James Rosewell writes:
Whilst the mainstream press were busy covering the marketing launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 or Windows Phone as it’ll now be known, I spent some time with the geeks looking under the hood at Microsoft’s new desktop (Windows 7) and server (Server 2008 R2) operating systems. The event was packed full of IT professionals whose jobs and careers are heavily involved with Microsoft. They were there to learn about the latest products ready for deploying them within their organisations. These are the people that keep e-mail systems working, decide what applications you’ll be using at work, choose the technology that companies use on the web and increasingly steer corporate mobile strategy.
So what mobile phones were these people using? Apart from the Microsoft employees, the people I spoke to and observed during the day were iPhone users. Microsoft by their own confession have a strong relationship with developers and the techies that decide on and deploy their products. A lot of these people have loyally defended Microsoft against Apple and Unix alternatives in the desktop and server markets for decades. If these people aren’t persuaded to give up their iPhones, Androids and Nokias and move to Windows Phone, Microsoft will struggle to establish a more significant share of the Smartphone market.
If Windows Phone - and its successor, Windows Mobile 7, due in 2010 - aren’t seriously impressive and capture this niche, Microsoft’s mobile strategy faces a serious setback. A lot will depend on the reliability of the mobile, the ease of use and of course the obligatory Windows Marketplace application store and the developers who’ll be needed to create compelling content for it.