Why Microsoft Surface and Google’s Nexus 7 Are Signs of the iPad’s Win
At first glance, it seems that in less than two weeks, Apple finds itself with two new serious competitors for its (so far) unbeatable iPad. Tim Cook should congratulate himself: the Surface of Microsoft and the Nexus 7 from Google and ASUS are above all signs of the panic of two software specialists who have seen their partners unable to take significant market share from Apple for two years.
A statement of failure
Let’s be clear, Google does not aim to make hardware its core business: in the smartphone market, its Nexus products are intended to show what can be done best with Android, both to demanding consumers and to manufacturers. The Nexus 7 tablet takes the best of the various Android tablets and tries to lead the way: the tiny price and the entertainment orientation of the Kindle Fire, but with the technical capabilities of an ASUS Transformer tablet. The goal is above all to sell the Google Play entertainment solution through this tablet, and Google hopes that Samsung, Sony and the others will imitate the positioning of the Nexus 7 to no longer have to deal with the hardware itself.
For his part, Microsoft is preparing with Windows 8 and RT, an interface completely turned upside down to enter the era of touchscreen but does not seem to see a product arriving worthy of running its touchscreen OS. Hence the announcement of Surface, a tablet that looks above all like a signal launched at Dell, HP and others : this is what we can do on the tablet market to do better than Apple.
Proof that neither Google nor Microsoft is not looking to get serious about hardware: Surface and Nexus 7 should not be widely distributed but will only be available online and in rare stores Microsoft (first). This is not exactly what we call an aggressive trade policy, which should not antagonize Dell, HP, Samsung or Sony too much.
Two opposing positions: the iPad is surrounded
Another reason for Apple to congratulate itself: neither Google nor Microsoft does not try to attack it head-on. Google carried out a study which shows that 91% personal use of tablets (and not professional) and is done at home. Based on this observation (and of course drawing inspiration from the success of the Kindle Fire) Google deduced that for a large part of consumers paying € 400 to € 800 for an entertainment tool was too much, and is trying to invade a clearly more “entry-level” segment than the iPad or most Android tablets.
Microsoft, for its part, seems to have seen the same figures but to have decided to try to change the uses by proposing with Surface a real working tool, equipped in particular with a keyboard / cover inspired by the ASUS Transformer tablets, and especially a Windows OS capable of running real professional software where Android and iOS would have a hard time (Quick Office can possibly replace the suite Microsoft, but what about Photoshop, for example?). This positioning comes at a price, of course, and Surface is likely to cost more than an iPad.
It is therefore rather a good sign for Apple to see its competitors give up a frontal impact. The Cupertino company also has an ability to retain its customers which allows it to approach the future rather calmly, but we should not rest too much on its laurels: the tablet market is destined for gigantic growth, and a new customer who would be offered a largely “good enough” tablet at $ 200 and another at $ 800 which offers all the features of a MacBook Air could have difficulty understanding the value of an iPad stuck between these two proposals more “sliced”.
Apple could of course react by finally offering the 7-inch tablet that has been rumored for so long, or by offering its own “keybord cover”. Unless Apple has only to watch these two new tablets fail, like so many others before them … Which we do not want, because if the tablet is the market of the future, then it would be welcome that it is not a monopoly.