Windows Mobile is a mixed success in the business space where it is still fighting against a BlackBerry which is still a synonymous of mobile email. Microsoft hasn’t spared its efforts to attack RIM: Native support of Exchange push email, Mobile version of Office Applications sold a few dollars on top of a Windows Mobile licence, Iona project now SMBDXQCDDF sorry SCMDM (System Center Mobile Device Manager) to offer Device Management integrated along Microsoft IT infrastructure, etc. Microsoft played all its cards to woo the IT managers.
All of a sudden it changed beginning of 2009, Microsoft ported its Office Communicator client software to RIM platform, Nokia S60 devices got the Exchange push email feature …
What happened ?
After having been focused on blackberry for nearly 4 years Microsoft just discovered a long time foe succeeding beyond all expectations : Apple. Apple will ship around 4 M devices in Western Europe and Microsoft around 7M in 2009. Apple is nearly catching up with Microsoft. And more terrifying for Microsoft, Apple made a terrific success of its Application Store! Applications which are the core the business of Microsoft in the PC space. If you want to run any applications you usually chose a Windows PC not a Mac or a Linux.
The plan for Microsoft is to push in the consumer space with cheaper devices (200$ target price) and new vendors as HTC seems to be failing : Acer, Asus, etc. Will it be enough to make the difference?
But what could be the positioning of Microsoft in the consumer space? The camera? This has nothing to do with Microsoft and is a manufacturer decision. Music? Any feature phone now supports MP3, and it will be tough to do a better value proposition of Nokia’s Comes with Music. Location based services? Microsoft has no name in that space like Google.
Let’s look at the big picture. Where Microsoft is succeeding in the consumer market? With its XBOX gaming console!
Microsoft could leverage its momentum in the gaming arena to offer a stunning catalog of games: Halo, Need for Speed, etc. To get a wider success Microsoft should encompass not only the hardcore gamers but the casual gamers too. Look at what can be achieved with Snapdragon and its 1GHz processor on Windows Mobile:
>>link to the video if it doesn’t show up.
One can easily imagine a Portable XBOX the kind of gaming platform Sony-Ericsson didn’t get the the clearance to make from Sony.
>> article from Gizmodo
Now Microsoft need to build up quickly the right team as it is quite a change in its approach to the mobile market. Apple, Nokia, Google and others won’t wait long to grab this position and this piece of the cake.