Microsoft Is Stuck On The Windows Treadmill

Yesterday, Microsoft’s Windows Phone president Andy Lees basically said that WinPho 7 (or any other version of Windows Phone) would not land on tablets any time soon. “We view the tablet as a PC,” he stated at a Worldwide Partners Conference. That’s kind of sad.

Windows is great on laptops and desktops but consistently, time and time and time again, Windows has failed on tablets. Take the HP Slate 500 for example: it was an impressive piece of hardware that, in the end, is just another Windows slate.

HP knew it, too, just as everyone else did when they started pumping out Android tablets. Clearly, HP bought WebOS to capitalize on the tablet craze without resorting to have to sell “enterprise” tabets like the Slate to consumers. That probably won’t work, but it shows the lengths to which manufacturers are going to grab a good OS for their current products.

Microsoft is taking the slow and steady approach. Windows 8 should be much more tablet friendly and much more usable for the general consumer. And then Microsoft will do what they’ve always done: lock manufacturers into Windows 8 “flights” i.e. forcing them to make at least one Win8 tablet to go alongside the desktops and laptops they are sure to churn out. They pulled a similar stunt with Windows 7. Ever wonder why almost every hardware manufacturer made a touchscreen all-in-one that no one wanted? Because Microsoft told them to. So you’re at least sure of five or six Windows 8 slates to roll through town, perhaps by next CES.

But in this post-PC world, people still want a good tablet. Heck, they may even, as Patrick Moorhead suggests go for “convertible PCs,” PCs that are merely a tablet propped up next to a keyboard and mouse a la the Atrix. While I find that a hard sell, it could happen.

If current market conditions have showed us anything it’s that hardware and software vendors have to ship. The longer people sit on product the worse it is. The life cycle for a product is wildly truncated these days and the build-up of excitement can work to a manufacturer’s detriment.

Microsoft is stuck on the Windows treadmill. They need to hop off and see if WinPho7 can actually exist on a larger device and, in the end, give people what they want instead of catering towards the needs of some mythical Microsoft’s Internal Enterprise Group For Enterprise Customers And The IT Buyer or whatever they call their IT business unit.

Enterprise is great, but enterprise is cost- and risk-averse. Consumers will pay a premium for a good Microsoft tablet but they don’t want to wait for Windows 8 to hop on board.