Windows Phone 7 – Are Microsoft finally back in the game?

I gave up waiting for the new Windows Mobile operating system back in January after using windows mobile phones for years. Having turned down the standard issue Iphone from work I bought myself the Nexus One.

Ironically one of my big concerns about moving away from Windows Mobile, was that the Iphone, at the time, didn’t offer a good email app or copy and paste functionality. It seems the later is now missing from the Microsoft OS.

Having looked at some of the online reviews, Windows Phone 7  (why did they drop the “mobile” bit?) looks pretty impressive and certainly “joins the dots” on some of Microsoft’s other properties, including Office and Xbox LIVE.

Given their declining market share and low % of the mobile search market, is it too late for Microsoft to pull things back? It’s a race that should certainly evolve in 2011.

When’s my phone due for an upgrade?

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2 Replies to “Windows Phone 7 – Are Microsoft finally back in the game?

  1. I think there are a few VERY interesting observations that could be made here:

    1. This is an about-face in product development strategy for Microsoft. They’ve gone from an all-things-to-all-people mish-mash of capabilities implemented to a greater/lesser degree to one where they’ve focussed on implementing the basics well. It is very much the approach Apple took with the iPhone, and you could either applaud them for admitting a change in approach was needed or denounce them for emulating the competition. Either way, I think that was a necessary move

    2. I think we’re now at a point where the supporting services may well define the success of a mobile platform as much as the devices and OS running on them. Zune Pass is a really strong offering that is a credible alternative to iTunes for music. It trumps RIM and Google on that. Their app-store approach is also much more robust than Google’s. Their lack of online services like Google Maps, YouTube, etc. may hurt them to a degree in that battle in the long run, but I don’t see that having a marked impact. Whether they can compete on non-audio (mobile + desktop/HD video) content with iTunes will be an interesting one

    3. Their approach of allowing many handset manufacturers to deliver devices on their platform is a great one for allowing companies with those skills to deliver a large range of devices to market. It allows for a level playing field there with Google, and a stronger consumer pitch than RIM. Possibly a weaker business one than for Blackberries, though, as they’ve not got an end-to-end offering direct. The large number of devices will also allow them to compete strongly in market segments below the absolute premium devices.

    4. In that premium space, though, I think it will struggle against the iPhone for a considerable time; it hasn’t got the “Hoover” proper noun effect that the iPhone has created. The lack of a single, highly polished device+OS will detract from the general understanding of what it is. It also doesn’t have the brand appeal to charge that premium.

    So, long term, I think the iPhone handsets are – without services – destined to take that premium market segment. Not a huge proportion of the market, but a very profitable one. If iTunes and support around it continues to grow – I’m thinking AppleTV and the Mac AppStore – then I can see the market share growing more than expected. Unless RIM really improve the premium consumer device experience, I think they’ll remain predominantly a business device in Western Europe. Their next major release will be a telling one.

    Which leaves WiPh7 to battle it out with Android for the mass-market touch-screen smartphone experience until Nokia/etc. up their game. I’d say it’s *quite* a level playing field with advantages like headstart getting traded off against strong control over hardware specifications. I’d put the odds at about 2:1 in favour of Google at the moment. And if Microsoft don’t follow up VERY quickly with launches around content, new features, and some more DESIRABLE handsets, I can see those odds on being the top dog there lengthening very quickly.

    Man, that was a long comment… 😉

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