You can’t help but feel slightly sorry for Microsoft nowadays. Yes, THAT Microsoft-the hulking 800-pound-gorrilla that was ruled a monopolist last decade. Yes, THAT Microsoft-the producer of almost all the software the world’s personal computers run on. Why the sympathy for the tech equivalent of The Borg? Where to begin? In fact, if you have been paying attention at all to any of the markets Microsoft is in, save for the PC OS market, console market, some corporate markets, and possibly cloud computing, the giant from Redmond Washington is on the losing end of many tech battles. Smartphones? Google’s Android has that market all sewn up. Tablets? Ditto. Mobile music devices? Apple’s king in that space. In short, given the huge earth-changing consequences of mobile devices and apps, Microsoft has never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Well, if you are a Microsoft stock holder, this next piece of news might terrify you. Intel, Microsoft’s long time partner into turning almost all of the world’s personal computers into Bill Gates boxes is signing on to Android. This is not good news for Micrsoft fans.
While Intel isn’t abandoning Windows (that would be similar to the company pointing a gun at its own head and pulling the trigger), Intel is showing that it views Android as the equal of Windows. This has serious long-term consequences and gets one of the world’s most powerful chip makers on the Android bandwagon. The result? Possibly cheaper Android units in the future as Intel lends its massive manufacturing heft into producing tablets and smartphones powered by Android. What explains the change in Intel’s tune? The company is just being smart. While PCs are still Windows territory, in fast-growing markets, Android boxes are very much in demand. Moreover, the huge rise in Android apps need processing power. Put these all together and the fact that Android is powered by smaller players like ARM, the market is ripe for domination by long-time leader Intel.
What is the effect of this development? Further Android dominance is easy to call. Also, market consolidation by Intel as it solidifies its position in a fast growing market. Finally, cheaper tablets. This isn’t just bad news for Microsoft but also for Apple and Samsung. Eventually, the battle will shift to hardware then to apps.