If you read earlier posts on here, in particular those entitled “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” or the one about Apple & RIM repeating Apple history, Google repeating Linux history and Microsoft on track to follow their history, then you know I have a view, that I am going to call “Everitt’s law”
Everitt’s law states :
The largest computing (PC, Tablet or Phone) market share will be taken by the platform that provides the broadest choice of hardware vendors that are compatible for the business users killer Application.
Once upon a time it was Outlook on RIM (before it was a phone, sustained by becoming a phone), then it became entertainment (mainly music) on iOS, then maps and search on Android … None of these are killer Applications, but are certainly valued applications.
The business killer Application is the integration of spreadsheets, documents and presentations. There are only really three remaining options in this arena now, Microsoft Office, OpenOffice/StarOffice and Google Docs.
As is often the case, when the geeks get to develop products they never finish. In the case of Open/StarOffice its limping now that Oracle/Sun are no longer containing its development. Google Docs looks like a University research project. Try capturing Excel data and building a graph and then importing it into the presentation tool, its OK if your a geek. Finding your contacts or calendar from the email tool is even a challenge. The only tool that has that ease of use feel is the Microsoft Office suite, pity really.
I therefore suggest that Microsoft Office on mobile with Office 365 cloud support for SharePoint and Lync built on Skype is a killer combination for the business user. The business user will only carry one mobile phone and one tablet, I suspect it will be tightly coupled to Office.
A number of large businesses are asking “why do I own my own postoffice”? They realise that they have a huge overhead running a messaging and collaboration solution that, like the postoffice, could be outsourced. The bandwidth in the interconnection is such that utility computing is not far away, and with that putting corporate quality tools into a hosted environment is a natural step. Office 365 is public cloud, try it, you will be amazed.
In concusion, who really cares about the OS? The users did not really care whether it was DSO, Windoww 3, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7,what they cared about was whether it would run their Application regardless of hardware vendor. In fact Microsoft did get it wrong a number of times with platforms 95, ME and Vista the users simply waited for the next one and then moved. Why?, well they simply needed a dependable platform to run that killer Application.
Microsoft have 18 months if we are on the same timeline as the Apple to IBM timeline of the past. If they can get Office on Windows mobile tightly coupled with cloud and tablets then Office will continue to be the killer App. Its certainly not entertainment, messaging or maps and search.
To recap, to win in the computing arena all of the following need to be present:
- A stable OS running on multiple hardware vendor platforms (ie. Samsung, HTC, Nokia)
- An application that is uniquely coupled with #1 and is business critical
History was Lotus 123 on IBM PCDOS that was compatible with MSDOS and the clones. I propose this time its Office & Office 365 on Windows Phone. Of course, Google, if they wake up, could invest heavily in Google Docs to get it to corporate grade and as they have #1 could lock in with #2 and in the process win significant support as an alternative to Office … but they need marketing to offset their geeks … pity, but I do not see it happening in time.
Its about the App, not the OS and not the hardware.