Reasons Why Windows Phone 7 Could Become the Smartphone King
Windows Phone 7 is not Microsoft’s first foray into the mobile operating system arena. The software giant kicked its mobile OS history off in the 1990’s with the introduction of Windows CE for phones and PDAs. CE never achieved meteoric success, but it did manage to find a niche in the enterprise world.
If the past is any indication, Microsoft isn’t exactly warmed up to the idea of spending its time and financial energy into markets where it’s bound to struggle. This makes it even all more surprising that Windows Phone/Windows Mobile lags behind its competition, placing fifth in the world smartphone market. 2011 doesn’t seem to get much better for Microsoft’s mobile platform, as IDC projects that Windows Phone/Windows Mobile will only achieve a 4 percent market share by the end of the year.
While the present may not be ideal for Microsoft, the future offers plenty of promise. The release of a new edition of Windows Phone 7 later this year should give the company a springboard for success. By the year 2015, IDC predicts that Microsoft will surpass a market share level of 20 percent, which would vault it past Apple’s iOS into second place behind Android.
According to a recent PC World article, there are various reasons as to why Microsoft could put a major dent in the market shares of its competitors in the next few years, and there are also reasons why it could disappoint. Here are the reasons presented by the article’s author that point to Microsoft’s success:
Reasons Why Microsoft Will Succeed
Rumors have been swirling of Microsoft possible acquiring Nokia. Microsoft’s announcement of its partnership with Nokia in February kick started the rumors, and a poor earnings forecast for Nokia’s Q2 2011 in June made them seem even more possible. The rumors have been nothing more than conjecture at this point, but the fact that Microsoft and Nokia teamed up is reason enough for excitement. Brian Reed, BoxTone’s vice president of products, commented on the Microsoft/Nokia partnership: "The partnership with Nokia is a stroke of genius. Nokia is fighting for its life. The company needs Microsoft, and Microsoft needs a strong mobile partner who can deliver compelling hardware."
Although Nokia has stumbled upon hard times as of late, it’s still a strong brand and holds the distinction of being the top installed phone base. Microsoft also has its strengths. The company has a vaster sales channel than its competitors, and has built plenty of strong relationships on the consumer and enterprise levels throughout the years. Microsoft may lag behind when it comes to apps, but the population of Windows and Windows Mobile developers could boost numbers in a hurry.
Strength in the Cloud
The cloud seems to be the wave of the future, and company strategies on how they handle the shift will be crucial to success. One area where Microsoft could hold the cloud edge is with flexibility. Apple’s iCloud service promise to be a major player in the market, but it could be seen as limiting in its scope. Most Apple fans might be satisfied with having to stick to products like the iPad, iPhone, MacBook, and more but those who are more open minded could yearn for the option to move outside of the Apple umbrella at times. If Microsoft leaves its cloud services open to third-party collaboration, it could propel it past the competition.
Windows Phone 7 is a slight departure from Microsoft’s earlier mobile OS tradition, as it’s being aimed at consumers. Still, that does not detract from the company’s excellent reputation when it comes to business and productivity. Microsoft has been able to take its expertise in these fields and apply it to consumer-related tasks to provide an enhanced user experience that gives it an edge over competitors.
Philippe Winthrop of the Enterprise Mobility Foundation said: "Android is mimicking the iOS experience, but Microsoft is trying something different. The perfect example of their task-focused approach is the People Hub. You not only see contacts, but you can also see what they're doing. There's also an aesthetic difference. Do you want to be constantly swiping between panes, or do you want to access information where it's natural?"
Innovative Mobile Devices
Microsoft has the necessary tools to introduce innovative mobile devices to the market before their competitors do. According too Chris Flex of Citrix, one such device is the Nirvana phone. He said: "The Windows Phone hardware today is good enough to use but not innovative enough to prompt users to change," he says. "A smartphone was a phone plus a PDA. Now, there's an opportunity to develop 'Nirvana phones.' Take the phone and do more with it. Dock it. Connect it to virtual desktops. Connect it to high-resolution video displays." While similar devices such as Android’s Motorola Atrix already exist, Microsoft has an opportunity to jump into the market and really make a splash.