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Is Microsoft the New Apple?

Sometimes it pays to read the fine print. Ed Bott has made a career out of it. Last year he read a Microsoft 10-K investor report and saw the company mention devices, leading him to predict that Microsoft would enter the hardware game. That may sound like bragging but I've known Ed for over two decades. And if it's bragging, he's got the chops to back it up.

Bott dissected the latest 10K and saw references, again, to hardware. Ed's analysis is that Surface is just the tip of the hardware iceberg. Last year its 10-K mentioned hardware eight times. This time it was around 15. Last year it used the word "device" on 11 occasions. Now we see it 25 times.

Now it's time for me to predict the future. I think Microsoft watched the incredible success of Apple blending hardware and software, and had its own success with the Xbox experiment. This will lead Microsoft to decide it wants to be a hardware company!

Do you see Microsoft trying to be more like Apple? Forward your best analysis to

Posted by Doug Barney on 08/13/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 Ray Gilford, NH

If Microsoft is getting into hardware should we call them Microhard?

Tue, Aug 14, 2012

@Tom: Linux is the answer to this problem, it offers choice, open source, no vendor lock in and is free.

Tue, Aug 14, 2012 Tom

I hope it does try to be more LIKE Apple, as long as it doesn't try to be a Me Too... I am worried that all this catch up will mean they become just like them leaving the PC enthusiast that wants to use their own, well researched, hardware purchases instead of a big name, big ticket, big box retail solution. These solutions have a history of ignoring what people want unless they number in the millions. Unfortunately "device" means they probably will go that route too - Heaven forbid we allow people to actually have a choice that doesn't involve compromise!

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 DJ

I would love if they started selling their own hardware like Apple does. I am sick and tired of hearing morons say that Apple is better, just to find out that it is because the computers are faster. Well guess what? If spent around the same amount of money on a PC as you would for a Mac, then you would get that speed. Too many people buy the low end models, PC- $400, Mac $1,000, and then they wonder why the $1,000 Mac is better. UH, because it was made with parts that cost $1,000 rather than $400. Maybe Microsoft will do the same and get a better rep for it.

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 Darryl Roberts

Microsoft has long tried to be more like Apple, often to its detriment. The Windows XP UI was made to look more like the Apple UI (OK the trash can became the recycle bin and the menu/task bar was at the bottom instead of the top). Despite what Microsoft might think, just because it is Apple does not mean that they should copy it.

Mon, Aug 13, 2012

Microsoft doesn't create, it copies. Some examples: CPM > DOS, Stacker > DoubleSpace, Word Perfect 6 > Word 6 (when previous version was 2), Novell Netware 3x > NT, Novell eDirectory > AD, Netscape > IE, VMware > HyperV, Google Docs > Office 365, Apple sales model > Microsoft sales mode Anything you can do, I can copy, I can copy anything you do

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 Cookie

Microsoft already is in the hardware. It is called the XBOX.

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 EVVJSK

The devil is in the details. Get it right, you make money. Get it wrong, you lose money. Microsoft has been losing on a number of things over the last 2 or 3 years.

Mon, Aug 13, 2012 Ed

Yes, they will want to be a hardware company like Apple. No, they don't have the culture or the history to be able to match them.

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