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Posted by Charles Golvin on February 15, 2010
Today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Microsoft unveiled the next version of its mobile phone software, Windows Phone 7 Series. The name alone is noteworthy because:
The payoff Microsoft's earned for its persistence has largely come from the enterprise market, where the software's primary appeal is its ability to work relatively smoothly with Exchange, Office, and other widely adopted Microsoft software (though competitors like RIM and, increasingly, Apple have proven adept at providing integration on par or superior to what Microsoft-powered devices offer). Their efforts in the consumer market have not paid off, which is the primary reason they purchased Danger, who designed the Sidekick devices and the attendant service software.
The primary goal of Windows Mobile 7 is clearly to address Microsoft's shortcomings in the consumer mobile market. All plaudits for their persistence aside, in my view this is their final chance to get it right (in fairness I think the window is closing rapidly on the Symbian platform too) as 2010 will be Android's year while RIM and Apple maintain their growth. The early view of Windows Mobile 7 is promising, notably:
However, these features won't matter if Microsoft doesn't get its branding in line. Our data show that consumers today haven't a clue about their phone's operating system. Consider the following responses of those who say they have a Windows Mobile phone:
Finally, the brand mark of Microsoft's most widely recognized brand - Windows - is not present at a single operator Web site alongside a phone that uses the software. Windows Phone 7 won't succeed if that remains the case.
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