Microsoft is missing apps the same way they missed the early Internet

“It seems odd to me that Microsoft of all companies is so drastically behind the curve when it comes to apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone. When you think about it, Microsoft of all companies was in the best position to create a better software buying experience, via an app store than anyone,” Ben Bajarin writes for TechPinions. “Windows had 97 to 98 percent market share for the bulk of the PC era and software played a key role in that dominance. Why was there no Windows app store until the end of last year? It just makes no sense.”

“Similarly, Microsoft was in a growing position in smartphones with Windows Mobile. They had tinkered with software stores but the experience never really gained significant traction – See more at: http://techpinions.com/microsoft-is-missing-apps-the-same-way-they-missed-the-early-internet/16656#sthash.RAe8cyRi.dpuf,” Bajarin writes. “As I think about this situation that Microsoft is in, it reminds me of the situation they were in with Internet Explorer for so long. They missed the boat on leading the Internet revolution and now again they have missed the boat on leading the app revolution.”

Read more in the full article here.

24 Comments

  1. “Why was there no Windows app store until the end of last year?”

    Well, DUH!!! They had to wait for Apple to do it first so they could copy them. Is this guy actually qualified to comment on MicroSoft?!

  2. It seems like Microsoft just can’t do anything right. I used to admire Bill Gates, but then the anti trust cases happened. I now trust both Apple and Google nowadays because both companies are actually innovating while Microsoft is still stick in the dark ages.

    1. “dark ages”—reminds me of Douglas Coupland’s 1995 novel Microserfs, about Microsoft being run “like a feudalistic society, with Bill Gates as the lord, and the employees the serfs” (Wikipedia)

      And of course after Windows 95, and until recently, everybody else “enjoyed” serfdom. Free at last! (almost)

    2. Microsoft’s inertia is running out. Microsoft capitalized on its initial successes but it is failing to adapt and innovate. Nothing is left but the historical references.

  3. One thing Mirosoft has is the suface pro, unlike the rt it uses an Intel chip.
    Apple’s chip in the i-pad is more like the rt. Apple is using a cell phone chip in the i-pad. Yes— Mirosoft is behind, but a better chip ,is a better chip. Let’s not forget what happened in the PC wars. Just because Apple is ahead, and of course it is… a better, faster, more powerfull chip may be what Apple needs.

    1. Uhh, you also get 1.5 hours battery life in the Surface Pro as a result of that Intel chip which negates even calling it a tablet which by definition should last longer than 7-8 hours on a single charge. Might as well buy a laptop. There are reasons the iPad is the way it is to optimize a tablet experience – think about it.

    2. It’s not the first time that Microsoft has tried to meld handheld and desktop user experience together. They tried to do that for Windows Mobile which borrowed heavily from XP’s drop down menus and Start button (WM inverted the Start button to the top left from the bottom left on XP).

      It made for a very poor handheld user experience – drop down menus on a small screen device doesn’t promote hitting the target on menu items, even with the thin end of the stylus. It makes for a very cumbersome, not to mention frustrating, user experience.

      They’re doing the same thing again for the Surface – mashing desktop and tablet UI together, and in the process doing neither well. It’s not a question of the processor speed. You can have the best processor on planet Earth but when your UI sucks donkey balls, you just end up with a group of pissed off users.

    3. I’m not sure that anyone outside of Intel perceives of the Atom as a Successful chip and it is making little inroad on the ARM roadmap and is highly unlikely to compete below a Certain level . As desktop applications become less and less relevant in the new mobile world then the ‘PC’ chip will too and the ARM platform ever improving and evolving from a far more efficient base design will be increasingly difficult to dislodge especially as companies can flexibly design their own versions rather than be dictated to by Intel. The RT and Atom based tablets and combos are likely the last chance for Wintel to stay relevant. I think it’s a long shot because for example I can’t see Samsung with every chance to control its own chip destiny doing anything to help Intel retrieve a struggling situation unless circumstances force it.

  4. “Microsoft of all companies was in the best position to create a better software buying experience, via an app store than anyone”????? REALLY??? Since when does being the top purveyor of crap make one at expert in creating a good software buying experience? This “journalist” can’t even punctuate correctly much less craft a solid piece of writing.

  5. Microsoft is not about inventing. They buy products or companies that invented something useful then they adapt it to become part of the Microsoft ecosystem.

    Apple and its technologies are not for sale so Microsoft couldn’t buy that. They had to wait for a windows equivalent system but when it never came they finally decided to create one. Too bad for Microsoft they don’t know how to invent because if they could windows 8 could have been great and the App Store could have dominated but alas, they had to wait for someone to create the product that they couldn’t buy and since they aren’t any good at inventing their eventual creation of an App Store is too little, too late.

  6. Microsoft’s business model is selling Windows (normal consumer grade Windows and Server grade Windows) and Office. Between them, they generate 60-70% of Microsoft’s revenue and profit.

    Apple’s business model is to sell hardware. That’s where they make 80-90% of their revenue and profit. The app store is an adjunct to selling hardware. In fact Steve Jobs was very much against the idea of an app store when the iPhone 1 was launched. The idea of the app store came to him due to the success of the jailbreaking community which enabled the installation of apps in jailbroken iPhones. That was the impetus for the app store.

    There was no plan for the app store at the beginning – it was just a stroke of luck that they locked down the iPhone and the jailbreaking community saw an opportunity to sidestep Apple’s restrictive HTML only app policy for the iPhone.

    Apple learned from that mistake and introduced the app store together with the SDK for the iPhone 3G and it’s taken off from there. So you could say that the app store was an accident of birth, not some brilliant invention by Apple.

    1. “Apple’s business model is to sell hardware. That’s where they make 80-90% of their revenue and profit. ”

      Apple is a software company that depends on software revenue.

      Apple sells hardware so that there is a platform mon which to run the software.

      The BIGGEST difference between MSFT and Apple, is that MSFT develops its OS to run on reference design hardware (buildable using a variety of components from a variety of manufacturers, each responsible for their own drivers/interfaces), while Apple develops for a single reference design that employs consistent hardware and drivers for better quality and integration.

      1. Apple is a software and hardware company. The two work together perfectly. Together they enable the apple ecosystem. Welcome to Apple, welcome to the Apple family. Margins will come down as time goes along for hardware. Apple will not make its money on selling devices in the future. It will use its hardware and software to get you into their world so they can profit from you in many different ways. It’s what Amazon.com is attempting to do with their Kindles. Apple is still making a profit on every device it sells as opposed to Amazon.com. But the concept is still the same. Get them in the door and you can probably sell them something. That’s why it’s so important for Apple to improve their services. Because that’s where they will make or not make money in the future. Eventually iPhones, iPads, iPods etc. will become commoditized. Services is where the money will be made. Not hardware. Not software

  7. Microsoft has always been the Innovator, they continue to update that Redmond Copier every year with the best tech found. Luckily, for rest of the world, they use some of the cheapest paper they can buy. Once that copier spits out the plans, is is barely legible. Takes them a long time to figure it out and what is unreadable…they fill with what Microsoft thinks it should be.

    Ever wonder why they are so bad at copying? It is the paper.

  8. Ben, Ben, Ben… MS needed to be shown the way. Was MS working on such efforts ala the MS ‘Courier’ tablet, etc.?… It’s one thing to have something in your R&D dudgeons. IT’S another to successfully bring it to market and create a whole new genre. MS CEO Ballmer has no hair, but he also has no balls… He’s happy with status quo. He’s not willing to “Think Different”!

  9. The problem is Microsoft has been coasting on Windows and Office for decades now. Those products are such cash cows that Microsoft really doesn’t need to do anything else.

    So what happens? Microsoft stopped looking ahead and started looking at the bottom line. Forget trying to pioneer any new territory, because missing could cost the bottom line. No proven sales in a new area, so the sales guy Ballmer won’t go for it.

    Microsoft isn’t skating to where the puck is going, Microsoft came the the ice rink a week after the game was over.

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