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Who Will Be Affected if Windows Phone Thrives?

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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.

Read the full post here.

Image courtesy Flickr user jonny2love.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Rogue Devices: The Consumer Influence on Enterprise Mobility, Part 1

Transient Apps: The Consumer Influence on Enterprise Mobility, Part 2

RIM’s Stumble Opens the Door to the Mobile Enterprise

How Microsoft Can Win Back the Tablet Market

13 Responses to “Who Will Be Affected if Windows Phone Thrives?”

  1. John Gruber, Andy Ihnatko and Noah Kravitz have all praised Windows Phone 7. Getting an “Apple” journalist to compliment a Microsoft product is like getting blood from a stone. Shows just how nice the product is.

  2. Quote from article: “If Microsoft’s new OS is business-worthy, it could replace BlackBerry”.


    Does anyone really think that Windows Phone 7 is business ready when you cannot use it to work with text. How do you rearrange text without Cut’n’Paste? You can’t.

    Business users routinely also use laptop tethering when on the road, IPsec for secure internet connections, background encryption, VoIP, Bluetooth file transfers. All of these features are missing from Windows Phone 7. It can’t even read Office document permissions. Apps can’t read the phones address book.

    Currently, Windows Phone 7 is a farce. Come back in a year and see if Microsoft has improved it with Windows Phone 8.

  3. Windows Phone 7 is drawing accolades and then you guys link to your own web site? You’re looking like a bad issue of Boycott Novell.

    Windows Phone 7 is not drawing a great deal of attention. It doesn’t do anything either the iPhone or Android handsets don’t already do. Microsoft are yet again late to market and behind the trend. I guess the court room battles will get heated then.

  4. This strikes me as a naive view. The lawsuit by Microsoft is meant to bring Motorola back into the fold. How could you possibly expect there to be no Motorola handset??? It is the obvious way to relieve the pressure. Microsoft’s usual strategy is to tie products together, usually to Windows or Office, in ways the competitors can’t match. Then Microsoft puts the competitor on an upgrade treadmill, breaking Windows / Office compatibility for them so that they must divert resources to regaining compatibility.

    In this environment, where is the natural tie? It is problematic because Android ties to a cloud solution. It is very, very hard to break compatibility with that because of the speed with which a cloud app can be upgraded without action by the user. Android’s fragmentation is as irrelevant to this competition as the fragmentation of Windows.

    The only big loser of a Microsoft win is surely RIM. It is the most susceptible to Microsoft’s traditional strategy.

  5. I think you have to consider iPhones. I was a huge Windows Mobile user, I was able to steer my previous company (on exchange) to use WM as the device of choice over Blackberry (the main argument was cost). But then Microsoft started dropping the ball and not innovating, WM 6.5 was a huge improvement over WM 5. But then apple came along and i started using an iPhone. Now that Windows phone 7 is coming along I will likely switch back if it is good.

  6. I do think that iPhone could be affected. There is a slowly growing section of mobile users that are unhappy with the device, especially in its current iteration (antenna-gate and glass-gate).

    There are also the people who really want the easy to use OS, but want a QWERTY keyboard or some other unique design, the days of the iSheep are limited.

    Finally, I downloaded and explored the Zune store for the first time, and it is surprisingly useful and attractive. Gone could be the days of clunky iTunes on your computer.

    • Nicholas

      I wouldn’t say that there is a growing dissatisfaction so much as a growing market that is simply concerned with doing things. Apple has a great market, and a great product, something nobody has been able to match as a complete system. But, there are plenty of folks who equate mobile with search, Facebook, and simple tasks.

      Apple will largely be unaffected except for more developer attention on other platforms. Dismissing .Net and such is foolish. Microsoft could substantially undermine Google if they moved fast.

  7. Reece Tarbert

    No mention at all of the iPhone and Nokia/Symbian?!?

    Not mentioning the iPhone could be read as “it won’t be affected”, but not mentioning Nokia/Symbian make this very US centric and anything but “Pro”. I mean, it’s “just” 41.2% worldwide market share we’re NOT talking about!


    • Colin Gibbs

      You’re right that Nokia’s footprint is still massive, Reece, but the company’s market share has been eroding for quite a while thanks to iPhone and Android. Windows Mobile may hasten that trend a bit, but it won’t dramatically impact Nokia in any way that isn’t already happening.

      • TechMinds


        Windows Mobile ends with 6.5.X, Windows Phone 7 is the new (read completely different) platform. I know it’s a tough habit to break but it’s an important distinction. Windows Mobile does not equal Windows Phone 7.

  8. Sandra K

    A better question would be: Who will be affected if Windows Phone 7 fails.

    The ‘accolades’ all focus on the surface. The interface. The problems with Windows Phone 7 all lie underneath. The missing functionality that will apparently be restored in future updates.

  9. timjones17

    This is about the American market, apparently. With no mention of the iPhone, the assumption then is that Apple’s pretty much toasted in mobile. Niche gadget, again