Fall 2012 is an important quarter for Microsoft with the release of Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Office 2013 and even their first foray into the Windows hardware market with its Surface tablet.
Alongside the launch of these products, Microsoft will also release its revamp of the flagging Zune music service, now titled Xbox Music.
Many commentators have decried the direction Microsoft are moving towards, saying they are moving focus from the desktop to the touchscreen market.
However, this move in direction allows Microsoft to combat the challenge from both Apple and Google which are seen by many analysts as eroding the Windows monopoly.
Microsoft aim to change everything with the unification of products under its “metro” tile based interface, which is surely exciting for us consumers.
The ability to pick up where you left off, regardless of device, be it PC, mobile, tablet, whatever, is a mouthwatering prospect, and surely cannot be rivalled by any other company.
It is something that many geeks have dreamt of for a long time but is only just now on the horizon and there is a lot that can go wrong.
The first big stumbling block will be the adoption of Windows 8 itself. Already outcast by some, it faces an uphill struggle to convince consumers that change is for the better and the high prices of Windows tablets looks like it will make things worse.
Undoubtedly there will be confusion given the amount Microsoft have changed with Windows 8, but it doesn’t get any easier when you take Windows RT into account, which does not run any old applications users may be familiar with.
Windows Phone 8 will also need to make inroads, helped by the beautiful Lumia devices from Nokia, and even great looking ones from HTC. However, Windows Phone 7 made little headway in an Apple and Android dominated market. Hopefully, Windows 8 will help with the adoption of this third eco-system.
Perhaps Microsofts biggest strength is the Xbox brand, accounting for them dropping the Zune brand faster than you could say “iPod killer” with a relaunch as Xbox Music. They will also look to push the shared screen approach with the Xbox companion extending the gameplay experience from your TV screen.
It is clear that Microsoft have a difficult time ahead convincing consumers that the biggest upheaval since Windows 8 is good for them, but maybe if, and that is a very big if, Microsoft can pull it off the symmetry between devices could provide computing harmony which will make it better for all of us.
Thanks for reading,