Microsoft and Apple have a long and tangled past. From most perspectives, the two would certainly be considered competitors, but when fitted with the right glasses (rose) one can also choose to see the two technology giants collaborating to add enjoyment, value, education, and information to the lives of billions. I used to teach high school and there were occasions when both companies made significant donations to classrooms to bring better education to my students.
But right now I want to talk about a fundamental difference in how each company appears to approach the tablet market.
There’s nothing special about a tablet. It’s just a form factor. Phones are this big… tablets are a bit bigger… desktop monitors a bit bigger still. They’re just screens. Sometimes they’re sideways and sometimes they’re upright. Sometimes they’re stationary and sometimes they’re on the move. Imagine for a minute where our children and their peers will find screens - in the kitchen, in the car, on the bus, on the train, and hopefully rolled up in their book bag. Remember… it’s just a screen.
Apple threw some words toward Microsoft recently saying that tablets and desktops are fundamentally different and that attempting to put the same OS on both devices would end up degrading the user’s experience. I suppose Apple is saying this precisely because they have a different OS their tablet than their desktop.
I see the Windows 8 strategy as relieving. It can be nothing but easier for devices to collaborate when they are running the same bits. I have Windows 8 on my TV, on my work PC, and on my tablet. We’re still in beta and already the experience is nothing short of delightful.
I look forward to the many more device form factors that are inevitably to come!