Why Microsoft Is Turning Into Apple

January 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials


A raft of company decisions show its focus is changing dramatically, but why and is it a good thing?

Why Microsoft Is Turning Into Apple

CES 2012 is at an end, and with it, so is the event’s final Microsoft keynote. CES 2013 will be a very different show without the presence of the Remond-based company, but those changes could be minimal compared to how Microsoft hopes to change over the same timeframe. Whisper it: Microsoft is turning into Apple.

“We won’t have a keynote or booth [at CES] after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing,” forewarned Microsoft corporate communications VP Frank X. Shaw in December. “As we look at all of the new ways we tell our consumer stories – from product momentum disclosures, to exciting events like our Big Windows Phone, to a range of consumer connection points like Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft.com and our retail stores – it feels like the right time to make this transition.”

Shaw could well be right about CES’s timing. This year the show was moved back a week to make it easier for companies returning from the Christmas and New Year break, but its placement hasn’t hindered Microsoft much in the past. Over the years CES has been the stage Microsoft has delivered a raft of important firsts including the first public demo of the Xbox, Windows Media Center (at the time called ‘Freestyle’), the first beta of Windows 7 and the news of ARM support in Windows 8. Microsoft has also been the key CES partner, with Gates and Ballmer in turns hosting the pre-show keynote address.

Numerous reasons have been levelled for the split, from stand rates to contract lengths, but the truth is Microsoft these days seeks something CES cannot deliver: control. While the company talks up search, the Cloud and its Metro UI, the real focus for the years ahead is to take back control of its image and to lock down the performance of its PC and mobile platforms which have been damaged so badly by lackadaisical third parties.

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