I have been tracking the wave of smartphones as being the the true delivery agents of Information at Your Fingertips. Talk about missing the obvious implications. And right next door the Browser monopoly situation is collapsing. Well so too the client OS monopoly.
No no no – its is not a full frontal assault from MacOS or Linux – although Microsoft with its Vistawful has done itself great-bodily-harm on its Windows brand. Rather the attack vector is up-slipping from the various OS on smartphones. Look what Google Android is doing – moving up from smartphones to Netbooks. And it can easily do so because:
a)smartphones typically have 1-8GB of memory+diskspace to work with;
b)its Linux base is lean and mean and Google certainly knows how to deliver that
c)Google is remaining almost in lockstep on the latest GUI and touchscreen advances.
But Google is not alone. WebOS from Palm which is bringing true multitasking and touchscreen to smartphones is also a Linux based OS. What is to prevent Palm from doing a tablet/netbook like factor powered by WebOS. And Apple’s OSPhone looks more leopard-spottish every day.
And Microsoft has only itself to blame for letting so many back into the client OS game. It has squandered the Pen OS opportunity with limp yet expensive tablet offerings. It is playing catchup with Surfaces and Windows 7 on touchscreen and multi-touch. It has declined to do a major refresh of Windows Mobile – so like in the case of its IE8 browser, it is working from way behind. And of course it delivered its knockout, WoW punch – Vista. Talk about delivering a textbook case of Joseph Schumpeter’s “monopolies sew the seeds of their own destruction”.