I just finished watching a new YouTube video entitled, Can Surface Andromeda replace your PC? And it appears to be another one of those videos published by Windows Central whose whole purpose has to be testing the waters on just how amenable the consumer market feels towards Microsoft’s softly hyped, yet to be delivered, new mobile product, aka the Surface Andromeda.
My purpose here isn’t to review Microsoft’s new vaporware but rather to call attention to what their new mobile strategy should include if it doesn’t already.
In my last post I quoted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella who told the Australia Financial Review that Microsoft is working on the “ultimate mobile device.”
Okay, so this new mobile product tentatively named, the Surface Andromeda, appears to be some sort of small folding tablet device running an ARM Snapdragon 845 Octa-core (8-core CPU) SoC (System on a Chip).
Supposedly, Microsoft’s new ‘ultimate mobile device’ will make phone calls plus do a bunch of other never before heard, never before seen kind of things that only an ultimate mobile device can do.
Okay, so my point is this – If Microsoft’s new mobile strategy does not include making their new Windows ARM flavor of OS backward compatible across all ARM chips, back to including the Snapdragon 808, then the CEO and his senior staff seriously have their heads up their ass, all majorly deluded as to what constitutes strategy.
Note: Need I remind anyone – least of all Microsoft – that their core business is software, not hardware. And every hardware company out there knows there is nothing at all truly wonderful being just another vendor in the mobile space. Not to mention one who is trying to hawk a new device in an already saturated and jaded mobile market (no matter how ultimate one thinks it is). The only scale Microsoft benefits to leverage here is as world leading software vendor of operating systems whose mission – much like winning at musical chairs – should be at getting their software on as many damned devices out there as possible. That scales, while novelty hardware devices doesn’t.
During my time at Intel I learned several important things. And what is apropos here is that all electronics (communication, entertainment, etc.) are all collapsing over time into one box. (Yeah, yeah, yeah – in the very beginning, discrete components gave way to integrated circuits followed by cell phones playing music, videos, etc.) How this important lesson applies here is that by the time the world matures electronically, it will all appear – down to every last electronic connected device – as one big transparent seamless mesh (aka one box).
And if the future is anything like the present, governments and businesses alike will continue to look towards one vendor solutions.
That is why it is incumbent upon Microsoft to push beyond the data centers and the workplace where it dominates out into every last nook and cranny to all connected devices no matter how small (e.g., mobile, the IoT).
I say this also for a very pragmatic and real time reason, namely numbers. According to Wiki, “With over 100 billion ARM processors produced as of 2017, ARM is the most widely used Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) in terms of quantity produced.”
So if Microsoft is just going to roll this new mobile product out this year in 2018 on the Snapdragon 845 but ignore the previous iterations of the Snapdragon (808, 810, 820, 821, and the 835) then the company is missing out on the existing market consisting of some 10’s of billions of devices.
And all of the new ARM devices from the 808 forward all run the same ISA, ARMv8.
PS – Microsoft can’t be seriously deluded into thinking they can simply add some new and supposedly ultimate mobile device into the existing melange of billions of mobile devices and expect to become a major player?
Would you like a heaping helping of Betamax to go with that right now, sir?
No, probably not.
Microsoft needs to take over and dominate the ARM ecosystem to secure a future for itself in the world.
Intel’s market share has fallen to 60%. The future of personal computing is mobile, hence ARM for the immediate future. Who will own the IoT (the fringe of the internet fabric) in the near/far future? Who knows?
But what I do know is that battle is happening right now.
And there can only be one ring to rule them all.