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Before reading: do not think I am biased on this. I owned two Windows Mobile devices and the reason for the 2nd one was because I loved the first. I respect Mac’s for the media and arts and PCs for the general user. The purpose of this post is to identify Microsoft’s future in mobile devices subjectively through facts.

Microsoft, up until a few years ago, developed some pretty innovative mobile devices that enabled a lot of businesses to expand with the Windows Mobile (WM) OS. As it is still widely used today in retail, logistics, and service industries, it has struggled with keeping its market share on the consumer market.

The WM platform has hit a few major road blocks that I will try to explain and predict Microsoft’s future with mobile devices. First off, the introduction of Android. This has been a detrimental part in Microsoft’s market because in many cases, Android appeals to a wide variety of demographics. According to The Nielsen Company, a major research firm, not only did Android surpass WM in market share, but they have lost touch with the younger demographics. Additionally, they are 4th in market share compared to Blackberry, Android and Apple.

It does not help either that they had a major product failure with the Windows Kin phones that were exclusive to Verizon Wireless. They were going to launch into Europe but cancelled due to the lack of product adoption. However, I do have to hand it to them by bringing an innovative phone that syncs everything on cloud but the product just wasn’t marketed enough nor liked by the market. Wired.com gives their opinion in four reasons why the Kin failed and two are worth noting:

  • Expensive for what you are getting
  • No games – No apps

Being a  built for social networking, it is nearly essentially to have games/apps. Overall feel it was a impulse attempt to hold the younger markets. They just lacked the research or “forgot.”

So now that the Kin is dead and the Windows 7 phones just launching, you really have to wonder: did they know Kin was going to fail and was Windows 7 for mobile devices in research before/during the research of the Kin? They do have a history about this as well. For instance, Vista and Windows 7 for PCs. Right when Vista released, there were already rumours of Windows 7 development.

I want to sum up Microsoft’s control over product releases in a fun analogy:

At first you think your product won’t sell, keep building it any ways and build another better one, just in case.

With the release of the Windows 7 phones, I really do feel Microsoft will struggle. Yes, Windows 7 for mobile devices are new, innovative and somewhat appealing – it does not make them good. However, for many consumers, it just may not appeal to them. Maybe Microsoft is changing their position in the marketplace purposely. Or they just stopped believing in their company.

It’s not what you do, it’s why you do it!

It also does not help that their CEO, Steve Ballmer, dumped almost $2 billion in Microsoft stock, according to Business Week. He does say it was for personal finance in a public statement, but you be the judge: to me, the quote that Business Week took from Ballmer’s statement sounds generic and sugar coated.

(EDIT)

The main reason why I think Microsoft will struggle, is they shot themselves in the foot before the release of Windows 7 for mobile devices. They have a declining market share and a bad reputation. Both of which are difficult to fix. Maybe their new release will recover their territory, but they will struggle doing it. That is a fact because after consumers sawhow bad Microsoft did with the Kin, it gave consumers a bad impression. So why should they buy the Windows 7? Microsoft will have to overcome this slump by creating a desirable product. But as stated above. Having an amazing product does not make everything OK again.

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