My friends, we are in the midst of a tech follow the leader game the likes of which we have never ever seen. First Apple comes out with a mobile phone with a large touch screen and everyone; I mean everyone seems to be following them. Then Apple comes out with an app store and guess what, once again we see follow the leader taking place.
Today in fact Nokia announced its Ovi store and reports are circulating that Sun will soon offer a Java app store.
But if I may, it isn’t just the touch screen phone which is making the public go crazy for Apple products. It is a relentless push by Apple to develop products which are slick and easy to use.
Skype is far from the first VoIP software package to come along – it was probably 100th or 1,000th in line. It was however the slickest and easiest to use. And in IP communications, Microsoft had a multiyear head-start. In fact Redmond also had a head-start on mobile devices.
And the reason is simplicity and slickness. I carry a Windows Mobile device and an iPhone and in many ways the WinMo device is better at doing things like cut and paste and it also has a keyboard. But still, I find myself defaulting to the iPhone because it is slick, has an easy to use browser and is simple to operate.
Google is another example of a company with a simple interface winning the war. Microsoft will soon launch an ad campaign of $100 million on its search engine which is to be potentially rebranded Bing according to sources.
This push by Microsoft will be fascinating to watch. I remember when Google was about to go public, many analysts told us there was little search engine loyalty. This seems to be counterintuitive today but now that all three of the major search engines seem to produce similar results, it will be great to see if Microsoft’s money changes peoples’ habits.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Money Microsoft spends doesn’t increase its share of market… And when I see the ads it will just reinforce the idea keeping things simple, slick and easy to use is the smartest way to run a business and develop products.