Microsoft has this unique gift in their current product portfolios, that is they have a fairly wide range of offerings that at times on their own are quite brilliant and great to use.
This now brings me to my state of confusion, that is to say why they spend so much energy and time confusing the masses when its clear their biggest competitor, Apple, have figured out the simplistic pattern of “less is more”.
There is just Windows.
Today, Brandon announced what will be the upcoming SKU’s for Windows 8, and yes the ye olde “pro” makes a comeback to a shrink wrap shelf near you.
Why do they need to separate out the product lines as to me they really should reconsider this approach going forward, especially given Desktop/Device are blurring out one another’s value proposition(s).
Instead of breaking out a variety of comparison matrix that often as a consumer will result in ticking the lowest cost box, why not instead just let everyone buy a Windows core, that is to say you just “buy” windows.
Picture a consumer walking into a retail shop of some kind, they walk straight over to the Windows box, pick it up, buy it and then install it when they get home.
The installation wizard steps them through various basic features and so on but on the last screen they are asked “what other features would you like to buy? for 0.99c”
The end user ponders, and starts to tick or untick boxes that they think they will need for their installation – which is linked to a Azure ID of some kind.
That’s it, no confusion around which Windows SKU you own or at times buyers remorse because you bought the wrong edition which had XYZ feature and now you want that feature but then have to shell out for features you don’t want at a upgrade price of XYZ.
Furthermore this then would condition them to an initial introduction to the “AppStore” market model which no doubt they probably have already learnt via their iPhones/iPad interaction(s).
Just Windows doesn’t stop there either, you also have this same principle applied to Tablet/ARM/Phone hardware as well as now it’s less about specifics of Windows and more about Windows as an abstract platform.
Ergo this would also underpin their entire content first strategy that orbits Metro today.
I don’t see a cohesive strategy within the Windows Teams, I see snippets of success but there appears to be no over arching cohesive strategy. The problem is still there with individual product teams competiting for consumer awareness and attention.
Is Windows a platform or not? if it is, how about it start acting like one and become one and not some comparison matrix which leaves you questioning “Do i need that?” vs “Do I want that”