|By Udayan Banerjee||
|May 3, 2012 11:30 AM EDT||
Please hold your skepticism, keep an open mind, go through the following points and only then pass a judgment on my prediction that “three years down Windows Phone would have overtaken Android”
[Update August-2012: The 12th reason (Apple awarded 1 billion US$ but Microsoft wins)!]
[Update June-2012: 3 Thing Microsoft Achieved Through The Launch Of The Surface Tablet]
(1) “Mango” has received very positive response
Just go through the following comments.
“… I say this with all seriousness and some incredulity: Apple, watch your back. Microsoft may have finally figured it out. The battle for the mobile market just got interesting again…” – Robert X. Cringely
“…With Mango, WP7 has caught up with Android and iOS in nearly every way, and in some areas it’s even surpassed the other two in functionality …” – Brad Molen
“…Windows Phone 7.5 is supremely usable, surprisingly powerful and delivers the experience Microsoft has been promising, with only a few rough edges left…” – techradar.com
“…Windows Phone is, in my opinion, the second-best OS out there, after iOS. It’s more cohesive, reliable, pretty, and fast than Android…I have no hesitation in recommending it…” – Dan Nosowitz
“…Android doesn’t look as shiny and as for Apple, since our play, we certainly notice a lot more “Windows Phone 7 features” in the latest iOS 5 Beta builds…” – Stuart Miles
If you don’t believe me then just do your own searching – I am sure you will find comments very similar to these.
(2) Metro UI is innovative and usable
The UI is different but very well designed for mobile and tablet. The same view is expressed by most experts and most owners of “Mango” phone.
“…keep an open mind and you just might be pleasantly surprised by Microsoft’s elegant, daring, and simple take on smartphones…” – Jessica Dolcourt
(3) Microsoft usability design is backed by strong research
I have discussed this elsewhere – Microsoft’s Second UI Innovation.
If you have doubt then just go through the presentation on How Ribbon Interface was created.
(4) Unlike Android UI, Metro UI has nothing in common with iOS
Google and Android handset manufacturers are fighting legal battles with Apple in so many different countries. These battles are prompted by similarity in the design and user interface.
“Mango” is different. If fact Microsoft has already secured a patent for the metro UI – Microsoft patents Metro UI. On the other hand Android is fighting so many patent and IP violation suits.
(5) It is a question of survival for Nokia
Even though Nokia has been steadily losing market share it still enjoys more than 20% market share of the number of mobile handsets shipped (see IDC report). RIM is also in a similar situation, but unlike RIM, Nokia has something decent to fight back with.
They have put all their eggs in the Windows Phone basket and they are not going to give in without a fight, especially in the non-US markets.
(6) Microsoft has patent agreement with handset manufacturer which lowers the barrier for switch
Microsoft has patent deals with HTC, Samsung and many other Android handset manufacturers and receives US$ 5 upwards for every handset sold. See this – Microsoft Getting Royalties From Over Half Of All US Android Phone Sales.
So, Android is not exactly free.
(7) Most users would have changed their handset in three years
One of the concerns expressed by many analysts is that Microsoft is late in the game and the mobile market is already crowded. However, history has taught us that the mobile landscape changes every 3 years. One of the top 3 players drop out to be replaced a newcomer. You also get a new leader.
Therefore, three years down the line the field is wide open.
(8) Windows 8, which has Metro UI, would have enough presence in desktop & laptop
In spite of all the prediction about the end of the PC era, you will almost surely be using a PC for many more years. You will also, periodically, continue to upgrade your PC and Laptop. Majority of those upgrades will result in your getting a Windows 8 machine.
As a result, three years down the line most of us would get reasonably familiar with Metro UI.
(9) Windows App store, by then, would have many more applications
By having the same programming model for desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile, Microsoft has ensured that app developers will always find a wider market for their applications. They are also offering developers a larger piece of the pie.
Microsoft fleshed out details for its Windows Store, announcing to developers that the Windows 8 app store will become available with the Windows 8 beta in late February 2012. (See this)
(10) Microsoft has an uncanny knack of persisting with, perfecting a product and become one of the market leaders
We have seen this happen time and again with so many different categories of products. The list is long – Word Processor (Word), Spreadsheet (Excel), Database (MS-SQL), Search Engine (Bing), O/S for handheld device (Windows CE), Enterprise web application platform (SharePoint), Enterprise mail server (Outlook), Development platform (.Net), Developer Studio (VSTS), Gaming Console (Kinect), Browser (IE), ERP (Dynamics) … (See this for more detail).
So, why can’t they pull it off again?
(11) Windows Phone is much more strategic to Microsoft than Android is to Google
Microsoft is primarily an O/S company and Google is a search company. If Google loses the mobile O/S war it is just another loss. It is not going to threaten the existence of the company. However, the same loss for Microsoft may threaten their very existence.
You don’t expect Microsoft to give in without a very very strong fight … especially when they have hit upon an innovative product with lots of promise.
Also, there is no Steve Jobs around who can completely change the game.
Here are 3 more reasons from Galen Gruman:
- No strong commitment to Android from Google
- No strong commitment to Android from device makers
- A likely loss in the Oracle lawsuit over Android's Java base
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