The nucleus of this article came from the recent Macworld theme “The First 30 Years where just the Beginning”.
It got me thinking how the next 30 years will be after looking the last 30 years roller coaster ride.
After decompressing from all the CES and Macworld activity, two very basic things occurred to me:
1.) The “War for the Living Room” is in full swing.
2.) Microsoft and Apple are truly competing again.
This means that the technology cold war is over. A new battle is about to begin.
To support my “revelation”, I did a quick analysis of the battles between Microsoft vs. Apple and I break down like this:
Tech War I -”The War for the Desktop” – 1980-1995
Most historians see this era as the “personal computer era”, but by 1990 it was squarely Apple vs MS as they battled it out to be that computer on your desk or optionally on your lap. This saw the acceptance of computers as a broad business tool and networking technologies take hold to connect us at the corporate level. Unfortunately, Apple lost this round and Microsoft gained market share dominance that they hold to this day.
Cold War – 1995-2006 – Mild escalation
As Apple went through its issues and almost disappeared forever, Microsoft was truly entrenched in the office and almost every home that had a computer. For most of us, the focus turned toward the Internet and we had a new battle to fight. Microsoft was late to the game and has played catch up for the most part. As the 90′s were coming to a close, Steve Jobs returned to Apple and many hoped for a turnaround. In the early part of this century, Apple introduced the iPod and just last year moved their platform to the Intel chip gaining market share and making the platform a solid alternative for many (including your humble author). At this point, Microsoft is losing the Internet battle to Google and Apple has regained market share because of solid innovation.
Tech War II – “War for the Living Room” – 2007-”?
Computing has become not just about using it as a tool in the home office or while at work, it is integrated into every aspect of our lives. Laptops, PDAs, Smartphones, Cell Phones, Web Tablets, Video Game consoles and MP3 players connect and distribute media into exciting new ways.
However, there is on thing missing – bridging the gap between the content that resides on computing devices and allowing easy access and viewing/listening through living room via the TV. Sure, MS has media center, but at $2000 for a machine and needing to have a background in systems engineering, it really was for the early adopter. There have been many devices for the iPod to connect music into the stereo and low end devices to view videos on the iPod.
But with technologies like Tivo and IPTV, the living room is where people really want to view their content. Everything is trapped on the computer and this year is the tipping point where people will really move to access it in the living room.
HERE IS HOW I GOT THERE:
- 2007 is the year of the video
- The AppleTV has made it REALLY EASY and AFFORDABLE to watch iTunes content on the TV
- Microsoft is readying for Battle
- Apple Computer, Inc is now Apple, Inc.
- Microsoft introduced the Vista Home Server software with hardware vendors creating a true home media server
WHAT I DON’T KNOW
If Windows Mobile will be able compete with the MacPhone
If Microsoft make the Zune a worthy competitor?
If Vista make any impact other than collecting default revenue because people need to upgrade their computer and don’t have a good choice.
If Apple’s OS X Leopard will innovate to stay ahead
If Apple’s shift in name and brand put them on the path to become the Sony of the 21st century?
Will Microsoft make the Media Server easy to use and affordable?
Will DRM kill everything by charging and re-charging for content we already own?
WHAT I KNOW
If Microsoft doesn’t put on its innovation pants, it is going to lose this battle by the end of the decade
If Apple keeps going with widescreen iPods, multiple iPhones, HD content for sale on iTunes and greater AppleTV systems, they are going to create the “Living Room ecosystem” people are crying for
If Apple keeps its control freak nature for much longer, Microsoft can trump them with a system that allows for freedom
It is going to be a fun time to be alive as these two companies really go at it again.
This year is going to be known as the “War for the Living Room”.
So, What do you think?
OTHER GOOD ARTICLES TO REFERENCE:
The Microsoft showdown with MacWorld & the Apple Phone from VentureBeat
Jobs versus Gates