Microsoft's most valuable partners in 2018 will be none other than HP and Samsung. Why? They both produce great hardware, have exposure to phones, tablets, and PCs, and both have a vested interest in Microsoft as a software partner. Samsung already produces Snapdragon devices from Qualcomm, Microsoft's new best friend. HP has deep inroads in enterprise and education. Both Samsung and HP have followed Microsoft into the Surface template of computing devices: tablets, convertibles, and detachables.
As Microsoft looks to leverage its expensive and extensive partnership with Qualcomm, bringing Windows-on-ARM processors to market, it needs hardware partners to build laptops and PCs. Qualcomm wants a return on its investment in the partnership, by using its connection with Microsoft to leverage Microsoft's partners in to building "Always-Connected" PCs, tablets, and phones, using Qualcomm Snapdragon chips.
Reaching out in to the computer manufacturer universe, HP and Samsung become the most valuable partners, with others such as Lenovo, Acer, and ASUS on the next tier down, not far behind.
Dell nearly made the best friends list alongside HP and Samsung, but Dell has stopped making phones, and is retreating from tablets.
HP and Samsung: best friends
HP and Samsung are likely to be happy stable-mates at the top of the best friends tree. HP is more focussed on enterprise and education markets, while Samsung continues to be popular in the consumer device market with phones, tablets, laptops, PCs, headsets, watches, cameras, TVs, speakers, and more.
Microsoft and Qualcomm: In the money
Microsoft and Qualcomm have both put huge resources into their partnership.
The partnership has two pieces:
Windows on ARM: Laptops and Tablets using Qualcomm chips and Microsoft Windows software
Microsoft on Android: Phones and Tablets using Qualcomm chips with Microsoft Apps on Android
Microsoft quietly admitted defeat in October 2017 and finally killed Windows Phone as an operating system, while keeping its finger in the pie (and on the roadmap) for what it still calls "Windows Mobile", which is really now a name for anything that runs Windows that is not a box on a desk: such as a phone, tablet, Surface, or laptop. Yes, a laptop is a mobile device in Microsoft's marketing language.
HP is likely to release a successor to its HP Elite X3 series of phone, tablet, keyboard folio, using Snapdragon 845 chips, with Android for the phone operating system, and Windows on ARM for the tablet.
HP is also likely to release versions of its popular Envy and Spectre lines featuring Windows on ARM and Always Connected PC branding.
Samsung will no doubt release a successor to its Galaxy Tab Pro S that previously featured Windows 10, this time with a Snapdragon 845 processor, Windows on ARM, and Always Connected PC branding.
Samsung is also likely to release at least two phones, in the mould of the success Galaxy S8, and one in the mould of the Galaxy Note 8, both running Android with Microsoft Launcher and Microsoft Apps. The Note version will continue to feature its stylus and have a focus on Windows Ink.
The first connected-speaker with Microsoft's Cortana assistant inside is the Harman-Kardon Invoke. Samsung recently purchased the Harman group, including Harman Kardon. Harman also supplies car infotainment systems, another destination for Microsoft/Android software.
Until next time,
XYZ Media Group
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