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TheStreet Open House

Microsoft Moves to Copy Apple and Google

Stocks in this article: MSFT AAPL GOOG NOK HPQ BBRY BBY

Microsoft's rationale for buying Nokia's phone business was easy and two-fold:

  • It had to. Nokia was going to diversity into Android, dealing a potentially lethal blow to Windows Phone's credibility. Microsoft was faced with the choice to either pay Nokia a huge sum of money to abstain, or simply acquire the business. Given these options, Microsoft most likely did the right thing.
  • It makes sense. Look at the broader industry dynamic and logic. Microsoft was already developing its own phone that the Chinese ODM/OEMs would have made for it, just like the Surface tablet. You can't look at Google and Apple and conclude that you need to defy their winning industry logic.

Cloud-device integration: Google is the clear leader here with Google Docs. No product of its kind is so easy to use, works as quickly, and is free to boot. When I decide on where to type this article, the choice is easy.

Apple and Microsoft have been scrambling to take on Google Docs, repurposing their existing productivity suites into the cloud. There is no denying that, as a result, they have narrowed the gap against the market leader, Google.

For Microsoft, this is as critical as the smartphone business. If the rationale for end-users to use Microsoft Office continues to decline, the entire Microsoft pyramid stack of expensive software flies out the window.

Microsoft has improved the PC situation dramatically with Windows 8 and its integration with SkyDrive. The company is now one step closer to competing with Chrome OS and Android in terms of being able to quickly switch from PC to PC, from device to device.

Still, a meaningful gap remains. For those of us who use many dozens of Google, Apple and Microsoft hardware products of all shapes and sizes every day, it's easy to see how superior Google's cloud sync remains. The good news for Microsoft is that in just the last 10 months, since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, it has moved ahead of Apple in terms of the cloud sync.

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