Microsoft seems to have dropped out of the smartphone race, but it still has a chance to get reenergised and even pull ahead of the pack.
Bad news/good news for Windows Mobile
The bad news is that the fight for 2010 is already over and Windows Mobile 6.5 just isn't going to rally the world. I have my phone, and others have theirs.
I just don't see how a capacitive screen or a new set of UIs (which should have been in place with the release of Windows Mobile 6.5) will turn the tide.
Perhaps it may simply stop current Windows Mobile users from going to another vendor.
But in a world where a smartphone is not just a device but a statement - a coolness factor among all age groups - it isn't good business to be the handset people are ashamed of.
When people boast about their new iPhone or Droid mobile, Windows Mobile users slowly extricate themselves from those conversations and hide their phones in their pocket.
The good news? Every year is a new event. When it finally ships this year or next, Windows Mobile 7 might blow away the competition and take the lead.
Unlike the OS world where it may be years before you see turnover, the smartphone world moves forward, with people upgrading their devices or switching from one to the next as often as every six months.
Plus, in the enterprise, smartphones aren't replaced as frequently as they are in the consumer market.
Much like other IT infrastructure changes (your desktop OS, the network infrastructure, servers, server software), it takes time to upgrade all these techologies, and smartphones have to wait their turn in line.
That buys Microsoft a little time to keep businesses from switching over to another competitor.
Of course, the competition isn't standing still. But I've always believed that if Microsoft puts its mind to something and places a project in the right hands, it can triumph - not only finish this race but finish first.
My colleague David Coursey seems to feel the same way: "If Windows Mobile were a consumer product, I'd put it on the 'guarded' list, but as a corporate purchase its condition - again in medical terminology - rises to 'serious.' And that is a quite a distance from life support. Lots of 'serious' patients recover, as Windows Mobile may prosper in the future".
That is my challenge back to the Microsoft Windows Mobile team.
I have a Droid that I like - but if you can convince me to pick up Windows Mobile in the future, I'll tell the world.
- We look at whether Microsoft can re-enter the smartphone race
- Glimmers of hope for Windows Mobile 6.5
- Bad news/good news for Windows Mobile