The launch of Windows Phone 7 seems to be a relative success. It certainly didn’t flop like the Kin social media phone Microsoft put out last year, and it has received a fair amount of critical acclaim in reviews for having an innovative approach to bring to market rather than just another iOS “me too” platform.
That said, the smartphone market is dominated by three players–Google Android, RIM BlackBerry, and Apple iOS, and Microsoft is swimming upstream to try and regain some of the market share it has lost as WIndows Mobile waned. What Microsoft needed was a smartphone manufacturer with the industry respect and production capacity to drive more significant sales.
Then, along came Nokia. A Nokia that has found itself floundering in the smartphone arena and looking for a winner as well. A Nokia now led by former Microsoft executive Steven Elop. A Nokia that could be “swayed” to embrace Windows Phone 7 for the right amount of cash–say $1 billion.
It remains to be seen whether the partnership will result in any success for either Microsoft or Nokia, but at least now Nokia has a fresh OS to focus on, and Microsoft has some production scale that might eventually enable it to compete on more even footing with the big boys. I don’t expect WIndows Phone 7 to dominate these rivals, but if Microsoft engineers and markets it right, there is no reason it can’t be a four-way race.