Can beleaguered Microsoft really go head-to-head with Apple?

“It certainly appears as if the folks up in Redmond plan to go head-to-head with Apple and Google in mobile phones, tablets, and who knows what else. The big question is, can they pull it off? Do they even have a chance of beating those Silicon Valley giants at their own game?” Steve Tobak writes for FOXBusiness. “The answer to that question is surprisingly straightforward.”

“Some have characterized what Microsoft is desperately trying to accomplish as an Apple-like turnaround. If that were true, it would at least have a chance,” Tobak writes. “Unfortunately [for Microsoft], it’s not. That’s a complete mischaracterization of Microsoft’s situation.”

“Apple’s MacBook, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad were breakout successes because Steve Jobs learned to think different and he taught Apple to think different. What spawned a unique string of category-killing products was a new way of designing, developing, integrating, manufacturing, marketing, and selling consumer devices. Apple broke the mold,” Tobak writes. “None of that would have happened if Jobs had decided to throw in the towel and play Microsoft’s game. He didn’t even just change the rules. He created a whole new game. And make no mistake: that’s the opposite of what Microsoft is doing now. What Microsoft is doing is playing Apple’s game by Apple’s rules.”

Tobak writes, “The only way for Microsoft to win this game is to do what Apple did – figure out a way to change the rules. And, if the acquisition of Nokia’s mobile phone business is any indication of its strategy, that does not appear to be the plan up in Redmond. Not only that, but while I do think Stephen Elop is a very capable executive, if the plan is for the former Nokia CEO to take the reins from Ballmer, that, to me, sounds a lot like nails being hammered into Microsoft’s coffin.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: DCW.

Some people laughed when we wrote the following:

As we have always said, even as many short-sightedly waved (and continue to wave) the white flag, the war is not over. And, yes, we shall prevail… No company is invincible. Not even Microsoft.MacDailyNews Take, January 10, 2005

Who’s laughing now?


    1. MS needs about 5 to 10 years to catch up to Apple. And that assumes Apple stands still. There is no way MS can do it. They need to evolve. Like IBM under Lou Gerstner. It will take years. And there is no guarantee of success. Apple did it years ago. Welcome to the club!

  1. MS should not attempting to compete with Apple, Google or any consumer based business. It is not in their core. Instead their core is the enterprise and that is whee they need to concentrate. They need to spin off the device and trinket business and get back to basics.

  2. Are you kidding??? Hell no. They will die an ugly death!! They made a big mistake with windows 8 and porting it over to their tablets and the smart phones. Then a bigger mistake with the xBox 1 and the new cheaper xBox. Who is going to spend $500 for the system and $100 per game? The cheaper xBox costs the same as the one it replaces but with less. The only good thing is the games for that is still $50. Stick with your 360s. With windows the needs to be rewritten from scratch and write separate OS for the tablets and phones to amount to anything.

    1. MS is getting desparate and greedy. They tried to make a fortune off the slate charging way to much for the cost of parts they had in it and now they are doing the same with xbox. People will just stop buying the new xbox and the cash flowing to MS will dry up.

  3. Microsoft needs to find a way to survive without directly competing against Apple and Google. Perhaps focusing more on enterprise mobile solutions. Otherwise this is just going to be messy and expensive for them.

  4. What Microsoft is doing is playing Apple’s game by Apple’s rules.”


    FIRST, make something-software, mobile device, app, retail chain-which is really fun, meets a need I didn’t even know I had and is enjoyable to use.

    Second–don’t let the Office and Windows guys screw with that thing.

  5. As happy as this all makes me, I have to admit a bit of concern for a future without Windows. A mass migration to OSX would be great, but honestly would hurt some big businesses in the short term. And so then would come the bailout – “We can’t do without a Windows-based computer world! We have to save Microsoft!”

    Then we get a government-run Microsoft. You just think it is bad now.

    *That’s* a scary proposition!

  6. Microsoft leadership is stupid. In the past, they could afford to be stupid because of the Windows cash cow (and related “cowlets”). They could afford to make costly mistakes like Zune, Kin, Windows Phone, and even Surface. But the current mistake is Windows 8. If the cash cow dies, there is no way to pay for THAT mistake.

    Microsoft’s primary goal needs to be making customers (in enterprise and the consumer space) WANT to buy a new PC with the latest version of Windows again. That means getting rid of the Windows 8 kludge. Most of Microsoft’s existing customers use desktop and laptop computers, not tablets. Desktop and laptop customers don’t want to be force fed a touch screen. Windows 8 alienates the cash cow’s customer base, and depresses PC sales. And it can’t attract new tablet customers either.

    What did Apple do when Steve Jobs returned in 1997? They clean their house and returned Apple to its core business. The Mac business was the primary source of revenue. The iMac (and subsequent “cool” Mac models) revitalized Apple’s Mac business and made it profitable again. That Mac profit is what allowed Apple to continue on to do iPod/iTunes, and then iPhone, and then iPad.

    Microsoft needs to fix their “Windows for desktops and laptops” business, right now. Buying Nokia’s mobile phone business is just a very expensive distraction. It’s stupidity Microsoft can no longer afford.

  7. the author gets a few things right but misses the big point:
    Apple and Msft are fundamentally different companies from a core mission stand point:

    Jobs Apple mission was to “build the best possible devices to change people’s lives (for the better and thus change the world) ” and the “bottom line (i.e money) will take care of itself” (the last bit is an actual Jobs quote).

    Msft’s mission from get go was to ‘MAKE AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE’ for it’s founders (Bill the richest man in the world for decades), it’s shareholders and to protect it’s upper managers (Win 8 frankenstein was to protect the Windows Desktop division). MAKING PRODUCTS (software, hardware) was just A MEANS TO THAT END of MAXING OUT PROFITS. That’s why there’s no thread or direction in Msft products: it jumped into every bandwagon where it thought there was MONEY not because they fundamentally believed in that product direction (windows followed Mac, Zune followed iPod, Xbox followed Playstation etc ).

    Even now going Nokia isn’t “we can push the envelope in mobile computing and Change the Phone Business ” BUT “how can we also take a share of phone profits”.

    That’s why Msft will fail in matching Apple in Apple’s game of innovation because Msft managers aren’t at the core trained or rewarded for innovation (or making GREAT products) . Msft managers are just focused on making money (and protecting their current revenue streams) and their DNA says you can make money by FOLLOWING and making lousy products like Windows . Unfortunately in the tech world today has changed and real money follows real innovation (thats why apple makes so much of the profit share of Phones, tablets and even PCs).

  8. I’m willing to bet Wall Street values Microsoft better than it does Apple when Microsoft acquires Nokia. They’ll figure that for some reason Microsoft will somehow end up with a brighter potential future in the smartphone business than Apple. Many of you keep talking about the death of Microsoft but look how closely valued the two companies are in terms of P/E. Even Microsoft’s ROI is much better than Apple’s is. Microsoft has a far higher institutional ownership than Apple despite these so-called cries of Microsoft stumbling in the post-PC era.

    I’m only looking at how Wall Street is still smiling favorably upon Microsoft while Apple certainly appears to have a far stronger future in so many ways. Just don’t go about thinking everyone believes Microsoft is dead and Apple is crowned the new king. Not by a long-shot. I believe on Wall Street Google is seen as a stronger contender than Apple by the most influential investors.

  9. This is both sad and disturbing to me.

    Microsoft is a software company. They should be writing software, really great software, for every OS out there. But no, they blew it. Missing the mobile revolution was dumb, not re-writing their best software for Android, iOS at the outset was even dumber. These are strategic mistakes and Ballmer had the helm.

    Microsoft is an American company hell-bent on self destruction. AppleSoft will only accelerate the inexorable swirl down the porcelain facility.

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