Microsoft has announced some big news today. The company will now be giving away its Windows operating system for free to mobile and tablet developers.
Microsoft makes this move in an effort to keep up with Google’s popular Android operating system. What happened to Bill Gates’s original notion that people should pay for software? Times are a changin’, and Microsoft needs to be part of that change or be left behind.
Details for Developers
Windows for business software must still be purchased, but any developer making a device that’s under the 9-inch screen mark can now access Windows for free. Previously, the price was around $5 per device, so this change is a big one. It’s also one that Microsoft hopes will make an impact in the mobile market. There aren’t too many mobile devices running Windows right now, which is why Microsoft hopes that this move will be a positive one.
This moves also marks a shift in Microsoft’s focus. While revenue based on Windows OS sales was once very important, now Microsoft has two other goals. The first is to expand into the rapidly growing mobile market.
The second is to take the focus off of Windows and move it onto Microsoft’s cloud options. The cloud is where Microsoft wants to focus now, and that can only be done if enough interest in Microsoft’s cloud tools is generated.
Keeping Up With the Jones’s
It’s always interesting to watch companies try to keep up with competitors. Trying to play catch up didn’t work out so well for companies like BlackBerry (now going back to its original business roots), but companies like Microsoft are certainly feeling the pull (or, maybe it’s a noose?).
The world is a fast-paced one, and those that don’t keep up or innovate are left behind. It’s a high-stress kind of deal, and it’s also a really tricky game to play. Maybe that’s why Microsoft is trying to compete with Apple’s Siri in addition to letting developers have access to Windows for free.
Microsoft has also announced that the company now has its own virtual assistant called ‘Cortana,’ which has been developed to directly compete with Apple’s Siri. I’m not sure how I feel about this one. It seems kind of desperate.
But, if Microsoft expects to expand the mobile usage of Windows, consumers will want (maybe) a virtual assistant option. Presumably, Cortana will work just like Siri, only with a Microsoft spin – visions of Apple’s ‘Maps’ app are dancing in my head. Cortana will be a regular addition to Windows phones. Let’s hope that the new course Microsoft is taking doesn’t direct the company right into a gaping and muddy ditch.
To check out developer details, get in contact with your Microsoft rep or find information on the Microsoft website. If you are a developer, does this deal interest you? Why or why not? And, what do you think about the inclusion of Cortana? For some reason, the name of this new virtual assistant just doesn’t have a ring to my ears. Thoughts?