Is Microsoft becoming the new Apple?

With Microsoft Windows 8 being released next Friday Oct 26 along with the Microsoft Surface tablet (10.6 inch, an iPad competitor), I want to answer this question for you.    YES.   Let me explain it this way:   Apple sells desktop and laptop computers with the Mac operating system.   It also sells the iPad (a 9.7 inch tablet) and the iPhone (a cell phone) with a similar operating system called iOS.   By the end of next week, new desktops and laptops will be sold with Windows 8.  Tablets will be sold by Microsoft and other companies with a Windows 8-like interface.   Phones will also be sold by Microsoft partners running an operating system called Windows Phone 8.

Apple has mastered giving its customers a fairly uniform experience from computer, to tablet, to phone.   Microsoft aims to do the same with its Windows 8 computers, the new tablets, and its new phone.   Microsoft’s new tablet will be called the Surface and it is priced very similarly to the iPad, with options at $499, $599 and $699.  The Surface will have a couple of distinct features.   Microsoft is selling its own keyboard cover that comes with the $599 and $699 models.  Furthermore, the Surface comes with Microsoft Office 2013.  There is no comparable office package on the iPad.  So a selling point for the Surface is that — you can actually get work done it.  To be fair to the iPad however, there are well over 100,000 dedicated applications available.  For Microsoft’s tablet, there may be only 1000 or so at launch time.  Internet Explorer, a contacts app, and e-mail will all be available.

The major manufacturers Dell, HP, Samsung, Lenovo, etc are all selling Windows 8 computers now which will ship on or around the 26th.  There are also some great deals on Windows 7 computers right now.  If you happen to buy one, you will get a discount coupon to upgrade to Windows 8 for $15 any time between now and January.  If you currently have a computer with Windows XP, Vista, or 7, you can upgrade to Windows 8 for $40.      Microsoft is not forcing you to update to Windows 8 — but they are pricing it to move.  Normally new versions of Windows sell for $100 or more.  I’ve been testing Windows 8 since last November.  I’m a big fan of it.  If you are a Windows user — I think its worth considering.  This is the direction Microsoft is going in.  We need to get our arms around it.