What is mobility & why Microsoft fails to understand it?


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Jun 26, 2019
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Recently, I have been educating myself about building a mobile PC using Mini-ITX motherboard and that made me understand the real meaning of mobility. What I found is that "mobility for PC" is not same as "mobility for smartphones".

Mobility for personal computers means ability to pack them in a backpack and take it from one place to another without the use of "shipping" service! And obviously, I could not pack mini-ITX PC along with its display and power source in a backpack. That is where laptops come in for a rescue. Thus, mobility for computers does not necessarily implies using them while you are actually in motion like driving or travelling in a cab.

On the other hand, mobility for smartphones means ability to use them using one hand for real-time communication, accessing real-time information like map services or payment services.

And so, what Microsoft is currently trying to do with products like Surface Duo and Surface Pro defies basic logic. Surface Duo is severely limited as far as one-handed operation is concerned. We require both hands to open it! So, it can never replace or compete with the likes of Galaxy Fold or other smartphones for that matter. So, the bigger question is where can it be used? When you are not in motion. But then, why can't we just use tablets which will provide us with a display that doesn't breaks visuals at the center? The answer is we can.

Same holds true for Surface Pro devices. If we need backpacks to carry them, why can't we just carry a bigger and better laptop like Dell XPS 13?

The problem with Microsoft I think is that it is trying to create a new segment with a very limited use case scenario. What they should be doing instead is to identify what people really need and tailor a product based on that. Today, we do not need to create a new form factor just for the sake of it, we just need to make existing ones more powerful, efficient and long-lasting.

While it's true that Microsoft is doing great with their Office 365 offerings and Azure framework, they need to buckle up in hardware and OSs.

I think that Microsoft should provide a third notification screen on Surface Duo to allow single-hand operation and replace double displays with foldables. Again, when it comes to Surface pro and Surface laptops, Microsoft should focus on providing longer battery life and better performance, may be using chips like SD 888. And they should try to make their products available in markets outside US and Europe if they want it to gather any traction.

The role of a leader is not to test everything and then cancel them when it fails. The role of a leader should be to identify which product or vision the company focus on among a number of choices available so that they don't have to cancel it 2 or 3 years down the line. That is where Steve Jobs succeeded and Nadella fails!
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