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  (Source: Toxel)
So far WP7 has been a sales dud, but if Microsoft pours enough money into the well, something might come out

You win some, you lose some they say.  Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), a company known for its history of "winning" in the OS and gaming market, has begrudgingly been forced to accept losses in the internet and smartphone sectors.  The company recently announced that its Bing search engine, which lost some of its small market share in 2011, may never turn a profit.  

I. From 23 Percent Down to 2 Percent: The Sordid WP7 Development Cycle

It's a similar story for Windows Phone 7.  Next Friday, the platform will celebrate its first year on the market (or a year since the EU product launch -- NA sales began in November).  But sales have languished and the public still remains largely unaware and uiniterested in buying a Microsoft smartphone.

Back in 2004, Microsoft had planned a major rewrite of its Windows Mobile operating system which it dubbed "Photon".  Microsoft at the time somewhat recognized that mobile devices were transitioning from business tools to entertainment devices.  And owning almost a quarter of global smartphone sales, it was well-positioned to drive the future.

Windows Mobile
Windows Mobile once had almost a quarter of the global smartphone market, but Microsoft let its strong position slip away thanks to slow OS development. [TechViva]

But Photon languished in development and the product was scrapped.  By 2007 Finland's Nokia, Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) and America's Apple, Inc. (AAPL) had launched slick touch-screen entertainment-minded smartphones.  Suddenly Windows Mobile looked very dated.

Microsoft vowed to act.  In 2008 it shook up its mobile group and activated what would become the Windows Phone unit.  But again, development was slow.  

At the same time in 2008 Google Inc.'s (GOOG) rival smartphone bid started to heat up.  In late 2008 and early 2009 rival Android hardware had started to trickle onto the market.  By 2010, it was hitting its stride, showing off superior customizability to Apple's much beloved iPhone, and showing off a broader selection, which included handsets with faster processors and superior cell modems to the iPhone.

The war was shaping up to be Apple versus Google, with Microsoft looking increasingly like an afterthought.  Microsoft's new mobile team had pushed out a stopgap release (Windows Mobile 6.5) in 2009, but it still had no modern smartphone product.

Over the course of 2010 it finally inched closer to the market.  And what it would finally launch on October 21 was quite remarkable.

II. Microsoft Delivers a Slick Product -- But No One Notices

Windows Phone 7 debuted in remarkable form showing an interface which -- to many's surprise -- did not imitate Google or Apple's operating systems.  Rather it was a slick animated tile driven Metro UI that presented dense information to the user in a colorful, inviting format.

Despite Microsoft's imaginative approach, Windows Phone 7 languished in sales.  A big part of the problem was so-called "channel incentives".  At most American carriers sales staff get undisclosed commissions (bonuses) -- often directly from the device maker.  Device makers in turn get handed money by platform makers, to push certain operating systems.

To that end, Microsoft budgeted $400M USD to try to convince companies like Samsung Electronics (SEO 005930), LG Electronics (SEO:066570), and HTC Corp. (SEO:066570) to push incentives for sales people for Windows Phone 7 (this money was largely billed by the media as "advertising" funding, though it's not necessarily advertising in a traditional sense).

But according to early reports, Microsoft didn't end up giving out much cash.  

James Choi, marketing strategy and planning team director for LG Electronics told Pocket-Lint, "From an industry perspective we had a high expectation, but from a consumer point of view the visibility is less than we expected."

Typically smartphone sales are driven by three factors:

  1. In-store salespeople commissions
  2. Internet/TV ads
  3. Word-of-mouth consumer reactions
Microsoft had no real word-of-mouth as it was launching a completely new platform.  And some of its partners indicated that it was being too stingy when it came to funding commissions.  As a result, customers came into American phone carriers' stores and heard about all the great Android cell phones and the iPhone (which salespeople would receive incentives to sell), but Windows Phone 7 was left out of the disussion.

Verizon salesperson
Sales people didn't try to push Windows Phones as hard as they got less commissions on them.  Thus many buyers never learned about Microsoft's intriguing product. [AP Photo]

In short, Microsoft had a product that all its partners -- and many in the media -- seemed to agree was terrific, but nobody knew about it.

III. Microsoft is Putting Most of its Eggs in One Basket -- Nokia's to be Precise

So what's the future look like for Microsoft?  Well, last month a major OS update -- Mango -- rolled out.  According to market researcher Horace Dediu at asymco, there are now 27 Windows Phone 7 handsets and 11 Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) handsets on the market.  That sounds like a lot, but sales haven't shown much gains -- yet.

That's partially because of the one major question mark for Microsoft that has gone unmentioned -- Nokia.

In February, Nokia announced that it would be dumping Symbian and adopting Windows Phone 7 globally as its smartphone OS.  In return Microsoft promised it over a billion dollars, reportedly, to drive sales commissions and advertising for the phones.

Nokia, at the time was the world's biggest phonemaker and Microsoft was languishing with less that 3 percent market share in the smartphone market -- a fall from once holding almost a quarter of the market in 2004.

Yet with all that money flying around, Nokia has been unable to launch a Windows Phone product in the eight months since.  Meanwhile Apple and the primarily Android phonemaker Samsung have zoomed past Nokia's dying Symbian platform in sales.

When Nokia product finally hits the market, Windows Phone 7 (or 7.5, more aptly) may finally start getting noticed.  Sales people will likely receive a pretty sweet bonus for every Nokia WP7.5 model they sell.  So naturally they'll plug the phone's impressive features.

That said Microsoft is coming to the game very late -- as is Nokia.  The pair represents two of the most opportunely positioned players to find success in the smart phone market, yet they've also been too of the most sluggish in terms of releasing hardware and software in a timely fashion.

Microsoft and Nokia
Windows Phone's next year should determine whether Nokia and Microsoft are a dream team or a nightmare. [Reuters]

Between the positives (promotional cash) and negatives (sluggish pace) it's hard to tell if Microsoft and Nokia is a dream team or a nightmare.  Over the next season we should find out.

Analysts like Mr. Dediu argue that Microsoft should see at least some marketshare.  But it's plans of bumping Apple to second place are met with some skepticism, given its performance thus far.

Writes Mr. Dediu:

[D]ependence on a complex value network means that products do not reach users quickly enough and when they do the marketing message is weak, even when backed by large budgets. The real problem with Microsoft’s approach is that it’s neither viral like Android (because it has a price and a contract associated with it) nor is it focused and agile like Apple’s. It seems to suffer from the worst aspects of modularity (market lag) without benefiting from the control over the ecosystem and end user experience that differentiates it.

Microsoft will muddle through but the 20% share that it says is "conservative" seems anything but.

In the end, that seems like a fair summary of the platform's ongoing struggles.

That said, Microsoft can at least sleep soundly at night as it's fast approaching its goal of receiving royalties on every Android smartphone sold [1][2].  That could help it break even, even as it gives away wads of cash to try to promote WP7.

Source: Asymco

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You know what the problem was?
By quiksilvr on 10/13/2011 11:25:05 AM , Rating: 3
Microsoft screwed over Windows Mobile owners. The operating system was terrible and sluggish at best.

After the lackluster version 6 was released, the iPhone came and changed everything back in Summer 2007. That was when all eyes were on Microsoft. iPhone is bulldozing through but they idiotically didn't put 3G in (among other key features). That was Microsoft's chance to make a major upgrade to 6 and come out with a better operating system and push competitors to come out with capacitive screens.

Guess what happened a year later? Version 6.1 came out. It didn't change much but just a few minor tweaks and battery life improvements. This isn't what we wanted. And now we were hearing murmurs of Google coming out with their own mobile OS in the fall of 2008.

Version 6.5 didn't come out until May of 2009 and at that point the T-Mobile G1 has caught our attention. By 2010 6.5.3 came out, which didn't change much and showed how little they cared about Windows Mobile users.

Then 7 came out. And guess what?

Doesn't work with WinMo 6.5 users. Nice job.

RE: You know what the problem was?
By dagamer34 on 10/13/2011 11:31:12 AM , Rating: 5
Attempting backwards compatibility with Windows Mobile 6.5 is the exact opposite of all the Windows haters who think Windows should be rewritten for it to stop sucking. Apparently nothing Microsoft does will ever appease you.

Ditching Windows Mobile support was the best thing Microsoft could have ever done. Period.

RE: You know what the problem was?
By quiksilvr on 10/13/11, Rating: 0
RE: You know what the problem was?
By curelom on 10/13/2011 12:13:58 PM , Rating: 3
Windows 7 phone is not a service pack, but is a different OS from the ground up.

RE: You know what the problem was?
By adiposity on 10/13/2011 2:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
Windows 7 phone is not a service pack,


but is a different OS from the ground up.

Not completely true. Windows Phone 7 is built on Windows Embedded Compact 7, which is the next version of Windows Embedded after CE 6.0 (which windows mobile 6.x were built on).

It has a new front end and does not support the old binary types, although in theory it could have. But as for being "different from the ground up," it is just Windows CE 7 with a totally new GUI framework.

By Labotomizer on 10/13/2011 10:04:46 PM , Rating: 2
To be fair the Windows CE has little to do with the interface. Sync runs on Windows CE and couldn't be more different from Windows Phone OS.

RE: You know what the problem was?
By Mitch101 on 10/13/2011 12:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft commented on this and drew a line in the sand and said they needed to do something new and that included standardizing on the hardware specs. Something which has become a problem for Android devices and developers but works well for iPhone. Sorry you didnt get the memo.

By retrospooty on 10/13/2011 5:27:12 PM , Rating: 2
"Ditching Windows Mobile support was the best thing Microsoft could have ever done. Period. "

True... And from everyone that has tried it, Win7 seems to be a really good OS. It's too bad that MS screwed the pooch too much with previous versions. Their past mistakes killed sales on the current stuff. It will be interesting to see what happens now with Google and Apple controlling the market. As RIM falls away into oblivion, maybe MS has a chance to pick up some business customers.

RE: You know what the problem was?
By Mitch101 on 10/13/2011 11:59:53 AM , Rating: 2
Yea the first generation iPod was crap compared to the iPod touch. But I get it your trying to discredit the Windows Phone with ranting about an ancient version of it. Might as well tell people how superior Mac OSX is to Windows 95 and then complain how an old Windows 95 machine cant be made to run Windows 2011 small business edition.

Windows Phone 7.5 is awesome simply awesome I look forward to the Microsoft Television and Voice Controlled Bing Search through X-Box coming. Then there is the ability to do Voice to Text responding to text messages. Etc Etc etc. You just don't get it until you used Windows 7.5.

RE: You know what the problem was?
By mcnabney on 10/13/2011 12:22:13 PM , Rating: 2
Ancient? WinMo 6.5 is still being sold RIGHT NOW. It is only 2 years old.

RE: You know what the problem was?
By Mitch101 on 10/13/2011 12:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
I can say similar about Android devices running 2.1. Should I buy one and complain it doesn't run Honeycomb?

RE: You know what the problem was?
By Da W on 10/13/11, Rating: 0
RE: You know what the problem was?
By Paj on 10/13/2011 12:32:56 PM , Rating: 2
Thats evolution for you.

By NellyFromMA on 10/13/2011 12:39:02 PM , Rating: 2
Windows Mobile wqas so bad that frankly its abandonement was necessary to successfully launch its successor.

There are things that WM6.5-ish devices can do that Windows Phone can't and perhaps won't ever (like join a domain) and, for what its worth, 6.5 devices will be available from select vendors until I believe 2015.

We develop and sell software for the PDA and its an awful experience for developers as well as end-users (I assume marketplace and word of mouth are sufficient proof).

So, sorry you feel slighted somehow, but the Os and its devices are available for awhile longer so I'm not sure what your major gripe is? That WP7 doesn't have legacy support?

Thank god. You never know though, maybe they'll make an emu / virtual host. But, seeing as how the market was never that great to it in the past, I'm sure you can expect that reciprocated as WM devices fade away, as they should.

RE: You know what the problem was?
By BugblatterIII on 10/13/2011 4:41:55 PM , Rating: 2
I bought an HTC Touch HD2 and was gutted that there was no upgrade path to WP7. The reason given? It had too many buttons. Seriously; the rest of the hardware was identical to what WP7 launched on.

I still have my HD2; it's happily running Android.

WM users were by that time a small group but had a lot of geeks that could have got the word out about WP7 (I often get asked which phone to buy by non-geeks).

People who want an iPhone will buy an iPhone. People who want more flexibility will buy an Android. Who's left to buy a WP7 phone?

RE: You know what the problem was?
By Mitch101 on 10/13/2011 5:22:59 PM , Rating: 2
Those who are interested in a slick UI, ease of use, internet sharing (mobile hotspot), stability, x-box integration including game control and voice control, sharepoint, office, wireless sync, 20gig free cloud or unlimited with home server.

Coming from a iPhone or die site
With Mango, WP7 has caught up with Android and iOS in nearly every way, and in some areas it's even surpassed the other two in functionality. Despite a grim first year, the bright future of Windows Phone is forcing Ballmer to wear shades.

Quite slick
By dagamer34 on 10/13/2011 11:28:42 AM , Rating: 2
I let my roommate borrow my Samsung Focus for 2 weeks since his 3GS broke and he's waiting until November to get a 4S. He actually liked it, especially the size of the screen and the live tiles. I then let him borrow a Samsung Captivate with CM7 and he disliked how busy and complex it was. He still preferred the Windows Phone.

Granted, I doubt Microsoft is going to get a lot of iPhone converts, but they'll probably focus on new smartphone users and current Android users. That's how they'll gain marketshare.

RE: Quite slick
By mcnabney on 10/13/11, Rating: -1
RE: Quite slick
By acer905 on 10/13/2011 12:19:16 PM , Rating: 5
Four words:
Have you tried it.

RE: Quite slick
By jabberwolf on 10/13/2011 12:32:43 PM , Rating: 2
I was going to say most that try it like it muc more than Android. Even IOS users who are nothing more than sheep, struggle to find something wrong, but cant. They go back to their iphone and look back with envy, then try to find an app that I might not have yet. Its kind of amusing.

But try one, its faster than android or IOS and doesnt need the cpu horsepower to run. MS actually did an excellent job of creating a new OS, and in the future, combining it with their Windows 8. i'm guessing when Windows 9 comes out, it will be 1 OS for all devices.

People use MS because they seem to be the only company that thinks about things in the long term and not sell to the eager sheep of today.

RE: Quite slick
By Arsynic on 10/13/2011 12:49:55 PM , Rating: 2
You're a fucking fanboy. This is probably the dumbest reason I've heard yet. You're applying your own biased fanboy reasoning to the general public.

The main reason WP7 is a failure is because MS isn't advertising it, the country's largest carrier ignores it and sales people just aren't pushing it. Once all three of these problems are solved, WP7 will take off because it's an exceptional OS. I just upgraded to iOS 5 and it's more of the same stale old shit.

RE: Quite slick
By acer905 on 10/13/2011 12:58:58 PM , Rating: 3
he main reason WP7 is a failure is because MS isn't advertising it, the country's largest carrier ignores it and sales people just aren't pushing it.

Even worse than that, the sales people are pushing people away from it. When I got my Arrive, I had 4 different sales reps try to push me over to one of the various Android phones. It didn't matter that I had actually researched the Arrive and knew more about it than they did. MS needs to get the sales reps to stop this, because complaints to the carriers haven't helped.

RE: Quite slick
By cjohnson2136 on 10/13/2011 1:54:03 PM , Rating: 2
The same thing happened to me. My question to the sales rep was have you tried the phone? The rep responded by saying it's just like WinMo 6.5. I then took the WinMo 6.5 phone next to it and showed it to her and then the Arrive. I was able to sell her the WP7 phone. She stands their all day selling phones and she not once tried the phone because of the rep that WinMo 6.5 has.

RE: Quite slick
By Labotomizer on 10/13/2011 8:03:55 PM , Rating: 2
Same problem at Verizon when I asked for the Trophy. They tried so hard to get me to buy Android despite the Droid 2 in my pocket that I despised. At first she told me they didn't have the phone, then told me it wasn't very good. I pulled up their website and showed her that it was one of the highest rated devices they have. I really really like this phone. Best phone I've owned without question, especially with 7.5.

RE: Quite slick
By TakinYourPoints on 10/13/2011 9:05:35 PM , Rating: 2
It is because hardware companies and carriers make more money selling Android handsets than they do Windows Phone 7 or iPhones.

Carriers get a free OS on hardware that they have control over. They make way more profit off of Android. I wouldn't have a problem with this if it wasn't for the fact that this approach leads to an inferior user experience than the other mobile OSes. It also leads to much weaker developer support than iOS or WP7 since there is poor consistency in hardware and which versions of Android are supported on what handset, there are lower sales on Android apps from those developers who do go cross-platform (more users means little if people don't actually buy), and a far inferior SDK. The ROI is not good.

The arrangement is good for carriers, bad for customers who don't go iOS or WP7. Unfortunately Google seems less concerned with a good user experience and development platform and are more concerned with having another platform to serve ads. It sucks because their other divisions like the Google Chrome team make top notch products.

RE: Quite slick
By Labotomizer on 10/13/2011 10:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
You're mistaken on cost, but not on freedom. The OEMs have to pay Google for access to Google services and most of them have to pay Microsoft as well. When you combine the two it costs more than WP7. Not to mention when they use the Microsoft Os they get licensing protection but Google leaves them to fend for themselves. Plus, the freedom is a double edged sword and is both Android's biggest strength and it's biggest weakness.

RE: Quite slick
By TSS on 10/13/2011 7:31:34 PM , Rating: 2
Does anybody else find it humerous that, of all the companies, microsoft's the one that forgets to bribe?

RE: Quite slick
By bupkus on 10/13/11, Rating: -1
phone legacy apps
By curelom on 10/13/2011 12:17:44 PM , Rating: 2
I think what Microsoft will struggle with is that most people have other phones already and have bought a number of apps for those phones. They won't want to change to a different OS where they lose all those apps they bought.

RE: phone legacy apps
By acer905 on 10/13/2011 12:22:50 PM , Rating: 2
As Tony and several other hard Apple pushers note, Android users are notorious for not purchasing apps. They tend to favor the free ones instead, so this will not be that big of a problem.

Additionally, instead of trying to convert existing smartphone users, MS can target the users who don't have a smartphone yet. As of September 1st of this year, 60% of the US cell market was feature phones.

RE: phone legacy apps
By curelom on 10/13/2011 12:23:32 PM , Rating: 2
Good to hear. I have a Win 7 phone and love it.

RE: phone legacy apps
By Arsynic on 10/13/2011 12:53:55 PM , Rating: 2
I have an iPhone and haven't paid for ONE app.

RE: phone legacy apps
By Aloonatic on 10/13/2011 4:21:03 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think that Android users spend that much on apps, but maybe have enough that they like, and feel attached to.

The main problem, as I see it (in the UK at least), is that even if you want a winMo phone (as I do) it's actually rather difficult to find someone to sell you one.

We have 4 major carries here, T-Mobile (who I'm with currently), Vodafone, Orange and O2. T-Mobile do not sell a single winMo phone, Vodafone sell one old one and O2 have a couple, but non of these 3 have any Mango phones in the "coming soon" section. Orange sell a couple of WP7 phones at least, and appear to be the only major player planning on selling a Mango phone directly with the HTC Radar. Sadly, this is a Mango version of a second rate, 6 month old Android phone*.

The HTC Titan (the only interesting Mango phone due to be released over here) will be available (along with the Radar) from third parties like carphonewarehouse, and phones4u, but that's it.

Basically, MS don't seem to be trying, as far as I can see. Mango is surely a big thing for them, yet I've not seen a single advertisement on TV about it, even though it's due to be released at the weekend. It's almost like they've given up before they've really got started.

* Yes, I know, spec's aren't everything as WP7(.5) doesn't need the raw power that Android might, but still, it doesn't look good.

RE: phone legacy apps
By acer905 on 10/13/2011 6:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
Have you checked which of the phones they offer are eligible for the upgrade? As far as I know, most of the existing phones will get it. And its amazing, as fast as my Arrive was before mango, its faster yet now with it. And Bing vision rocks, the voice controls rock, basically it rocks.

RE: phone legacy apps
By Aloonatic on 10/14/2011 2:20:06 AM , Rating: 2
I suppose I could check, but there are only 3 models of WP7 phone available at the moment, and of them the HD7 is probably the only one that is worth checking out.

You see, I've had a HTC Desire for the last 18 months, and I know that spec's aren't everything (as stated above) but I am loathed to pay money for hardware that is worse than that, especially as I will be tied into at least an 18 month contract as that's the way things are now.

Even though I might accept the anecdotal reports here of how good WP7 is on old (in Android terms) hardware, how many members off the general public will?

How many providers offer a HD7 in the UK directly? 1.

Maybe things are better in the US, but over here in the UK, WP7 might as well not exist, when there are tens of Android hand sets at all price points, a few iOS handsets and then 1 or 2 rather uninspiring WP7 handsets out there.

Make Me VP
By vol7ron on 10/13/2011 10:23:04 PM , Rating: 2
MS is marketing all wrong. They should be bundling.

This is their chance to pair a phone and an XBox for $300. Then, if they integrated some sweet products/features, like Verizon and Z-Wave are introducing, they will gain some attention. Their focus should be getting attention, not making money. With enough attention, they'll be making plenty down the road.

RE: Make Me VP
By TakinYourPoints on 10/14/2011 12:57:39 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about bundling, but they should definitely be pushing integration with the XBox 360 beyond just avatars and unifying gamerpoints between WP7 and 360 games.

There are millions of XBox 360s in living rooms right now. Integration with WP7 phones would give incentive for a lot of people to get them.

iOS5 is barely out and developers are already taking advantage of its easy integration between the iPhone/iPod/iPad and AppleTV:

There was already some integration like being able to use an iPhone or iPad as a remote control for an AppleTV. Microsoft would do well to enable the same kind of functionality between a WP7 device and an XBox. Even if it was just as a remote control, that would be great. If it allowed for other types of games, whatever developers can think up, even better!

The XBox may be the trojan horse for selling more WP7 phones, let's hope someone at Microsoft is smart enough to make this happen beyond just unifying achievements.

RE: Make Me VP
By acer905 on 10/14/2011 6:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
Already on the way:

And from the looks of it, it will be awesome

RE: Make Me VP
By TakinYourPoints on 10/14/2011 6:07:41 PM , Rating: 2
That's awesome, hopefully they keep pushing these capabilities

RE: Make Me VP
By TakinYourPoints on 10/14/2011 6:10:40 PM , Rating: 2
And to anyone who dismisses this, I'll say that controlling computers, docks, or AppleTV with an iPhone or iPad is awesome, best universal style remote ever. Putting this on the WP7 is great, especially since the UI of the XBox and WP7 are getting closer and closer to each other with the recent 360 update.

RE: Make Me VP
By Aloonatic on 10/15/2011 7:20:59 AM , Rating: 2
The most impressive thing in that video was the woman who had a pretty big LCD flat-screen TV and an xBox just to watch while she's on her exercise bike.

If she's got that much money, she could probably pay to have a human do everything, and more, that the xBox was doing for her :o)

Market Focus
By Zuul on 10/13/2011 12:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
I personally think MS is focusing on the wrong market. The general consumer market that Apple/Android devices are in right now is saturated and sees significant change in a short timespan. The enterprise world has only 1 real player: RIM.

MS lost their enterprise market share to RIM and this is where they should be focusing on since the other manufacturers have not put much focus on that space. MS offers one of the only alternatives to BES, with Exchange ActiveSync. With the recent shake in confidence with the dependability of RIM, enterprises will be re-evaluating in-sourcing portions of their communications structure as they can control it and not be as reliant on a 3rd party (RIM) to provide part of the service.

Exchange ActiveSync is looking a lot more compelling today than it did at the beginning of the week. WP7.5

RE: Market Focus
By Aloonatic on 10/13/2011 4:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
If they'd gone for RIM's corporate market they could have had a really good week this week, with the release of Mango coinciding with the Black Berry server outage debacle.

RE: Market Focus
By lecanard on 10/13/2011 7:57:45 PM , Rating: 2
Mango does have a lot of new business features, so they are not neglecting it. And it's not like they could be focusing any less than they have been on the consumer market.

RE: Market Focus
By TakinYourPoints on 10/13/2011 10:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
Enterprise support is an excellent point. WP7 has an opportunity here left by the increasing gap being left by RIM.

Here is a post from another forum I go to from a few weeks ago. It goes over the difference in security policies between iOS and Android in tablets, and it applies to smartphones as well.

...we have to follow industry regulations and institutional policies around encryption of data at rest and mobile device management. Android is basically useless in a business setting because there has been almost no consideration given to most of these issues.

The fragmented nature of the Android device market means there's no central solution for it, either.

Even if the software met the requirements for securing a device, we would still have to narrow it down to one or two devices, because we can't certify or support the entire gamut. Thus, we use iPads.

The iPad is not used in enterprise because it's established, it's used because of the 39 or so ActiveSync security policies that can be applied to an ActiveSync compliant device, only iOS devices support them. Android supports around 7, and is essentially entirely useless for anything other than a casual device. It simply isn't possible right now to have a "secure" Android device, or even pretend you have one.

In addition, narrowing it down to one or two tablets is a LOT harder than you think. We were prepared to support the Galaxy Tab for a separate entity we have to support, but the lawsuits from Apple made us change our minds. Bottom line is no company except Apple has a real investment in the success of a tablet and its ecosystem. Google doesn't even come close for the reasons you mentioned.

Now if Google were to get into the tablet business, I think it'd be a total failure. They can't deliver a product that can last, because whatever they make will be immediately aped by another company looking to explore the market without making a substantial investment in it.

I hope none of my comments come across as discouraging competition, because that's not how I feel. I love competition and innovation in the sector, but the fact is after every other competitor shows their stuff off, the long-term stability and short-term supportability and security of iPads vastly outstrips other devices.

The same arguments for iOS here clearly apply to Windows Phone 7. Aside from ActiveSync policies (which I assume it has to support since this is a Microsoft product we're talking about) there is also the fact that Microsoft is in a position like Apple where they absolutely need to have total vertical integration and control over the hardware/software stock. Both are willing to make a substantial investment in making it work as opposed to just giving away an OS to hardware manufacturers for free so they can serve ads on more screens.

Having this level of control means that it can be trusted as a secure device for enterprise.

Anyway, the gap being left behind by RIM is being filled by Apple, and there is certainly room for Microsoft to fill in here as well. They have the platform to make it happen.

No phones that interest
By supermitsuba on 10/13/2011 11:38:40 AM , Rating: 2
While Apple has their design, which is good enough, and Android where there are lots of options...OEM partners decided not to release a slick phone design that would attract new users. If there is one for windows, it's only on one carrier. I need to see some nice phone designs and SD card support, in order to take the phone seriously.

By TakinYourPoints on 10/13/2011 6:22:37 PM , Rating: 2
WP7 is a great mobile OS. Outside of developer support, which will hopefully pick up as WP7 gains in popularity, it is the only legit competition to iOS IMHO. Why WP7 fails and Android succeeds is beyond me.

Well, I know partly why. Hardware manufacturers get a free OS to push tons of hardware out on and make more profit off of compared to iOS or WP7, so they'll market the hell out of it. Google unfortunately gives lip service to performance and usability because their #1 concern is getting eyeballs on more ads. So screw it if the OS is still choppier than iOS/WP7 while being on faster hardware, and who cares if hardware manufacturers/carriers screw up the UI even more, because we're still getting our ads out on smartphones.

It just sucks that the garbage but "good enough" platform continues to do well in spite of how bad it is while actual good platforms like WP7 flounder. The only thing worse is that Android's useless "openness" encourages this sanctimonious behavior from some of its users, so annoying.

By lecanard on 10/13/2011 7:03:42 PM , Rating: 2
My personal phone is an iPhone but I frequently get to try other phones and WP7 is my favorite by far. I'm looking forward to switching to a Nokia WP7.

Hopefully they do what it takes to get the public to notice this platform; it would be really sad if a lack of consumer savvy lost us the best mobile platform.

International Sales Could Help
By Ramstark on 10/13/2011 7:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
U.S. Market share is the target always for it is the most quickly adoptive of new technologies, but international market share moves slower, besides, in markets like LATAM the numbers move in order of models availability and marketing (not much in mouth promotion).
So, MS may still have a chance if it focuses its marketing correctly, besides, with Windows 8 sporting almost the same Metro interface, the circle could be complete.

This editor can't write.."Produt" ?
By Ricardo Dawkins on 10/13/11, Rating: -1
“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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