10 Comments

Summary:

Windows Phone 7 is a total departure for Microsoft specifically and the smartphone space in general, and RIM should be worried about it. RIM has only recently rolled out BlackBerry 6, and the reaction to it was not enthusiastic. WP7 beats RIM at its own game.

HTC HD7

You may have heard about the new smartphone platform from Microsoft, Windows Phone 7 (WP7). It was officially rolled out today, and there’s been no shortage of coverage. Windows Phone 7 is a total departure for Microsoft specifically, and the smartphone space in general, and Research in Motion (RIM) should be worried about it. RIM has only recently rolled out the next version of the BlackBerry OS, and the overall reaction to that launch was that it is merely a modernization of its old platform. WP7 is not only a fresh start; it firmly straddles the fence separating the consumer space from the enterprise, and the latter is the realm of the BlackBerry.

When the pundits start pontificating on what WP7 must do to succeed, they usually compare it to what Apple and Google have done with iOS and Android, respectively. There’s no question that these are the current hot platforms in the flashy smartphone space, but RIM and Nokia are still pretty darn big, too. Microsoft could make a good start in reclaiming lost position in the smartphone wars by eating into the sales of either one of these two companies, and WP7 has a firm hook into the enterprise through tight integration with Office 2010.

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I played with Windows Phone 7 at our recent Mobilize conference in San Francisco, and I came away with a great deal of respect for the new phone platform. In addition to creating something totally new, Microsoft has incorporated good integration with Office 2010. WP7 owners will be able to view and edit complicated Office documents right on the phone, something that has only varying degrees of success on other platforms. Third-party apps on the BlackBerry enable this capability with older versions of Office, but with results not always as good as desired. WP7 brings a rich Office environment to the mobile worker, coupled with good Exchange email handling, and RIM had better be scared.

RIM has spent a lot of effort in the last few years to bring the BlackBerry to the consumer space having already conquered the enterprise, and until the iPhone and Android took off it was successful in that venture. WP7 does the consumer space better than BlackBerry 6, so Microsoft is poised to hit RIM in both the enterprise and consumer spaces with a better offering. The folks in Redmond have a lock on Office compatibility and with Xbox/ U-verse integration on the phone, big advantages over RIM.

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  1. I haven’t gotten to play with WP7 yet, but I am looking forward to trying it out. I have a Zune HD, and if the phone software is anywhere near as good, it ought to be great. Match that with (hopefully) super-smooth Enterprise integration, and you are most certainly correct that RIM should consider itself warned. Top it off with both Office integration and a Zune Pass, and I see no reason that both consumers and enterprise users shouldn’t be excited about this phone (excepting those that will write it off because the software is made by Microsoft!).

  2. Good thoughts, but I can’t totally agree. Obviously, RIM is the last one who should be worried. Reason, enterpise space changes slowly. Who should be worried the most, google. I don’t want say too much here, but I clearly know what I say. Think of Windows vs Linux, think deeper than the surface. You will know what I mean.

    1. Think of Windows vs Linux?

      As in big Iron MVS shops and high end UNIX shops have moved on to Linux and are more comfortable with it. And saving money with it. As in how much more pervasive Linux has become in the past 10 years and how Microsoft’s marketshare has started to slowly erode over that time frame. How the largest search engine, largest social media site, largest online bookstore, name the supurlative run Linux extensively throughout their computer network infrastructure.

      As a famous Standford University Networks founder said,
      “the network is the computer” I would add to that and that computer runs on Linux.

      So you’ve lost me what exactly are you saying?

  3. Since the Iphone came out it 3 years ago it was to be the Blackberry Killer, still nothing has beaten it. WP7 will have a better chance in getting new consumers but its a new product with no field battle trials. Good luck kicking RIM, it will take a few years.

  4. Majority of the hurdle for the it is about securely integrating the office work with the field work. Blackberry has taken the office on the road. It doesn’t do everything like iPhone does… however the the stuff it does is rock solid and a huge army of workers now know how to use it.
    Micorsoft phone is a potential threat to Rimm as it promisses to integrate the entire MS Office line of products. However I’m not sure I need the entire Office package on my phone.
    I need that office on something like an iPad. Rimm’s coming up PlayBook is the promise. Now if MS could come up with some tablets and show the same integration that would be a threat.

  5. this will fail from the get-go.

  6. I’m so glad I picked up my Touch Pro 2 earlier this year. That’s all I’m saying!

  7. I do agree that MS7 looks promising, but with all respect RIM is much better established worldwide at the moment then MS, and very much admired by corporate world. Anyway, MS phones are depends on how fast they will be able sale in the world, and developers attentions that will develop new apps. I don’t think that this phone will be attractive until 2012, and that’s lots of time for other companies to improve their systems too.

  8. How can it be good Office integration when it does not recognize Office document permissions (about who can and can’t read or edit a document)?

    Not only that, but the dang thing doesn’t even Copy-&-Paste. What a waste!

    1. LMAO….

      Good point. Android is no real winner either. I guess it will come down to which one is less of a compromise.

      This is why I think WP7 won’t affect Blackberry. Neither Android or WP7 are good at anything in particular where as Blackberry has the Enterprise locked down.

      It is a rock solid messaging phone that not only does MS Exchange, but Groupwise and Lotus Notes plus Sametime, Messenger and OCS and don’t forget BBM.

      Hardware is rock solid stable with great battery life.

      Most hardcore big brother control over the smartphone deployment.
      SOX SAS GLB and any other acronym compliant right out of the box.

      Blackberry isn’t going to win any beauty contest but it’s definitely all business.

      Rock solid

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