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Old 05-04-2007, 04:10 PM
Kris Kumar
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Default GigaOM: Hey Microsoft, Forget MIX, Focus on Mobiles

"It is hardly a surprise that the more en vogue and exotic MIX �07 is overshadowing a strategically more important event hosted by Microsoft - the 2007 Mobile and Embedded Devices Conference also being held in Las Vegas. Given that mobiles are supposedly the platform for the next billion - aka a market Microsoft has to play in - it is a surprise that Microsoft and its vast press corps failed to send us a single alert about this conference, and instead chose to spend all their attention (and some serious dollars) on MIX 07. Such apathy is contrary to the progress Microsoft has made with Windows Mobile, which is one of the two future platforms of growth for the company. (Xbox is the other.) ... While it is unlikely that I would switch to Windows Mobile anytime soon, I have seen how some friends of mine like the platform. In fast growing mobile societies like India and China, Windows Mobile devices are popular despite their high price tag. Many use Windows Mobile (and other phones) for what we view as computing tasks in the US. It is their computer. Microsoft has to work hard with device makers to bring the prices down to $100-a-pop range, and see its market share zoom. Microsoft�s relevance (and more importantly future profits) in these new mobile societies are going to come from mobiles, not PCs."

Om Malik has written a thought provoking article, which I am sure our readers will agree with. While Windows Mobile based smartphones have come a long way, it is still not a household name. My Dash is always mistaken for a BlackBerry! My Dash can play videos, it is a phone and it can surf the Net. It can do much more than that, and it is available in stores now. Yet, I don't hear about thousands of people saving their hard-earned money for one. In a market that is crowded with phones, it is tough to make an impact. And Microsoft has made a lot of progress in this tough market. Microsoft has painstakingly (we have also shared it) improved the software over the years, and has worked with its partners to improve the form-factor. While it is good to see Microsoft involved in improving the technology aspect, it is sad to see it sit quiet and not publicize their next bread-winner. Intel became a household name after its famous "Intel Inside" campaign, prior to the campaign the consumers never cared about the processor brand in their PCs. Similarly Windows Mobile is being used by phone manufacturers to deliver awesome handsets, yet no one has heard about it. How come Microsoft is not running its own advertisements? Why is it relying on the carriers and manufacturers to put out the advertisements? Which by the way end up promoting everything except Windows Mobile. So Microsoft, get mobile and focus on mobiles!
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