Wednesday, 25 March 2015 11:20

Microsoft’s Android and iOS assault

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Microsoft, best known for its Windows operating system and Office software has collaborated with Samsung, Dell, Sony, and many other smartphone and tablet makers to bundle its applications and services on Android devices.

Samsung is first with its new flagship Galaxy S6 and Edge offering users 100GB of free Microsoft OneDrive storage for two years. In part, it is Samsung wanting to assert that it is not fully reliant on Google’s Android and its apps.

While initially aimed at business users - the bundle includes Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, OneDrive and Skype – it is also very attractive to consumers who have grown up with the familiarity of Microsoft Office products. In part, it is stark recognition that Office 365 is more widely accepted than Google’s consumer offerings. Interestingly Samsung will also bundle its KNOX secure computing platform to help business chose its version of Android over others.

There is no specific mention of Cortana and Bing but you can bet these are going to be part of the deal. Bringing Cortana to other ecosystems makes it an even better feature on Windows 10 - because more users issuing more queries means more raw data for Bing to mine and improve Cortana with.

Note – Cortana will come to iOS and Android as a standalone app later this year.

Analysts are a little confused about Microsoft lately – sharing the crown jewels like Office, Cortana/Bing and more with other ecosystems. Is it not counterproductive to the Windows 10 push?

Is this the same Microsoft of old? The mega-corporation that had designs on world domination? Well it seems to be more interested in being the grease on the wheel offering cross ecosystem products that work the same and look the same. There is a large range of Microsoft apps in Google Play – just click here

Office already works across devices - start a document on one device, save it in OneDrive, and it is on the recent files list when you open Office on your iPad, Mac, Android or PC. That is not only cool but also it brings standards back to office productivity software that can be taught at school and used throughout life.

The short answer is in an old proverb eschewed by the Microsoft of old “It is better to have 10% of something than 100% of nothing.” Only in this case I think the new Microsoft is playing for much higher stakes. At this time, it cannot win against Android or iOS as mobile operating systems but it can win in the desktop, apps and search arena.

Google has responded that it will open up its Google Now API in a bid to slow Cortana and Siri but I suspect its too little too late.

In iOS, Siri will always be synonymous with Apple but even it is powered by Bing search. According to comScore more than 30% of desktop searches are now powered by Bing – and this is growing as more search engines like Yahoo partner with it.

Of course Google has an almost monopoly in mobile searching but that may change when Windows 10 and Cortana comes on line later this year.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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