PCMAN – The software giant has learned its lessons from its two biggest rivals, Apple and Google, to make a stand and reclaiming relevance on their hardware strategy. Users would probably agree that they have only been seeing Microsoft hardware being not more than keyboards and mice. However, witnessing Apple’s viability of an integrated model and Alphabet’s Google notion of selling software for free has probably gave Microsoft a boost to do a grand gesture.
Investors were invited to Microsoft’s hardware event on early October and reported to have witnessed some of the greatest innovations to come out of Microsoft in years—even beyond their Surface and Surface Pro success. Microsoft refused the idea of the company becoming irrelevant, and has taken careful notes on its batch of products as a statement that the giant software company is not to be ignored.
Microsoft as a Product Company
Microsoft’s hardware strategy has expanded to unprecedented levels. Like Google, Microsoft creates the operating system platform, and third-party manufacturers distributed the software. Making first-party devices creates tensions between hardware companies. Like Apple, Microsoft desires control over the end user’s experience, which is why Microsoft as limited the extent to which hardware vendors can modify Windows.
Best of Google
What’s best from Google is the way it taps a wide variety of third-party OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturer) to manufacture its co-branded Nexus devices. It also collaborates with different companies throughout the design and development process. Android’s open-source philosophy allowed OEMs to essentially have their way with the platform.
Best of Apple
One of Apple’s unshaken core principles is design, and Microsoft too, has put a lot of focus and effort into their hardware design.
For example, Microsoft put a large amount of thoughts into the hinge on the Surface Book. It might looks a little peculiar for a laptop hinge at first, but Surface creative director Ralf Groene stated that the hinge solved some key design challenges with the device, such as weight issues when creating a laptop/tablet hybrid. Microsoft has put function over form.
Its manufacturing model has also become similar to Apple’s method, where the company comes up with the design, and contract manufacturers to assemble them. Where Google’s approach is to collaborate more on design, Microsoft products such as Surface did not necessarily have co-branding applied during the product development stage.
Best of Microsoft
Microsoft’s current plan is to set an example for the OEM world as well as the consumers, making innovative first-party devices, and increase the quality of what they have always been known for—an enterprise software. The company motivates third-party OEMs to create better devices very well by applying some gentle competitive pressure, which result is expected in Windows sales.
Microsoft has made a stand in becoming a hardware company, proving its relevance in a newfound way