ImageBack in August I asked the question “can Microsoft pull it off?”  This is a fifteen round fight and nothing definitive can be decided in what amounts to round one of a very long fight between Microsoft, Apple and Android, but so far things look very rough for MS.

Windows 8 has shipped more units so far than W7 in the same time frame, but keep in mind that W7 was a PC only piece of software and W8 is cross-platform being shipped on PCs, tabs and phones.  With that in mind, not all that impressive.  Surface, which is a cool little tab, is selling anemically.  The fact that RT came out first and the app market is underwhelming could spell disaster for the tab.  The different iterations of Windows phones are making little progress in snatching market share from Apple and Android. The last stat I saw was Apple controlling about 18 percent of the smart phone market and Android around 73 percent.  That leaves MS and RIM to fight over the 9 percent table scraps!

The problem for MS is fairly simple. If consumers have no need for, or do not want, a Windows tablet or phone, then they also have no need for Windows 8.  Why embrace a completely new OS and GUI, with a stiff learning curve, on a PC?  Windows 7 works fine thank you very much.  That leaves MS in a very difficult place.  If their tabs and phones don’t gain steady market share, then Windows 8 may die with them.  I own a computer repair and tech support business and do not yet own a copy of Windows 8.  Why?  I don’t need it.  Customers ask me constantly if they should upgrade and my answer is simple.  No, if you have XP or Vista, go to 7.  If you have 7, stay with it unless you have a specific need for W8.

I still believe that tabs are an expensive novelty and in that ring Apple clearly has the knock- out punch with iPad and Android is still finding their footing in the fight, while Microsoft is still trying to get in the ring.  As I said in my previous post regarding app development for Surface and Windows Phone, if MS cannot attract the developers, those devices will die in the broad consumer market and may end up being an IBMish enterprise-centric phenom.

Right now it does not look good for them.  I like Microsoft and I am in their corner hoping they can stand at the end of fifteen rounds and proclaim “yo, Apple and Android, we did it!” However, if things don’t change fast, they may be forever holding the spit bucket while the true heavy weights battle it out.  Stay tuned.  Want to roll back to Windows 7?  We can help.