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Andy Sjostrom
08-01-2003, 10:47 AM
Do I believe Microsoft would sell more Smartphones with Java support than without? Yes. Let me explain.Microsoft and Sun have competed in the platforms market for years. Microsoft's dual edge sword is the .NET Framework and the Java-like C#. I haven't seen any numbers lately on who's winning, but I would guess it is a even race. But I do know one thing, for sure. Not many still believe in the initial Java hype: "Write Once, Run Anywhere". Java wasn't the magic silver bullet simply because nothing can be. I would say that Microsoft has dealt with Java competition successfully and is likely to do so in the future. Microsoft's strategy has been successful because it has appealed to engineers and IT professionals.It looks like the deal is different in the mobile devices market for two reasons: brand and marketing. Most non-Microsoft smart phones have the ability to run Java games and applications. From a technical perspective, "Write Once, Run Anywhere" still is just a hype since one Java implementation on one phone is different from the other. But the story is quite different from a brand and marketing perspective.The last few weeks I have noticed in a change of how advanced mobile phones are marketed and sold. Many retail stores and carriers market phones as "Java phones", list Java as a key feature, and even runs <a href="http://mydof.teliamobile.se/shopdisplay/2000/00/00/08/a3/web3060.html?c4portal=mydof&c4host=http://mydof.teliamobile.se">web sites for Java games downloads</a>. The consumer is slowly but surely being educated about Java and that Java is an important mobile phone feature. Carriers realize that mobile phone games can drive revenue through generating traffic, license sales, device sales and so on. Since consumers and carriers marketeting staff are not engineers or IT professionals, Java lends itself to an easy marketing win. Apart from being supported by giants Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and so on, Java is easy to say, pronounce, recognize, and understand. Major consumer bonus points.What does Microsoft have that deals with Java in mobile phones? Well, technically Microsoft is at least as good with its .NET Compact Framework. But honestly, who believes ".NET Compact Framework Games" is easier to brand and market than "Java Games"? Before evangelizing to carrier market staff and consumers, Microsoft needs to come up with a real brand name. Ideally both for the Java-competing technology and the actual devices. What about telling consumers that "this phone is a Windows Phone running Windows Phone Games"?Meanwhile, I think Microsoft should look back at its history. If you can't beat them, join them. Embrace and extend. License Java and then, if Windows Phone Games works better, drop it. The reason why this won't happen is because of priorities. I believe, it would benefit the Microsoft Mobile Device Division if they could put Java into their phones. But what is more important to Microsoft: platforms or devices? Take a look at last financial statement and learn that device license revenue is almost non-existent compared with revenues from platforms. Including a competing platform into its devices would send the wrong signal to the rest of the market and business.I believe Microsoft needs to either license Java, work out a new and clever brand for its own product or buy every ad place available to say: ".NET Compact Framework Is Better" and pray it works.

David McNamee
08-01-2003, 04:25 PM
Microsoft has already tried to embrace and extend Java, and it landed them in court. IMHO, Microsoft won't license Java for mobile devices for two reasons. First, Microsoft's main competition in the developer space is Java. They're not going to give Sun money to allow Java easy access to Microsoft's number one customer group. Secondly, I don't think Sun would permit Java to be licensed by Microsoft. One, they just do not like Microsoft; two, They don't want to help anyone overshadow the Java brand. At least until they can figure out what to actually do with it, that is.

The branding competition in this space is Windows plus .NET versus Java. At retail, Windows will be a stronger selling point than .NET. We now have Windows Mobile for Pocket PC 2003. I suspect that we'll soon have Windows Mobile for Smartphone 2003. The emphasis on Windows is very important. I believe that Windows is a much stronger overall consumer brand than Java and will influence the large number of people who will be introduced to the smartphone market in the coming months. It leads to a retail scenario where people are choosing either a "Java phone," or a "Windows phone." They then purchase Java games or Windows games for their phone.

The .NET brand should be emphasized along with the Windows brand in the corporate account space. This is where pushing the .NET Compact Framework is important. It shifts Windows Mobile device development from being a specialized skill to being something any .NET developer can accomplish. It puts the .NET story on par with the Java story as far as where a developer's skillset can be applied - server, web, desktop, mobile device.

The branding competition is going to be long term. Near term, the OEM's should provide a Java runtime for their phones. This would entice people who are reluctant to switch from their Symbian-based devices simply because of the games they play. Long term, it's the age-old story of building a brand - create recognition and an enthusiastic, loyal customer base. Retail advertising will play a role in that. It would also be helpful for Microsoft to have people in each of its districts who are focused on growing device adoption on the retail and IT Pro sides, and .NET Compact Framework adoption on the developer side. I don't know if that's happening right now.

Andy Sjostrom
08-01-2003, 04:46 PM
David, I agree with what you are saying. I understand all too well why Microsoft won't license Java and why Sun wouldn't license to Microsoft.

That said, the problem is that "Windows Mobile for Smartphone 2003" simply won't work in marketing. It's too long, too technical and it is only valid for like one year. "Windows Phone" works just as "Java Phone" works. If Microsoft and partners can stick to simplicity in marketing, then it will be a very different deal.

What I am trying to say: either first join then beat or get the marketing act together!

08-01-2003, 05:44 PM
What I am trying to say: either first join then beat or get the marketing act together!

There's a third way; Innovate and make a better product than the competition.

But it's good to read the opening post to this topic. It's what I've been trying to say for ages.

Andy Sjostrom
08-01-2003, 05:50 PM
There's a third way; Innovate and make a better product than the competition.

That is not enough. That is what IBM did with OS/2 vs Windows 3.0. Windows 3.0 was marketed much better while IBM continued to talk about "threading" and other techie details that only developers knew anything about.

Innovate and make a better product than the competition (=.NET Compact Framework) then market the product so that people know about it.

David McNamee
08-01-2003, 06:09 PM
That said, the problem is that "Windows Mobile for Smartphone 2003" simply won't work in marketing. It's too long, too technical and it is only valid for like one year.

You're absolutely correct. Look at the PDA market where I still hear Pocket PC devices referred to as "Palm Pilots." The name is important
I like the term "Windows Phone." If my mom walked into an AT&T retail store and asked, "what's this Windows phone?" the salesperson would tell her, "it's a phone that runs a special version of Microsoft Windows." Mom would understand that. Now in the sales channel, it's really the HTC "Whatever" running Windows Mobile for Smartphone 2003. That's fine. In the developer community it's Windows Mobile for Smartphone with the .NET Compact Framework v1.x in ROM. That's fine, too. But at the retail point-of-contact, it can't be any more complex than, "this phone runs Windows." Anything more than that, and mom walks away.

I agree with you that Microsoft needs to focus on the Smartphone marketing. They've already got the branding - it's Windows. I think the Windows message is cluttered right now.

David McNamee
08-01-2003, 06:25 PM
There's a third way; Innovate and make a better product than the competition.

Technical innovation without strong marketing will only make for a good case study at Harvard Business School on why good ideas can fail in the open market.

I know that marketing is considered to be a tool of the devil by many of us in the trenches of the IT community. The truth of the matter is, that good marketers can make good things happen. I think that's a big part of what Andy is getting us to wrestle with in this thread. The people active on this site want Windows Smartphones (a good thing) to succeed. What are the marketing challenges that have to be overcome in order for that to happen? Andy hit a big one - the growing brand recognition that Java has in the mobile phone market. The discussion of putting Java on the Windows Smartphone isn't a techinical one. Rather, it is all about marketing. Can the Smartphone have initial market success without Java?

08-01-2003, 07:53 PM
It's all very well saying that everything except the marketing is in place for the Microsoft smartphone brand to succeeed. But it's not, and giving it a catchy name is just a shallow and superficial solution to a deep seated problem.

I'll give you an example; I was at a BBQ last week and some people there were really impressed when they saw a Laurel & Hardy movie running on my SPV (it's the phone I'm using at the moment). They asked questions about it and had a shot at using it..... and that is when they realised that the phone was not for them. It was too complicated and they soon got confused.

It even crashed when a call came in because the phone was too stressed and I missed the call.

A friend of mine with a 3650 has movies loaded into his RealPlayer and when he shows that off to people, they're just as impressed as they are with mine. They don't ask questions about .ram, .mpeg and .wmv, such things mean nothing to them. As far as they understand and care, "it plays movies". A call came in and the phone behaved fine. But what really bought them into it was that when they had a shot at using my friend's 3650, they instantly felt at home with it. It has the usability of a Palm device and the multitasking capability that has been on Epoc/Symbian devices for decades.

So Microsoft can throw all the Java, .NET and 3D Hologram Displays into the platform, but it's not stable and usable enough. Geeks don't care about crashes because we can live with them, but normal people do care and don't want to have to wait five seconds or reboot the phone before they can make phonecall.

So before getting all the marketing out to brag about the product, Microsoft must, must, must sort out the user's experience and make the phone easier to use and more reliable in the. They did it with Windows on the desktop, so why not their smartphone?

I can't recommend a Microsoft phone to friends. It has to be Symbian each time. Sure, I love to listen to music and sermons (I strongly recommend http://www.twft.com) and watch Laurel and Hardy on my SPV, but my mates want a nice phone that can make calls, is easy to use and not crash. I may recommend a Microsoft phone for the office and the IT support we do, but nowhere else.

Microsoft needs to start thinking 'people' and not 'users'.

David McNamee
08-01-2003, 08:48 PM
It's all very well saying that everything except the marketing is in place for the Microsoft smartphone brand to succeeed.
I can't speak for Andy, but that is not what I inferred from his posts and certainly not what I am trying to say. If my writing conveys that idea, then I apologize. I frequent the public newsgroups, so I know that there are issues with the SPV. I also know from having a Compal glued to my side for the last few months that there are problems with it. There are software issues that I fully expect to be addressed in the next release of the OS. Even with updated software, however, an insufficient marketing effort will relegate the Smartphone to a niche item that never reaches mass market appeal.
It was too complicated and they soon got confused.
So before getting all the marketing out to brag about the product, Microsoft must, must, must sort out the user's experience and make the phone easier to use and more reliable
I'm always curious about how other people view the software experience. What confused the people you let use the phone? What are you finding that makes the phone difficult to use? Okay, obviously the crashes :wink: Besides that, though. Are you seeing people struggling to place a call? Start Media Player or Instant Messenger? Is menu navigation too hard? I'm a developer, so I know I can be a bit forgiving of certain things without really thinking about it. Sometimes I really need to hear someone else's view on something like this.

08-02-2003, 01:38 AM
I don't think Symbian/Java versus Windows Mobile/.Net Compact Framework is a real issue.The average consumer doesn't know the difference and doesn't care.A "Windows Phone" doesn't mean anything to them, but neither does a "Java Phone."

They simply want to know what cool features a new phone has.Does it play games, mp3's, take pictures, etc?(They don't care about the underlying technology, whether it's Java or BREW or .NET, Windows or Symbian, GSM or CDMA).

Besides features, consumers care about how easy or intuitive a phone is to use.Most people I know, if they can't pick up a phone and figure out how to use it in a few minutes, will put it right back down.

If Microsoft wants to create an added value for the WindowsMobile label, it should be concentrating upon the vertical integration of the Windows OS.A Windows Mobile phone should be able to interact with my PocketPC and my desktop in ways that another "smartphone" cannot.(This will also bring extra value to those other Windows channels as well.)

Implement an easy to use Bluetooth sync-up between Windows Mobile and Windows XP.(For the power users, give us the ability to control our PC's via our smartphone over GPRS)How about using the mobile phone as a local wireless handset for doing voice-over-IP on your PC over your broadband connection?

Don't worry about marketing or branding or "getting the message out", until you have something really worth getting excited about!If a "Windows Phone" is just another smartphone, who cares what it's called?

Should Microsoft put Java on their Windows Mobile smartphone?


They have nothing to lose.Adding Java to a Windows Mobile smartphone is not going to have any effect on Java's penetration of the small device market.But not having it will exclude the majority of small device applications and developers.By including Java, Microsoft will be able to say to developers, manufacturers, and service providers, our phone will run all those same Java programs AND you can also run .NET CF programs that can interface with your desktop and server environments as well.That's something that a Symbian or PalmOS smartphone can't claim now or in the future.

And it's those developers, manufacturers, and service providers who are going to create the applications and features that appeal to the consumers.

Andy Sjostrom
08-02-2003, 09:12 AM
Hooked! Thanks for your jumping in!
I agree with what you are saying except for the part:

"The average consumer doesn't know the difference and doesn't care. A "Windows Phone" doesn't mean anything to them, but neither does a "Java Phone.""

The average consumer in Sweden is starting to care as ads and retail store staff talks "Java".

08-04-2003, 04:51 PM
In smartphone usage, Europe and Asia are far ahead of us here in the US.

So, you guys have a better view of what's going on and where things are heading.The ads here are just recently mentioning built-in cameras and games, no "Java phones" labeling yet.

In the US, people are still focused on phone size, connection quality, and calling-plan value.SMS is still fairly rare.I recently bought a Nokia 3650 and it is pretty much the first smartphone that most people I run into have seen.

Also, CDMA is still much more widely available here than GSM, and the CDMA phones seem to be lagging in features compared to the GSM phones.

If Microsoft got on the ball and released a series of good CDMA phones, they could achieve market penetration in the US more easily than in Europe.&nbspOver here, they could be most people's first smartphone.

Assuming of course, Microsoft sticks to a single platform name (preferrably that has four syllables or less).