Will Windows 8 Win? Microsoft's Uphill Battle Against Apple, Android


Like its partnerships, the Windows brand itself may give Microsoft’s newest OS a leg up in the mobility market, solution providers speculate. As much as consumers seek out the newest mobile trends, the familiarity of the Microsoft name could alone be a catalyst for Windows 8 adoption, especially in the enterprise.

Josh Covington, marketing manager at Velocity Micro, a system builder based in Richmond, Va., believes that the deep-seated Microsoft brand within so many enterprise IT infrastructures is going to one of the biggest drivers to Windows 8 success. For many IT teams, Covington explained, Microsoft means compatibility.

“The biggest thing is going to be the compatibility with the enterprise systems that are already out there,” he said. “One of its biggest strengths is going to be within the enterprise market. People have invested millions and millions of dollars on their IT infrastructure to make them Windows-compliant. If they buy a Windows 8 tablet, it’s going to seamlessly work with the infrastructure they already have in place.”

Indeed, Microsoft has a different strategy than Apple and Google for its mobile push. Unlike iOS and Android, which cover tablets and smartphones, Windows 8 will work on desktops, notebooks and tablets and not smartphones (Microsoft has Windows Phone 7 for that). Microsoft is hoping its desktop dominance will trickle down into the tablet market with the lure of cross-device compatibility and ease of use.

Osgood said that while competing operating systems such as iOS may provide a sleeker look and feel, Windows 8 provides something much more valuable: consistency.

“Even though Windows may not provide as compelling a user experience as, say, a Mac -- even from a hardware standpoint it’s not even close -- Microsoft makes up for that by the fact that a CEO says, ‘You know what, this is where I do my e-mail. This is where I’m comfortable operating. And this is what I’ll continue to do.’”

Whether the Windows name, enterprise adoption or a long-standing reputation will be enough for Microsoft is yet to be seen. What solution providers, analysts and IT enthusiasts do know, however, is that the software giant has certainly proved its resiliency over the years. And Windows 8 may be no exception.

“They are kind of the turtle in the race,” Osgood said of Microsoft.” They can stay in the race long enough to eventually win. They don’t have to produce a winner every time to ultimately win. They’ve had a lot of flops. But they use that, and they learn from that.”