During Microsoft’s Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call, Satya Nadella presented the notion of one version of the Windows O/S for all screens: tablets, pcs, laptops, smart phones, etc. If true, the reduction in duplication of efforts, functionality, etc. should produce PCs, laptops, etc. at dramatically lower costs for the 2014 holiday season.
Nadella framed this announcement within the context of describing an effort to reduce operating costs, which should make sense to anyone following Microsoft: “[the] [s]econd [principle of how we operate amounts to our effort to] consolidate overlapping efforts. This means one OS that covers all screen sizes and consolidated dual-use productivity services that cross life and work.
In turn, one Windows O/S will provide the added benefit of uniform delivery of features to all screens and devices, at the same time. The imbalance between the Windows feature set for RT and Intel platform devices should be removed. Consumer satisfaction should increase, while acquisition costs, as mentioned above, should be reduced. Finally, release of this new version of Windows will likely be welcome news for consumers from enterprise business who seem to remain unconvinced they have a burning need for a touchscreen O/S like Windows 8.1. The new O/S, as has been reported by the media, will have the ability to “autosense” computing hardware and serve up an optimum user computing environment for a mouse and keyboard user, while still serving up the now familiar touchscreen interface for tablet, smart phone, and laptop users with a touchscreen.
The potential impact of dramatically lower acquisition costs on the percentage of the consumer market deciding to use Windows O/S should be positive, particularly at the lower end, which is the predominant segment for emerging markets. Gains for Microsoft in these segments will likely mean market share has been won back from Chromebooks.
All told, if Microsoft is successful in this effort to consolidate versions of the Windows O/S, and the finished product is well received by markets, the impact on the bottom could be positive.
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