Microsoft’s plans to enter tablet computing just took two steps backwards, and now it has no obvious challenger in the race with Apple’s iPad.
The latest: Microsoft shut down its experimental Courier tablet project.
This is terrible news for Microsoft. Windows is Microsoft’s biggest profit driver, and if the consumer computing industry moves toward tablet computing — where Microsoft is quickly becoming a nobody — it could be in trouble.
How did Microsoft lose so much so fast?
HP was dissatisfied with Windows as a tablet operating system, according to TechCrunch. Instead it will look at using Google Android, as well as its newly acquired WebOS. And the Courier just wasn’t up to snuff. The era of touch devices that use styluses has long passed.
This leaves Microsoft with just ASUS, MSI, and a few other PC makers as potential tablet computing partners. And those companies are also working on Android flavored tablets as well. (Dell appears to be leaning toward Android.) If HP didn’t think Windows 7 was fit for a tablet, we hardly see ASUS or MSI producing a good tablet with Windows.
The early indication for tablets is that a mobile operating system is the best basis for them. It’s lightweight, so it can run quickly and efficiently in the lighter hardware of a tablet. And because mobile phones are much more touch-focused than desktop computers, it seems a mobile OS could be more easily configured for tablet-sized touch computing.
To be sure, Microsoft has a new mobile operating system in the works that looks impressive. It could potentially be good for tablet computing. But Microsoft hasn’t put it on phones for sale yet. That’s expected by year end.
By the time it gets its new mobile OS on a phone, Apple will working on the SECOND version of the iPad. Microsoft, meanwhile, will probably not have its FIRST tablet out yet.
So, Microsoft is watching its two biggest rivals — Apple and Google — enter into the new big computing space while it sits on the sidelines. That’s not where it wanted to be.
See Also: Tablet Computing: A History Of Failure