Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been a dominant force in software for decades, with its Windows operating system for PCs now expanding to mobile phones and tablets. Even though Microsoft is still the world’s biggest software company, doubts are arising over Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s future, due to its weak performance after the release of its latest OS, Windows 8. While many believe that Microsoft will not be able to compete in the “after PC” or “PC Plus” market, the company believes that it is off to a great start in 2013, and asserts that there are quite a lot of things to be optimistic about in the future.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is seen as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s biggest competitor at all levels. Its Macbooks compete with Windows based PCs; its iPads compete with the new Windows tablets; and its iPhone competes with Windows-based smartphones.
While many believe that Apple’s sales figures for the year have been far better than Microsoft, a lot of people have overlooked the fact that Microsoft is still the leading force in software for PCs, even though the PC market is slowly fading away with the arrival of tablets and powerful smartphones.
In order to analyse Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s current position, we need to look at three major segments; Windows-based smartphones, Windows 8 covertibles/hybrids/ultrabooks from Microsoft’s hardware partners, and Microsoft’s entry into hardware with its Surface tablets.
Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK)’s Lumia Line and Microsoft’s partnership with Huawei
After the release of Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK)‘s first Lumia line, Windows Phone’s future looked dead, as many critics believed that Nokia had rushed to release the devices too quickly after forging its partnership with Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). While Apple and Android dominated the market for smartphones, Nokia’s Lumia line was left far behind.
After the release of WP8, Nokia has released its flagship device, the Lumia 920. Many believe that the smartphone will shine in 2013, as it has the potential to compete with the latest Android smartphones and with the iPhone 5. Even though the hardware is not top-notch, the Lumia 920, along with other WP8 devices, might just be able to capture greater market share this year.
Microsoft also has other partners for Windows Phone 8, including Samsung, but Nokia’s WP8 phones look the sharpest. Microsoft’s recent partnership with Chinese vendor, Huawei, is also something to look forward to. The China-based telecommunications giant revealed that it will be launching Windows-based smartphones in Africa, with locally customized app stores. Not only is this good news for Huawei, but Microsoft will also look to benefit with growth opportunities in the African region. Statistics show that the African smartphons industry is the fastest-growing in the world, with growth expected till 2017.
New Windows 8 Devices
The new Windows 8 touch-based devices have not performed as well as expected with people wondering about the future of these latest Windows 8 devices. Windows 8 is meant for touch, and integrating touchscreens into laptops just won’t work. Microsoft’s hardware partners, including HP, Lenovo, Acer, and Dell, are still unsure of what people actually want with Windows 8.
It is certain that people don’t want touchscreen laptops. Using a laptop with a touch-screen just doesn’t work out. However, many people believe that people want hybrids, convertibles, and tablets, which offer something more. All the models of iPad have received generally positive reviews, but it looks like that people want something more with a tablet — just what Microsoft is aiming to fulfill.
Tami Reller, Microsoft’s CFO, recently stated that Microsoft is heading in the right direction. She said that the demand for touch is very high, and that Microsoft, along with its partners, will fill out the gaps between laptops and tablets. Apart from that, Reller also said that touchscreens are the key to Windows 8’s success, and that customers are interested in touchscreens in laptops, all-in-one PCs, and tablets.