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A portable PC is not it

by James Wu

August 26, 2013

Microsoft is expected to make a leadership change within a year after its CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement. During Mr. Ballmer's reign, in its own realm, Microsoft performed well. However, it obviously had difficulties traversing the ever-changing landscape of mobile devices. That is not unusual; even the early leaders in mobile devices such as Nokia and RIM failed to adapt effectively. In this regard, there is no demerit. The credit goes to Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs who but twice achieved greatness.

Making an aesthetically pleasing and intuitively useful device is engineering art. Microsoft is primarily a software company and it has limited experience in making a physical device. To Apple, product ID means industrial design; to Microsoft, product ID probably means the serial number of a Windows software license. The Office application software may be Microsoft's greatest product.

A mobile device is not a portable PC. Gone are the days when backward compatibility preoccupies. The need to work on some old documents is certainly not what motivates people to purchase a smart phone or a tablet device. People use mobile devices to read, watch, listen, and communicate. The new world of mobile devices is changing the rigid world of the PC's. The net effect is more choices for the consumers, and that is for the better.


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