Since I last posted about MS and the Lumia, several notable things have transpired with the Redmond behemoth.  The Lumia was a yawner as expected, MS has announced the October 26th release date for Windows 8, they have announced a proprietary tablet called the Surface, which is amazing, they have redesigned their logo, and the “cross platform” operating system will become a reality with W8, drawing together PCs, tabs and Windows phones.  This is all quite exciting, but at the same time mind blowingly risky for Microsoft.  Don’t get me wrong, they have to do this in order to stay relevant in this ever changing technological world we live in.  It is going to be interesting to see how it all plays out.  The biggest question of all is “can they pull it off?”  Here are some things to consider.

1- The smart phone world is dominated by Apple and Android.  Is there room for, and will the public embrace, a third OS?  I think business will be quicker to embrace it than the everyday consumer.  A lot of businesses have skipped migrations to Vista and even 7, but XP is on its way out quickly.  The jump may be made en masse to W8 and all its cross-platform capabilities.  Adding the ubiquitous Office, the newly designed web based and SkyDrive to the platforms is a BIG deal and Apple and Android cannot play in that game very well.

2- Will W8 be amazing or will it be buggy and die like Vista did?  Only time will tell.  The initial reviews are mixed, but generally favorable.  If the OS is unstable or user unfriendly, it could spell BIG trouble for MS.  Their programmers better have gotten it right because everything is riding on the success of the W8 platform.  There is no room for error.  If they have to backtrack to get it all right,  it will become that much harder to gain market share as Apple and Android march on.

3- Will programmers, already busy with Apple and Android app development, make time for another platform?  Will the app market be robust enough and proprietary enough to attract new users?  Again, time will tell.  If the app market is anemic and unimaginative, the smartphone and tab market will crash for MS.

4- Can MS succeed in wooing consumers away from their beloved Android and iPhones and tabs?  Only if the hardware specs are off the chart and not ” me tooish” and the app market is mind boggling.

5- Will consumers go along with being stuck in the MS ecosystem?  Apple fans, probably not because Apple people have a nearly cult-like devotion to the products.  They like being caught in the Apple system and being gouged for everything because it makes them feel special along the lines of overpaying for a Mercedes Benz, which is no better than some cars priced $20,000 less, but it feels so good to say “I drive a Benz” or “I am Apple all the way.”  Android people can be wooed away, but it better be real good!

As I stated previously in another post, MS is facing an obstacle akin to climbing Mt Everest with no oxygen and someone on their back.  This is a new day for Microsoft.  They are reinventing who they are with a fresh new logo…  They have more money than many small countries and can play the waiting game for years, as they have demonstrated with the Xbox, until they succeed.  I personally hope they hit a home run because I like them.  It will be one of the most interesting business stories to follow for many years.  This is a war of Titans!  We will see if they can pull it off.  Stay tuned.