Apple vs. Microsoft: Rival Strategies, Rival Results

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What's Next -- and What Should be Next

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John Gruber at DaringFireball.net made the excellent point that the resurging Apple tablet rumors (and there are many) sound an awful lot like what was going around just before the release of the iPhone. People couldn't figure out how Apple would solve the existing problems of integrating basic computing features with the whole phone thing, and predicted disaster. But Apple didn't come out with the iPhone until it first came up with solutions.

The iPhone could be a good base for a new category of computing -- it is damn near a netbook in many ways. Sure, how to adapt it for long-form text input, how to deal with local storage of files, how to multitask and retain battery life -- all are tough problems. But Apple has a more viable vector into defining the market for hardware for 90% of our daily needs, by making real computing devices - not toasters with Internet access.

This will probably slow down premium PC sales, as some people give in to the reality that they won't really, after all, be doing 3D modeling or creating that next Great American Movie and so don't need the high-end hardware. But there will still be a floor for this market that's important to Apple. And it could, as with the iPod, own a new market category - one that could move Apple farther away from the Mac.

Meanwhile, Microsoft keeps hammering away on the same old nails.

Dan Turner has been writing about science and technology for over a decade at publications such as Salon, eWeek, MacWeek and The New York Times.

This story, "Apple vs. Microsoft: Rival Strategies, Rival Results" was originally published by Computerworld.

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