There is no arguing that the KINâ€™s untimely demise has been hugely damaging to Microsoftâ€™s image, with this now translating into a variety of prominent bloggers calling time on the not-yet launched Windows Phone 7 OS also.
Characters ranging from Dvorak on Marketwatch, who says ironically Microsoft is stuck in the Folders/Desktop metaphor (has he seen iOS 4 with icons, desktop wallpaper and now folders?) to Betanewsâ€™s Joe Wilcox, who basically claims iPhone and Android are locked in already, and Microsoft can not move fast enough to compete, to InformationWeekâ€™s Paul McDougalls, who basically sees Windows Phone 7 as just a more grown up KIN, and therefore doomed to fail also have now all counted Windows Phone 7 out. There is a number of reasons why they are wrong.
1) Commitment by Microsoft
Windows Phone 7 is really the first time Microsoft has become serious about mobile. Long time users of Windows Mobile will know the OS has always been under-resourced, in terms of development effort and also promotion. We know that this is set for a huge change with Windows Phone 7, with a massive ad campaign and a 1000 strong development team, and Microsoftâ€™s share price depending on its success. Ask Netscape and Sony what happens when Microsoft gets serious about a market segment.
2) A full featured product
Related to point 1, Windows Phone 7 is really the first operating system which delivers everything a consumer needs â€“ Music and Video with a store, Email, Docs, Social Networking and Gaming, in an OS designed to be problem free (no configuration, no multi-tasking, easy updates). This alone means we can not measure the expected performance for Windows Phone 7 from what Windows Mobile and the KIN did.
3) Hardware partners
Microsoft is not in it alone, meaning any company who actually chooses to make a Windows phone 7 handset has as much interest in the success of the handsets carrying the OS as Microsoft. That means the innovation of handset vendors will contribute as significantly in the success of the handsets.
4) Plenty of space in the mobile market
The people who claim market lock-in has already happened will usually have difficulty explaining why Nokia and RIM are in trouble, and the success of Android and the iPhone. One really cant have it both ways â€“ either its easy to enter the market, or its so hard that no-one can success against incumbents, who are in reality Nokia and RIM. The fact is that it has proven remarkably easy for determined challengers to enter the market, and the market has in fact moved increasingly to open standards, with even Apple now supporting Bluetooth keyboards and DRM free music.
Now that does not mean we think Microsoft will sell a million on launch day â€“ they will have to fight for their market share just like everyone else, and this may be construed by the blogosphere as a failure, but I believe Microsoft does have a competitive product in Windows Phone 7 with the full weight of the company behind it.
Mobile is not a space Microsoft will be abandoning any time soon, no matter what the pundits say.
Do our readers agree? Let us know below.