Is Microsoft Turning the Corner in the Consumer Space?

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eng-award-2012-rcJournalists, industry pundits, and even your friendly neighborhood blog hacks love to predict the demise of a technology or company, if for no other reason than to prove that they really should have listened when we whined about their product decisions.  But in a small twist of fate, Microsoft has taken a giant step forward in the consumer world.  Oh no, not it terms of revenue or market share, I'm talking about something REALLY important.  Winning Best Tablet and Best Smartphone of 2012 in Engadget's Readers Choice Awards.

LumiaThe Nokia Lumia 920 has received numerous positive reviews with great build quality and probably the best camera of any phone on the market.  While Windows Phone 8 may not have the sheer number of apps as some of the other ecosystems, this year has seen the number of available titles swell to over 125,000 with Spotify and Rhapsody being recent well received additions.  These factors and perhaps more than a few clever product placements has helped the Lumia 920 earn SmartPhone of the Year.

SurfaceThe Best Tablet category is relatively new and has been dominated by the Apple iPad, but this year honors went to the Microsoft Surface RT.  Its combination of excellent hardware design and the innovative Touch Cover seems to have been enough to get Engadget readers past the shortcomings of not being able to run legacy Windows applications.  The Microsoft Surface Pro hadn't really been out long enough to make much of an impression but it will be interesting to see how it fares in next year's race.

While completely non-scientific and having almost no real bearing on sales or market share, winning the Engadget Reader's Choice Award is a feather in any device's cap.  Only time will tell if this is merely a momentary ray of sunshine for the Windows 8 ecosystem or in fact the tipping point to real commercial success.  But being a proper blog hack, winning these awards is all I really need to predict massive financial, social, and yes even spiritual success for Microsoft.  And as for Google, maker of the Nexus Q which won Worst Gadget of 2012 I can only predict heart break, self doubt, and billions of dollars in ad revenue.  But hey, who really cares what I think?!

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Paul Ballard

Paul Ballard is a Chief Architect specializing in large scale distributed system development and enterprise software processes. Paul has more than twenty years of development experience including being a former Microsoft MVP, a speaker at technical conferences such as Microsoft Tech-Ed and VSLive, and a published author. Prior to working on the Windows platform, he built software using a vast array of technologies including Java, Unix, C, and even OS/2.