Microsoft is kicking ass. I love Windows 10. I love Office 365. Azure is holding its own against Amazon in a lot of ways. And the stock is doing phenomenally well.
Amazon is doing similarly well, lead by AWS and their stunning innovation in AI assistants with Alexa, Echo, etc. And Facebook continues to dominate in many areas as well.
But they all have a problem, and it’s a major one.
The real technology battle for marketshare isn’t for home or office or datacenter; it’s the battle for personal lifestyle/technology ecosystem.
As we move to a voice-first paradigm the lines between work and play are going to continue to blur. As will the difference between the office and the home office, or the car and the home, etc.
At any given moment you will simply make requests and get results.
Have I missed any important emails? What should I watch tonight? What are my friends watching? Find me a place to eat. Get me a ride home. Buy Susan those flowers and make sure they arrive at her office before 10am tomorrow.
That’s the actual future of “using a computer”.
Microsoft and Amazon’s problem is that they don’t have a digital assistant to accommodate this because they don’t have a mobile play. Not really.
They have one while you’re using a workstation, or a laptop, or at home. But that doesn’t really count. Digital assistants are most (only?) useful when they’re ever-present. You need to touch your ear (or not) and speak, and have stuff happen as a result.
If your ecosystem isn’t available to customers while they’re mobile, then you’re probably going to lose. This applies to Facebook as well. App functions will continue to collapse into operating system functions, and user interfaces will increasingly collapse into voice and text.
I think Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook probably get this, and I predict that we’ll see them make (new) attempts to enter the mobile game in 2017 or 2018.
They should hurry. The deeper people integrate their lives into Google/Assistant and Apple/Siri the harder it will be for Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook to pull them out.