Two special allies
It can be said that right now, you will find it difficult to find two rivals who hate each other more than Google and Microsoft. Unlike the feud with Apple that has now been resolved, Microsoft and Google are still whirling and fighting directly with each other in many areas. The wounds of the past are still there.
Microsoft hates Google. Before Chrome appeared, Microsoft was still the boss of the browser market. When the Internet revolution broke out, Google was the biggest beneficiary when a series of its services such as Gmail, YouTube, Maps and of course Search rose to dominate the market, while Microsoft products like Bing, MSN or Live.com are in a blur.
Certainly, Microsoft will never forget the bitter defeat of Windows Phone at the hands of Android.
On the other side, Microsoft is still causing Google to embrace hatred in many areas. Google’s GCP cloud is still “tiny” when compared to Microsoft’s Azure. G Suite has received a great deal of support, but it is still a small problem when compared to Office 365. Google also has no rival to compete with Microsoft’s enterprise software (Exchange, Sharepoint, SQL Server, PowerBI), and Chromebooks are still being considered as cheap alternatives and … lack the features of Windows laptops.
But in terms of number of devices, Windows has long been outdone by Android. Clearly, mobile is the most bitter battle in Microsoft history: from the position of the ruler and even the former (Windows has been on smartphones for a long time), Microsoft has been knocked out of the throne by Google. After the sudden death of Windows Phone, Microsoft even intends to borrow Cyanogen’s hands to take control of Android. Up to now, the position of the software giant is still zero.
The event of unveiling the Surface Duo in 2019 surprised many people. Microsoft is back with smartphones. Even Microsoft is back with Android-powered smartphones from Google, not Android “parcel” like Amazon, Huawei or Nokia in the past.
When Surface Duo was launched, Microsoft successfully “borrowed” Google’s operating system.
During the Surface event, Microsoft even emphasized the Google Play image on the Surface Duo. Without a doubt, these two giants, these two bitter rivals shook hands to create a unique smartphone.
Inadvertently, Surface Duo is the perfect sweet fruit where two enemies are not perfect complement to each other. Microsoft desperately needs Google, because Windows Phone is “green”, and creating a third mobile operating system is now nearly impossible. Like any other name that wants to enter the smartphone market, Microsoft is required to have Android and Google services. This is a necessary start, so the software giant can create an acceptable Surface Phone.
On the other side, what will a Microsoft Android smartphone do to Google? First and foremost, a major competitor MUST use a competing operating system that will demonstrate Android’s overwhelming power. Considering that Microsoft regularly appears at Apple events … Microsoft bet on hardware future on Android can be considered a special victory of the green robot on the media front.
A smartphone for “Pro” users
Surface Duo will bring a “standard” Microsoft experience to Android, not iOS.
Above all, Microsoft brings an important strength to the Android ecosystem: enterprise software. According to Microsoft’s product manager Panos Panay: “Don’t think otherwise, this is still a true Surface.” In other words, Microsoft will cram its own applications and services onto the first Surface Android. During the launch ceremony, the highlight of Surface Duo is Outlook, PowerPoint, Word …, which are all applications that are familiar to Windows users. On the Surface Duo, users will enjoy these apps in 2-screen mode – an experience they won’t be able to get on the iPhone.
Until now, software for “Pro” users is still something Android is seriously lacking compared to iOS. Although more crowded, Android phones (considered) are less secure and have a lower support life cycle. Most importantly, Google’s ability to customize applications is still far behind Apple. For example, after Pixel C, Google has almost completely abandoned the tablet market. Even the Pixel Slate, which is compatible with the Android app, is so bad that it will kill you less than 1 year old.
If Android tablets are not yet complete, will Google have enough power to perfect an application platform dedicated to a completely new type of device such as Surface Duo? Of course not, but this hole opened the door for Microsoft to enter the Android world. Without waiting for Google, Microsoft is able to create its own API library that allows developers to easily support Surface Duo’s dual-screen mode. In other words, Google’s biggest weakness, has now been “patched” by Google’s biggest rival.
It sounds ridiculous, but Microsoft is one of the few giants that can customize Android in a way that Google admires.
Think of the Surface Pro and MacBook Pro, and you’ll notice the correlation between the Surface Duo and the iPhone in the future. MacBook Pro users can still use Microsoft applications (especially Office), but they all know that it is only a second-class experience when compared to Office on Surface or any other Windows device. When Surface Duo was released, the Office experience and other Microsoft software on the iPhone would also become second-class experiences. The first-class experience goes to Surface Duo, Microsoft’s phone.
And it will also run Android, fully equipped with the applications / services that Google requires. The two rivals will shake hands soon, and that handshake will make the “third” Apple not happy at all.