Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Microsoft Needs To Say "Enough!"

Microsoft Needs To Say "Enough!"  No more screwing around.

It's time for Redmond to start changing rules and find another way to become relevant in the mobile sphere.  If you spend any amount of time on the Internet going through tech and gadget blogs, virtually everything you've read about is Android, Apple, Google, more Android, and iPhone.

I've read a few Windows Mobile mentions but mostly about how irrelevant WM has become in light of the surge of iPhone and the Android platform.

That's not to say that RIM should be fine with it.  Two main topics regarding the No. 1 smartphone maker in North America did not put the Canadian company in a positive light.   One was about how Storm 2 has failed even before it is out as Verizon Wireless concentrated on the Droid launch with Motorola.  And what's the other one?  Oh, it's just that the Apple is within striking distance of overtaking RIM as the number one device maker in the US.  Both negative and competing platforms still manage to get attention in the posts.

But back to Microsoft.  What's Redmond to do?  I don't have a solution but I do know that this cannot continue or else, desktop or office suite dominance, it will not matter in a few years as more folks rely on their mobile devices to conduct their personal and business affairs and continue the march away from desktops, laptops, and even netbooks.  (Chrome OS will likely gain a lot of attention in the netback segment even as Microsoft is trying to get folks to upgrade to Windows 7).

One example to look at is what Palm has done with Pre. While Palm came out with a good competitor to just about anything that was on the market.  But it lacked many things that others on the market had like its own music and app store.  At least at the time when it debuted in June, the app store was virtually nonexistent.

For Microsoft, Zune HD was a move in the right direction but it was mere a piece of a complicated puzzle.  With Danger, Zune, and the forthcoming WM 7 in the right mix, it can be a force to be reckon with in the mobile landscape.

However, Microsoft cannot afford to simply copy of what Apple has done with the iPhone ecosystem.  The fact that Apple can create a walled garden is uniquely an Apple experience.  Microsoft will likely be looking to partners to help flesh out the hardware as it offers the software (including games) portion.

I think this debate has not be settled and continues at Microsoft.  Can they continue to rely on partners or go at it alone, at least, in the initial part of their roadmap to reclaim relevancy in the mobile market?  It has demonstrated that it can make a first rate mobile device with Zune HD.  So don't be surprise when Zune HD continue to evolve with more functions and software.

And don't be surprised if Zune component of the mobile strategy gains a more robust gaming ability.  With the Tegra chip power the ZHD, it is a powerful system that so far is largely under utilized.

At the end of the day, Microsoft needs to provide an unique experience only Microsoft can provide.  It has an arsenal of impressive technologies and a very deep pocket.  But the window of opportunity is closing and it better hit it out of the park with when Windows Mobile 7  is launched.

WM 7 has been delayed more than a year.  I am hoping it was a year well spent.  I simply sensed that the old thinking about mobility at Microsoft has to be thrown out and something new be reborn.  Maybe Microsoft needs to let something go or break any mold they've been using so that something new can be reborn.  

Note:  Something new at Microsoft.'s my honest opinion about Steve Balmer.  Get rid of him.  He's no good for Microsoft and as a shareholder, I cringed every time he speak and then proven wrong weeks or months later about competitors or prospectives of Microsoft's own product.  Dude has got to go.  He's still living in the Windows 95 era.  

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