A Month Without Apple or Google

Dan Lyons attempts to live life in the absence of any Apple or Google products for a month. Lyons called his experiment “the month with Microsoft” to determine if the once-dominant tech company could become great again.

I’ve spent the past four weeks using nothing but Microsoft products—Windows computers, Windows phones, Xbox, Bing, Internet Explorer—instead of my usual lineup of Apple and Google products. It’s been six years since I used any Microsoft products on a regular basis. I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The verdict? Microsoft is making some really nice products these days. What it still can’t do is tie all these products into a single, well-integrated ecosystem. Don’t worry; nobody else can either. But that’s where everyone is headed. If Microsoft can pull off this integration, it could very well give Apple a run for its money.

What everyone is after these days is a kind of single, unified experience where all content (music collection, movies owned or rented, plus home movies, photos, documents) is kept up on the Internet cloud, in a single place.

A series of devices—phone, tablet, laptop computer, desktop computer, TV—can fetch any of that content from the cloud. Watch a movie on the phone, then pause it and watch the rest of it on the TV. Edit a document on a work computer, store it to the cloud, work on it on a tablet during the train ride home, then work on it again with a laptop on the couch at night.

All this has to happen seamlessly. And it must be incredibly simple and easy to use.

So far, no tech company can deliver this. But Microsoft has all the pieces. It just needs to bring them together.

I would agree that Microsoft has all the pieces to do what Lyons describes. I would also agree that his assessment of what people want from their technology is heading in that very direction. But I would whole-heartedly disagree with his assessment that no tech company is doing this.

Apple is already there. They might need to do a few things here or there to improve the foundation it’s already laid, but Apple does all of what Lyons describes and does it very, very well. Google recognizes this is the future and is trying to get the puzzle pieces to put them together. Microsoft has all the puzzle pieces ready to assemble but is starring at them with no concept of how to put the puzzle together.

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