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How Mobile Devices are Shaping Websites and Software - Part 2

30th July 2015

In 'Part 1' of this article we talked about how mobile devices have changed the way we use and access information on the web. Here we will discuss the historical shifts in popular technology trends.

The problem (and the thrill) for technology companies trying to keep pace with the speed of innovation is that the fundamental drives and habits of consumers alter as new 'disruptive technologies' become available. As it is very, very hard to predict what the next habits of mainstream society will be, large companies need to gamble, or risk losing out to smaller, innovative businesses - of course, the bigger they are, the further they have to fall!

desktop computer and various other devices

An example of a major, historical technological shift was IBM's misjudgement of the importance of the pc. In the early 1980's, the company was the leader in the IT market - in both software and in hardware. They then approached 19 year-old college drop-out, Bill Gates who was a co-founder of Microsoft, to provide them with an operating system; the way history progressed could have been very different, had they not allowed the young Gates to maintain property rights of his product. Nobody at IBM expected the pc market to grow as it did. The company regarded pc's as an exciting gadget, not the direction of the future. Their choice to instead focus on mainframe computers (powerful commercial computers for various large-scale applications) preordained their near demise - they failed to profit as desktop computers increased in popularity and in 1993, IBM created a media storm when it reported massive financial losses. The reasons behind this were cited as a combination of increased competition and a changing market.

Another of the largest technological revolutions to date revolves around Microsoft's rival, Apple. In 1997 the company was on the verge of bankruptcy, but was ironically saved when Microsoft invested $150 million in the company. Microsoft's thinking behind the move was partially to prevent accusations of monopolizing the pc market but also to continue its promise of developing Mac versions of its software. Of course Apple then created its own innovative market opportunity by focusing on mobile devices: creating the i-phone and the i-pad. This takes us to our present day situation, where Microsoft has been left behind for not adapting to the mobile trend in time. In a startling change of fortunes, Apple is now the world's most valuable company.

As awareness of the nature and increasing frequency of disruptive technologies increases, companies realize that to stay relevant they need to predict future trends. As part of their search for direction, Microsoft have made an attempt to bridge the gap between various mobile devices and pcs/laptops and to consequentially win back pc users: the new "touch-first" operating system which could run on any platform: Windows 8. As you're almost certainly aware, there was a fair amount of media criticism when this OS first hit the shelves... Part 3 of our article will analyize the positives and negatives of Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 8.

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