Apple has always sold itself as the anti-Microsoft. Now Windows 11 is the anti-Apple


Pop quiz: What makes a Microsoft Surface different from the Apple MacBook Air?

Sarah Tew / CNET

At first glance, Microsoft’s Windows 11 seems like a compelling update to the operating system software that powers most PCs around the world. The software has a new streamlined look, reminiscent of smartphones and tablets. Microsoft has also added capabilities to help people navigate the world redefined by the pandemic, such as built-in video chat software, new ways to organize on-screen applications and documents, and technology to improve performance. appearance of video games.

But its most important characteristic is that it doesn’t. After unveiling Windows 11 last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said his company’s technology was designed to work with as many products as possible, including software for competing Android smartphones from Google.

“Today the world needs a more open platform – a platform that allows applications to become full platforms,” he said. “Windows is a platform where things that are bigger than Windows can be born.”

He took this point further by inviting Google to bring its app store to Windows. He also told developers that they are now allowed to sell programs on the Microsoft Store for little or no commission, a drastic change from Apple and Google’s minimum 15% hold that has led to lawsuits and antitrust investigations around the world. And he said it would host Apple’s FaceTime and other technologies on Windows 11 and in the Microsoft Store.

“We want to remove the barriers that exist too often today and offer real choice and connection,” he said. “Operating systems and devices need to adapt to our needs, not the other way around. “

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Microsoft is building its Teams video chat in Windows 11.

Microsoft

Microsoft’s move to Windows 11 marks the latest in a sea change for the world’s most beloved software company. Two decades ago, Microsoft’s attempts to crush its competitors through its Windows software led a federal judge to declare it a monopoly. Microsoft’s sharp tactics and problem-prone software have made it so vilified that people across the tech landscape have reduced the company to their hands. M $ in discussion forums to put profit ahead of the needs of people using its products.

Competitors also joined us. In the early 2000s, Google marketed its fledgling search engine with the “Don’t be Evil” business philosophy. And when Apple began formulating its “Get a Mac” campaign to help market its computers in 2005, it Present the Microsoft-powered PC as a clumsy, arrogant fool.

“The point is, you’re selling like hot cakes now, and I have to get my point across, so I’m doing a little bit of marketing buzz for a good old PC, the only computer you’ll ever need,” the character said. PC, played by the actor John hodgman, who then held up signs saying “Unbelievable! And “Totally cool!”

But things have changed since. Google ditched its famous corporate mantra “Don’t be mean” in 2015, opting instead for “Do the right thing”. (It may not be a coincidence that the search giant itself is now under antitrust scrutiny.) And Apple’s approach to scrutiny of the iPhone and its App Store has fueled lawsuits. and government investigations in Europe and the United States, fueled by complaints from major partners such as dating app maker Tinder. IAC, Spotify music service and developer Fortnite Epic Games.

Read more: Windows 11: Here are the best new features and how to use them

Meanwhile, Nadella has made changes at Microsoft since he was named CEO in 2014. He has pushed Microsoft to loosen up its approach with its partners, competitors and even within its own divisions. It’s about “rebirth as much as just fixing something that’s broken,” Nadella told CNET in 2018.

Now, with Windows 11, Microsoft sees an opportunity to stand out, rather than just compete.

“Now is the time,” said Maribel Lopez, analyst at Lopez Research. For a long time, Nadella has told developers that Microsoft is more open, easier to develop, and with hundreds of millions of PCs sold each year, remains a platform with opportunity. Even Microsoft’s biggest hurdle – the lack of a smartphone operating system – is fading as mobile chips start powering more PCs and the lines blur more.

That’s not to say that there is an easy road ahead of Microsoft. While the company is making its unique operating system more accessible to developers, Apple offers two popular platforms on iOS and MacOS.

“You can’t take Apple lightly,” she said, noting that there is a “war” going on for the future of technology.

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Windows 11 has many features inspired by smartphones and tablets.

Microsoft

In the 1990s, when people bought their first desktops and connected to the Internet for the first time, Microsoft’s stated mission was to put “a computer on every desk and in every home.” By 2015, he had largely succeeded – and this preparatory work even made it possible to put a computer in every pocket. (Despite Microsoft’s best efforts, the devices did not have a Windows logo on them).

So what do you do next? Nadella decided he wanted Microsoft to “empower every person and organization on the planet to do more.” This thinking ended Microsoft’s obsession with Windows, further solidifying it as a company whose products help other companies’ products run.

But the Microsoft of yesteryear hasn’t completely disappeared. Analysts believe Nadella’s swings against Apple in her Windows 11 launch speech were not just aimed at hitting Microsoft’s biggest enemy. His tone wasn’t jovial or dismissive like former CEO Steve Ballmer when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone in 2007. Nadella was serious.

“He is trying to pierce the veil,” said Patrick moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, referring to Apple’s position as a cool and innovative kid in the tech industry. “How many opportunities do you have to pierce the veil?”

Moorhead noted that Microsoft has put a lot of effort into making sure its Office productivity apps, Teams chat software, and other programs run smoothly on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. But Apple has barely updated iTunes on Windows over the years, and it hasn’t even made apps like FaceTime available for download.

Microsoft declined to make Nadella available for an interview to discuss the motivations behind her speech. Whatever his reasons, Nadella’s decision showed that under Microsoft’s cool veneer, he still has that relentless business sense of monopoly.

“I can see why they envy Apple – everyone bowed down to this company as if it was a religious talisman,” said the analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates. Roger kay.

Read more: Windows 11: all the big differences compared to Windows 10

But attacking Apple may not be enough to change people’s perceptions. In 2001, more than nine out of ten computers on the planet were equipped with Windows. Today, it’s closer to seven out of 10, according to StatCounter.

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Apple is a leader in the technology industry.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Nadella may therefore want to position Windows 11 as the anti-Apple, but Microsoft’s influence now extends widely to people who already have Windows. And those people will either download the free Windows 11 update when it releases this fall, or wait until their company’s IT team allows it.

“Microsoft is only competing against themselves,” Kay said. “Nobody else cares.”

And if that’s not enough, Microsoft is integrating its Teams software into Windows in a similar way to how Apple used FaceTime with its devices. But it’s clear that Microsoft wants to forge its own identity with the way it opens Windows.

“We are building for the next decade and beyond,” Nadella said in this speech on Windows 11. “This is the first release of a new era of Windows.”

And perhaps most important to him, it won’t be Apple.



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