Microsoft is banking on Windows 8 to carry them into the mobile scene. So far there have been mixed reports on the success of the Windows RT tablet and only 40 million installs of Windows 8 software. Not only is Microsoft as a company trying desperately to keep up with all of the Apple innovations over the past decade, but Steve Ballmer has a personal stake in Windows 8, in terms of his job. Word on the street is that Ballmer could be out if Windows 8 does not do well.
SiliconANGLE Contributing Editor John Casaretto acknowledged the intense pressure that Ballmer is under and said that while Microsoft would’ve liked Windows 8 to be a bigtime hit in the market, the real question is under what terms it could be considered a hit. With so many reports coming in on the alleged slow adoption rate of Windows 8 and slow sales of Microsoft products, Casaretto reminded viewers that these are external sources reporting these numbers and not Microsoft itself. Analysts are still raking the Surface RT sales
numbers over the coals, even though it’s barely been two months since its debut on October 26. Casaretto attributed these lagging numbers to the initial $499 price tag, but suggested that if sales don’t pick up soon, there could be a price cut coming. Overall, Casaretto supported Ballmer by stating that he would be surprised if Ballmer was to be booted out, should Microsoft’s mobile strategy fall through the cracks.
Who Should Provide Education on Windows RT?
Last week at the Dell World conference in Austin, Dell’s president of its PC division, Jeffrey Clark said he warned Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer not to name the operating system on its new Surface tablet “Windows RT.” Casaretto explained that Windows RT is not compatible with the other versions of Windows, and it’s causing confusion to customers. Casaretto theorized that Ballmer wanted to bank on the Windows brand, and essentially use it as a stepping stone to escalate into the full product.
When asked if Microsoft should have taken Dell’s advice, Casaretto described Microsoft’s strategy with the Surface tablet as “an entry point to the Windows 8 eco-system.” He then detailed some of the differences between Windows RT and Windows 8.
Neil Hand, the vice-president in charge of Dell’s tablet business which sells both Windows 8 and Windows RT devices, told The AustralianFinancial Review that PC and tablet makers would still have to teach consumers about the differences between the two operating systems, regardless of how Microsoft had branded Windows RT. He said, “Making sure we educate the marketplace on the differences was going to be a necessary action no matter what. Just calling it something different is not going to solve the problem.” Casaretto remarked that it should be up to both the retailers and consumers alike on the issue of being knowledgeable about products before making a major technology purchase.
Google Drops a Bomb on Microsoft
Google announced last week that it plans to drop Exchange ActiveSync support for new devices on personal Gmail accounts starting from January 30th. Microsoft’s Dharmesh Mehta responded in a blog post that the company was “very surprised” by Google’s announcement. Casaretto claimed that their surprise is due to not having an immediate backup plan for support or even addressing how Google integrates into their devices. See the whole segment with Kristin Feledy and John Casaretto on the Morning NewsDesk Show.