Feature Article

November 14, 2012

Apple, HTC and Microsoft: Out of the Courts and Out of Our Hands

This has been an interesting week and one that makes me think long and hard about the future.

This article is going to take its normal circular route to look at the market and ask the question, “Is there anything more to the HTC and Apple detente that we should consider?”

I have written recently about the fact Apple has a pricing problem where it really is driving people to the iPhone 5 as opposed to iPad mini and the iPad itself. While they built the mini to compete with the 7 inch equivalents, they did not hit a price point that kept them in the running. So we have to ask ourselves, is the iPad mini competing with anything other than the iPad itself? Most of my friends say no.

On Microsoft’s side, the company has discovered that after years of unwarranted upgrades, the redesign of Windows has been a bridge too far for general consumer adoption. This has led to Sinofsky’s departure. I have a very positive outlook about the upgrade, but it has been with the understanding that it was an OS for the next generation of products and not the desktop. 

However, the desktop user community now feels abandoned. This could have been the case that this is the Apple II vs. Lisa moment for Microsoft except they tried to merge the needs; for the legacy the upgrade has no value and for the software it has few devices.

So what is next for Microsoft on this front? Do we go back to a mobile vs. desktop operating system?

One thing is clear and that is that a major rethink is in the works.

Thinking about HTC, the company does a great job of sourcing devices cheaply. They have partnered with Microsoft and Google and pretty much will work under many scenarios.

So is the HTC detente connected to a different opportunity and if so, what would that be? Is there an iPAD mini to be made that hits a different price point with the help of HTC? 

I know this is a stretch for both parties. Traditionally Apple and HTC are the names on their products. I think an outsource iPad mini lite is more likely than an OS license. It’s seems that Apple’s market share is leveling off the iPhone.

So is the iPhone about to have an HTC cousin? Or how about App Store virtual machine on HTC? Taking a big picture view, you would think that Apple staying under 25 percent and Google over 75 percent leaves room for something new and different.

Microsoft had false hopes as to what they should have expected. I think RIM has made more realistic expectations.      

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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