HP's OS Bowl 2011 is quite a work of creative fantasy. I must admit, I really didn't see Kramer, errrrr, Jon Rubinstein having the imagination to put together such a work of fiction, but there it is (based on Jon's bracket, I certainly hope he doesn't put good money down on any March Madness basketball tournament, because the way he think's he'll be in big trouble).
Now every good piece of fictional writing has some truth sprinkled in, and this is the case when Jon outlined the battle between Windows Phone 7 and RIM's Blackberry.
Whether Microsoft wins through “marketing savvy” or just buys RIM out, it makes no difference in the end — RIM dies and Microsoft's sloth-like solutions live on.
However, the rest of the bracket is just silly fiction. Jon's laid out his perfect scenario that — surprise — makes HP the victor against Microsoft, with Google and Apple magically eliminated from the tournament.
This compelled me to help out Mr. Rubenstein by removing some of the fantasy and adding a dash of reality to the story. So without further ado, OS REALITY BOWL 2011 (and beyond).
1st Place: iOS
It should come as no shock with Apple's industry leading vertical hardware and software solutions, and massive momentum they will be leading the pack for some time to come.
2nd Place: webOS
HP has thrown a stake into the heart of their relationship with Microsoft relationship by choosing to be like Apple. HP has massive channel and manufacturing prowess, so if webOS turns out to be half decent, their own vertical solutions are likely to gain momentum over the coming years.
3rd Place: Android
Continued fragmentation, aided by handset makers and carriers crippling any OS upgrade paths (outside of buying a new handset), while HP, Microsoft and iOS make heavy marketing efforts will start to relegate Android to a 3rd place solution. It will still be extremely popular amongst the tech geek media and geeky users alike, but mainstream users will gravitate to phones that work without the need to tinker, tweak or "modify" the OS.
Consolation: Win Phone 7
In order for Microsoft to remain relevant in the next decade, they must "succeed" in the mobile market. A deal with Nokia is an absolute must. Lose money, pay Nokia billions, it's a massive play for momentum they must have in the wake of lackluster Windows Phone 7 sales. RIM is another player Microsoft must take care of, as RIM tablets will aim squarely at business Blackberry users, which eats at Microsoft's business laptop sales, and locks businesses into Playbook w/Blackberry solutions for some time to come. Microsoft is likely to buy out RIM in late 2011 or early 2012. With so many changes and challenges to a languishing company in the face of fierce competition who have their acts together, it's difficult to see them making great headway outside of their loss-leading staying power.