Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 28th Jul 2012 10:10 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless In case you were still doubting whether or not Apple's lawsuits against Samsung were a case of 'if you can't compete, litigate', Samsung's financial results should seal the deal. The company shipped round and about 50 million smartphones, twice as many smartphones as Apple shipped. So, not only is Android doing better on smartphones than iOS, there's now also a single manufacturer outselling Apple. Oh, the next avenue for de-emphasizing this achievement has already reared its head: Samsung has a wider portfolio, and as such, the comparison isn't fair. Nonsense, of course - Volkswagen sells lots more models than, say, Mazda, but that doesn't mean you can't compare them. Maybe, just maybe, having a wide portfolio of devices to meet the various different needs of the market is simply a very good strategy. It'll be interesting to see just how much Apple can take back with the next iPhone, especially since the full potential of the Galaxy SIII hasn't been realised yet and will be accounted for in Samsung's next quarter as well. Fun, such a fight between titans. Just too bad one of the two titans plays dirty by opting for the courtroom.
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OK, I've re-read both of your posts numerous times and thought about them for a solid day. I'm not being snide here - even though I read your posts end to end before responding, I want to be fair and try to understand your points thoroughly before responding. But I still disagree with both your premise and conclusions. Here's why.

If I was an OEM, why would I invest a tonne of money in a phone platform running Windows Phone 7 which would essentially be stop gap measure till Windows Phone 8 was ready?

Microsoft invested a couple of billion dollars in a stop gap measure? They negotiated one of the largest smartphone launches and marketing campaigns of the year with AT&T for a stopgap measure, when the main event was only months away? I just don't buy it.

Clearly, Microsoft has acted and invested as if WP 7.x was the main event. It was not until that product failed - and by failed, I mean grow at a slower rate than Windows Mobile contracted, leading to an ever-decreasing Windows market share in mobile - that they retrenched to the old standby, trying to tie to their desktop monopoly.

Windows Phone 8, Windows RT and Windows 8 are really the starting point to which Microsoft should be evaluated

True to the extent that every major new product launch is a fresh opportunity to succeed. But one of the key flaws in the original strategy (I know you hate to hear this) was that the platform was more constrained than the Win CE base required. Nothing in CE required that multitasking be limited to system threads, for example - Microsoft merely copied Apple's approach there. Nothing in CE required exactly 6 buttons. Nothing prevented manufacturer skins to tailor to a given network. And so on. These were Microsoft decisions to position their brand.

And thus, all Win 7.x phones look alike to me, especially compared to the radical variation with Android - two screen models, mini-tablet size displays, innumerable skins, models that plug into docks and become desktop-like, models with physical keyboards, screens of every shape and size. And while you can complain that this results in fragmentation, it's hard to argue that it doesn't sell, as evidenced by the incredible market share growth now north of 50%.

And specifically because these were Microsoft choices rather than technical limitations, and because Microsoft is still over-regulating their ecosystem with the Windows 8 line (only two screen resolutions are permitted, for example), I don't expect to see the innovation gap narrow much with the new product launch.

This problem is exacerbated by two other problems.

One is their decision not to upgrade the Win 7.x phones to 8. This is partly a technical challenge - the current product line is too anemic to handle 8 well - but it's also both a heavy PR hit and may well sink their "privileged" partner Nokia, whose stock is already selling at junk prices. I know many friends, including one who actually owns a 7.x device, who insist they won't look at WP 8 specifically because of the failure to upgrade. It's not fair - how many Android 2 phones or 3 tablets made the jump to Ice Cream Sandwich, after all - but the perception is that Microsoft is abandoning their existing customers, and that hurts them.

The other is that Microsoft is directly competing with their OEMs at launch with a highly publicized and well-reviewed product, confusingly reusing the Surface trademark before the table product of the same name is cold in its grave (and it was equally innovative, though in the Ballmer-Microsoft tradition, incredibly poorly marketed). Why would I, as an OEM, want to try to compete in the Windows tablet market any longer now that the vendor of my proprietary OS is making a major push into that market?

(No, the Nexus lines are not a good counter-example. First, they are point products designed to showcase the core Android product itself - it's well-understood that this is the point of Nexus, to showcase the base OS in a market overrun with variation. Second, Android is fully open, so OEMs can innovate the product space to any extent they choose without Google's permission. It's not comparable to a small, closed market where your OS vendor is creating products you're not permitted to introduce on your own.)


Ok, this is what I said before, only in Ayn Randian exposition. I understand that you'd rather start fresh with WP 8, as if the entire WP 7 fiasco didn't happen. For the reasons above, I don't agree with your premise (that WP 7 was merely a stopgap, and wasn't really intended to be successful), or your conclusion (that WP 8 will be a serious contender because it's technically a more competent product), because the ill will generated by WP 7 coupled with the inhospitable OEM climate will limit (sorry) innovative products using the platform.

And since a product recognized for its excellence, the iPhone, can't hold the market share lead from a deluge of market point-targeted Android products that lack the same rave revues, why would I expect a similarly constrained set of WP 8 products to suddenly start outselling the ocean-wide product space that is Android?

I may be wrong. While I predicted the Android success back when it was still a single ridiculed T-Mobile point product, and the WP 7 fiasco, like anyone else I can miss an important consumer trend or two.

But it's my opinion, honestly held, and it hasn't changed as a result of another day's worth of reading and thought.

And, as always, the market will decide, and our 20-20 hindsight will explain why in just as excruciating detail. :-D

I intend everything I have said here with the warmest regards, with great respect for your opinion (which may prove to be absolutely correct, in which case you have my full promise not to complain if you then remind the world that my longest post ever proved to be wrong ;-), and in the hopes that you'll understand that I really, really did read everything you wrote, and merely failed to convey in a few words why I didn't agree. I hope you'll forgive my lack of concise clarity in exchange for extremely, dare I say unforgivably, verbose penance.

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