There have been speculations as to whether Microsoft will remain an important player in the mobile phone market with their Windows Mobile operating system. Numerous news articles and blog posts have “declared” the imminent death of Windows Mobile. This article lists a few reasons why these speculations might not eventually turn out to be true.
It is generally agreed that Windows Mobile has problems. We can compare it to Windows Vista which was not accepted very well by the market. Microsoft came back with Windows 7 which has turned out to be successful even after Vista’s debacle. They have learned from the problems and fixed them in Windows 7. Though the desktop and mobile platforms belong to different worlds, we must recognize the approach Microsoft took. The point is; Microsoft can certainly fix what is currently broken in Windows Mobile.
Microsoft rules desktop OS market with over 90% market share and it will make sense if Microsoft uses it to their advantage in mobile space as well.
Windows Mobile also rules the rugged handheld device market. Companies have tried various alternatives, including free “Linux” and failed. They went back to using Windows Mobile based devices for their day-to-day business activities related to mobility. For anything more than email access, companies still prefer Windows Mobile.
Windows Mobile is built on a solid platform. People have been cribbing about its “bad” and outdated “look and feel”. But this “look and feel” was a well-thought-of decision when Windows Mobile or Pocket PC (as it was called earlier) was designed. Microsoft did not want anyone to put any effort in learning how to use their new operating system. Infact, almost no learning was required if you already knew how to use Windows on the PC. They added a Start button on Windows Mobile taskbar!
WM 7 screenshots are available on the internet like here. Not sure if they are true, but if they are real, then surely MS is up to something great. The release has been delayed and MS had to release a stop-gap WM 6.5 version which has received fairly good reviews. WM 6.5 might hold-off the attack till WM 7 starts the counter attack.
iPhone and new devices running Android have tasted initial success by having a nice “look and feel” and jazziness. Their next challenge would be to get better integrated with the desktop environment, where Windows has complete domination. You think its going to be easy! Nope. That is where they will struggle. Microsoft has already solved that problem; the only thing they have to do is to “modernize” the look and feel of their operating system (WM) and they will be good.
It remains to be seen if Microsoft will really get their Mojo back with the release of WM 7. Until then let’s see what the industry analysts write about Microsoft’s departure from the mobile arena.