Why Apple will Crush Microsoft in the Post-PC Era

Why Apple will Crush Microsoft in the Post-PC Era

Apple CEO Tim Cook this week talked about a “post-PC world.” Many people treated his comments as controversial, exaggerated or outright marketing lies.

In fact, everything Cook said about it was literally true and perfectly accurate. He said the post-PC revolution “is happening all around us at an amazing pace and Apple is at the forefront and leading this revolution.”

He didn’t say we currently live in a post-PC world, or that in the future PCs would not exist. He specifically said “we’re talking about a world where the PC is no longer the center of your digital world.”

What he didn’t say — so I will — was that the transition from the PC world to the post-PC world involves a transition from a Microsoft world to an Apple world.

For the past few decades, Windows has been the dominant platform and Mac OS has been a minority operating system. Here’s why their positions will be reversed in the years to come.

 Why Microsoft Can’t Compete in the Post PC Future

The challenges faced by Microsoft, Apple, Google and all the other tech giants today are similar to those faced by companies in the past. In computing technology, the same patterns repeat themselves again and again.

All successful technologies, platforms and paradigms follow the same pattern of emergence, acceptance, growth, dominance, decline, irrelevance and obsolescence.

The emergence of companies is all about timing. Being the right company with the right founders and the right technology depends 100% on timing. What’s right today would have been too early a year ago and too late a year from now.

Companies like Microsoft and Google are formed within a specific context that enables them to flourish. Had Google been founded when Microsoft started, it would have failed. Had Microsoft started when Google had, it would have never gotten off the ground.

Once companies launch and become successful, the only way to maintain their success is re-invention. As the conditions that enabled their initial success fade into history, they have to remake themselves into a new kind of company.

This is so hard to do that very few companies actually achieve it. The reason is that you often have to kill your most successful products while they’re still successful in order to take a gamble on the products that aren’t making big bucks yet.

Apple managed to skirt this problem. The whole iOS forest was started with a tiny seed: The iPod.

The iPod in no way overlapped with or competed against Apple’s main business, which was integrated PCs. Apple leveraged the iPod and iTunes universe to launch the iPhone, which they used to launch the iPad.

By the time the iOS devices were competing against Apple’s Macs as an alternative for users, they were already bringing in more revenue for Apple.

It will be easy for Apple to “sunset” Macs, to put them on the back burner and focus on iOS devices, because iOS devices are already the core business.

Microsoft doesn’t have this luxury. The company is in the position that no company wants to find itself in: It’s got to cannibalize it’s cash cow businesses in order to compete in the future.

In order to have a shot at dominating the post-PC future like it dominates the PC present, Microsoft would have had to do what Apple did: Aggressively build an alternative to the biggest and most important product lines.

The right thing to do for Microsoft would have been something like iOS — a single, light multi-touch operating system that spans from wristwatches to tablets that in no way is compatible with, shares code with or is in any way the same as Windows.

And Microsoft came oh, so close. Their Windows Phone operating system would have been an ideal platform from which to challenge Apple for the future of consumer computing. Specifically, Microsoft should have aggressively pushed Windows Phone as the tablet operating system. They should have practically given it away to third-party hardware makers, and pushed those OEMs to develop sophisticated, high-quality tablets at low cost — and make them so compelling that millions of people wanted to use these devices instead of buying Windows PCs.

But they just couldn’t do it.

Instead, they made the mistake of the millennium (so far): Instead of starting “lite” and growing up, they started “heavy” and dumbed down.

This is *exactly* what killed the Tablet PC. That platform was just Windows with yet another layer of spaghetti code that enabled people willing to pay $2,000 for a heavy, clunky Windows machine halfway retro-fitted for a stylus to buy a tablet.

That Windows Phone should have been Microsoft’s tablet OS could not be more obvious.

But dinosaurs have almost never been able to act in their future best interest when it conflicts with their present best interest.

The touch-tablet revolution offers Microsoft two conflicting opportunities. First, they could seize the opportunity to succeed in the future by approximating the Apple model — start small and light and wait for Moore’s law to grow your low-cost, simple appliances into systems that function as the core of consumers’ computing experience. Or, second, they could use the excitement around tablets to squeeze even more revenue out of the aging Windows operating system.

They chose the latter. And that’s why they’ll fail.

Microsoft has always believed that simplicity is a parlor trick, that it’s achieved by slapping an interface that looks and feels simple on top of a functionally complex, architecturally complex and technologically complex base.

Actual simplicity can be achieved only by starting over, by abandoning backward compatibility.

That abandonment is what makes both iOS and Windows Phone, for that matter, so nice to use.

It’s the failure to abandon backward compatibility that will make Windows 8 so unpleasant to use. And the superficial Metro UI doesn’t change that.

So as the world gravitates to multi-touch post-PC devices, Apple’s big screen option will represent a fresh start while Microsoft’s will be carrying two decades of baggage.

The bottom line is that Microsoft itself will be responsible for its coming decline. The company is constitutionally unable to offer a real competitor to its cash-cow Windows operating system.

As we rush toward a post-PC computing era, Microsoft won’t offer a true post-PC alternative. But Apple will.

Picture credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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  • erfon elijah

    i’ve always felt microsoft needed to “abandon backward compatibility.”  this is something apple has always been willing to do, no doubt thanks to steve jobs.  

    by trying to please everyone, you please no one. and that’s where microsoft sits today.

  • Luciano Otero

    The dices are still rolling…

  • taylerz

    Steve Jobs liked viewing himself as the underdog — this attitude made sure he and his company would do anything to change whatever to get ahead. Meanwhile, for years Microsoft had a successful model, and was afraid to change. As technology and the consumer changed, which company could change with them?

  • SulaymanF

    Well Microsoft has been more or less doing that. A lot of Windows 95 apps can’t run on Windows 8, Microsoft’s “Plays for Sure” DRM was killed by the company in favor of its new Zune store, now Zunes are going away and replaced by Microsoft’s next attempt at mobile phone OS.

  • Katana18

    More Windows 7 licenses were sold last year than the entire line of Macs ever built and the iPads put together. The same will happen with Windows 8.

  • tv_gadget

    If microsoft wants to survive in the Post-Pc era they have to start making their own hardware or they have to give out windows 8 free to OEMs like android..

    1. Making their own hardware with windows 8 will help them compete against the iPad in the tablet business.. tablet sales = income

    2. Giving away their OS for free to OEMs with integrated bing search and microsoft ads will help them get their search and Ad business going,and app sales like office and such plus 30% cut from other developers sales,i mean anything is better than nothing right???

    3. they could license windows as a free open source OS to OEMs like android,once they get a big enough marketshare they could stop licensing windows and start making their own tablets with windows 8 exclusively..like the ipad

    the 3rd option seems to be the best for microsoft at the moment..but they wont do it because they are either too stupid or too dumb..

  • ianrathbone

    Considering that this article focuses on a post pc world, the comment posting works terribly on safari on iOS

  • Heim Aktiv

    Yay this fits good to my response at mashable who asked about apples next game changer. I wrote:
    I think the next real game changing product will be the iMacTouch. But not this year. This year we will see an iMac Air like desktop computer. Apple will get rid of all mechanical parts like hard disc and the DVD drive to make the iMac even thinner. A touch device this big screen just makes sense if you can easily swivel it down to a touchable niveau. On software side we can see that MacOSX was renamed to just OSX. Not just the iPad will lose its numbering. Also the iPhone could. And think further. Apple will unify its OSes over the next two years. They have to. Microsoft brings Windows8 in autumn and its half touch, half mouse controlled. But there are no devices yet and it will take time until the hardware makers will figure out how to make usable touch devices for the desktop. And because Apple is all about creating like drawing, engineering also music and video and other arts, the iMacTouch with a final iOS, its a no-brainer for all the businesses and private people and could become another worldwide standard.

  • ianrathbone

    None of this would bring decent revenue

  • Michael Scrip

    That’s true… but 99% of those Windows licenses are installed on *traditional* laptops and desktops (and a lot of those are corporate machines)

    In the consumer space especially… people are finding it easy to get by with something like an iPad for normal everyday tasks. And they’re more fun too :)

    As of right now… people might be tempted to buy an iPad instead of a new Windows laptop this time around. Any Windows laptop made within the last few years is certainly fast enough for daily tasks.  Do people really need to replace an already running Windows laptop with another Windows laptop?

    If Windows on ARM takes off in devices as thin, light and with great battery life as something like an iPad… then I could see Windows tablets being a force to be reckoned with.  But it’s too soon to be making those kinds of predictions.

    But you’re right… Microsoft sells 300 million copies of Windows every year. I certainly don’t think the iPad will replace each and every one of them.

  • J.S. Gilbert

    Personally, I’m not very happy serving either of these behemoth masters. As if Apple has your best interests at heart anymore than Microsoft. While one has stupidly adhered to the 8086 kernel, the other has no problem with making something redundant before the price tag has barely been removed.

  • aardman

    Sorry, your swivel-down iMac screen is a non-starter.  iMacs will satisfy a certain type of demand for computers: people who do keyboard-heavy jobs.  Mostly word processing (documents and code development) and spreadsheet work.  Some touch features come in useful even for keyboard-heavy work but swiveling down the screen to use touch features then pushing it back up when you need to use the keyboard?  Okay, you choose to reach out to the keyboard instead of swiveling it down?  Both are ergonomic nightmares.  Steve Jobs already told us how they will incorporate touch features on a desktop computer -a touch pad.

    And by the way, any swiveling screen that is repeatedly swiveled up and down will eventually suffer the same annoying fate that every swiveling device experiences, from lamps, to lap top screens, to your car’s sunshades –namely the wear and tear on the swivel mechanism resulting in swivel droop.  And if you say counterbalancing, I say bulky and expensive.

  • Richard

    The iPad can be used for certain industries which is coming to light, but for the average Joe, it is the perfect vacation, weekend laptop, school/college computer/reader, etc.  I wouldn’t have one instead of a laptop or a desktop, i would have one in addition to.  I would just more likely use it instead of always having to lug around a laptop all of the time, when i don’t have to.

  • aardman

    In the fast moving tech industry, you have to be willing to win your customers over and over again every time the state of the art (or science) advances.  Apple embraces this, Microsoft runs away from it.

    If you are scared of having to win your customers over and over again, your products become boring, so your best, most creative people will get restless and leave, and your most forward-looking customers (usually the ones with the most purchasing power and the greatest influence on their friends’ and family’s buying decisions) will abandon you.  All this has happened/is happening to Microsoft.

  • aardman

    What is likely to happen is that families that used to have 3 laptops or desktops will now just have 1 laptop/desktop and multiple tablets.  and the tablets will be replaced at a faster clip than the lap/desktop.

  • techgeek01

    The failure with this article is: Not everyone wants a Mercedes or can afford a Mercedes.

    $650 phone?  $500 tablet?  $1000 laptop?  Most of the world’s population cannot afford those products.  I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of the worlds population (if not 95%) cannot afford those products.

    Dumphones GREATLY outsell Smartphones on the worldwide scale.  PC (non-tablets) still outsell tablets buy a quite a huge margin.

    That being said, the dumphone market?  Is still a huge market and a smart one to play in.  Same with the PC market. 

    Why Apple is so “big” is the amount of PROFITS.  On a $20 dumbphone, you cannot have the profit margins of $200 to $300 you can have with the iPhone.  With a $300 to $500 computer, you cannot have the profit margins of a $1000 to $2000 machine.  If you are selling “luxurious goods” your profit margins will ALWAYS be larger than everybody else because you can make a product with massive profit margins because it’s a Luxurious product. It’s not a need, it’s a want.

    And the question is:  How long are people going to spend $650 to $830 for a (smart)phone, $500 to $830 for a tablet and $1000 to $2500+ for a Computer?

    What I personally think what is interesting is Apple starting to become super-successful after the economy “hardships” that hit America.  Where people were losing houses and automobiles left and right.  Where Car companies were having trouble, etc…  This is where Apple path to success started to get a boost.  What does this mean?  It could mean that people can’t afford a large house, fancy car.  But, they can “afford” a fancy smartphone, tablet, computer. The question is: How long can that go for?

    To put it bluntly, Apple products fulfill a WANT, not a NEED.  A product that is a NEED will always the first choice.  Once that need is fulfilled, that Want can be looked at.

    And that is where Apple products fail.  A $20 dumbphone can fulfill a need far easier than a $650 smartphone. A $300 computer can fulfill a need far easier than a $1000 computer.  Etc…

    The point being for this:  Microsoft will always fulfill a need before Apple does.  Apple (might) fulfill a want far better than Microsoft, but to the majority of a world’s population a Microsoft product is far closer than an Apple product.  And this is why this article fails.  There is no way Apple can crush Microsoft since they don’t fulfill a need.  They fulfill a Want.  And needs come before wants.

  • MacsFuture

    In my day job, I work in a large enterprise business (not in the IT department) and for years our IT department was very conservative and all we had were Microsoft products or their partners (usually Dell computers) and Blackberries. Well, a few months ago I noticed that the leadership started to get enterprise issued iPads, and then just this week senior and middle level managers were told they will soon get enterprise issued iPad. I saw this years before when Blackberries trickled down from top management and then everyone in the workforce got one. And where it was unheard of to get a Macintosh, some people who request it are getting Macs where I work. Apple is no longer a premium product maker as the entry level iPad is $499 and a MacBook Air starts at $999. Decision makers in the work force are realizing that going cheap with Dells is a mistake. Our IT department spent half their time fixing broken Dells. And people are realizing that the Macbook Airs, super light and super fast, are vastly superior to the clunky windows laptops. 

    The reality is that the iPad for most users can replace a regular computer. With the iPad 3 it is even more powerful and more of a content creation device. People can surf the web, edit and create documents, and do all sorts of things on the iPad, and the interface is much easier to use than using a mouse and keyboard. 

    Those resisting Apple, the IPhone, the iPad and the Macbook Air are the hard core geeks and entrenched IT workers who are threatened that their special knowledge and special powers will disappear. Frankly, with the advent of cloud computing and cloud services and easy to use and easy to troubleshoot devices like the iPad and iPhone (as well as the Android phones), IT Departments and Microsoft’s lock on the enterprise are both threatened. 

    Microsoft may still have its software running servers, but Microsoft makes its big bucks with Windows on PCs and Office programs on those computers. Microsoft has already put Office programs as apps on the IPad and it will soon put Word, Powerpoint and Excel in the Apple App store. Apple is already almost twice Microsoft’s market cap. Microsoft is in deep trouble Mike Elgan is absolutely right!

    PS. Apple products are not just for the wealthy or middle class as some people have posted in the comments. I have stood in line at iPad launches and it is filled with working class people who scraped money together because they know an iPad or iPhone is a great value.

  • Spidouz

    Win 95 Apps… Really?!

    16+ years old apps… it’s like a century in Technology. 

  • Spidouz

    Yeah, and Apple got more money just with the iPhone than the whole Microsoft Company (Windows, Office, Xbox, Zune, Skype, MSN, etc…).

    So Microsoft can continue to have millions of Win 8 OEM licenses sold, it won’t change the game and bring as much money as Apple does with iOS devices.

    And in the end, it’s only with money that a company can survive… nobody cares you have sold gazillions licenses if it didn’t bring you some cash… Capitalism 101

  • Steven King

    More Windows 7 licenses were sold last year than ever because the Enterprise had been waiting for years for a decent Microsoft OS.
    None wanted to “upgrade” to the travesty that was Vista so most have been running XP for the better part of a decade.Now that those enterprises have upgraded Windows will go back to it`s mid-line in sales. Corporations aren`t going to jump on Win 8 and Metro without waiting to see what happens with it.

    Nice article.

  • Dilbert A

    Mike, your welcome to use my basement as a temporary hide out from the impending anti-Apple troll assault.

  • Dilbert A

    You can get a used iPad for $350 from Apple, $250 on Craig’s List.

  • Dilbert A

    Not for a “software” company, which was Mike’s point.

  • Dilbert A

    I’m curious to try posting using the gimped Siri on the new iPad.

  • Gregintosh

    Some of the biggest load of crap I read in a long time. A $20 dumbphone does NOT fulfill the same needs as a smartphone. The recession shows you people will spend more for Apple products even while cutting back on other things. The idea that people are going to stop or run out of money (by saying that trend cannot continue) is ridiculous. Why can’t it continue?

    If someone is buying an iPad or MacBook now why would they stop all of a sudden when the economy improves? So far in 3 years of a bad economy apple grows every quarter and there’s no reason to believe that will change (show any data or actual analysis that suggests Apple sales slow down).

  • Dilbert A

    Or option 4: come up with a better way, if one exist. Either way, it’s a big risk for a primarily software company.

  • Dilbert A

    It’s about profit. Apple’s owning Microsoft. 

    They should learn from what Apple has achieved.

  • Dilbert A

    This.

  • Shaun Green

    There is no such thing as the “Post-PC Era”.
    Computers adapt to the changing nature of how people use them and to the
    technology available. This has allowed us to go from giant computers sitting in
    air conditioned rooms to computers sitting on your desk. The advent of better
    battery technology enabled the advent of laptop computers and finally further
    advances in batteries and circuit boards have allowed us to shrink the computer
    into the tablet form we see today. The PC is not dead it just evolves over
    time.

    The companies best placed to advance are those willing to think outside the
    box, continually innovate and connect with their customers through quality,
    reliable and sensibly priced products.

    Ultimately Apple’s downfall will be its arrogant belief that it has all the
    answers. That customers and will want to live inside Apple’s walled garden
    forever. As you say in your article ALL companies go through the cycle of
    growth, maturity and ultimately death or reinvention. Apple has already been
    through the reinvention phase so the next step will be decline.

    Once Samsung, Google, Microsoft, etc get their act together and start churning
    out compelling alternatives to Apple’s products at much lower prices (as Amazon
    have done) Apple will no longer be able to maintain a 51% profit margin as they
    are forced to either lower their prices or see their sales and market share
    slide even further. Once they are no longer able to post 50% sales growth every
    quarter their fair weathered friends in the stock market will start cashing in
    their chips and taking their profits leaving Apple’s share price to slide
    downwards. That in turn will cause internal divisions and key staff will leave
    as they have already started to do over the past couple of years.

    Finally someone will come along who can build iOS like devices better, sexier
    and cheaper and Apple will be dead. Apple would be a nobody in the PC world if
    they had to rely on their Mac business. I’m sorry but the cycle of life and
    death holds true in the corporate world just as much as it does in the human
    world.

    Just a few years ago Sony was flying high on a wave of successful and much loved
    consumer electronics products. Now things are very different. Believe me when I
    say the same will happen to Apple one day and they won’t even see it coming.
     

  • Gregintosh

    I agree! This commenting system is terrible on the iPad. Sometimes it stops letting you type, move the cursor, etc. randomly. Is really should be fixed!

  • Tom Hills

    Your post doesn’t consider a number of important factors..
    1. Productivity & Life span of products 
    2. PC Cannibalization by iPad
    3. Accessability benefits of devices such as iPad.
    4. Suitability of PC’s vs tablets in poor developing markets.
    5. Deployment and maintenance costs in enterprise.

  • Spidouz

    Oh Apple will decline, one day or another… But today, it looks like it’s what happens to Microsoft. And one of the main reason they can win is very simple: It’s all about Hardware & Software Integration and Cost.

    First, to have a great “Post-PC” device, it needs to have a very tied integration. To accomplish that, you need a great symbiosis between hardware and software. And the only way to do that, it’s not in doing partnership business, but by being in charge of both hardware and software. Google and Microsoft know it and that’s why they bought Motorola for Google and Nokia for Microsoft. It’s the ONLY way to make it work. But it also means, the “partnership business” becomes irrelevant, because you will get a great integration on your product and all your OEM partners will get bad user experience… Apple is so in advance and so good in “Post-PC” because they haven’t been good in doing partnership and OEM deals… It’s just not in their DNA and that’s why Desktop/Laptop only represent a very small percentage. But it’s great for the Post-PC market.

    Second, it’s all about cost… Why Apple can have so much margin? Once again, because they are in charge of Hardware and Software. And in that case, they don’t have to sell the software, they don’t sell iOS… it’s just part of the whole device. The Software is only their to bring more value to the hardware by working perfectly with. They don’t try to make all of their revenue by the software. Which is the opposite of Microsoft…. That’s why a copy of Lion only cost $29 when a copy of Win 7 cost over $100. How can you compete on that business model? You can’t… Because even if Microsoft lower its prices, Apple could still throw the software for free or almost free (like the iPhoto for $4.99, Pages and Numbers for $9.99). If Microsoft match those prices, they will get less revenue… For Apple, it’s not even 10% of their total revenue. If Samsung wants to sell a tablet, they will ever need to pay Microsoft for the Win 8 license, which is extra cost that Apple doesn’t have to pay. So they can have more margin than Samsung with exactly the same hardware cost… Or they could still lower their prices if they would. The only way would be for Samsung to write their own OS (or buy one) like HP did with WebOS. But then you are not more “compatible with Microsoft Windows” and Microsoft will loose on that. And the other solution is to go with a free OS such Linux but in that case, not only Microsoft is loosing, but Samsung would still have to work around to have a great Software-Hardware integration. (cf. My First Point). So the only way to come cheaper than Apple would be to cut on quality, cut on power/features or cut on software… Which means the product will not be in the same category and market than Apple’s product. The Kindle Fire is a perfect example. Great device, cheaper… but definitely not an iPad or a Galaxy Tab.

    So if you combine those two points, you understand pretty easily why Apple is in a good and strong position. It was already the strategy with iLife on OS X, now they use it for iOS… But this time, the situation and the form factor is encouraging the strategy Apple’s adopting and this is why it’s working so well for them.

  • bondr006

    I was just talking to my brother about this very thing yesterday. Great article.

  • Spidouz

    Well, if I do believe they could come with an iMac Air (which would just be a piece of glass, without optical drive, SSD, large HDD, etc… running iOS X), I more likely believe it could be the “Apple TV Set” a lot of people are talking about… I think it’s the next real game changer, mainly for TV Channels and Game Consoles. 

    You could have it on your desk with a support and use it with your bluetooth keyboard and trackpad/mouse, but you could also use it on a wall as a TV set and control it with SIRI and a remote (like Boxee), or even with an iPad. Another game changer would definitely the merge of OS X and iOS… I’m convinced it will happen; we can find A LOT of details that indicate they will do it… as well as another Apple TV (not just the 1080p they did).

    When I look at my iMac 27″, it’s already a kind of TV… Now they would only have to bring a large size. I don’t really believe in ‘iMac Touch’ (neither a MacBook Pro Touch) because it’s not really practical to hold your arm in the air to touch the screen… 

    I do still remember one patent where you can flip the screen down thought (like the Wacom Cintiq). But I do think a real new Apple TV and “iOS X” might still come first… as well as a smaller iPad… that way the next time, we will only have a new iPad and a new iPad Mini, (which will take care of the $299-399 segment, in replacement of the iPad 2 they kept).

    Well, it’s just speculations… we’ll definitely know more when they will discover iOS 6 (probably at WWDC) and we’ll see if now they will bring some OS X features to iOS (such a File Manager, Airdrop, GateKeeper, DashBoard, better Spotlight, Activity Monitor, XCode and Terminal)… that would definitely allow to open a little bit more the iOS devices, killing another reason to use Android and preparing for the next update that could be the final merge, probably in End of 2013. We’ll see :)

  • steffenjobbs

    If only it were true.  It’s just that there are too many IT fanbois that won’t let the world of Windows fade away.  They truly believe that the only way any work can be done is by using Windows everything.  Windows from top to bottom.  I doubt most consumers would care if Windows goes away because they just need some basic and simple functions to get them through the day.  So many people do not require a full desktop experience to accomplish what they need to do.  All I hear about from the Windows fanbois is how powerful Windows 8 is going to be.  That’s all well and good for those that truly need the power of Windows on a decent desktop or notebook computer.  On a slim tablet, I have my doubts that consumers will be running MS Office Suite on their home tablets.  Time will tell.  It’s too early to judge without a shipping Windows 8 tablet available.

    I truly believe that 70% of the consumers out there do not need the power of any desktop OS.  Corporations are something else.  They need the whole gamut of devices with tablets living along with servers.  I just believe in the next few years Windows desktop market share should level off at around 60% and that’s still a pretty decent market share.   I don’t want to see Windows die because it’s still a decent OS and certainly has its place in a post-PC world, but just not as much need as it has now.

  • tanbor

    This article is biased !!! iOS devices can never replace PC/laptop unless they become PC/laptop by both hardware and software redesign.

  • Michael Scrip

    Amazon has roughly 0% profit margin on the Kindle Fire.

    They are counting on making money only by people purchasing *optional* things to go along with their tablet.

    And that’s not even a guarantee… as people can enjoy using a Kindle Fire for surfing the web for free or using free apps. Is it a good bet?

    Sure… Apple’s profit margin could go down… but Amazon is already as low as they can go!

    I don’t think Amazon has lucked onto the secret… and I doubt Apple will follow in their footsteps either.

  • ClickMe

    The iPad is great, but enterprise customers have MSFT baked in and it’s not going to change. Enterprise systems are huge, bloated, complex and are 75% Windows. And with that comes incompatibilities with iOS.

    To build and maintain iOS you need OS X, and IT departments will not adopt Macs. You’d think Apple would do with the iPad (and iPhone) with what they did with the iPod and iTunes:

    Migrate XCode to Windows. It’s a win-win. THat way iOS is much easier to maintain and develop applications. 

  • FilthyMacNasty

    Meanwhile, we’re all holding our breath waiting for those “compelling alternatives.”

  • Tim

    Newsflash to all the Apple fanboys here.  There is NO post PC era.  Fact is, the PC is never going away.  Yes I own an iPad, but I would never give up my Desktop for a tablet.  And Windows 7 is a real operating system, unlike what is on a MAC.

  • Tim

     I agree tanbor.  Unfortunately Apple fanboys have no clue what a real computer is or does.  Thats why you get stupid articles like this, and  the fanboy comments.  Its truly sad and sickening at the same time.  They are so clueless.

  • Tallest_Skil

    In no way is iPad dictation “gimped”, nor is it at all pretending to be Siri. Siri has nothing to do with STT or TTS. Siri is the conversational aspect of what you’re experiencing when you use it, not the means by which your words are turned into something the computer can understand.

    The iPad uses Nuance’s speech to text software, the same as is used to parse Siri commands. And for anyone who has ever used it, it is NOT gimped.

  • Tim

    The Apple fanboys here are truly in their own little fantasy world.  You do realize the PC and Windows FAR outnumber anything Apple has.  There are far more people using a PC than Apple.

  • Tim

     Newsflash again.  Just because someone owns an iPad does not mean it “cannibalized” their PC.  Its just means the own two devices.

    People are so dang ignorant on the internet, its sickening.  Either that or just plain stupid.

    I would never give up my Desktop for ANY tablet, or any notebook.  Anyone who says otherwise does not know what a true PC is and can do.  That is fact.

  • Tim

    The problem with the Amazon tablet is that it uses Android, one that doesn’t eve let users have access to the Android Market.  The Microsoft operating system for tablets will be far better.

  • Alfiejr

    well, Mike, you’re on to something all right. but … can’t MS do what you advise in a year or two – after realizing that its Windows 8/Metro miss-mash is a mistake given lukewarm sales – by cutting the cord they are mistakenly insisting on now between ARM Metro tablets and Windows? i think so. they will be further behind of course, but not out of the lightweight OS game entirely …

    actually i would point to something else you didn’t mention as the biggest threat to MS: the huge drop in app prices for the post-PC ecosystems. MS is not going to be able to charge $ hundreds for consumer tablet versions of its cash-cow Office suite. maybe $30 each for Word and Excel, that’s it.

    but MS will be OK. it will contract a bit to focus on the enterprise market, its true core business already. like IBM, there will always be huge business and profit there. that’s why this article should be qualified to address just the Post PC consumer market.

  • Benjamin Wikstrom

     If you’ve ever developed in xcode you’d understand it only really works with OSX, trying to put it in a windows environment would ruin it.

  • Cathy Pierce

    Feeling a little stupid?….. good, you should.

  • Cathy Pierce

    Truth hurts eh tim lol. Don´t feel so butt hurt sunshine…. Apple rules, just live with it… embrace it. We know it, and you know it too now

  • Shaun Green

    I love all things Apple but I hate the way they bully other companies. From what I’ve heard they are very arrogant in their negotiations with people like the film studios and music companies. I just think that this attitude is going to come back and bite them in the ass one day. A little humility goes a long way in business negotiations. There are plenty of examples of companies in the tech world who thought and acted like they were the “big I am”. Remember Microsoft a few years ago. Or IBM in the 70s/80s. I remember dealing with Palm in the 90s when they were top dog in the PDA market – they were so arrogant and contempuos of their customers it was unbelieveable. The iPhone and iPad account for over 70% of Apple’s revenues – that is a very precarious position if you ask me. Mobile phone users are not like PC users. If you’re a Mac user you’ll probably always be a Mac users. But the mobile phones users are different. If someone comes out with something that overtakes the iPhone in desirability the users will dump the iPhone with no hesitation. They have no allegiance. They just buy whatever the must have gadget this year is. Samsung won handset of the year this year, Nokia are finally turning out some fantastic designs again, Sony are on the up and Motorola can only get better with Google behind them. If I was Tim Cook I would be looking to diversify Apple’s product portfolio as quickly as possible to reduce their reliance on the iPhone and iPad.

  • Michael Scrip

    Good point about the “consumer” Post-PC world.

    Mom or Dad could get by with an iPad for most of their daily tasks… (and they still have an old PC laying around for other stuff)

    But enterprise customers will continue to use “real” PCs running Microsoft software.

  • Alfiejr

    yeah, businesses might get by without “real” PC’s. but they can’t without Server/Exchange and all the related back-end MS software. 

    MS faces a lose/lose choice: either port its popular apps to iOS, or hold them back for W8/Metro only. the first ensures the success of iOS, the second accelerates the transition away from Windows.

  • Spidouz

    Well, it’s not entirely true. If smartphones users were known to easily switch to another brand, surveys show that iPhone users are more likely to stick with Apple no matter what… 

    I know myself, that I wouldn’t like any other phones than Apple ones, even if they are better (actually there’s already better phones than the iPhone, even today). It’s more about of choosing an environment for the user experience. When you have a macbook, iMac, iPad and iPhone, you’re more likely to stick with iPhones to be sure everything will work perfectly together. Probably the same for the ones who have a Windows Phone with Windows Desktop… (I don’t know much about it, I’m just guessing).

    Being rude in negotiations could be great if it’s for the user interest. Because every industry try to protect their interest… not the user interest. If Apple weren’t so hard on carrier at first, we might not have what we have today? Who knows, they are perhaps hard on films studios right now, but they might bring real good deal for the users for TV… actually way better than the current offer where iTunes is often $5 or $6 more expensive than DVD/BRs at Amazon. 

    BUT, if they are only negotiating hard for them (because there’s also no doubt Apple will do everything to protect its own interest first), it will backfire sooner or later… no doubt about that. As long they’re doing it for innovation and end-user interests, it will be all good.

    And regarding the “Look at Me I’m the biggest”… you’re 200% right. Apple’s climbing right now and have 70% from Mobiles devices and nobody knows but it could fall pretty quick… maybe. In that case, they might just get back to a regular and still pretty decent situation thought, with a lot in cash to guarantee them to continue innovation en new product development. But, everything can change very quickly. They only need two or three very bad operations. It happened to Microsoft, Cisco, IBM, etc… and Apple can still think different, but they aren’t different from anyone when it comes down to that domain.

    PS: And I would also add (on another note) that it will also happen to Google and Facebook… and even more quickly for Facebook since it doesn’t bring any real services, software nor hardware. I know a lot of Facebook-Addict will disagree with me on that, but Facebook could fall right like Myspace.

  • FilthyMacNasty

    So you’re suggesting that Apple, in the strongest position probably any company can find itself in, basically surrender the market to its competitors?
    That’s like saying a horse has a huge lead in a race, so the jockey should make him stop because some other horse might, at some time in the future, be able to run faster.
    Sony, Nokia, and Motorola are losing money every quarter, and no one knows if Google is making any money off of Android, despite its market share.
    If any company should act out of desperation and paranoia, it should be Microsoft, and its partner Nokia as well. 
    As for Apple being arrogant, it was Apple that showed the music industry that its business model was outdated. Sometimes an outsider has to come along to shake up the status quo. Apple got a lot of resistance, until music producers and artists found out that Apple’s was indeed a better, and more profitable way. 
    I hope Apple can be as “arrogant” to the movie and TV industries someday soon, because Apple specializes in fixing broken business models.
    Apple is kicking ass because its very nature is to look at what the future holds. Every tech company is worried about what Apple will do next, and trying to come up with suitable imitations of Apple products. Apple doesn’t waste any energy or resources responding to competitors; it sets the bar, and will for some time to come.

  • baby_Twitty

    Sorry but in the real world, the stats DON’T LIE.
    Let me break it down for you;
    World Number 1 in the stock value.
    $100 Billion cash-in-hand.
    340 world wide retail stores with highest profit-per-square foot.
    Near sold out at launch day during each of Apple’s major new product.
    Employs 500,000 workers both direct and indirectly. (U.S. alone. Not counting world wide yet.)
    Number 1 in music online business.
    World’s top and biggest App ecosystem and app economy.
    Most used OS and web traffic on mobile devices.
    (in case u are wondering iOS are on iPhone, iPods and the iPads. All these combined trumps Android’s users base.)
    World’s best selling laptops, macbooks + macbook Air.
    And THAT’s Apple in a POST-PC world for you.

    If i’m one the heads at Microsoft, would i be worried? Yes i’ll be very worried.

    So who’s CLUELESS now?

  • baby_Twitty

    Sorry but in the real world, the stats DON’T LIE.
    Let me break it down for you;
     World Number 1 in the stock value.
    $100 Billion cash-in-hand.
    340 world wide retail stores with highest profit-per-square foot.
    Near sold out at launch day during each of Apple’s major new product.
    Employs 500,000 workers both direct and indirectly. (U.S. alone. Not counting world wide yet.)
    Number 1 in music online business.
    World’s top and biggest App ecosystem and app economy.
    Most used OS and web traffic on mobile devices.
    (in case u are wondering iOS are on iPhone, iPods and the iPads. All these combined trumps Android’s users base.)
    World’s best selling laptops, macbooks + macbook Air.
    And THAT’s Apple in a POST-PC world for you.

    If i’m one the heads at Microsoft, would i be worried? Yes i’ll be very worried.

    So who’s CLUELESS now?

  • RainerB

    My 5 year old iMac, my 2 year old iPhone and my year old iPad still work perfectly on the latest version of the OS.
    Nothing redundant about that.

  • nikster

    Very true. As much as I despised MS for its lack of innovation and plain horrible UIs that is not what is killing them – what’s killing them is their success. They get $Bns for free every year with windows licenses – there is no urgency or need to change… until it’s too late, that is.

  • markrlangston

    Superb comment. You’re absolutely right, Apple had the luxury of running with scissors because they had nowhere to go but up and if they failed no one would’ve been surprised. 
    Enter (or rather re-enter) Steve Jobs.  

    Microsoft is the proverbial hare, unable or unwilling to see a reality that didn’t include them being in 1st place. Apple, the determined tortoise, has managed to surprise Microsoft in broad daylight as MS sat on the sideline watching closely as Apple passed them on the road of relevance. 

    Is it too little too late? Probably not. Windows still represents a significant strand in the fabric of technology but I don’t think Win8 is the direction they should be stepping into at this point in time. 

    As the article states, it’s about timing and I think Win8 is about 3 to 5 years too soon.  

  • nikster

    Corporations would really be happiest to never update their OS. Microsoft rarely adds anything that helps a business make more money, and upgrade costs are horrendous.

    What I find interesting is that iPads look dead set on being *everywhere* in corporations. And iPhones. Macs might make headway through a halo effect too but the funny thing is, it really doesn’t matter anymore as iOS is WAY bigger.

    All laptops that are secondary machines will be replaced with iPads… 

  • nikster

    The sticking factor has never been high with Windows. Windows is a platform that everyone uses, but that everyone would also be perfectly happy to abandon tomorrow. 

    Windows was either “the default that came with my laptop” or “what the company is using” – it was never a conscious choice of choosing Windows vs. an alternative.

  • Alex H

    Yep, Microsoft fell asleep at the wheel. It got fat and lazy while gorging on the cash cow that is Windows/Office franchise. Microsoft failed to anticipate the web in the mid-90′s and got deathly scared of Netscape. Then it was Sun, Java and servers that Microsoft had to go after. Then it was all about going after Sony with the X-Box. 

    While all this was going on and Microsoft was distracted, Jobs put the “i” on Apple’s new products, leveraged the power of the Internet to offset the Windows/Office monopoly, positioned itself as a consumer electronics company with the iPod and proceeded to pull the rug out from under Microsoft, just as Microsoft had done to IBM and Apple in the 80′s.

    And, so, Microsoft is now the hapless underdog looking forward. Apple towers above Redmond and Apple’s position is only strengthening by the day. Windows users are leaving the platform in droves for the iOS/Mac ecosystem. They get an iPhone and/or iPad and then they’ll look at the Mac when they decide it’s time to replace the PC.

    Windows 8 is too little too late. Most Windows people (mainly consumers) are wary of another new Windows coming out. If they’re going to learn a whole new OS again then they might as well jump ship to the iOS/Mac *ecosystem* (not just the OS platform) so they can just get things done and get control over their content with the least amount of hassles as possible. They don’t want to ever read a manual again.

    And with the consumers, managing content has become the key factor. People want to manage their photos, music, movies, books, apps, and docs in a centralized location in a seamless manner across various devices – the PC/Mac, smartphone, tablet, and TV. The devices are simply an interface to the content that people own on the cloud. And that’s what Apple has essentially become: a cloud interface company that also manages people’s access to their content.

    The only way to do all this right is to control and own the entire widget: industrial design, chip/processor design, hardware engineering, OS and apps software development, content distribution, cloud services, and the retail stores where consumers themselves can experience the entire ecosystem that is intuitive and easy to understand and ultimately master.

    How does anyone else hope to match this? Who but the nerdiest geeks want to cobble together fragmented systems from a bewildering variety of hardware, software, and content vendors? Both Google and Microsoft really don’t have a clue about hardware. The likes of Samsung and Sony don’t have a clue about software. None of them have a handle on content. Google’s Internet presence and cloud offerings are certainly strong and that’s probably the only area that Apple has some catching up to do.

    Looking the tech wars from a traditional war strategy perspective, hardware can be seen as land warfare, software as a battle to rule the seas and the Internet warfare to control the airspace. Samsung is like the Chinese army on land. Microsoft is like the Royal Navy of the great old British Empire. Google rules the air but really has no solid footing on land nor the water. 

    Apple is the only force that is lean and integrated to fight on all land terrains, water and air. Apple still has to develop a better air force but that’s coming along nicely with iCloud and its data centers. When Apple just achieves parity with Google on the “air” (i.e., the Internet or the cloud), Apple’s position could become dominant and unassailable for a long time to come – kind of like where Microsoft was in its heydays of the late-80′s through the late-90′s. But it still won’t be a Microsoft-like monopoly and that’s the beauty of it all.

  • Eduard Playà

    I don’t know what the future will bring, and I don’t think anyone does, including Mr. Elgan. Indeed, the article may have some interesting pouts, reasonable ones, but fails to “prove” (we understand what prove means while doing predictions) some of the main ones.

    Assuming the failure of all Windows software in the future, that wouldn’t be enough for the failure or Microsoft crunch. While at Microsoft have what they have (a dream for most companies in the world), they will have enough options to challenge Mr. Elgan’s predictions. At least they could buy a company doing the right thing at the right time, a relevant absence in the article. Or split a new company without the restrictions of the present Microsoft, or many other options.

    In my modest opinion, Mr. Elgan’s point that “dinosaurs have almost never been able to act in their future best interest when it conflicts with their present best interest” it is not that easy to accept. Wouldn’t it be possible that a radical shift in the top management of the company would drive Microsoft to a new radical approach of their business? Wasn’t that what Apple Computer did when Mr. Jobs was back on board?

    Another conclusion where the article falls short is “that the transition from the PC world to the post-PC world involves a transition from a Microsoft world to an Apple world”. So as Microsoft has lost the right focus but Apple is doing the right thing (or has it in its DNA), then it will be a Apple era. Is this a world of two? There are no chances for others out there, or new players? Why not Samsung, or Amazon, or Huawei, or Facebook, or Weibo?

    I may be wrong, I accept it from the beginning; but it feels that the article is biased as the real motto is to say just that, that the post-PC era is an Apple era. That the whole article had the conclusion in mind before properly analyzing the facts and range of possibilities.

  • Michael Scrip

    RE: Myspace

    Myspace fell because something better came along… Facebook.

    And not only did Facebook get the 100 million people that were on Myspace… they got 750 million more too.

    That’s 750 million people who were NOT on Myspace to begin with… Facebook is most people’s first and only social network.  

    In order for Facebook to fall like Myspace did… something better has to come along… AND convince people to start using it instead of Facebook.

    By now… if a new service comes along… it’s gonna be a matter of getting people to switch to it… rather than signing up new people to their first social network. Those days are long gone.

    Facebook opened to the public in 2006… and didn’t have a legitimate challenger until 2011 with Google+

    That’s 5 years… an eternity in the tech world. Nobody even bothered trying to take down Facebook during that time.

    Of course anything is possible… but it’s gonna be very difficult to dethrone Facebook.

    I mean… if Google can’t do it… who can?

  • Michael Scrip

    It might never be an “Apple World” but it’s safe to say that some things have changed over the past couple of years. 
    I think we can at least credit Apple with shaking up the PC industry. 

    I mean… if Apple hadn’t launched the iPad in 2010… would Windows 8 and its new tablet-friendly interface launch in 2012 ?

    Windows has already tried tablets over a decade ago with barely any success. 

    Win95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista and 7 have all kinda looked the same for the past 17 years.

    http://i.imgur.com/KYOPs.jpg

    Windows laptops and desktops have looked the same too… running on basically the same hardware for a decade.

    Then suddenly we get Windows 8, Metro, Windows on ARM, and a complete re-imagining of what Windows can be.

    Coincidence?

  • AdamC

    Facebook’s next competitor iBore. 

    Here something to chew on – someone in China had opened a Facebook account using my Yahoo email. I can’t access this Facebook account but I keep getting updates from Facebook.

    The question is how many Facebook accounts are real?

  • Michael Scrip

    Couldn’t the same be asked of ALL online services?

  • AdamC

    The post PC era is one of mobile and not just Apple but any company which can handle always with me contents personal and otherwise.

  • Cathy Pierce

    That has nothing to do with their revenue dude. Man do you leave you head at home when you post here? Regarding Microsoft…. yeah sure ;)

  • Cathy Pierce


    People are so dang ignorant on the internet, its sickening.  Either that or just plain stupid. ”

    You said it Tim, you said it.

  • Spidouz

    Your analyze is wrong. Facebook can have a gazillions millions users, it won’t change the fact that “regardless how big you are, you will decline sooner or later”.

    It’s a fact that happen to any tech companies, as well as any civilizations (Aztec, Mayans, Roman and British Empires, etc…). And it will happen to Facebook just like it will also happen to Apple. It might be tomorrow, in 5, 10 or 50 years, but it will happen.

    And to understand better how it could happen, you just have to look at the Capitalism 101 rule that apply to any company: You need to make money to survive.

    So ask yourself just three simple questions about any company: 

    1) Who’s your audience/user target?
    2) What’s your financial goal/purpose?
    3) What’s your business model/plan and/or strategy?

    The Target: 

    A company can’t indefinitely grow. Let’s assume Facebook target is “Every Connected People on Earth”. Sooner or later, they will run out of connected people. There’s billions of people that don’t have computer and can’t even be on the Internet. So once you reach this limit, even if (and that’s a big IF) Facebook would have 100% of connected people, they will stop to grow, which is the first step to decline.

    Financial Goal/Purpose:

    If you think Google business is a Search Engine, stop reading there. Their business is to sell Advertising, the same way Facebook business is not a Social Network, but Facebook business is to get and resell personal data.

    Why so many companies are encouraging to use Facebook? Because in a World of Consumption, Facebook is a perfect marketing tools to get and resell Personal Data.

    So the best question is: How much personal data people will accept to give away to use a social network. Because once we all know your basic profile, to continue to generate revenue, you need to come with more and more data that would be interesting for companies to buy. And to get more data, you will need to be more intrusive in personal life. It’s not a big surprise why Facebook is always changing privacy settings and concerns about it starts to appears everywhere around the world. Some people already start to delete profiles from Facebook. It’s the second step to decline.

    Business model:

    Any company has a strategy to apply the Goal/Purpose to the Target. Google did provided a free search engine and a tons of other free services in the unique goal the user will spend more time in Google Environment to be exposed to their Advertising. That’s Google business model.

    For a long time Facebook didn’t generate revenue because the most important step in their business model was to collect information and get people connected. It’s just like the first crack dose. Even today with 750+ millions users they ‘only’ generate a $4.27B revenue, which is less than 6 bucks per users.

    So they will (or already did) start direct advertising or even change Facetime as a pay service. (just like Google with more and more ads on top, on the side, etc… or Youtube with ads you can’t pass and remove, or even Skype, etc..). Another step that might lead to people to quit and go for something else…

    And that’s the point, regardless how big a company is and what business they are in, the market is constantly changing and if a company don’t adapt, it will decline… But to change, it has to be and match your goal/purpose, your market target, but also your business model. 

    Apple does have a great success in Post-PC devices, not because they definitely better in that domain, but because this domain match better to their company DNA. They failed in the Desktop/Laptop (in comparison to Microsoft) because they weren’t good at doing partnership and it was not in their DNA to do so. It’s for the same reason Microsoft has hard time to come in the Post-PC market (Zune and Phones… Xbox is actually a great success for them) for the same reason.

    Facebook was maybe there for 5 years, but they didn’t generate much revenue during those 5 years, and that’s probably why nobody went against them. It wasn’t yet the time.  But the more they will be successful, the more other companies will also try to get a part of the pie… to the point another company will finally comes.

    Mike wrote it in the article, it’s all about timing. Right company with right founders in the right moment. Sometimes, it only needs a bad or poor decision from one company to be the starting point for another one…. and this day, it will also be the moment where the company starts to decline. Facebook is not different from any company and will fall sooner or later under the same rules. It’s just a matter of time… 

  • Babelchips

    A lot of people are arguing that there is no post-pc era and the enterprise world will continue as is. That is ignoring one important factor – change is guaranteed. MS’s dominance in the enterprise is a fact but it wasn’t always this way, IBM, UNIX servers and terminals dominated once. Microsoft is big and dominant because things changed. They can’t have it both ways – success because they were the next big thing once and then pretend something else isn’t coming next.

    Now mobile devices are replacing the need for laptops and desktops one step at a time – not entirely but the trend is clear and it will continue. PCs won’t disappear but they won’t be the “go to” device like they were in the past. We will still need them just like we need trucks and lorries but everyone else (ie the majority) will drive cars.
    Anyone who thinks things will stay the same is not looking far enough back, beyond the 90s or looking at the change that has occurred in the last 10 years.

    Today people are standing at train stations actively emailing, reading, working, learning, watching, listening and communicating via their mobile devices. It is a real, gradual but definite attack on PCs and laptops today. This won’t stop, these devices are encroaching on the old ways and they will continue to do so. The iPad will gradually solve more and more problems that only PCs can solve today, denying these things is to ignore technological growth in a world which thrives on it.

    Apple is dynamic enough to ride the wave of change, it kills its own product lines to make way for new products (Whereas MS kills products for the wrong reasons). Apple sees where technology is taking us. It embraces the trends and defines the market by seeing the bigger picture early enough to make moves in the right direction. That is why they are successful. They don’t look back and they don’t hold any product sacred forever.

    Change is guaranteed in the world of business and technology and Microsoft is struggling with that concept. They really need to bite the bullet and forget the past. If they don’t do that, the only change they will see will be the wrong kind. It’s not rocket science.

  • Dave Bodiford

    I eagerly look forward to the day this happens.  But, in the business world I’m around everyday, I still see how important Microsoft’s backwards-compatibility still is.  It’s easy to blame IT departments and make jokes about them sticking to Internet Explorer 6.0 or even 7.0.  But, it involves a lot more than that. 

    I’m the designated go-to “IT guy” at a 3-person accounting firm.  I’m not an IT guy; I just know how to install software, setup the network, setup backups & virus protection and fix problems when I happen to not be busy doing my accounting job.  We have Windows 7 computers now, but still use proprietary software designed for Windows 3.1.  It doesn’t work in Windows 7, but works without a problem in Virtual PC with Windows XP.  I could go on and on with examples of our small business clients that need backwards-compatibility offered in some way; that’s just an example.

    I can’t say that I’ve seen any improvements in what I do at all either with new software.  Our tax software gets more  and more bloated every year, yet still retains the same interface for each new annual version.  Square-block scrollbars and tiny data entry windows designed for a 800×600 screen.  Excel & Word 2010 are still a pain  - I’ve gotten used to the ribbon bar and keyboard shortcuts, but I’ve had compatibility & other issues.   I’d love to use Numbers or Libreoffice, but they’re both unbelievably slow and can’t handle a 20,000+ row spreadsheet like Excel 2000 even could.  I eagerly wait for Excel for iPad as a solution for that!

  • Michael Scrip

    “A company can’t indefinitely grow. Let’s assume Facebook target is “Every Connected People on Earth”. Sooner or later, they will run out of connected people.  Facebook would have 100% of connected people, they will stop to grow, which is the first step to decline.”

    If the whole point of these services is to attract eyeballs for advertising… why would it be BAD if they finally got every single connected person on Earth? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

    Sure… Facebook wouldn’t be growing anymore… but they’d have 2 billion people.

    Wouldn’t they just sit back and collect ad revenue from 2 billion people?

    Surely that’s got to be enough to stay in business…

    Even now… Facebook has 850 million users.  If they suddenly stopped growing… is that really bad?

    It’s still more users than any other service. If they can’t survive with 850 million users…. no one else could survive with fewer users.

    I understand the whole “growth” thing with corporations… but there’s also the “let’s make money from what we’ve got” 

    If Facebook never signs up a new user ever again… there’s still 850 million users using the service, looking at ads, and uploading 200 million photos per day.

    Aren’t they the people keeping the site in business?

    Of course there’s gonna be a point when everybody who wants to be on Facebook is already on Facebook.

    And it’s at that point where Facebook should just take care of those users.

    Or should they just give up and shut their doors when they stop growing?

  • Skiour

    Nice post. To the credit of all tech companies, they have to continuously re-invent themselves.

    No other industry is so unforgiving at the tech industry. Personally I hate to see companies whose products I once cherished disappear into oblivion. Unfortunately one day Apple too might be history, same as Microsoft, Google etc. though they have the benefit of tens of billions of $ to burn first.

    On the issue of starting small, remember that the new Windows Phone, was based on Microsoft own PMP (iPod like device) the Zune.

    Now, about Windows 8, not sure what to make of it. I’ve only toyed with it and it seems set to disappoint both traditional Windows users and those looking the perfect tablet OS.

    There’s a lot of innovation inside Microsoft but it seems the wrong decisions are ultimately being made too often… see the courrier… Microsoft buried the project while there was such an overwelming response. 

  • Spidouz

    Oh don’t get me wrong, what Facebook does is phenomenon and 850 millions users, probably 1 billion pretty soon is huge.

    However, it’s not the people that are keeping the site un business. People are keeping it popular. It’s the revenue, from advertising and sales of personal data that keeps the site in business.

    As said, right now it’s perfect, because a tons of companies are craving to pay money Facebook to get personal data… even if it just emails or phones addresses. That’s the biggest “mailing list” on earth yet… so it’s very attractive for Marketing and Sales forces reasons. But will those companies continue to pay Facebook over and over even if there’s no “new personal datas”? 

    I don’t think so… and that’s why Facebook will have to be more intrusive in privacy, which is already the case with the “Like” button on any website that allows Facebook to know you have been surfing this page even if you don’t click on it and if you aren’t logged in your account.

    So to get revenue from the users, they definitely needs ads and/or even start paid services. Maybe they will find something interesting users are willing to pay for in their Facebook account… maybe, in that case, they will turn a large number of accounts in a large revenue. Without it, it’s a complete different story. But the more Ads users will start to see, the more they will start to dislike it and will look to switch to the “next big thing”.

    Look how fast Google+’s got new users… Apparently they already are around 100 millions and should hit 200 millions if they keep the progression current rate by the time of August, just one year right after the public opening. And Google might not even be the best company in position to be the new challenger on that market. It doesn’t stop Facebook, for sure, but it clearly shows that this market could be very volatile and so favorable to a new competition.

  • nikster

    My iPhone 4 is still the best looking handset on the market, and the second best in terms of function (behind the 4S).
    This comment is typed on a 3 year old MacBook Pro – as a professional programmer and geek that’s the longest I’ve *EVER* had the same laptop. Planned obsolescence – I think not.
    If anything Apple’s obsession with design and tendency to keep the same design around for a few years makes them the most future proof hardware maker. Ever looked at a 3 year old Windows PC? If it even still works, it looks like yesterday’s leftover oatmeal….

  • nikster

    Another thing that’s happening is that my kids got an iPad each – they’re 3 and 4 years old… other kids the same age also have iPads so it’s not just geek kids. I think the iPad goes places that laptops and desktop PCs never reached…

  • nikster

    Do you even have an iPad – maybe you’re not aware what an iPad is or can do. Lots of people who never had one think of it as a big iPhone, or a big iPod – it’s really not, it’s much more than that.

    I can’t develop software on an iPad so I’ll keep using PCs (or Macs, as it were). But for every one of me, there’s 100 others out there that surf the web, do email and Facebook, play some games, and do the occasional productivity thing like write a letter on their computers… and guess what the iPad is pretty good for all those things. 

    Or they have a computer at work, but don’t want to be without email on the go… iPad! Or they need remote access to their office… iPad can do it. Et cetera. 

    If the Norwegian prime minister can govern his county remotely with an iPad, I think it satisfies the computing needs of the vast majority of people. 

  • nikster

    If corporate IT wakes up to iPads and Macs… then hell just froze over. And Microsoft is really going to have a problem much sooner than expected.

  • nikster

    All things come to an end. But I think if Apple’s dominance lasts as long as Microsoft’s did, they’ll be pretty happy about it! 20 years? 30? Hmm… I’d take it.

  • Dionte

    I think it’s gonna be hard for windows 8 to compete with the iPad. Expecially when iOS 6 comes out. Apple is in a pretty solid possition already with ios 5. I don’t want to run a full operating system on a tablet. The simplicity of ios is refreshing.

  • Steven Zahl

    TILES look Flat and Bland.

  • flyboybob

    I remember IT people and even some courseware developers telling me in the early 1990s that they would never give up DOS for a graphical interface like the Mac OS. Don’t be so sure about what the future will bring and how it will affect your life.

  • Sean Bauer

    I installed Windows 8 on Parallels and find it disjointed when jumping from Metro to the Desktop. Lots of wasted space and alignment issues as well.

  • deasys

    Yeah, I wish Apple had a real operating system. All it has is Mac OS X, a CERTIFIED Unix ’03 operating system.

    It’s clue time, Tim…

  • crazycanuck2

     not quite accurate …… any corporation that bought a new computer did so with a Win7 license, but the OS that went on was their corporate standard – in many cases that’s still XP.
    Once Win8 comes out MS will be reporting the sale of a Win8 license – but the reality will be an installation of XP or Win7. No corporation in it’s right mind is going to jump into a Win8 pond for at least 12-18 months.

  • crazycanuck2

     if that were true MS would still hold a 90% share of connected devices as they did 3-4 years ago. But check out the numbers. MS are down to just over 40% of connected devices. Android and “i”, even blackberry, are just burying MS in the mobile market, and it’s the boom market.

    Even worse for MS is that people are rapidly coming to realise they don’t need MS products.

    If current trends continue, MS will be down to a 30% share in the connected market by the time Win8 launches.

  • crazycanuck2

     agreed – but that doesn’t mean it’s going to continue to be a MS desktop.

    Have you looked at Linux Mint or Ubuntu recently. The fact is you just don’t need Windows or any of the 75 million pieces of malware that comes along with it.

  • prof_peabody

    “More Windows 7 licenses were sold last year than (all macs ever built including iPads)” 

    I had to paraphrase the sentence as it doesn’t make any sense as written, but if this is what you are truly arguing then you are dead wrong.  The only number we know for certain is from MS as Apple doesn’t announce these figures so much, and they say there were “400 million” Win 7 Licences sold last year.  

    However with Macs selling by the multiple millions per quarter for years now, added to the fact that Macs have been around for longer than Windows computers of any variety, added to the known fact that there are already over 300 million iOS devices out there, it’s really quite unlikely that this statement is even true.  

    If as always, one takes the “business sales” out of the equation where business a, b, or c has to order 500 thousand windows computers that the users would prefer to not even use, and the calling centres who are each “using” a copy of Windows when in fact they don’t even see the desktop, then Windows “use” drops to quite low numbers.  

    Even if we leave out iOS devices, the fact is that for the last three years, when talking only about *consumer* purchases (some actual consumer going to an actual store to buy a computer for themselves alone), the consumer picks a Mac one time out of four.  In terms of actual use by consumers then, Mac is already roughly 25% of the personal computer market and iOS devices are roughly 85% of that market.  The meme where Windows still rules and Mac is some tiny percentile of users hasn’t actually been accurate for a while now. 

  • Michael Scrip

    Great analysis! :)

    One thing… if people get fed up with Facebook if they start to get too many ads…. I don’t think running into the arms of GOOGLE is  a great alternative.

    ;)

    And I’m a heavy GMail, Google Calendar and Google Reader user 

    :D

  • Roger Ramshit

    The difference I see between Apple and MS is that Apple look at what people are trying to achieve and create the technology to do it not worrying about reputation, etc. MS on the other hand always seem on wanting to simply lock customers in so their decisions are based on how can we get people to use our bu and use our products. This is actually a big difference in philosophy because one (Apple) creates the simplest solution and (MS) creates the most convoluted nsustainable solutions.

  • Spidouz

    You’re 300% right!

    Google does have some great hype with Google+, but if people want to run away from Facebook because of Ads, indeed they might not run to Google. That’s why I said: Google might not be the best company in position to be the new challenger on that market”.I better believe that it would probably be a brand new company that comes out of the blue… that would looks to be the most probable scenario IMHO.But until then, with no doubt Facebook will capitalize on their 1 billion users company soon to be and even with their IPO… So I’m not worry about the future for them, neither for Google, Apple or Microsoft thought :)

  • CharliK

    I would have to agree. Particularly in the segment of users for which a tablet is perfect. I’m talking the email, Facebook, web browsing and maybe playing some music type casual users. There are thousands of them out there and Apple and the iPad found the right combination of ease of use and access to hit them. 

    My grandfather is a classic example of these ultralight users. He isn’t saving any kind of documents really. He emails the grandkids, FaceTime chats with them. Has a Facebook account so we can see the kids and grandkids public messages and photos. That’s it. He doesn’t need a computer. He wants something lightweight, easy to use and small so he can lock it in his nightstand in the nursing home. My uncle got him the first iPad when ATT was still doing unlimited plans and is happy to pay for the service for him. They have lunch every couple of weeks so if anything seems to be run with it, Uncle George makes an appointment and takes Papi to the Apple Store etc. He’s already got a new iPad 3 ordered for him for the better screen. 

    I should be embarrassed to say this but Papi claims he can pick up ladies at the home a lot better thanks to his iPad. I’m scared to ask exactly how or what they are doing on their dates. But he’s happy so I suppose its all good

  • CharliK

    If Apple ever goes to a touch based computer I will go back to Windows. Because that is a horrible idea. it is an ergonomic nightmare for starters. 

    Thinner, sure. I can believe that. More UI commonality between OS X and iOS sure. But the touchscreen on the iMac etc. Total gimmick move. 

  • CharliK

    More to this point, you won’t have a computer, a stereo, an X box, a DS. a Kindle etc that you are passing from person to person. 

    You’ll each have a tablet that does all these things

  • CharliK

    “And the question is:  How long are people going to spend $650 to $830 for a (smart)phone, $500 to $830 for a tablet and $1000 to $2500+ for a Computer?”

    Probably not long. But that’s the beauty of this new era. They don’t have to. For many people that $500 tablet is all they need. They don’t need even a $400 computer. Some of them don’t even need a $30 dumb phone thanks to apps like Skype. 

    And they are fine with buying the $400 last year’s model tablet. 

    And they don’t have to buy the $99 Kindle or the XBox for the kiddies, etc. 

    Also, Apple didn’t just start to become successful. They have been this whole time. It’s just that the media noticed them. Perhaps in part because they were adding stores and employees in a time when companies like Borders shut down. 

    And no a dumb phone can’t always fill a need. It depends on what the need is. A dumb phone can’t, for example, replace the 40 lbs in books and supplies my 80 lb little sister carries around every day. But an iPad can, as her school proved this past year. Then again you could argue that reducing that load wasn’t a need but a want also. Or that reducing it is a need but using tech rather than giving kids lockers was the want

    Oh and Microsoft doesn’t fulfill a need anymore than Apple does. Because we need food and water. We need protect from the elements. We don’t need a $300 computer anymore than we do a $1000 one. That’s a want also

  • CharliK

    I would argue that they are hoping to make money on things that have nothing to do with the Fire at all. 

    They don’t really make any money on the books or the Prime subscriptions but the combo could be a loss leader to get folks to come to them for non Kindle books, etc that they do make money on. 

  • CharliK

    Disagree completely. Not everyone needs PC power, design or software. And for those folks something like an iPad even without the bluetooth keyboard etc is just fine

  • CharliK

    No they totally know what a real computer is and does. It is and does what the user needs it to be. For someone like me that is doing feature film FX editing that’s a desktop with a quad core processor, top of the line GPU etc. 

    For my mother who wants to play solitaire, do email perhaps one day a week and have a Facebook page, guess what, that ‘real computer’ is in fact an iPad. 

  • CharliK

    That is the current status but times can change. Many companies are migrating to Macs for general use. 

    Plus there are whole companies out there that will make you an app for whatever you want. So your office doesn’t need to migrate to Macs, just hire one of those companies to do the coding for you. 

  • Michael Scrip

    True… but if Amazon just wanted to get people to buy more Amazon products… (books, RC cars, televisions, toilet paper, etc) they would have done something else besides sinking hundreds of millions of dollars into 7″ hardware and its supporting infrastructure.

    I’m sure Amazon has thought of this… a lot more than I have :) 

    It just seems like a huge gamble. 

    But that’s been Amazon’s MO for quite some time… selling other people’s stuff for a tiny margin.

  • Michael Scrip

    Just like the line in the movie Antitrust:

    “any teenager in a garage could put him out of business”

    :)

  • Jeremy3ds

    There are a lot of extreme comments in both the article and the comments. The truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    OS X and iOS are rather complex under the hood. Why pretend that they are not? Modern day Windows has been completely rearchiteched to be a leaner kernel and code than ever. Why mislead the reader into thinking that Windows 8 is based on old tech?

  • buggietechnica

    As much as I love my Apple products, I would be dead without the office and enterprise tools available on Windows. Whether it is through bootcamp or an RDP session with a Windows server, I don’t see Apple crushing Microsoft anytime soon. Ah, and the ultimate measure… Battlefield 3 doesn’t have a OS X version. Did I mention how my Safari browser on my updated iPad crashes every 15 minutes or less.

  • mobilecasedirect

    I think you captured it perfectly.

    “Once companies launch and become successful, the only way to maintain
    their success is re-invention. As the conditions that enabled their
    initial success fade into history, they have to remake themselves into a
    new kind of company”.

    If MS wants to compete in the next evolution of computing they will have the re-invent their company, products and revenue streams. I wouldn’t count Microsoft out just yet. They have a firm grip in a lot of large companies and I am sure they have a few tricks up their sleeve.

    Every company evolves from start up to success into avoiding failure into re-birth. Apple did it so MS will eventually go their reinvention which is most likely under way.

    on a side note. Someone should fire MS marketing dept. Steve Ballmer holding a “post PC device” with an Apple on it. I know it’s just a twilight book but come on people. Ballmer embracing the Apple in his hands. Sorry had to say it.

  • JLB

    Tim: You own an iPad and I’m the Queen of Sheba.
    M$ trolls never cease to amaze me.

  • JLB

    What is sad and sickening is that M$ trolls like you seem to be compelled to comment on anything Apple related.
    I’m an Apple fan. I would never even consider going on some PC news forum to laugh at the clowns. Why bother?

  • JLB

    You’re completely wrong.
    Here’s the truth: 
    ——-
    Apple is in a position to rewrite its OS from the ground up if necessary, and has done so twice in the last 10 years. 
    Micros**t cannot and will not do that without major detrimental ramifications.
    ——-
    Read that again and tell me who is in a stronger long-term position…

    Look at the PC forums. It is full of stuff like:
    “Hey I have a Dull Dementia, what anti-virus software can I get that won’t slow my system down….”
    “My sister has an HP craptop and Windows Defender keeps locking her out, how can I stop this from happening…”
    “anyone have any solid solutions to repairing a Corrupt Registry in Windows 7?”

    W8 is absolutely based on old technology.

  • Jeremy3ds

    You are embellishing. I could find similar quotes of mac users issues. But that wasn’t my point. My point is that OS X and iOS aren’t these brand new things invented from scratch and current versions of Windows aren’t the same legacy stuff from 20 years ago. Look at the actual technology. And the author of this editorial is misleading in suggesting those two things.

  • Jose

    Not everyone has the same taste of getting around with styled and luxurious devices. Not everyone likes to show off. And mostly not everyone wants to buy a device that needs to be unlocked and jailbroken…Me and my friends we love freedom of choice. Does apple has that with their closed devices? No way. You buy something and still it has to be closed. I don’t want to be in jail for style not even eye candy 

  • Jose

     Apple fanboys at their best. All the time the same think. they have poor spirit as the CEO they adored so much.

  • Jose

    Can I start an article… Why Apple sucks? Better not

  • Ben Taylor

    I’m an IT consultant to SMEs. Many of them are only now moving from XP to Win 7. Windows 8 is likely to be skipped just as Vista was, and I’m glad…it’s ill-conceived and nasty and if I suggest it, every secretary and office worker I have to help in the next 3 years will be grumpy with me. Just not worth it. 

    Ben at http://www.windowstomac.net 

  • Mohy

    A good read…

  • InfoDave

    “…the transition from the PC world to the post-PC world involves a transition from a Microsoft world to an Apple world.”

    That’s not exactly the outcome I was hoping for. The last thing we need is another virtual monopoly. I think Android is a strong #3, and RIM is a niche market #4. It would be great to see webOS amount to something.

    Great analysis of the choices and opportunities Microsoft has been faced with. I do think you overlooked the importance of WinRT in unifying Windows. The kernel of WP7 is not worth saving, but Metro is. Unfortunately, Microsoft chose to push Metro, rather than pull (give me a compelling reason to use your new software).

    The future Microsoft has created for itself, seems to hinge on the success of Metro. Metro, version 1.0. Wow! Just wow.

  • Dilbert A

    I know what Siri is.

    I know what dictation means.

    I understand the proper usage of the word “gimped”.

    Take a stress pill and lay down Dave, I’m detecting an elevated heart rate.

  • Jeffrey Paldeng

    Funny how we heard people who wanted to buy iPod, iPod Touch, iPad,and iPhone even its so expensive. People are trying so hard to get those Apple Products. Go out, just take a look around you and you’ll get the answer.

  • dufusdude

    There are two clear assumptions in your logic that are false:
    1)  You assume that iPads are desired only for their “style and eye candy”.  The actual truth is that for 99% of us, these devices meet our needs better than a laptop or desktop.
    2)  You assume that these devices are only useful after being jailbroken.  This is demonstrably untrue.

    There are clearly lots of folks like you that want something different, and Microsoft (and Apple) will still be making and selling products to you.  The point of this article is that folks like you are becoming a smaller and smaller minority, and Microsoft’s approach will not meet the needs of that growing majority.

  • AryuGaetu

    Y’all are waaay over thinkin’ it. 
    Microsoft is fine as long as it is at work, just a few rows of cubicles down from the IT department. But, if you’re on a mobile device, miles from a geek, you want something much more reliable and user friendly (should anything happen), an Apple.

  • synthmeister

    Yet Apple has moved their code base from 68000 cpus, to PowerPC to Intel and now to ARM. As a result, they have a much more portable, flexible, modern mobile OS and a lot of legacy cruft has been ditched along the way–much to the chagrin of many users. Yet all those transitions helped prepare them to have a modern, powerful mobile OS.

    MS (and Intel) never faced up to the fundamental flaws in their mobile chips and OS and apps 10 years ago when Gates first had the vision of mobile computing. They just assumed everyone would always be hitched to Windows and Intel. Forever. The very thing (legacy support) that allowed them to keep their monopoly so long is now the very thing which prevented them from latching on to the smart phone and tablet explosion. And now, 600 million Android/iOS users later, people realize that Wintel isn’t really that important for mobile nerdvanna.

    That’s why they’re now getting their clocks cleaned by Apple/Android/ARM and they barely have a ghost of a chance of being major players in the post-PC boom.

  • JeremyWM

    It’s horrible on the iPhone as well. Seems to get stuck and you can’t edit what you’ve just typed. Had the same problem with all disqus based comments. Usually resort to typing it all in Notes and the copying and pasting into the comment field.

  • Asszem

    You WANT a computer with these features. If You really NEED a computer, then you are happy to buy what you can afford. To understand the difference try to imagine when you simply don’t have the money to buy something you WANT but you must buy what you can afford because you NEED it.

  • Jon12334

    What people seem to be conveniently avoiding is the fact that Windows 8 is designed specifically for regular computers as well as tablets, and they are going out of their way to provide a unique interface so that people can buy apps from an app store and have a touch-friendly experience, but they can also have all the usability and power of a full computer on a tablet. This is, in my opinion, far superior to the (slightly) upgraded version of iOS used on the iPad, because the operating system the iPad uses is still missing a lot of functionality, thereby preventing it from being a serious alternative to an actual computer. And yes, I do have an iPod touch, an iPhone, and an iPad, so I know exactly what I’m talking about.

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Mike ElganMike Elgan writes about technology and culture for a wide variety of publications. Follow Mike on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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