Vector 9: Ben Thompson on Microsoft's mobile dilemma
Ben Thompson of stratēchery joins Rene to talk about Microsoft in a post-Ballmer mobile market, the IBM analogy, whether they need to be more like Apple, and why Google and Samsung were so damn smart. Also: Nokia sale!
Note: This was originally supposed to be next week's episode of Vector, but due to Microsoft buying Nokia, we decided to fast-track. (It's especially interesting given Thompson, until recently, worked at Microsoft on the Windows 8 apps team, and previously interned at Apple on the Apple University project.)
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- If Steve Ballmer ran Apple
- If Apple is disrupted, will we blame Tim Cook?
- BlackBerry and Nokia's fundamental failing
- C is for Changing my Mind
- Why iPhone 4C didn't make sense but iPhone 5C just might
- Microsoft buy Nokia
- The deal that makes no sense
- High Density 3: Staying hungry with Ben Thompson
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I really respect your opinion now.
As a person who speaks and writes in public, I believe that it's wrong to have such lack of manners in public. What kind of standard and quality are we holding up to for journalism? We need to do better than the trolls.
Just a few weeks ago, there was a teacher having to publicly apologize just for saying the exact same word "WTF" in Hong Kong.
Calm down and take a back seat. Commenters are nuts. We all know that. Don't feed the trolls.
There is no fanboyism to me.
Now because I'm not considered and "expert" in this genre (seems like all you need is a website and time to type to be consider one) but you really need to STOP looking at apple as the standard bearer. I know that sounds insane, but it honestly needs to stop. Apple has become wildly successful in mobile, but their recipe is not THE ONLY recipe. The snob attitude of "my app isn't available" is, and will be proven completely wrong.
So the constant comparisons to what MS is not doing right according the the apple model is way off.
I won't go into why the whole "app ecosystem" BS is dead wrong, beause it's pretty obvious.
The success of the Xbox was brought up. But it SEEMED as if it was spoken off in a sense of, "well MS got lucky... that won't happen again". But I often use the Xbox as a reminder to people who are so quick to doubt Windows Phone. Xbox was doubted left and right... it couldn't compete... MS had no idea what they were doing, etc, etc, and so on. There were so many reason why it couldn't survive, damn the idea of it ever becoming a leader. Hell, it couldn't even sell in Japan.
But look where it's at now. That was not an accident. Somewhere along the way they knew what they were doing. I believe they will do the same with WP. Maybe not using the same formula, but if they commit to it, they will succeed at it. PS.
I'm a Playstation "fanboi" if anything.
What did M$ do for this to happen, I am sure it is nothing, Nokia did all the work. What Ben is trying that M$ is soo deep into Enterprise ( 3 years refresh mentality) that they are finding it really difficult to get the to the 1 year refresh mentallity that is current in the mobile industry. Trust me I work in and industry that caters to Enterprise, we are finding it very difficult to get into the mobility space.
Having used M$ products does not matter at all. I have used DOS from version 3.2 till windows 7. I have been using Linux for 2 years as a desktop now. I just have a virtual machine of winxp just incase, I find myself using it less and less as the days go by. Surprisingly, I use Nokia Lumia (I do not want to say Windows phone) as my mobile phone because it is unique in terms of hardware and meets my needs. I intend to keep it. I don't say the M$ has done a bad job with Windows Phone but they are very slow to meet the customers needs. They still think there is an enterprise setup out there, they are not quick to realize that BYOD is happening and it is here to stay.
That leaves one wondering, does he not realize that the market dynamics changed post 2007 when iphone and eventually Android revolutionized the mobile space? Seems like trying to maintain a competitve advantage among a world of smartphones using a pre-smartphone strategy would have been by far and away the more disasterous strategy.
The iphone side is not much better as Apple is a polarizing company among consumers, and so long as a company can offer a comparible experience there will be a market for their products. They have also fallen behind in the mind share as people see the newer phones as offering no value over older less expensive models. Samsung's ad people have been brutal and effective in this regard.
Another area that he seemingly dismisses is Microsoft's leverage in gaming. The Xbox is a force to be reconned with, and if leveraged properly (Would be nice to see some of that happening soon) Microsoft has a very good in with younger users. Due to the integration through out Win8 this has the possibility of boosting interest in tablets as well as phones. It strikes me as rich that he will acknowledge Microsft's strategy and presence in gaming but not what that leverage will get them when applied through out the rest of the ecosystem.
After nearly a year with Lumia 920 I doubt very much that I'll ever buy an iPhone or an Android phone again. Have tried some of them frequently and it's just not IT.
Something's just not right...
With further development on WP I have high hopes for an even better experience in the future :)
I seem to agree with Ben
Probably the last time I visit that blog, and he doesnt care. WinWin.
I disagree with Thompson's assertion that Elop should have had Nokia adopt Android to preserve shareholder value. I have absolutely no doubt that Nokia would have died with Android. Samsung dominates Android and would have wiped the floor with Nokia. To borrow a phrase from Mr. Spock, after looking at all the options the only viable one was an act of desperation. This was their chance to take a stab in a market where nobody else was really serious--that of Windows Phone. And, I'd argue that seed is starting to pay off. The momentum was downward. Nokia executed huge effort to arrest that fall and begin the slow recovery. I DO agree that, globally, many many people bought Nokia devices purely because of the name....just as I believe most people buy iPhones and iPads because they say "Apple".
Nokia was HUNGRY. This drove Elop to push hard. Microsoft isn't hungry, for many of the reasons Thompson described. He said he doesn't believe buying Nokia will enable Microsoft to be successful. That may be true. But I believe the chance to be successful lies in keeping the Lumia name going, even if they can't use the Nokia brand, and putting Elop in charge. Of all the possible candidates, I think he can bring what he's learned from Nokia to bear on the effort to remake Microsoft into a devices & services company it claims to be.