For Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), the wearable device category is uncharted territory, but that isn't stopping CEO Satya Nadella from blazing a trail. Back in May, Forbes announced that Microsoft was working on a smart watch. Yesterday, they reported that the device would launch in the next few weeks, just in time for the holidays.
One Big Advantage
The most significant thing about this new smart watch is that it will work across multiple platforms, meaning users can sync it with Windows, iOS or Android devices. This is just one more step by Nadella to move away from Steve Ballmer's Windows-only vision-the first was taken in March when Microsoft began offering Microsoft Office for iPad.
It's a fresh new direction for Microsoft and Nadella is right for taking it. The company has struggled in the mobile realm and its Surface Pro 3 hasn't been the answer to the tablet the company was hoping for. By making its products available across all devices, Microsoft gives more power to the user who may not be willing to pay a premium for the sake of brand loyalty.
One Big Disadvantage
The biggest issue Microsoft may have is the fact that it's Microsoft. Even if users can sync data from the smart watch across any device, consumers in general have for a long time considered Microsoft devices as not up par. It also doesn't help that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is planning to release its Apple Watch early next year, meaning that several consumers will be waiting for its release. Apple has always made better devices in the past. What's to say it will be any different this time?
This is a bold move by Microsoft, and while it may not work out quite as the company wishes, Microsoft must take steps like these to remain relevant. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft can snatch up a significant piece of market share before Apple makes its entrance. If it cannot do that, it likely won't stand a chance.