Wednesday, July 27, 2011

End of a Monopoly

Above is my first step toward a handheld computing device, a Dell Axim "Pocket PC" that I bought in September 2004.  It synced up my Microsoft Windows desktop on a Microsoft Windows-based handheld.

For the past seven years, I've graduated from one Microsoft Windows Mobile device to another.  I've watched, during that time, as others have tried Blackberry, iPhone, Android and others.  Microsoft kept my loyalty nonetheless.

If I'm any indication, and I think I am a late indicator on this one, Microsoft's monopoly on computing is over.

Yesterday, I got this.  It's an Apple iPhone4.  Though I can sync up my calendar, contacts, and tasks to it from my Microsoft Windows-based PC, there's nothing PC or Microsoft about this device.

I've now firmly left the Microsoft brand loyalty camp.  Gone.

There's multiple things that stand out, but these are the key reasons my loyalty dropped:

1. Apple earned my business.  My exposure to the iPad in January was the first step.  Seven months later, I still very much see the value and future of this machine. 

My business didn't come easily.  I've turned down using Apple products since first seeing a "Lisa" and advising my Dad to buy a PC for his business instead almost 30 years ago.  The iPad was the changer, though.

2. Microsoft was not monopolistic enough.  It seems like it was less than 10 years ago that there were anti-trust hearings against Microsoft.  Now, I'm puzzled that they can't get there own products working together. 

Here's one small example:   a Bing (Microsoft product) map on Facebook is used for check-in on Facebook but there was no Windows Mobile program that uses it.  The iPhone and Android do, though.

3. Apps. I like the way these various "apps" work to get things done more efficiently on iPad and my new iPhone.  It really is a faster and more useful way to use handheld devices.  I can check my security cameras with one click versus three with my old Windows Mobile device.

Every day, I use programs for which I can find Apps have been made to work on the iPhone.  I've not researched the reason, but few have been compelled to make applications for Windows Mobile devices.  That has hurt Microsoft.

The monopoly is over, but the company doesn't have to be dead.  I'm still typing this on a Microsoft operating system-powered desktop computer.  For now, I am.

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