Microsoft and Google have a plan for this holiday season: To reach every gadget-happy shopper seeking a new smartphone or tablet.
The companies are on different sides of a rapid industry shift away from desktops and toward mobile devices. Their holiday plans will be clearer after the companies report third quarter earnings Thursday, but their strategy is part of a larger search for continued relevance as consumers move increasingly to hand-held devices.
Headed into the holiday season, Microsoft is trying to mount a comeback and planning to start a new era as the purveyor of mobile devices and services.
Consumers will get their first look at the new Microsoft next week, when the company launches a new operating system and its own Surface tablet — just one of several Windows tablets coming to compete with Apple’s market-leading iPad this fall. It’s also working on the launch of a new smartphone operating system, Windows Phone 8. Nokia, Samsung and HTC have already announced new smartphones for the system.