Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 4th Feb 2011 23:33 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Is it really going to happen? Will we see one of the more momentous announcements in the tech world next week? The web's been abuzz about Nokia possibly adopting Windows Phone 7 for a number of handsets, and now even The New York Times has chimed in - at which point it might be time to start taking the rumours seriously.
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wirespot
Member since:
2006-06-21

I meant "legacy" as in business methods. I'm afraid you're gonna make me launch into a lenghty explanation. ;)

Microsoft approaches a market with a pure copycat mindset. They look at lucrative niches, they see what works, they make a very similar product and attempt to insert it by force using money and leveraging their existing monopolies. Or they aquire an established player in that niche. They reason that "if it's there and it works, we can just take a chunk of it (or all of it)."

Follow-up tactics include the (in)famous "embrace and extinguish" and violent (buy-out, lawsuits) practices against competition, until the niche is theirs.

This strategy has famously worked at exactly one point in history: namely in taking over the PC market via establishing Windows and Office as the de facto standard for OS desktops and office apps, respectively.

But this strategy has failed to achieve the same results in any other case. They made a beach-head with C# in Java territory but failed to conquer it. They tried to enter the console market with Xbox but Sony and Nintendo held on. They tried to copy Apple in the MP3 player market but failed spectacularly. They never managed to dislodge LAMP for the Web with their own product combos.

(Important note: nowhere in their strategy does customer satisfaction appear to play a crucial role.)

The problem is that their competition nowadays are constantly evolving. They seem to reinvent their markets periodically, relegating Microsoft to playing a game of catch-up. Nintendo sits quietly for several years but then comes out with a complete game-changer. Apple is benefitting from Steve Jobs' long term planning and arguably genius, and shifting their focus all the time. Google is hard to compete with because most of their products are free and their core business is a de facto monopoly (how do you like them apples? ;)

Microsoft has no long term goals, no corporate philosophy, just a pile of cash, exactly two established monopolies, and a tendency to run after the next shiny thing.

To get back on topic: WP7 may be a technically adept product, but their approach of the market is dated. They saw everybody fawning over "smartphones", they want in, now. And they'll get in... to some extent. But they will fail the big break without long terms goals, without an actual understanding of what customers want, without a sincere desire to innovate rather than copy.

WP7 is the "me too" response. Compare it to Android (the phenomenon, the approach, not the technical product itself); it was fashioned by Google in a very precise manner to be a game changer. That's the kind of insertion you want, the kind that shapes the environment around it. Just getting in is useless if the ground will shift under you again very soon.

PS: On a personal note, I've come to change my opinion of you, Thom. I no longer thing you're biased toward any particular side of the industry (anymore than it's humanly normal, anyway). And I've come to rather enjoy the passion you put in your articles. It might make them more informal and some percieve a bias, but they're a more interesting read for it.

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