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Microsoft has certainly been gaining momentum in the last couple of months. First, the tech giant released the first Creators update of its Windows 10 OS, followed by an announcement of another bulky update, coming this fall. Then, it has been making some real noise in mixed-reality and computing-related hardware. Don’t forget the new Surface laptop too. It seems that Microsoft is aggressively pushing its operating system as the primary platform for creative and productive activities.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that Apple and Adobe will vanish into oblivion. Apple’s positions on the markets are strong, and the company will probably introduce something new to counter Microsoft’s products at WWDC on June 5. Adobe produces some of the best editing tools out there, in addition to various instruments like Marketing Cloud and the Creative cloud application – Photoshop.

Microsoft wins mixed reality

However, Microsoft is taking the creative process to the next level. There are a lot of areas where Apple and Adobe now have to play catch-up.

For example, developers can already pre-order the Windows Mixed Reality kits, which will ship sometime this summer. The headset package is somewhat affordable, and new motion controllers are expected to make interaction with a virtual environment easy and quick. Microsoft is quite persistent in this area, which Apple has been openly ignoring. Even if the Cupertino guys unveil something similar at WWDC, their product will probably not be available anytime soon. Microsoft’s kits will be ready way ahead of the winter holidays, and more people might buy them.

Adobe is dragging behind in terms of virtual reality too, and is in danger of losing the pros to Microsoft in the future. The guys from Redmond have enhanced their API to let people develop new and streamlined applications, which will potentially be more comfortable to use, than Adobe’s Project Felix or 360-degree video editing. Adobe just looks outdated in comparison.

Apple loses battle for creative professionals and developers

Apple has seemingly forsaken the creative professional chunk of its fans. Instead of cramming more power and usability into its laptops, the company has focused on making them thinner and lighter. The iPad Pro is nowhere as good a replacement. People who use the Mac Pro, which hasn’t changed since 2013, suffer from the lack of updates and the questionable design of the outdated model.

Microsoft, in turn, has delivered great devices like the Surface Pro, aimed to give a new life to its hardware products. The OS-based ink and touch capabilities are a great way to support these new devices. Apple says a refresh of the desktop system is coming, but this is another territory where it has ceded ground to its rival.

There’s more. With its Graph and Cortana, Microsoft lets developers gain access to data about users, their footprints on the Internet. This will help devs promote their products directly to people. Your devices will be able to ask you, don’t you want to finish the article you were reading? The tools will also give marketers the ability to display those messages – ‘For better experience, download our application’ – on your devices. This move is aimed at making it easier for developers to earn money, which means more people would want to use Microsoft’s products in their work.

Who is out of sync?

Adobe should also step its game up, when it comes to the actual cloud aspect of Creative Cloud. The syncing is annoyingly clunky, where you have to either sync everything or nothing. And forget about organizing your files when you view them online.

OneDrive updates deal with the syncing issues of the other services, giving its users the ability to sync selectively. It’s also way more common, since Adobe cloud subscription is kind of pricey. There is iCloud too, but it’s mostly great on Apple devices only.

Microsoft secured its future?

Microsoft has probably secured its future when it embraced existing tools that kids know and use to code, like Codebuilder for Minecraft in Windows 10 S. Apple came up with a whole new language instead. The Windows 10 S devices are a cheap way to get computers into schools, a lot more practical than iPads too, especially for underfunded schools.

Apple and Adobe have a lot of work to do. Microsoft has introduced a great number of seemingly low-key products, which just might turn out crucial to win people’s hearts. If Apple wants to keep up, it should better astonish us with something fantastic, and fast.

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