Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, is set to refocus the company's resources on developing tablet computers that can rival Apple's iPad device; the move comes after the cancellation of Courier, Microsoft's proposed rival to the gadget.
In his own words, he said that "We’ve got to push right now - right now - with our hardware partners." But we believe that Microsoft needs to stop fixating on Apple and the tablet or it may just make matters worse for the company.
(1) Send wrong signal
As mentioned above, Microsoft already had an iPad-like device called the Courier in the pipeline, one which was ready to go and which has been reportedly canned. The company said that it had no plans to build the device according to its Corporate Vice President, Frank Shaw. Microsoft may revive the project but it will send the wrong signal to its own staff, the tech community and investors.
(2) Makes Microsoft a follower, not an innovator
Ballmer's clear reference to the iPad and Apple is a bit of a no-go, especially as Ballmer points to the clear success of the product. Doing so makes the company a follower rather than an innovator and this will confirm the status of Apple as the biggest player in the world of technology.
(3) Distracts from real issues
Saying that competing with the iPad is the top priority for Microsoft may distract the company from other more pressing issues like its presence in the mobile segment, cloud computing, the future of fat clients (Windows and Office) and its online strategy. Arguably, you can expect the likes of Google, Oracle, Apple and others to benefit from any distraction that Microsoft may experience in these core segments.
(4) Remember Microsoft Kin?
Microsoft cancelled the Kin http://www.itproportal.com/portal/news/article/2010/7/1/why-did-microsoft-dumped-kin/ last month and the move showed to completely out of touch the company can be. Kin has been a massive disappointment for all Microsoft followers especially as the cancellation of the project had a profound impact on the staff working on it. Microsoft need to make sure that it doesn't repeat the same mistakes with any slate product or it will start looking a lot like Apple in the 1990's
(5) There are already Windows 7 tablets on the market
Ballmer's statements may leave people under the impression that there are NO Windows 7 tablet computers on the market when in fact there are dozens of them on the market but it's just that they are either underpowered or extremely expensive. For example the Dell Latitude XT2 is an exceptionally good looking tablet device but costs north of £1500. The problem is that Windows 7 itself is not suited for thin and light tablet and that's something that has yet to sink in Steve Ballmer's mind.