Microsoft is a strange company right now, and it’s almost impossible to work out where they are coming from half the time. Once the mighty monopoly of computer technology, they have since been down in the pecking order and are only now climbing back up. Thanks to a new ‘semi-open’ approach, they have been welcomed back to the top table with open arms. There is now one place they firmly have their sights set on – your mobile life.
With the clear intention of ruling everything from your mobile life to your home life, you could argue that Microsoft started its assault back in the early 2000’s. However, they started afresh with Windows 8 and its renewed Modern UI. Unfortunately for them, this plan never showed any fruit. Although the Xbox has done well it has never been enough. Windows 8 and it’s lost start menu was almost universally panned, and although the platform was great, Windows Phone peaked in 2013 with 10% market share, then dropped quickly after.
Of late, Microsoft have been a revived company with Satya Nadella at the helm. They want to be the back end of everything, building cloud resources and infrastructure for everything from healthcare to home. With platforms and products like the Microsoft Band, their determination to open an API for everything is in stark contrast to the Microsoft of old.
The successful release of Microsoft’s biggest enterprise revenue stream to mobile was as surprising as its concentration on other platforms. Office joined a huge amount of applications produced by Microsoft on both iOS and Android. Most alternative development for Android apps has been pushed by the Microsoft Garage program – a development team that have been encouraged to developed for other platforms. They currently boast more apps for Android than Windows phone.
The Garage has provided not only Office products, but now applications from replacement lock screens, to money, food and drink, games, climate info and more. Much talk has been made of the rumoured investment in Cyanogen and Microsoft’s attempt to provide a fork of Android. The truth is that Microsoft doesn’t need Cyanogen to start to take over Android.
With Bing Search options, the new Outlook app – which is arguably the best email app available – and even Bing Search on your lock screen, the takeover is here! All that’s left is a browser and a launcher and a Microsoft flavour of Android could be all encompassing, without ever forking any Google code or encroaching on anyone’s Google Services agreement.
Despite the cries of their CEO, Cyanogen nor any other manufacturer worth their salt would produce a Microsoft flavoured ROM for their handset. Not without giving up on producing these alongside Google’s Android – something that’s explicitly denied by Google’s terms of service. So unless Microsoft pulls out all the stops for a refresh of the Nokia X, they will be shooting at Android from within Google’s own app store.
Apples OS is also coming under a bombardment from Microsoft, although not in the same depth. Microsoft Bing is shooting to become the default search in iOS and OS X in addition to office apps looking to capitalise on Apple’s dominance of enterprise use, not to mention the renewed Outlook app vying to be added to your doc. Once Spartan hits the prime time it’s bound to yield an alternative browser for more than one platform.
However, they are insistent that they are not leaving Windows Mobile behind, so with the refresh to Windows 10 it’s going to be an exciting time for Microsoft. They have the ability to create a cloud platform, API support and design almost anything – so where they go next who knows. I for one cannot wait.
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