'Wired' weighs in on Windows Mobile: Microsoft blew it
Considering Microsoft just launched Windows Mobile 6.5 last month, hitting 30 new or upgraded phones, they are increasingly under fire from many in the industry, especially following those market share figures.
The latest is 'Wired' who writes that Microsoft had a lot of advantages but, quoting others in the business, they concentrated too much on enterprise (not consumers) and really let their platform lag, especially considering they started Windows CE in 1996.
Even Kinoma's CEO Peter Hoddie had some thoughts when he said
In essence, it was the iPhone that really changed the game, bringing consumer-level appeal to an industry focused on enterprise function. Indeed, many of us purchased one of the first 3G Windows Mobile 5 devices (HTC PPC-6700 Apache) because we saw that the mobile internet and computing was the future. However, it wasn't always a joyous ride with sparse updates, terrible transition from WM2003 to WM5 and buggy software. There has always been that disconnect between what we wanted and what was offered: enter XDA Developers.
Actually, nothing in the 'Wired' article is really new or profound--in fact it is pretty obvious: Microsoft has been in this for the beginning, had hardware partners and a great head start, but failed to offer something tangible for the mobile-ready consumer. Sure we all know a Touch Pro 2 can smoke an iPhone in terms of functionality, power and even hardware, let alone a HD2, but at the end of the day, it is about branding, marketing, consumer appeal and making it desirable. And Android so far doesn't do anything that Windows Mobile can't.
At least the news coming out from Mobius is positive and we're getting anxious for Windows Mobile 7--lets hope they deliver. Read the full article here.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.
2) very successfully iTunes to provide regular functionality updates, easily and to continue delighting it's target customers;
3) advertising that in clear, understandable terms d e m o n s t r a t e d cool capabilities that spoke to real-world needs (eg visual voice-mail);
4) hype - everything connected in a virtuos self-affirming cycle that kept the device on the front pages for months and months. and months. msft has shown it is completely stupid when it comes to any consumer product marketing. advertising and branding are about establishing a connection with the tarhet customer. it's about building a positive affinity with customers and bestowing your product or service with attributes that appeal to your customers. apple has brilliantly leveraged its ipod franchise into the phone market, and them into the pc market. and combined with vista bashing, it's all taken its toll on the msft pc mothership. The years of apple's mac v pc ads unanswered by msft have greatly hurt the overall msft brand. it's really important not to underestimate that! here's the thing - assume windows 7 addresses every conceivable issue and leaps ahead of apple and android and blackberry and nokia - will sales of winmo phones change much? probably a bit, but not in terms of a revolutionary market swings to adopt windows phones. why would that be? well, because for anyone under age 40, microsoft is not cool. the brand is already tarnished as undesirable! like general motors - msft could come out with some amazing consumer products - but people are already negatively disposed to the brand and won't try it, so they won't discover the changed experience. what can be done then? start now with this recepie: 1) start building a unified, integrated marketing vision that ties together the screens and a cloud vision now - so that it's professional and crisp for June next year.
2) stop those embarassingly stupid windows mobile ads that do nothing to bestow any emotional desirability to the platform;
3) replace them and engage immidiatetly in co-marketing with all winmo device manufacturers and phone carriers to d e m o n s t r a t e interesting benefits and capabilities;
4) immediately start attacking apple mac ads where it hurts - lack of aps, cost, lack of choices.
5) get 50,000 apps into marketplace by february 1
6) provide app developers the best tools possible to build apps of all kinds;
7) organizationally separate the phone division from anything else so it's success or faliure is not masked by other solution lines,
8) the msft board needs to ask if balmer understands anything about consumer solutions, if not what are they going to do? bottom line: right now, the msft brand is being defined to consumers by apple. msft needs to retake control of defining its own brand. if it doesn't start now, winmo7 will have underwhelming sales.
ms definitely blew it, but they're big enough to be viable again (though I doubt they'll ever be the leader)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5jN29jeSI4 And you should try windows 7. The question isn't an "if", but "when". It's "when" they'll do it. According to people who've attended Mobius, they've done it:)Also, stop with the HTC this HTC that. It took them a while to come up with their junk. The first Touchflo was nothing like it was now, was it? And the Zune HD's ui in my opinion destroys anything HTC made.
Not saying WinMo is perfect, far from, but its hands down versatile, imo more than any other platform. On another note, Apple & Google & RIM are driving competition. Hopefully Microsoft will join the game and in the end this will all yield better products for the consumer. I just wish people would get over themselves and stop fanboy defending their preferred company. These billion dollar companys care about how you will keep putting money in their pockets, not about helping you defend their products.
It's not a criticism of the products or technologies that go into WinMo, it's not offering any solutions, and it doesn't really make much sense, unless I'm missing something profound in fine print somewhere. I suppose it's only natural to reflexively assume that BB, Palm, apple and WinMo are all dogs in the same race, and that would account for a lot of the confusion, but if MS is bothered at all by all this huffing (which I am confident they aren't) they could end this thing and move on by branching development between a toy line, Zune-based, with all the gee-whiz pretty-pretties and no muscle on cheap devices built to spec on one side, and WinMo/Live**/whatever-oriented enterprise-capable smartphone systems on the other. I just don't think they're going to bother, there wouldn't be a whole lot in it for them other than sticking it to apple, which they need no help doing and haven't since the first time someone freaked out and thought mac would take over. The only thing that worries me about all this is that the goddamned eye-phone gee-whiz factor is irresistible to the legions of uninspired, harried, incompetent product planners out there, and we're stuck in this glut of wanna-be ripoff features in place of innovation, R&D and serious functionality. WinMo marketing should just be a simple shout: "IF YOU WANT AN EYE-PHONE GO BUY ONE. WE DON'T MAKE THOSE."
ms definitely blw it, but they're big enough to be viable again (though I doubt they'll evr be the leader)