Although Microsoft has been largely absent from the mobile scene in the past couple years, and Windows Phone 7 launched with relative success, Microsoft is still a very minor player in a smartphone industry dominated by Android and iOS. RIM is up there as well with Blackberry…for now. But, RIM is on its deathbed and may not exist at this time next year.
Many analysts have predicted that Microsoft will be a strong competitor in the years to come–projecting Microsoft to be number two behind Android, and with greater market share than Apple’s iOS. It seems like Windows Phone 7 was the beta run to work out the kinks and hold Microsoft’s place in line, and WIndows Phone 7.5 is the real deal.
Only time will tell.]]>
The patent war is a win-win for Microsoft. As a result of patent licensing agreements already in place, Microsoft made an estimated $150 million from Android devices–five times the profit generated from its own Windows Phone 7 platform. Microsoft’s proposed licensing agreement with Samsung could net another $285 million. Essentially, Microsoft benefits significantly from the success and popularity of Android.
Of course, part of that success and popularity is driven by the fact that Android is an open source mobile OS that manufacturers don’t have to pay licensing fees for. If the patent licensing agreements eclipse the cost of licensing Windows Phone 7, Android may not be as appealing, and vendors may turn to using Windows Phone 7.
While that makes sense as a win-win for Microsoft, it also seems like extortion on some level–like Microsoft will punish vendors for using Android to drive them to embrace Windows Phone 7. Smells like the making of an antitrust suit of some sort.]]>
For the past week there have been rumors that a Skype purchase was imminent, but all of the speculation revolved around Facebook and Google as the new custodian of the VoIP calling and online communications icon. Microsoft swooped out of nowhere to announce that it has agreed to purchase Skype for $8.5 billion in cash–the largest purchase in the history of Microsoft.
It will be interesting to see what Microsoft does with Skype and how it integrates Skype services with other Microsoft products. The Microsoft press release mentions tie-ins with Xbox and Kinect, as well as integration with Lync and Outlook. There are many innovative ways that Skype can add value and enable better real-time communications for Microsoft products.
Of course, I’m sure Microsoft is glad that it was not the steward of Skype the past couple months when it was discovered that Skype for Android exposes personal data on the smartphone platform, or the revelation that Skype for Mac leaves Mac OS X systems open to dangerous compromise. Those types of events would not be good for Microsoft’s reputation, and hopefully the first thing Microsoft will do with Skype is tighten the development process and implement better security practices to ensure those things don’t happen on its watch.
For more details, read the Microsoft press release: Microsoft to Acquire Skype]]>
Micro-Star International, more commonly known as MSI, has three tablets coming soon, two of which will run Windows 7. All of the tablets are 10.1 inch models, but the difference between the two Windows 7 tablets will be under the hood. One will run an Intel CPU, and the second will be a more economical model built on an AMD processor.
An article from PCWorld quotes MSI marketing manager Luc Liao. “If you like the Mac OS, you’d choose the iPad, but if you prefer Windows 7 or Android, you’d choose ours. Business people who use Windows already will find that these tablets work with what they’ve done before.”
Personally, I still think that the tablet is not a PC and that vendors would have more success building tablets around a mobile OS like Windows Phone 7 rather than the Windows 7 desktop OS. But, what do you think?]]>
Although Microsoft has been falling behind smartphone platforms like iPhone and Android, and steadily losing market share, it still has a solid chunk of the smartphone market, and an audience of companies and business professionals that rely on Microsoft operating systems and applications and are anxiously anticipating the reincarnated mobile platform from Microsoft to provide the sort of seamless integration only it can provide.
Windows Phone 7 smartphones are not expected to be available until the fourth quarter of 2010–in time for the holiday shopping season. But, the reviews thus far based on what analysts and journalists were able to ascertain at the Mobile World Conference seem quite positive. Suggestions that Microsoft should just give up on its mobile platform, and rumors of its impending death seem premature, or exaggerated at best, at this point.
Essentially, Windows Phone 7 is not simply an incremental update to the waning Windows Mobile platform–Microsoft threw out the blueprint and started over to create a mobile operating system that matches style and functionality to go head to head with the iPhone and Android smartphones to reclaim market share and maybe even claw its way to the top of the smartphone heap.]]>