Is Windows 8 Microsoft’s Crowning Glory?

The grand dame wields her ugly head upon the precipice and things change. This could be the the sum  total of Microsoft’s move upon the computer industry come October. Some expect there to be a major shift in the wings of the tablet market as the behemoth technology company moves to  grabs 12 percent of the tablet industry with the public release of Windows 8 and the Surface tablets.

Grand  Critique

The Redmond company shares that grand appellation with its partner company Apple in Cupertino and to a less extent Google and a few others. But Microsoft sits up high with Apple holding crowns as historical progenitors of the desktop market. Crowning positions command waves of approval and disapproval.

The approval is rather locked in. With an operating system that’s on over 92 percent of the world’s desktops, five hundred million users pay the license fees and the company maintains the dominant position in the business corporate market with its server and database software.

Accordingly, criticism fans the waves as grand dame had seem to sit back on her laurels. But over the last decade, her revenue stream had merely tripled from $23 billion to $70 billion by 2011, great globs of money. This explains why erstwhile CEO Steve Ballmer, who perhaps cannot be fashioned in today’s tight leather pants, is still there.

Critics have deplored the company’s lack of innovation in face of its powerfully driven partner, Apple. But, as we shall see, they were wrong. “Partner” is used here instead of “competitor.” It may be best to see these two companies as leaders building and propelling the consumer technology market together. It’s the simple formula of one leaping forward while the other bounds over the leap into new territory – over and over again.

Of course, the last leap was Apple, who went ahead of all with the iPod and the iPad. Under Steve Jobs, Apple practically defined a new industry in mobile technology. There were cries that Microsoft, having experienced setbacks in smartphone technologies, was sitting behind and was just not innovative enough.

Crowning Glory?

But the critics have been apparently wrong. Microsoft has not been merely sitting on its laurels. From the responses of the consumers and developers who have reviewed the Preview versions of Windows 8 and after over 100,000 changes that have been integrated,  it may very well be that Windows 8 and the resulting Surface tablets may become crowning glories.

The company has not so much moved sluggishly into the tablet terrains as it has moved carefully and with great skill. Some had suggested that Microsoft was too big and that it should break up its outfit into smaller parts, or that it should simply move the Windows division into a corner company all by itself.

But as Steve Ballmer was only too happy to point out, Windows 8 and its Model UI representing the tablet promise, are integral parts of the old Windows calling card. A careful look at the new OS does demonstrate the seamless fit for what Ballmer calls a “seamless consumer experience.” Microsoft has simply wielded its ugly head to yield a few powerfully innovative thrusts. The company had never left the playing field.

Industry forecasters Gartner now projects that by 2016, latecomer Microsoft will have an 11.8 percent share of the tablet market. What’s more, from the news rumblings of phone maker Nokia, Gartner projects Windows Phones, sharing the benefits of Windows 8 technologies, will replace Apple by 2016  to become the second largest smartphone producer by 2016, with Android the first.

Indeed, Windows 8 has some has a few positive workings under the hood. Are they worthy of a crown?