Microsoft's Mobile Strategy: Irrelevance

93 Comments

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Microsoft (s MSFT) is apparently going to counter the Android and iPhone offensives on the mobile market with a new strategy: confusion. The company will allegedly continue to sell its increasingly less relevant Windows Mobile 6.5 for a lower price when it launches version 7 in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The fourth quarter of 2010? I mean, does Redmond expect Google (s goog) and Apple (s aapl) to go on a yearlong vacation? No wonder Microsoft is becoming irrelevant on the mobile platform. As I have pointed out in the past, Android is going to kill Windows Mobile.

We have been writing about the troubles at Microsoft Mobile for almost a year now. That trend hasn’t quite changed. Microsoft’s smartphone operating system share continued to drop year over year to account for 9 percent of the total market in the second quarter of 2009, according to research firm Gartner.

Windows Mobile 7 will be the premium platform that will compete with the iPhone while 6.5 will rival Android, according to a report in Taiwanese trade newspaper Digitimes. If that is the case, then the folks at Microsoft should call their friends at T-Mobile USA and have them send over a few Google phones. That would make them face their delusion. With Microsoft’s not-so-loyal hardware partners — Motorola (s mot) and HTC are already cheating on it — it seems the company might have unfortunately lost the plot.

(Related research report: Check out our latest GigaOM Pro report, “Google’s Mobile Strategy” (subscription required). We will also be discussing this topic as part of a free Research Roundtable Webinar on Aug. 27, 2009. Register here.)

Windows Mobile 6.5 photo courtesy of Microsoft

93 Comments

jmaz

While it is time to rejoice for those young market analysts and anti-anything Microsoft bloggers from sites such as engadget.com, gizmodo.com, and mobilitytoday.com, it is a mistake to count Microsoft out. These bloggers are doing all they can to make sure that Windows Mobile dies. They are as openly bias as can be and as outrageous as possible with their claims. They scoff at and find great joy in this kind of reviews about WM. The level of anti-WM hysteria that they have whipped up is quite palpable. But, they are as oblivious to the type of corporate entity that Microsoft is as had been those that came before them with the same death wish for Microsoft and its wares.
First, Microsoft is not a trend or cute style setting company like Apple. Second, it is not a speculative company as is Google. It is a company that has made its name by following trends and making it possible for people to compute. That is what they excel at, following tech trends. They had to quickly turn their corporate vehicle around to follow the trends and technological changes that came with the GUI, the changes that came with the Multimedia PC, the changes that came with the Internet, the changes that came with a host of other new technological ideas. And now, here we are again they have been caught with their pants down. While Ballmer has concentrated on filling the deep pockets of Microsoft shareholders and investors, change has hit them on the face again with the new mobile wireless revolution. Microsoft is a reactive corporate entity. They don’t learn from their mistakes. They use their resources to correct their mistakes while they take place.
In the minds of these young, idealist anti-softies there is coming a world that will only be inhabited by handsets porting the Google Android portable OS. They forget that there are other players. They forget that when over ninety percent of the people around the world stare at their computer screens to do any computing what they see is Microsoft. Handset makers know and realize this.
I guess that to these idealist anti-softies it is out of the question that Microsoft won’t see anew and mine this connection while submitting to the new tech trends. They reason that since Apple took from Open Source, bragged about the power of what they took, claimed that it was theirs and gave nothing back to Open Source that handset makers will follow the same formula. The Android dance will eventually simmer down and that is why handset makers such as HTC, Samsung, and LG are not ready to pull the cord yet on WM. They know that cheer leading for one side or the other or unrestrained hysteria does not a solid, lasting market build. They stand pat until they hear the fat lady sing or croak.

Microsoft

going to be really hard to get me off the iphone now that i’m using it… i really like microsoft’s products tho

Peter

I think the twin 6.5/7 is actually simpler than described.

Windows Mobile 7 will probably not support a lot (or any?) or the current – even Wm 6.5 devices (my guess only).

WM 6.5 R2 will simply extend the life of 6.5 devices and ensure that 6.5 sales don’t stop dead when WM 7 is announced.

Once WM 7 ships look for no more dual strategy.

no

Zune HD + Phone = WinMo7

6.5 is only for non gpu, prev gen hardware which
can be pushed to pre-paid people.

If Microsoft can’t get any device manufacture to take
7 then they will created Microsoft Phone. other wise
LG or whoever will be doing the high end phone.

Hamranhansenhansen

The solution is for Microsoft to scrap NT, CE, and IE, and move wholesale to a BSD or Linux core and WebKit or Gecko browser engine. Then they could focus their energies on the parts of their products that the user touches and sees, and they could bring stuff to market on time and with much higher quality than they have exhibited to date.

Palm has 76,000 fewer employees than Microsoft but Pre OS 0.0 to 1.0 took 6 months. Why is Windows Mobile 6.5 to 7.0 going to take 2 years? Because Palm used Linux and WebKit and spent their whole time building what was on top. Imagine if Windows Mobile 7.0 were coming in September 2009 and featured BSD core OS, WebKit browser, and an all-new Windows Mobile API based on Win32 and with a straightforward path for porting existing code to the mobile platform. Missed opportunity. Over at Apple they are on iPhone OS v3.0 after 26 months because they use a Unix core and WebKit browser and focused on adding value to that.

Websites are competing right now for who has the cutest no-IE6 page and Microsoft is still shipping IE6 both on mobiles and on desktops. There is no excuse for that when WebKit is free and runs on x32, x64, ARM, and PowerPC, and is already on almost all other mobiles (maybe all). Zune HD comes in October 2009 and ships with IE 6. It’s a terrible joke. No excuse for it. Even IE 8 does not fix this. IE 8 is 5x the size of WebKit, takes 2-8x as long to do everything, and is 5 years behind the Web at least. There’s no excuse for it. Ship WebKit.

Imagine if XP had been done on a Unix core. No botnets, no failure to ship Windows 2004, no Longhorn Reset, no Vista forking. They could have spent all of their energies on the interface and the 64-bit application platform. They’re rolling out an anti-virus service right now that they could have avoided entirely by just putting in Unix-like security in 2001, 6 years after the Internet went mainstream. They could be rolling out any number of features that people actually want and are willing to pay for. Missed opportunity.

What is needed is for some smaller, smarter company to merge with Microsoft, and replace the top 10% of the current Microsoft hierarchy wholesale. Then fire about 50% of the managers lower down. Otherwise, they will just run in a circle as they’ve been doing, until they finally lay down and die.

Eric

I use a symbian smartphone for business and my iPod touch at home. Different uses for both and I am happy to have two devices. When I travel I prefer to take the touch instead of my laptop.

I am VERY happy with symbian. Rock solid it just works I never have my phone crash or hang. I do not like winmo but wish to see it as a viable competitor so as to drive competition and improve the experience for everyone no matter what device they use.

MaxS

well said! yet give Microsoft credit for consistency: silverlight, azure, un-upgradable win7 are carefully nurtured to maintain their irrelevance across many industries.

Fentex

Because I work in corperate comuting I bought myself Windows Mobile phones as I expected to have to work on mobile business applications someday, integrating with installed Microsoft ecologies.

But it’s never happened and the experience of using Windows Mobiles suffers compared to iPones and Android.

As soon as I can buy a good portrait Android slider that’s my next phone. I’d try a Palm Pre if I wasn’t expecting it to die – Apple provides an elegant experience and has a large support base, Android is attracting the open source talent and being cheap for manufacturers to adopt will proliferate, which I feel will leave Palm struggling to find developers to work on their platform.

I have a lot of confidence that Android is going to blossom – being open source is going to make it very attractive to a lot of people from top to bottom of the chain of production. Windows Mobile will only become more and more of a ghetto as developers concentrate on either Android or the iPhone I suspect.

Jose Fajardo

Hi Om,

I’ll happily be the first to point fingers at Microsoft and scream, “You guys dropped the ball on your MOBILE offering, You guys have failed your partners and your developers!”.

Im a developer and ive been dying to use my microsoft skills to build rich MS mobile apps, there current WinMo6.1 is definetely too bloated for me to build iPhone like experiences (look at HTC coverflow and how much a drain that is on the phones battery).

Ive been waiting for silverlight for there mobile for over 1.5 years and rumor has it ill be waiting another year.

BUT id rather MS get it right then release a crappy experience for the USER,PARTNER,DEVELOPER. So as much as i hate the situation im happy to wait for a quality product.

Now to the argument that Microsoft have been idly sitting by letting the competition grow, i believe if you watch the below video of an interview with Roz who is on the GM for project pink, you’ll see that she and her team have been working for well over a year on project pink which sounds like more than just services BUT an entire solution for a new mobile ecosystem based on microsoft solutions. That measn that they were thinking about this since early 2007.

So they are building something massize and hopefully the end justifies the means, that is the lost time and market share is justified in what they end up creating.

http://channel9.msdn.com/shows/WM_IN/Roz-Ho-Reflections-On-Leadership-and-Believing-in-Yourself/

Regards

Rod

MS needs to get in bed with a handset maker (such HTC, SE, or Motorola) and create a great, iPhone-class OS which demonstrates their vision of mobile computing. Like Apple did two years ago. If Windows Mobile 7 isn’t great, they’ve wasted yet more time, so the vision needs to focus on the 2011-2015 timeframe because that’s where Apple will be when this Windows Mobile 8 (or Windows Phone, or whatever) can be released. MS needs to ignore the licensing costs — if the OS + handset is great, the market will happily pay for it (as Apple again demonstrated with their $700 iPhone). Focusing on licensing costs just encourages another PC laptop style race to the bottom. (Being ‘free’ may ultimately hurt Android as well because OS licensing costs do not a great phone make.)

MS also needs to move fast, because Ballmer running out of time. Revenues are in decline, and the company has more misses than hits lately, which means shareholders are getting nervous. Ballmer is running out of mistakes to be forgiven. My guess is if Windows 7 doesn’t get mass adoption, Office revenues continue to decline, and Windows Mobile (any version) isn’t a hit, Ballmer will be out and the new CEO will buy someone like Palm (assuming they’re not already picked up) or exit the mobile space to cut costs.

Ted T.

“MS needs to get in bed with a handset maker (such HTC, SE, or Motorola) and create a great, iPhone-class OS which demonstrates their vision of mobile computing.”
Sorry, how is “getting into bed” with HTC going to help Microsoft write decent software? They can’t even get the Web browser right — they aren’t about to learn to write decent OSes. Collaborating with hardware vendors won’t help.

Microsoft has one HUGE problem right now — no first rate engineer or designer will go to work for them instead of Apple or Google or even Palm. There is zero prestige or excitement left in working for them

rd

You also forgot the Zune HD is a platform in it own write which needs apps as well.

Apple already has leverage with Flash Memory and soon will have
their own ARM core chips to differentiate on feature. Apple is also
moving into LLVM/Clang. So optimization is unlimited. So trying to compete
with Apple will be ever difficult. Don’t forget OpenCL will be coming
to iphone by 2011. iphone 4.0 will be snow leopard based so all
the optimization and technology will trickle to the iphone.

fritz

if microsoft needs to win the smartphone game they need to address a market like india
iphone cost here is ridiculous and god only knows when palm pre will be here
android based phone if priced properly will win over the indian audience there is talk about HTC based android phones hitting the indian markets soon.

if microsoft needs to win they should move fast get affordable smartphone with open development platform and open app store they have always enjoyed good developer support
for them its the matter of getting the right combination for hardware , software and distribution platform
right now the clear cut winner for smartphone category in india is nokia
we do have 300 million plus mobile users and i wonder why india is still such a neglected market

CT

India is ignored because it’s a place companies go to get cheap labor, not sell their products. Cheap labor can’t pay decent prices for products, and companies are in business to make money.

gbp

Like rich Americans flocking to dollar stores ?
Wake up , Add China to the mix , you are talking a mind boggling 1 billion handsets.
Folks there buy phones like here in States.

Krishna Santani

I have to raise few basic questions to Microsoft… Why Microsoft has to keep two platforms alive at the same time to compete against two different players rather than to kill the previous one? Why can’t they put their resources at one place rather than to channel it in different platforms? Why they are always behind the time and make their product look antiquated before release? This is happening with Zune which is competing against iPod and now the new victim which will suffer from it is Windows Mobile.

Varun Khaneja

“Why Microsoft has to keep two platforms alive at the same time to compete against two different players rather than to kill the previous one?”

For 2 reasons, I believe, and I do not agree with the latter:
1. Milk WinMo 6.5 as much as they can. Even though the price of 6.5 is going to go down after WM7 is out, it’ll still keep driving the revenues. You see this even with Apple (iPhone/Mac), with Intel/AMD, and so many other companies. Makes some sense.
2. MS believes, in an year from now, iPhone would still be much superior to Android which is why they target WM6.5 against Android and WM7 against iPhone. In my opinion, that is not going to be the case. Android will be at par with, if not better than, iPhone.

Jeremy Wa

MS has to keep two platforms alive so it be a double-Zune – they can both be roaring failures simultaneously!

One can be PlaysForSure and the other can be PlaysAlmostForSure. Both will register microzune market shares well east of the decimal point.

Om had the right word: irrelevant.

This is what one expects of a company with a robust history of product success: PlaysForSure, Vista, Xbox, Zune, WinMo, LiveSearch, SpoT, Money, Encarta, etc., etc.

Question: Since W95, has MS produced any (Any!?) compelling products that yielded an acceptable shareholder return? I remember people waiting to buy W95. Apart from Xbox (which has a monstrous failure rate: http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/43661/98/ ) can anyone remember people waiting to buy anything from MS? Simply, MS produces Pacific tidal waves of mediocre, irrelevant junk and feasts off of its increasingly declining monopoly profits.

Any other company with a CEO who presided over such a string of product failures would have been pasture-ized a long time ago, especially when we can determine with high confidence that even some of the FUTURE product offerings will be (ahem) irrelevant.

Peter

@Jeremy Wa. “Since W95, has MS produced any (Any!?) compelling products that yielded an acceptable shareholder return?”

You’re kidding right?

Can you spell Sharepoint?

When Windows 95 was released, SQL Server was a weakling.
When Windows 95 was released the Exchange business was minimal – now it is a $2B business.
Have you tracked System Centre revenues?

Absolutely Microsoft had and blew a lead with WM. Badly.

BUT.
Wordperfect owned word processing, Lotus groupware, Oracle lauded it over SQL Server, Windows Server was for PC networks only, Java was the clear market leader, Websphere was a primary portal. CA Unicentre and Tivoli had free reign. Siebel owned CRM.

Never count Microsoft out – behind in mobile absolutely, but I think they have awoken from a decade slumber in mobility.

Vipin

Om,

I wish gigaom to every success. However consider a hyothetical (again only hypthetical) situation that gigam doesn’t perform well for few quarters will you give up or fight back? If MS tries to fight back is that wrong ?just because they are MS and not Apple whom you compare with non-comparable like Taj Mahal? Its again a hated areticle from Om on Microsoft.

MS is fighting back on Search and came up with really good search engine (not just saying for writing a comment, I use it now). I am happy that instead of giving up MS is planning to fight back. Good luck to them.

Om Malik

Vipin

What is your point?

Unlike Search, in Mobile the market was all theirs to be taken and they have lost it to new comers. I am not sure how they are going to fight back when their new OS won’t be out till end of next year – just around when Android and iPhone and RIM will be releasing their newer operating systems.

Vipin

Om,

My point is that instead of doing crap incremental changes just take the time (of course if you have fund) and build a game changing platform.

Symbian was ruling mobile platform, Apple build a game changer (Symbian engineers didn’t go to holidays when apple was building touch screen UI).

Yes, I agree, Android, RIM, iPhone will be releasing their newer version but those are just some incremental features not a game changer.

gbp

Dude,
Wake up , game changer Mobile OS for how long ?
Its been more than two years since the iPhone debut.
Where is my desktop browsing experience on WinMo ?

Its a shame that MS is still cooking while the likes of PALM came all out swinging at APPLE.

Look at RIM , and read every article about the technology behind STORM.
While I don’t like the STORM, RIM was firing on all cylinders trying to reinvent the company with a new product ( capacitative + press).

Microsoft is time wrapped in 1995. They still sing glories of the olden days.
I know few folks working for them for more than 10 years. They think they have the best mobile platform ( talk about ignoring the truth ).

They are slow, slow slow.
Do I want them to succeed , hell ya.

Nicholas

BTW, Symbian is based on EPOC so most of the heavy lifting for such devices had already been in motion with Psion. I never understood why Nokia didn’t continue with a NetBook profile!

Om Malik

Nokia is the incumbent here and like Microsoft they got too comfortable with their success and left an opportunity for others to come in and start taking market share from them.

On the netbook thing, I think they are actually moving in the right direction with their tablets. Just not fast enough.

ariel

They got leapfrogged on the mobile os side and they clearly realize that, hence the massive investment in WinMobile 7. Did they make a mistake – certainly. Are they correcting that mistake, yes. Can we sit here and argue about timing of WinMobile 7 — Q4 2009 would be better then Q4 2010 but the product is ready when it is ready. While I love my iPhone and doubt that I will switch to a Windows Mobile device there are billions of users moving over to smartphones over the next 5 years and if MSFT executes on WinMobile 7 they will earn their fair share.

We need MSFT to be successful here, the Apple App Store needs competition and looking forward to more competition from a company that knows how to work with developers to create ecosystems.

Jeremy Wa

Those buggy whip guys should really accelerate the new line of whips to counter the wave of horseless carriages that seem to be coming on the market.

If the buggy whip guys do not hurry, their sales may suffer…..

gbp

Sure we need competition, I would love to root for Microsoft.
But they are slow , I mean snail slow.
APPLEs and PALMs of the world are not going to twiddle their thumbs while Microsoft is cooking the WinMo 7 for three plus years or so.

The fact is they are SLOOOOOO W

Vijay

Hmmmm.. its a bit hard to comment on this..!! But my dear friend, Reality BITES !!

I heard that, When Windows Mobile project was started at MS, thier only competition which they had in mind was “Research in motion’s Blackberry”. and Ever since their release, they have succesfully built on that. Suddenly, Like a typical Rajnikanth’s movie.. came in iphone and redefined the User eXperience, one can ever expect from a mobile device. :-) he hee..!!

Few UI enhancements which are expected in WinMO 6.5 (source-youtube) is already given by SPbShell for WinMO 6.0. In such a case, even a buyer would really think on the tangible and intagible benefits. May be technically its really competent.. but boss, the proof of the pudding is in eating..!!

Well, jokes apart Android and Iphone are really moving on a Ferrari.. Not sure, when WinMO will pick up to that speed…or even better “beat it!!! ”

PS: I am not an Anti WinMO guy .., I use a HTC mobile device which is running WinMO happily :-)

rohit

props for integrating rajnikanth w. msft, winmo, iphone, android !

ala

can’t really call it windows 7 in the 4th paragraph as that is the name of their computer OS.

ronald

Is it just me or is Microsoft now only really good at integration between/over Applications boundaries.
From Office over Exchange to Sharepoint, all are integration Products. I don’t say the Products are good, but hardly matched in integration levels.
A few month ago I asked someone at Microsoft if Functionality is the KloC of Microsoft. Maybe that explains it, functionality drives bloat but helps to integrate where it hides bloat.
In other words as long as Phones are not mature/powerful enough and there are no killer features to integrate, wait for Microsoft to bring out anything decent. After that all beds are off.

Steve Patterson

Neither Google nor Microsoft have realy thought through the need to compete with the iphone with “new revenues” by helping their phone ODM’s innovate. Both companies have adequate talent to influence phone manufactures to give them the advantage of optimized hardware.

In a few years the processors in phones will be real fast such that code optimization will not matter and bandwidth will be so rich that applications can run in browsers. But not right how. Right now to produce a winning phone – hardware and software need optimization.

steveh

Never forget that you’re balancing speed with power consumption. In a battery constrained device, faster is not always better. Think of the user experience, instead, and how that can be improved.

monal

What MS has done with Zune and Xbox product lines has no bearing on how badly their failing with WM…..in the mobile OS field WM as a mobile platform is turning into an after thought. Wasn’t it just 3 years ago that HTC was all WM?? Microsoft has really dropped on the ball on WM development

trent

You forgot all about project pink and purchase of Danger… what’s going on there? added confusion and screw up.

Om Malik

Actually I did forget about Project Pink. The Danger acquisition – well I am betting that is more for the back end technologies than anything else.

Trent you have any theories?

trent

Absolutely not, Pink is supposed to be an end to end solution and not just back end. Different experience, marketing, business model etc from WinMo. MS is spending a lot on project pink. $500M spent just on Danger and they have a whole group that is working on it.

HereAndNow

By Q4 2010, web apps are likely to be the predominant way to develop functionality for smartphones, especially when HTML5, BONDI, etc. are widely supported. This will make the underlying OS virtually irrelevant and certainly something less attractive to license/pay for.

JT

Yep, because MSFT is known for its awesome, standard-compliant browsers…

HeardItAllBefore

“By Q4 2010, web apps are likely to be the predominant way to develop functionality for smartphones”

Not so much. You know this strategy didn’t exactly work for the original iPhone. It’s not like developers were wild about only being able to build web apps before the SDK was released. Now look at the success of the App Store.

“especially when HTML5, BONDI, etc. are widely supported”

Yeah. That’s not going to be by Q4 2010 though, is it?

“This will make the underlying OS virtually irrelevant”

Nonsense. Have you actually been paying any attention to what’s been happening in the mobile space the last three years? It’s all about the OS, baby.

Leslie

If only MS management had brains like you, we wouldn’t have seen products like Xbox, Zune, etc.

Om Malik

Xbox yes, Zune no. Also, check the amount of money they have had to spend on XBox to beat the competition.

In mobile, they had the lead and they still are losing market share. What does that tell you.

AayCee

OM, was there a better way to beat Sony’s iconic game console ? And no Wii is not in the same league …

WinMo had the lead, it tells you that smartphone innovation started in MS. Sure, it needs more work to get back in the game.

Om Malik

aaycee

smart phone innovation started at symbian. I think it is wrong to give Microsoft credit. but one has to credit them for recognizing the opportunity. of course one has to smack them for blowing that opportunity. You think they can get back in the game? If yes, I would love to know how from You.

Paul

MS has plenty of opportunities to do well in this market. They own Windows and Exchange, where most business data is still stored. If they can exploit this ownership by making people’s data available securely and seamlessly through fixed and wireless environments they have a great story.

After MS gave away Internet Explorer to crush Netscape you’d think they could find the right price point for Windows Mobile. Even if they do that, they won’t win the mobile space, which moves quickly (as you point out) and is geared toward back-end revenues – two characteristics it has in common with online business, another area that MS keeps screwing up.

Microsoft built great stuff initially. While doing it they built an internal culture of selfishness and nasty intramural competition, and fed that on huge monopoly margins. Look at how well the Microsoft diaspora has done in business. Compare it to the PayPal and SGI diasporas. They’re GM and they don’t know it.

Nicholas

Symbian and UIQ were really the innovators in the space! Microsoft, tried to pull together their developer community into a rational mobile development process. and it was certainly better than Java in most respects.

Personally, I think that Microsoft could get in the game in the same manner that Google is with Chrome and Nokia should, by focussing on making WebKit-like tools the central application platform. A browser based platform with connections to functionality allow for flexibility and standardization. Three profiles for pocket, business, and tablet would suffice. Think 2 years out, not 6 months. Allowing developers to leverage the more advanced tools would be a plus.

Om Malik

Agreed.

I think from a developer standpoint, the old Palm/Treo did a great job — it was a great platform that was doing surprising well as a “smartphone” but somehow lost its way. i think none of these guys really focused on one thing – multimedia or enterprise/productivity.

The iPhone is all about multimedia and consumer type apps while RIM is about enterprise/productivity and they are both gaining market share.

AayCee

They have several strengths, developer ecosystem, enterprise presence, telco relationships, OEM relationships at several levels. The aleged dual platform stratergy you are terming confusing, seems like a good stratergy to me, if it is correct. One for the lower end market and one for the premium market. Yea Q4 2010 is long ways away but hey this not the end of the world. Think long term !

anon

Key issue to address on two platform strategy will be 1)Ecosystem Impact 2) OEM Cost Structure and 3) Consumer branding/perception (Windows Phone – though WM phones have it today touch vs non-touch). First two has same set of questions – How different are these platforms from one other? Do you need to build two SKUs for each app? Do you need to have two engineering teams to support development on WMo platforms?

At the end of the day it will be cost vs opportunity for OEMs and developers.

I don’t think lowering the cost of WM6.5 vs. WM7 OS will make a huge difference (not sure if consumer sees it). Core will be difference in the price of devices (after subsidy)and experiences they bring out.

My personal opinion is that WM6.5 will be dead soon after WM7 launch (so questions to OEMs and ISVs – Do you really want to invest into an intermediate platform knowing that WM7 may be around the corner).

Another complication as mentioned by OM – what is role of “Pink”? Is it WM6.5 or WM7 or something totally different (built on Danager)? Will MSFT be asking ISV community to develop for Zune, WM6.5, WM7, Pink, Danger, Xbox at the same time?

Ronbo13

@AayCee:
“WinMo had the lead, it tells you that smartphone innovation started in MS.”
Nonsense. Put down the Kool Aid. Having had the lead only tells you that they had the lead. MS hardly ever innovates. There have been a lot of innovators in the mobile space, but MS was never one of them, even to the point of sleazily calling their mobile OS “Palm” once upon a time. ‘tards they were, ‘tards they stay.

addicted

Absolutely right…

The XBox is a money drain. They would have lost billions on it even if it wasn’t such a poorly made device (what was that failure rate again?)

They lost over a billion dollars for the first red ring of death fiasco. Then they had a couple of others, and the device is of poor build quality anyways.

If it wasn’t for the Windows, Office and SQL cash cows, XBox would have long been underwater..

AayCee

@addicted, @Ronbo13

You guys seem to only recognize visual innovations, however, there are innovations happening in many levels.

XBOX is one such example, where a bussiness was built from scratch to compete with an iconic leader in the space. You don’t win a game like that if there is no innovation. tards don’t win this kindda game…

BTW, their cash cows are not going away anytime soon … expect more fierce battle in mobile, search, entertainment …

Alex R

“Also, check the amount of money they have had to spend on XBox to beat the competition.”

Xbox? Win?

Are you really that fucking stupid?

Some 8 billion dollars down the drain on the Xbox fiasco. And after 8 years of the Xbox train wreck they are selling at almost exactly the same rate worldwide as the first Xbox marketplace flop.

Last gen the Xbox sold around 25 million over 3 1/2 years.

This gen the Xbox has sold around 30 million over 4 years with massive numbers of duplicate units bought due to the RRoD nightmare.

Last gen the Xbox was dead in Japan and mainland Europe.

This gen the Xbox 360 is dead in Japan and mainland Europe.

Last gen the Xbox was destroyed by the PS2.

This gen the Xbox 360 is getting destroyed by the Wii.

Last gen they were last place in 2 of the 3 major console markets. And second in the third.

This gen they are last place in 2 of the 3 major console markets. And second in the third.

Flat to declining stock over the past decade shouldn’t surprise anyone when a company can waste that many billion on a failed product.

gbp

Om,
Couldn’t agree with you more on this. Great analysis. Spot on.

The new game in the town is “SPEED” , look at the way APPLE, PALM and Google are churning out their Mobile systems. It’s not just the original release of their OS, but the updates they are putting. I am sure there are many sleepless engineers at APPLE, PALM and Google who probably are proud about their work that they don’t mind sleeping.

Microsoft strategy is too confusing. They have no one with brains running the mobile division. Their updates are slow. From MS Mobile 6.0 to 6.1 it took ages. Then the new 6.1 was not compatible with most of the devices (ask me about it, I tried to upgrade a HTC Touch, it was a mess for third party APPS). Now the 6.5 is coming in a month or so. Next up is Mobile 7.0 supposedly with Capacitative screen. What happens to the goats who paid a full $ 300 plus (they are not cheap) on a WinMo 6.5 device ? well they are to be slaughtered. Guinea pigs we call ‘em.

Look at their browser. That thing is time wrapped circa 2002. And look at the competition, PALM did super duper job on WebOS in two years from the ground up. Google is coming up with updates every six months or so.
And
APPLE, what can you say, they are on to third major update in two plus years ( with minor updates as needed). These guys are relentless.

Microsoft should throw out the existing platform, Redesign the UI, embrace Webkit browser then finally make it foolproof.
Oh not to forget about speed and stability.

The issue is they have the TALENT, but they are TOOOOOOOOOOO SLOOOOOOOOOW.

Cheese

That’s one heck of a sweeping statement. The world would be boring if there was no choice. You don’t have to buy Xbox or Zune. You are not obliged to even try them. But there is place under the sun for an Xbox and for a Zune..just as there is place for Linux distro.

Coming back to the mobile OS story…the Digitimes story referred to talks about touch support coming in Feb 2010 (yes, on 6.5 only – not 7), but Feb is Q1 2010, not as far away as Q4. Surely, Q1 2010 doesn’t make Microsoft even a quick follower and surely not an innovator. But why lay the innovator allegation at the door of Microsoft in the first place? Microsoft is not as much about leading edge innovation as it is about the exact opposite – commoditization.

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