The tablet market is set to get larger as Microsoft unveils its Surface tablets to challenge Apple's dominance, and compete with Samsung and Amazon.
Microsoft has the chance to succeed. After all, it recently overhauled its mobile operation and added support for ARM hardware to Windows 8. The Windows platform remains dominant in homes and offices and its Xbox 360 is one of three dominant home gaming consoles.
While the pieces for success are certainly present in Redmond, if Microsoft wants to run with the likes of the Kindle and iPad the company will need to do a number of things right.
5. Don't give up too soon
Two of Microsoft's biggest failures have been in the consumer hardware space: the infamous Zune media player and the Kin handset. Each product generated buzz with its introduction, and each flamed out spectacularly.
But they didn't have to. While both platforms were admittedly bad in their early forms, they could have improved. Had Microsoft backed them a bit longer, refining the devices into something users actually wanted, both brands might still be around today.
Metro may not be an iOS killer any time soon, but Microsoft is known for is refining and shaping its operating systems over time, and if they carry that persistence to the tablet space, they could eventually make up ground on Apple and challenge iOS.
4. Balance form with functionality
One of the thngs that Apple does spectacularly well is ignore the "checklist" approach to pitching its devices. When you compare the hardware specifications with other devices, there's nothing particularly eye-popping about iOS devices.
But where the iPad distinguishes itself from competitors is the overall user experience. The software has been written specifically to take advantage of the strengths of the hardware design, and any components which detract from the overall performance are cut out.
Microsoft has the unique opportunity to take this same approach. Being the developer of their own platforms, they can optimise their devices and operating system for one another much in the same way Apple does.
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