Microsoft’s Detailed Plan to Rule the Mobile World with Nokia, RIM, and Skype
If anyone can make a comeback in the mobile industry, it's the software giant, Microsoft. That is all very nice in theory, but the question remains, can the world's largest software company ever come back from the Windows Mobile operating system and leave a real mark on this space? The answer, we believe, is yes, and Microsoft is making all the right moves.
Let's rewind a few years back. Microsoft has a complete monopoly on various industries such as computer's operating systems (Windows), word processing software (Office), and many more. However, when it comes to mobile, Microsoft, despite its nice size Windows Mobile community, has pretty much always been the underdog. In addition, even before iOS and Android, Windows Mobile was a mess.
However, Microsoft did not give up and despite the challenges in completely revamping an operating system, especially with the corporate culture of such a huge corporation, they did it, and did it well. The new Windows Phone 7 (they can work a little on the name) is by all standards a fresh and attractive mobile operating system.
Without going into too many details, if you have played around with a Windows Phone 7, you were most likely impressed by the tile UI and the ability to access almost all your information on the home screen. Of course, the fact that Microsoft partnered with leading hardware manufacturers who created superior devices for the new Microsoft OS helps as well. OK, so Windows Phone 7 is the foundation Microsoft will build its strategy upon, and if the company plays its cards right, the strategy will lead to mobile dominance...
Moving along, a nice OS is a great thing and definitely something needed in today's mobile arena, but what about distribution and hardware? Well, Microsoft has done the impossible, and if I had told you a few years back that Nokia phones would come with a version of a Windows OS, you probably, no scratch that, definitely would have laughed at me. But Microsoft pulled it off and Nokia will be offering all its high end smartphone devices with the new Windows Phone 7 OS. How is that for distribution? With this move, Microsoft killed two birds with one Finnish stone. The new OS will not only be installed on millions of devices worldwide, but it will also gain the expertise in hardware manufacturing that Nokia is so famous for. Nice play, Microsoft!
If you ask me, the new Windows Phone 7 OS combined with the strengths of Nokia would have been enough to bring Microsoft to the major leagues, but the company did not stop there.
What came next was a surprise to all. Last week's BlackBerry World event was full of surprises but when the Microsoft CEO all of a sudden appeared on the RIM stage, the Twitter stream went nuts. What was he doing there? Was Microsoft about to expand its portfolio and buy RIM? Not so fast. Ballmer was there to announce that all BlackBerry devices would from here on in, come with Bing Search and Maps as the default providers. Talk about Microsoft spreading its wings.
So now we have a new and impressive OS, a partnership with the world's leading mobile phone manufacturer as well as a new and exciting joined initiative with the company behind theÂ wildlyÂ popular BlackBerry brand.
Sounds like a lot of hardware to me, what about apps and software? I mean, let's be honest here, no one cares about hardware anymore, otherwise we would be using Motorola RAZRs and not 4 inch devices with almost no design element. The name of the game today is software, apps, and more apps.
Well putting aside the tremendous efforts Microsoft is making with its developer community, Microsoft apparently took a look at the mobile software landscape and realized that the future is VOIP. Voice over IP technology is something people have been talking about for years, but today, it has pretty much become a reality. If someone were so inclined, they would literally never have to pay for a phone call again.
Take an iPhone user for example. If you have an iPhone and want to call you friend for free, just open Viber. Your friend doesn't have Viber? Do they have Facebook? Then use the Vonage iPhone app. No Facebook? Try NetTalk to call for free in the US. Not in the US? Use Skype. Well someone over at Microsoft apparently figured out that Skype, with its 600 million active users and $860m revenue is an entity the company wants and needs.
So, yesterday morning, the company announced it will be acquiring the VOIP industry leader for a staggering $8.5 billion dollars, which is apparently more than double what any of the other potential buyers were offering.
Now the Web is full of speculations about what Microsoft intends to do with Skype, but based on the company's previous moves, it seems very obvious to me, that this was just another humongous move to dominate the mobile space. If Microsoft integrates Skype into its own large line of products, including Windows Phone 7, it will not only compete with iOS' Facetime and Android's new Google Talk video functionality, it will blow them out of the water.
If I am reading this correctly and if Microsoft makes the right moves, there is no doubt that the predictions of the new OS taking off will come true in no time. However, there is something that must be emphasized. At last week's AppsMania event, the Motorola representative said something that made a huge impression on the crowd. While Motorola might be a huge corporate entity, the new Mobile department is as he called it a "new small startup company".
In today's super competitive mobile market, there is no room for dragging feet and corporate culture. Microsoft has to move and move fast if they want to fulfill their mobile ambitions and reach their goals. Microsoft has not been known for fast pace decisions in the past, but judging them based on the past few months, they have figured out how this game is played.
Just to throw one more thing in there, I wonder ifÂ Microsoft'sÂ investment in Facebook will play any part of this plan, what do you think?
At inneractive, we are betting on Microsoft and the new Windows Phone 7 OS, and that is why we released our new SDK for the platform, which is state of the art and can be integrated into any Windows Phone 7 app is less than one minute. Don't believe me? Watch the video here!
If you are a developer who makes apps for other platforms, you might want to consider porting them over to the new Microsoft platform. You will not be one app of 300,000 like on iOS and Android! You will be getting in early and be able to leave your mark on a new and fresh platform that all signs indicate will be exploding over the next few years.
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What are your impressions of Microsoft and its newly found aggressive mobile strategies? Are they on their way to huge success or will they disappoint in the long run?