Are tablets with keyboards replacing the laptop for most people? It seems very likely. The phablet replaced the need for a tablet and a phone. And people are nothing if not willing to save money. Having to buy a tablet and a laptop is overkill to most people. This has big implications for one of the very biggest tech companies: Microsoft. If iPads with keyboards, Android tablets with keyboards and two-in-one Chromebooks take over, the big M may be in big trouble.
Google’s strategy took shape when they announced the addition of Android apps to Chrome OS in May. This will probably have the most effect for two-in-one Chromebooks, with users having the best of both worlds. Microsoft may have a saving grace for its Office product in that Desktop PCs running Windows are still used in most organisations, so people are inclined to use Office software programs on iOS and Android (However, you can use Microsoft web apps for Chrome OS). But it may be losing users of its operating system business as they are enticed by cheap Chromebooks running a free OS. Chromebooks are doing very well in the US. If Google were to release Desktop PC’s that run Chrome OS – then Microsoft might start to sweat.
What is clear is that Microsoft need to innovate faster so that they can catch the next wave in the fast-moving ocean that is Silicon Valley. They are trying. An example is their Microsoft Holo Lens punt. This technology could have very specialised and useful use cases for workers and businesses. However, they do have to hope that the Microsoft eco-system stays developer-friendly and by that I mean popular. Apple may bring out their own attempt at augmented reality and blow Microsoft out of the water. The same may be true of Google. Even if Microsoft loses, however, they still will be able to be popular for organisations.