Microsoft will probably reach this year a 20 millions licences sale globaly this year which is quite dispapointing given the growth of the smartphone segment. Windows Mobile growth seems to stall.
It could be explained by 3 factors:
Attention to details
Just one point of benchmark is the embedded calculator of the OS. When you have a look at the Windows Mobile calculator in WM 6.1 you just want to scream: It is just old fashioned (windows 3.1?) and ugly. It can stand the comparison with the competition from Symbian, RIM, Android and Apple. It looks like Microsoft development team is not looking at the details of the user experience.
Too expensive licences
Manufacturers are stepping back from Windows Mobile because the pressure on BOM cost has never been so high. Today operators are expecting 3G smartphones at around 150 USD transfer price, price you cannot achieve when the OS licence costs you around 15 USD. That’s one of the reason manufacturers are switching to Android or Symbian which are free.
When Microsoft says that manufacturers should focus on hardware design and Microsoft will take care of the software, one is just amazed. Microsoft just doesn’t understand that there are 2 main points of differentiation for a handset which are the design and the UI. Manufacturers can’t just let it go and rely, eyes closed, on Microsoft. That’s the reason why Samsung and HTC are porting their UI accross the different platforms they are using.
So wake up Microsoft guys, MarketPlace and MyPhone are nice moves but you need to pay attention to details, have a reasonable licence cost and listen to the market!