One hundred years since the sinking of the Titanic
Microsoft Teams up with HP to build the Next PC.
I believe deep discussions and planning are already underway. Microsoft will either purchase HP’s computer hardware division outright or, preferably, work a deal similar to the one created with Nokia.The two companies will collaborate to build a line of super slick PCs designed by Microsoft and built and distributed by HP.
The Perfect Storm hits Twice
Although Microsoft makes lots of money in a lot of different ways, if its core license structure with the PC is in trouble, the rest of their ship will sink much like the famous Titanic, each hull flooding over the next. Once before in history Microsoft was asleep at the helm as their ship hit the internet iceberg they survived and thrived and yet again history repeats itself with a new iceberg catching the computing giant napping and obviously off course, Mobile Computing. The PC enterprise industry, delayed by the recession is now in need to replace its aging fleet of Windows XP & Windows 7 desktops. This unfortunate timing puts Microsoft in an extremely vulnerable position. The trend to replace desktops with iPads is growing, that fact coupled with the new respect Apple is receiving among the Fortune 500 , makes this year,
Microsoft’s own version of The Perfect Storm.
Man the lifeboats !!! Not a minute can be wasted
Faced with this life and death junction Steve Ballmer and Microsoft are focused like never before. Make no mistake this Captain will go down with his ship. With its competitors two-year lead Microsoft needs time to get up to speed. They have begun the process by handing out their version of a life-jackets titled The Windows / Metro (an all things to all people) platform. Anyone with any computer experience knows this OS is a dud, a red herring in drag. Microsoft however seems to be betting that their passengers will not look too closely. I for one believe this may be the shark in the water and have the opposite effect of scaring off their base who are now more sophisticated regarding technology and will be looking for a more elegant solution.
Still this is Microsoft’s only oar in the water.
Two Man Lifeboat:
Can these two long-term partners make it ashore?
Similar to the position Nokia found itself in last year HP has nothing to lose and everything to gain.Microsoft will use a variant of its Windows 8 OS specifically designed to work closely with it’s hardware and benefiting by jettisoning all the extraneous bloated code accommodating third party manufactures now strangling the OS overboard.
Some will say that if Microsoft jumps in this icy water it would kill their business with its hardware partners. This is true, that’s why Microsoft is keeping it under wraps until its ready to move. However the truth is that nobody, not even HP the worlds largest PC builder is making money on the low common denominator computer hardware business now, it is inevitable that these companies will soon seek profit in higher margin waters like that of tablets and phones. Besides Microsoft could still license their present system software to them for the low-end market. Further more its good for American business to keep another computer maker around if the Pacific rim moves to an Asian OS. (see my post regarding WWIII here).
Think Different !!! The Apple Solution
Steve Ballmer does not like it, but he will justify and embrace it, recent moves in the mobile platform have shown that Microsoft can swallow a little pride.
By providing a “high quality” (read high margin) line of PCs built the way they should be built, designed by Microsoft’s very fine hardware design team.Tightly integrating their software music, games, mobile, search & maps and hardware will provide them with the needed solution.Here’s what they achieve if they go vertical.
Enable them to transition their small business customers and present enterprise businesses to Windows 8, and Windows 8 tablet before they jump ship. Restructure client service for software and hardware. Create a super high-end or mini computer to market to enterprise and compete with IBM & Oracle in that space as a platform and service solution provider.
PCs done right with the right combination of hardware & software promoting their HP/Microsoft branded PC’s in their own retail stores, where they can be demonstrated showing off their many advantages, as well as HP’s gigantic distribution channels. Create a high-end Gaming desktop and laptop. Go head to head with Apple in design features & marketing.
Integrate with Zune , Xbox , Cloud and the Windows Phone and app store to create a seamless simple ecosystem that taps into Microsoft’s present installed user base to sell content.
Microsoft has built most of this orbit already, they cannot risk losing the desktop business for at least 5 years and this is the only solution available to them. Shhhh, loose lips sink ships.