by September 27, 2012 0 comments

Microsoft is all set to release Windows 8 to the mass on

26th of this month. And it will
be shipped for an entire spectrum of devices including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones. While Apple is still sticking with iOS for mobile devices and Mac OSX for workstations, Microsoft is putting its money on the notion that the future lies in a unified platform.

The tech major is also sending out a major signal with Windows 8, that touch-based interface is the future. This is easily inferred from the user interface that Windows 8 comprises of, tile-based screens that can be moved horizontally, which of course feels completely natural on a touch-based device. There has been a mixed response to Windows 8 so far, with some users liking the revamped style, while others complaining that such a touch-oriented interface feels very awkward on a traditional system.

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What about Apple & Google?

While Apple plays the usual role of setting trend in the market, they are not currently keen on moving to a unified platform. They are happy to let Microsoft try their luck. In fact, during Apple’s Q2 earnings conference, Tim Cook said that “anything can be forced to converge, but the problem is that products are about trade offs, and you begin to make trade offs to the point where what you have left doesn’t please anyone.” This is a clear indication that Apple wishes to keep a boundary between their phone/tablet OS and their Desktop OS.

However, if you look at the latest Mac OSX Mountain Lion, there are several features adopted from its iOS sibling, including the notification center, push notifications and messages. Apple is obviously migrating the best features from the iOS system to the Mac OSX system, but a complete merger is something that they want to keep away from, as they feel such a hybrid system would not work.

And what about Google? While their Android OS is dominating in the smartphone/tablet market, they have not really ventured purposefully into the desktop operating system market. Their only attempt was Google Chrome OS, which was designed as a minimalist Linux-based operating system.

The Chrome OS only features a browser and a media player, and is mainly meant to be used for less-intensive tasks such as web browsing and basic productivity. Despite Android and Chrome OS catering to two different markets entirely, Google co-founder Sergey Brin has said that “Android and Chrome will likely converge over time.” However, with the recent successful release of the latest Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, we have not yet seen any progress towards a unified platform.

Crash & Burn? Or Stroke Of Genius?

Whether consumers are ready for a unified platform is questionable. Microsoft has been bold in taking this step, but it is a move that could make or break the company’s dominant OS business. While there are several pitfalls associated with a unified platform, there are also rewards in implementing it. In the next page, we have talked about risks and rewards associated with launching a unified platform.

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