves by not only perpetuating the app gap, but also letting go of what little market-share they've had overall (not only in the US, but Europe and South America as well, where they had double digits in certain countries). For that to change, the new "surface phone" has to be durable, reliable, top-notch and affordable. And let's face it: it likely won't check all those boxes, and even if it did, we still don't have snapchat which - to my eternal amusement - is still a dealbreaker to some.
MS has the talent. With good leadership they could still turn this around if they set their minds to it. But Nadella - as capable as he may be when it comes to cloud services and servers - is definitely not the person to lead MS. At least not now. And sure, you don't have to agree, feel free to refute this. I'd be the happiest person on this forum if I realized that he's actually the capable leader we need at this point in time.
Yes Androind is the most successful mobile OS, but that is not a problem for Windows.
The same nonsense was repeatedly surmised by people who were thinking tablets, and the iPad in particular had killed Windows PC... well.. Turns out they couldn't have been more wrong. It doesn't really matter simply because these are entirely different beasts. Android is nowhere near Windows. Not even by a longshot. And it is a very problematic imature OS. It just is supercheap. You are comparing hundreds of millions of already outdated below mediocre less than $90 consumption devices with hundreds of millions ultra powered high end multipurpose productivity devices. Rather unfair comparison for the poor and overhyped Android OS:
Another option is to give incentive to manufacturers.. like a percentage of sale from appstore sale if device used is from that manufacturer.
They need to consider phones like pcs and provide regular updates and security patches.. android is totally fragmented and will self explode one day....