Thursday, 1 September 2011

The 13 Billion Dollar Question: Does Microsoft Matter?

"HTC launched two smartphones on Thursday running Microsoft's latest update of its mobile operating system, called Mango, as Microsoft struggles to gain market share from Apple and Android smartphones.
...
"Microsoft faces an uphill battle in the rapidly changing smartphone market, highlighted by Google's acquisition last month of Motorola Mobility for US$12.5 billion. Microsoft held just 2.7 percent of the smartphone OS market for the first quarter of this year, according to analyst firm IDC, losing ground from a year before despite a complete rework of its mobile operating system.

HTC's Mango Phones, Titan and Radar, Out Next Month | PCWorld Business Center
'via Blog this'

Frankly the story for Microsoft and mobility is pretty ugly. The general excellence of Windows 7 mobile has not been able to stop the slide of the Windows franchise in mobility.

Clearly its time to face the cold hard truth: Microsoft has lost the confidence of the public in the small device area. People simply have no confidence in a Windows phone or tablet.

And with good reason.

For years Microsoft main goal in mobile phones and tablets has been to get people to use Windows on more devices, not to give people a solid tool. Windows 6.5 phones were a buggy nightmare navigated with a tiny stylus you were more likely to lose. The insanity was all because Microsoft clearly only wanted to make you use Windows on a phone, not to give you a good solution.

Even Windows 7 mobile, though much better and than earlier Windows Mobile is so determined to let you know you are in a Microsoft world. It is branded through and through and while Apple iPhones and iPads get you addicted by the illusion of freedom and Android really gives you the freedom Microsoft phones make no bones about their desire to enslave you.

That said Microsoft has been hated for a long time. People in the 1990s came to trust and use Microsoft despite doubts about the quality and ethical nature of the firm.

But that was a very different time. Back then the main user of computer systems were still businesses, and the main area of growth was expanding users 'desktops' giving a computer to every staff person. Moving from the big back end systems to desktops gave Microsoft low cost business productivity suit a real advantage and Windows, Outlook and Office made Microsoft very rich.

But the world is very different today. Consumer use is driving innovation in to mobility. Transactions of data are becoming smaller. More and more computing time is going in to social activity. The computer is growing in to a small device connected to the Cloud.

Microsoft has yet to prove it can function in this field.

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