Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 won’t hit the shelves until next month, but the OS is already drawing accolades. If the new platform really does restore Microsoft’s lost relevance in mobile, which handset makers will be affected, and how? Here are a few suggestions that I discuss in more depth in my weekly column over at GigaOM Pro:
Research In Motion. RIM is already seeing its once-dominant hold on the enterprise slip, and BlackBerry 6.0 has failed to live up to claims of being “a quantum leap” over newer, more advanced mobile operating systems. If Microsoft’s new OS is business-worthy, it could replace BlackBerry as the platform of choice in the enterprise.
Android. Google’s mobile OS grows more fragmented by the day. Microsoft, on the other hand, will carefully control the evolution of Windows Mobile by assuming the role of quality assurance enforcer for all supporting handsets coming to market.
Hewlett-Packard. Palm’s webOS was at the heart of HP’s $1.2 billion pick-up of the company, but the clock is ticking to churn out new handsets and the dance floor just got more crowded. If Windows Phone takes off out of the starting gate, it would be a devastating blow for a platform that was at the center of HP’s acquisition.
Motorola. Motorola dropped Windows Mobile altogether last year in favor of Android and in turn was targeted with a recent patent-infringement suit from — you guessed it — Microsoft. So we’re not expecting to see a Motorola-made handset running Windows Phone 7 anytime soon.
T-Mobile USA. Microsoft’s name alone ensures Windows Phone 7 will enjoy a high-profile launch — look at how much attention the OS is getting already — and Redmond has the bankroll to put some marketing muscle behind its new mobile flagship. The carrier should help itself by investing some advertising dollars to tie its name to Windows Phone 7, but simply being part of the launch will be a huge boost if the platform takes off.
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