In Part 1 of this article series, we began looking at how Microsoft has lost its stranglehold on the personal computer industry. The tables have turned. Once the undisputed market leader they are now playing catch up to Apple and Google in the post PC era. The Microsoft lesson here about the danger of ignoring trends should be learned by luxury real estate marketing professionals who seek to gain or sustain market leadership.

Although Microsoft’s Window’s operating system and core product, Office, still reside on the majority of PCs, over four million businesses are now using Google Business Apps for their word processing, spreadsheets, calendars, and email. Google Apps are business productivity programs that reside in the cloud, meaning that they are stored on Google’s servers and are accessible via your web browser on a subscription basis.  

Microsoft answered Google with Office 365 a cloud version of Office offered on a subscription basis.  But, Apple has an even better idea.

Apple has its own business apps in Pages (word processing), Numbers (spreadsheets) and Keynote (like Powerpoint). They are $20 each (no subscription), plus a free calendar, email and contacts app. More significantly, they are releasing iCloud in the fall of 2011 to sync all of your digital information and content between all of your Apple devices and computers. 

Apple’s business model of manufacturing the their own hardware, profit sharing with developers on software apps, then synchronizing digital content in the cloud across all of their products, has defined the post PC era. Google again followed Apple’s lead by acquiring  Motorola Mobile. In doing so they  jumped into manufacturing of smart phones which will enable them to match Apple’s software/hardware integration.   

Google has also manufactured their own laptop brand that has not succeeded yet. But, if you connect the dots here Google will soon be offering cloud synchronization between, not only between their own products, but also all Android devices. They most likely will be manufacturing their own line of tablets, too.   

This kind of extrapolation is an exercise in following key trends. It is a practice that can serve you well in marketing luxury real estate, by getting you in the habit of staying ahead of the waves of change. 

So much is at stake in the post PC era where your smart phone will become your wallet and credit cards, and local merchants will be offering you deals and discounts while you are mobile. 

Where does that leave Microsoft? They are missing several key components to Apple’s winning formula of total product and software integration, synchronized digital content and superlative service. As a result, they most likely will be a distant #3 (to Apple and Google), if they succeed in getting it all together.

Google’s biggest challenge in relationship to Apple will be to match or best Apple’s customer service and retail expertise.  Think about the potential tech support headaches that can result from purchasing a smart phone from one manufacture (not necessarily Google), a laptop from another and a tablet from yet another.  Even though you may be able to sync every Android-based device with Google’s hypothetical answer to iCloud,  the decision making process for choosing Apple over any combination of Android-based products will come down to service, be it by phone, in-store or web-based. 

The Apple, Google, Microsoft story is one of the most exciting trends to watch in business today. Think of your own field.  How much is at stake in owning the lion's share of your niche in the market?   Observing what is obvious will give you clues to spotting trends outside and inside of luxury real estate marketing.  It is one of the best exercises for your brain. That is, if you have the heart of a champion and the desire to gain or sustain market leadership as a luxury real estate marketing professional.


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