Linked by Kroc Camen on Wed 16th Sep 2009 20:06 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless Sometime ago I conjectured that Microsoft made certain changes to IE8 to force web standards forward and drop backwards compatibility as default (a very un-Microsoft move) because of the need for the web to break out of the blinkered IE6 / Desktop-Browser view of content otherwise Microsoft would find itself unable to compete in the mobile space. It's been over a year since that article and in such a short period of time it has become ever clearer that Microsoft's mobile offerings, and their overall mobile platform strategy are failing against the dominant iPhone, the newcomer Android, and a re-invigorated Palm with WebOS.
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I don' think so ...
by dindin on Wed 16th Sep 2009 21:52 UTC
dindin
Member since:
2006-03-29

If this situation had been about desktops and servers I would have agreed with you ... that is if Microsoft had dropped the ball and fell behind and lost the the battle to other companies.

Not so in the Mobile World. For starters, the time span in the Mobile World is aboyt 2-4 years. People sign new contarcts and are looking for new devices. So, Yes Microsoft may have dropped the ball now, but they have an opportunity to fix it the next time someone goes out to buy. I am not saying they will do that - just that they have the opportunity.

Given that Mobile device/OS sales are tied to customer penetration and also that it is tied to a communications service/network (unlike PCs and servers), there are other factors that come into play.

You said it yourself. Apple was not a phone manufacturer 3 years ago but here we are. What gave Apple the opportunity is that people were looking for the next great device and they gave it to them. Microsoft CAN do the same. Especially if they have a decent device and the apps for it.

They may have missed the boat, but there is always the next one ... who knows that maybe a faster one.

Edited 2009-09-16 22:10 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: I don' think so ...
by wirespot on Fri 18th Sep 2009 11:19 in reply to "I don' think so ..."
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

So, Yes Microsoft may have dropped the ball now, but they have an opportunity to fix it the next time someone goes out to buy.

It doesn't work that way.

Microsoft doesn't own the hardware. It has to work out deals with the device manufacturers. The manufacturers are looking for software platforms that they can (a) control and/or (b) rely on and/or (c) use to build cool stuff. If Windows Mobile is neither reliable, nor attractive to developers, nor likely to relinquish any amount of control to the manufacturers, why use it?

The smartphone business is very tough and competitive. No way is a manufacturer gonna wait for a year on Microsoft to maybe deliver the goods. It would be suicide. They neer reassurance and they need it now.

That's why lots of manufacturers develop their own software platform in-house, or use Linux because it provides the building blocks for essentially the same (their own platform) but with much less R&D necessary.

The manufacturers are all about the hardware first and foremost. Yes, the software is important to complete the user experience and it can even become a lucrative niche itself (like Apple is doing with the App Store). But they've all seen what being a slave to someone else's software is like (via the PC market and Windows) and I'm betting they don't want that ever again.

(For the same reasons, expect some changes in the PC market as well.)

What can Microsoft do about it? One thing, really: innovate (for real) and offer a Windows Mobile that can truly compete, on merit, with the other platforms.

There's another path they might take, the one they took in the gaming industry or in the music player industry: start building their own devices. But this has a major disadvantage: suddenly all their clients become direct competitors. The Zune and the Xbox aren't doing very well, despite the spin Microsoft tries to put on them.

The Zune has not been able to create the kind of lucrative ecosystem that the iPods have (a self-sustaining combination of devices, rich content for them and developers/providers for that content). And the Xbox is being sold at a loss, it always had, so no matter how successful it is it's doing nothing for Microsoft, other than bragging rights.

Will Microsoft try to turn on their remaining Mobile clients and develop their own phones? Will they do the same with the PC? For their sake, I think not, since without the core thing (a good software platform) they're dead anyway. And if they had a good software platform they wouldn't be in this position in the first place.

Reply Parent Score: 2