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TheStreet Open House

Could Microsoft Stage a Comeback Against Apple?

Stocks in this article: AAPLMSFT

Objectively speaking, is Microsoft's cloud security more secure for the average consumer than Apple, let alone Google? That's a complex set of issues, and it's not clear there is an objective answer here. It's also a moving target.

Some people will argue that one of the most notorious IT security disasters have been the Windows PCs. That's certainly true, but keep in mind two things here:

1. Microsoft's security has improved a lot since the XP and Win 7 days. Windows 8 is a huge improvement.

2. We are not talking about the security of the PC here. We are talking about cloud account security. You could have a pristinely maintained and virus-free PC, but it wouldn't matter at all if some hacker manages to reset your cloud account password.


What about Google? Google is the ultimate in cloud-centric. Its services are designed from the cloud out, and it shows in terms of the ease of use and integration. It also seems like Google has an excellent security record. Google even invented a new PC operating system -- Chrome OS -- in order to protect its workers better than using Windows or Mac.

Is Apple really that insecure? Who is to say? We know the problems I cited above. Someone like Mark Penn has never been shy about making a big issue about a small accusation or suspicion. Likewise, if an advertising attack were to boomerang back into Microsoft's court, he could help it bounce away as if Microsoft were made from teflon: It sure worked for the Clintons!

Microsoft is doing many of the right things. Later this year, it will execute on "the grand unification" of all of its platforms -- PC, phone, tablet, Xbox and more -- onto a new version of Windows 8. It is within reach for Microsoft to catch up with much of what Apple and Google have been doing, and to regain the initiative again.

I think Microsoft's better case is to go after Apple -- not Google -- and its best way of attack could be to claim it has better security to protect the average consumer's cloud account. Whether in the end this is objectively true or not -- at least it would give Microsoft the opportunity to play on offense, for a change.

At the time of submitting this article, the author was long GOOG, FB and AAPL, and short MSFT.

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

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