7 Ways That Windows Mobile 7 Could Win

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 29, 2010 in Tech |

HTC Windows 7 Phone

We tend to forget just how quickly things can change in the tech world. For example once upon a time Palm was a dominant player in the space, and by all rights they should still be there. What happened? Well you can blame it on any number of things (poor engineering, marketing, cash flow, etc.) but the reality is that it comes down to good old fashioned hubris.

Share of 2010 Q3 smartphone sales to end users by operating system, according to Gartner.

Currently four operating systems dominate the mobile smartphone space: Symbian, Android, Apple and RIM. And if you take a look at the pie it’s quite fractured with only Symbian owning over a third of the market. So it’s not too late for any company with the proper resources to crack the space, although when those four systems narrow down to three you can bet the door will be closed. And any one of those market leaders can get too comfortable with a perceived lead.

With this in mind it’s not too late for Microsoft to come from behind and own a piece of the mobile pie. Here are seven ways they might attempt to do that:

Microsoft Makes a Great Underdog

The history of tech is littered with innovative companies like Lotus and Netscape that were knocked off by Microsoft. Once Microsoft becomes serious about going after a market they really know how to crush it, and this can be the case with mobile if they give it their all. In fact I would say that given their earlier efforts in the space their biggest problem was a lack of competition to drive them.

Innovative Interface

I recently got to play with a Windows Phone 7 and I have to say that as an Apple fanboy I was impressed. The first thing the phone does well is that it doesn’t copy the iPhone: The interface feels very similar to Flipboard for the iPad. And given the fact that most of us use 20% of our apps 80% of time this could prove to be a winner for Microsoft.

Big Business

The one company that dominates the corporate mobile space is RIM thanks to the huge loyal following for the Blackberry. However the three other leaders in the space Symbian, Android, Apple haven’t really cracked that market in the same way. This presents an immediate opportunity for Microsoft if they can leverage intergration with their other tools like Exchange. Currently RIM is trying to expand into the consumer market in a big way, but if they lose focus that could create an opening for Microsoft.

Entertainment Experience

Games are the one thing that really helped iPhone break open the market — and with their Xbox experience there’s no reason that Microsoft can’t make killer apps to boost them in this space. We’re just at the dawn of the era of tablets and this is going to create new opportunities for the next generation of games, and this also creates an opening that Microsoft can exploit if they’re focus quickly.

xbox kinect

Social Investments

One of the smartest moves Microsoft made in the last few years was to invest in Facebook. So far Google and Apple haven’t been able to really compete in that area, and an alliance with Facebook could give them an advantage. In fact not too long ago there was a rumor of Facebook phone which turned out to be vaporware; however if Microsoft has a special in with them they could work together to make some unique products as a hedge against a mutal competitor like Google.

Developers, Developers, Developers

The one thing Micrososft almost does better than anybody else is that they make easy to use tools for developers. The first generation of apps have been aimed at mainstream consumers, but the next wave could easily be custom apps aimed at a small niche audience like inhouse corporate users. These may not be the sort of apps that Apple wants on their iPhone and this is the sort of market that could create an opportunity for Micrososft.

Yes There Are Microsoft Fanboys!

They’re not as loud as some other fans but I’ve noticed over the years that Micrososft does have a loyal following: The main difference is that the fans follow specific platforms be it the Xbox or Zune. If Micrososft can make Windows Mobile 7 unique enough there’s still an opportunity to grow a community.

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