Is the new Windows 8 platform the dark horse in the mobile race?
Microsoft recently announced details of the new Surface, set to launch Oct 26. There has been a lot of excitement and anticipation around the device. Microsoft is leaving no stone unturned to get it right this time around.
We are optimistic about Windows 8 and its prospects in the tablet and smartphone ecosystems. There are early signs of excitement and positive momentum. The company’s website has seen a flurry of pre-orders for its new products, with Surface already sold out in the US and UK.
We believe that the Windows 8 platform could be a huge opportunity for developers over the next 2-3 years. IDC predicts that Windows will be the No.2 smartphone OS with 19.2% market share by 2016. According to a WSJ blog post, Microsoft has placed orders to produce 3 to 5 million Surface tablets in 2012. These volumes are in line with Amazon and Google Nexus launch volumes (Amazon shipped 5m Kindle Fires in the launch quarter)
So why do we believe that Windows 8 could be a winner in smartphones and tablets?
There are 4 key reasons that will drive the success of this platform
1. Commitment to the developer ecosystem
We believe that no company understands the value of a robust developer ecosystem better than Microsoft.
Historically, through its MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network), Microsoft has demonstrated its commitment to its developer ecosystem and we expect this to only grow with the big launch of Windows 8.
Microsoft is spending a massive budget of $1.5 billion to promote Surface and the Windows 8 platform. There are already 125,000+ apps on the Windows 7 ecosystem and this number is expected to grow significantly as developers get access to 100s of millions of new devices launching with Windows 8.
The excitement in the developer community is apparent from the fact that the Microsoft Build Conference 2012 was sold out within a few hours.
2. Unified development platform across desktop, tablets, mobiles
We referred to this in our earlier blog post but will reiterate this point: Windows 8 is essentially the same OS that will run on desktops, meaning there will be no segmentation of developers across web, desktop and mobile.
You just become a Windows developer, as your application will potentially run both on the desktop as well as mobile form factors.
Native app developers will have access to all the low level and high level APIs, which work both on desktops and mobile. It will provide more functionality and better hardware optimisation for developers to create a more seamless experience for their native apps.
3. Strong OEM partners
While Microsoft is launching its own hardware in the tablets category, it is continuing to partner with OEMs on tablets and smartphones.
Microsoft is working with a number of partners such as Asus, Lenovo, Samsung and Dell, who are building tablets for Windows RT. Similarly Nokia, Samsung, HTC are building phones for WP8.
We believe that Windows 8 will benefit from the OEM’s strength in smartphone/tablets distribution particularly in emerging markets.
4. Strength in the enterprise market coupled with superior content production ability
Microsoft’s biggest strength is its installed base among enterprises and it is playing to its core strength with Windows 8.
Windows RT tablets (including Surface) are intended to be ‘content production devices’ which is fundamentally different from the content consumption devices that the iPad or Google tablets are.
The ability to produce content on the go will be the key driver for user adoption in enterprises. Enterprises are holding off on Windows 8 deployment from the PC perspective because the users within the enterprises want a tablet. Windows 8 tablets could be that tablet solution!
What are we doing to support Windows RT and Windows Phone 8?
As a company, we are committed to support developers with best in class products for Ad Monetisation, and user acquisition.
Windows offers an unified development platform; your applications will start running on all form factors on Windows with minimal changes. The platform also supports multiple programming languages, and we are committed to supporting as many programming languages across both operating systems as possible.
The Windows 8 UI brings in entirely different user experience. As a mobile advertising company, the possibilities of interesting new ad formats makes it very interesting for us.
Watch out more in this space from us.