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Old 03-25-2010, 04:28 PM
Jeff Deneen
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Default If WM 7 is the answer, what was the question. . .

As background you should know that I have owned two Casio PDAs, two Dell PDAs, a Vadem Clio (still the best design for a mobile device I have ever seen including the iPad.), and multiple WinMo based phones both touch screen and non-touch screen. I have also owned BlackBerry and Apple devices including two Newtons. I do not have a Zune, but my daughter has an iTouch and loves it. Given that context, I am not sure that MSFT has the stuff to succeed in the market.

In my opinion, the mobility wars are being fought on three fronts, the the cloud, the device and the network. Leaving aside the network for this discussion, companies that can prevail on both cloud and device fronts will have a significant portion of the market. The ones that do not, will have some market share, but will be also rans. IMO, Microsoft is losing on both fronts now.

: Their web engine, bing, is weak and is not integrated into their mobile devices. I saw some of the WM 7 demos from MWC, and see how it finds things based on location. By the time they hit the market with the integrated solution, the other major players (Google and Apple) will have a substantial foot print. I have used iTunes several times and have found it very easy to use. I use Google Maps on my Samsung Blackjack because it is easy. I have used Windows Live on my Tilt, but it does not work on the Blackjack. I have attempted to load Zune desktop on my XP machine, and it failed because it could not find an SDK file. In short, when it comes to the cloud, Microsoft seems harder to use than Apple or Google. User experience is no longer just the device or its software. It is now the cloud .

As WM7 gets rolled out, I hope the cloud experience will get more robust quickly. I used Handago extensively for software and had good experiences even with a few direct downloads. If MSFT cannot get the cloud marketplace right, their niche may forever be business applications through custom devices.

I think MSFT needs to have a strategy to get into e publishing and can do that by courting Amazon to have a differentiated e reader for WM 7 and W 7 devices. Amazon needs to take the edge off Apple hysteria created by the iPad. I don’t know the HP device plan, but I sure hope there is a strong cloud somewhere to keep the business model alive.

: I think that Microsoft’s open platform approach was best here. The manufacturers had the liberty to take the core software, add their own spin, and create a differentiated mobile experience. Openness also allows for platform adaptation to business environments. MSFT has won on the front with business applications for inventory, service management, and others through a strong developer base.

Apple has a strong developer base as well. I am astounded at the number and variety of applications that have arrived in the market. They are also starting to get traction with business using the camera as a scanner. I recently saw a dongle that supports infrared to support an iPhone as a universal remote. With a locked down hardware platform and control of the apps market, they will be able to ensure quality that MSFT sometimes missed.

I think the jury is still out on Android. HTC may be able to carry it for a while, but I am not a big fan of Google’s move into the device market.

I am disappointed in what I have seen in WM 7 so far. I am keeping my eyes open for a pony in there, but I have not seen it yet. MSFT must get the cloud and device right to keep any traction in the consumer market.

I am keeping my fingers crossed as I look at an iPhone or iPad for my next device.
Jeff Deneen
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