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5 Things Microsoft Can Do to Hurt Apple, Android

When you fire up your Windows machine, it needs to automatically introduce you to the ease and efficacy of integrating with other Windows devices. It needs to make you want to integrate and feel like you're missing out on cutting edge, but easy-to-use, unintimidating technology.

It's one thing to talk the game of going cross-platform with SmartGlass and Surface, but Microsoft needs to drive that point home the second you boot up any Windows device.

Smart Marketing

I take for granted a major advertising push from Microsoft this fall. I expect Windows 8, Xbox SmartGlass and Surface to be all over football telecasts, social media, primetime television and maybe even the Olympics this summer. However, Microsoft needs to make a smart push.

It cannot beat Apple in mobile by taking away Apple's current customer base. On the strength of Apple's products and the connection it has with its market alone, Microsoft has little chance. And, practically speaking, you have the issue of wireless contracts to deal with. If I am locked into a two-year deal on an iPhone or Android smartphone, I am not bailing no matter how good Windows 8 smartphones look.

To take market share, Microsoft needs to aggressively target its phones and tablets to two consumer groups -- current PC users who will likely always be PC users and the massive segment of the world population that has not yet made the dumbphone-to-smartphone transition. And, of course, it needs to use Office and the other unique features of Surface to tap the enterprise market.

Aggressively go after these folks; forget about the early adopters. Microsoft does not need Windows 8 to look cool to Apple fans and Android geeks. It needs to drive the next wave of mobile adoption before Apple and Android do by default.

Microsoft has positioned itself perfectly to pass Apple and Google in mobile, however, it's not enough to introduce new products and services and make "major" announcements. Microsoft must follow through this time.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

At the time of publication, the author was long MSFT, NOK and P.
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