Microsoft Should Keep Its Eye on the Enterprise

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-05-27 Print this article Print

5. Forget about the iPhone

Speaking of the iPhone, Microsoft needs to forget about it. Although Apple gets most of the attention and the iPhone is one of the most coveted products in the market, that should mean little to Microsoft. Microsoft's real competitor in today's marketplace is Google. And it's followed by Research In Motion, thanks to that company's strong presence in the enterprise. As in the desktop space, Microsoft needs to remember that Apple is a single provider of an operating system. It's not following the same business model as Microsoft. Microsoft should be focusing on Google and RIM, not Apple.

6. Stay true to the enterprise

The vast majority of Microsoft's success throughout the years can be attributed to the enterprise. By making Windows a corporate-friendly operating system that developers liked working with, the software giant ensured that it would lead the way in the enterprise for the foreseeable future. And given Microsoft's success in that market, it makes perfect sense for the company to try and coax enterprise customers to Windows Phone 7. It might be difficult, given how entrenched RIM is in that market. However, Microsoft has the single Trojan horse that might be able to trump the BlackBerry: Windows. The enterprise is key to Microsoft's mobile success. And it can't forget that.

7. Remember the user above all else

Although Apple might not be Microsoft's biggest competitor, there are still several lessons Microsoft can learn from it. For one, Apple has proven that ease of use and customer appeal are extremely important in the mobile industry. Windows Phone 7 must be an operating system that makes it easy for users to move from one application to the next. Users should also be able to easily perform tasks. If Windows Phone 7 fails in that area, Microsoft can pretty much say goodbye to its mobile division. Apple has set a new standard for software design, and Microsoft must meet or exceed that standard.

8. Be Microsoft

To some, Microsoft being Microsoft is a problem. Those folks reason that the software giant tries too often to be dominant and take control over every aspect of a market. But when it comes to business, Microsoft should be Microsoft. The company has proven time and again that it can use its size and influence to carve out significant portions of a market. In the mobile business, that could be a good thing. Microsoft should do whatever it can to stay true to what it is as a company and ensure that as time goes on, all stakeholders realize that it's in the mobile market to win-not to take second place.

9. Get to work on frequent, meaningful updates

Microsoft is behind the curve in the mobile market. It's now years behind Apple and Google. That means the company must get to work on several meaningful updates to Windows Phone 7 once it hits store shelves later in 2010. Out of the box, the software might come with most of the features being offered in the iPhone or Android. But until it trumps both operating systems and starts attracting customers, the company's work just isn't done. Microsoft is way behind right now. It can't afford to be complacent or take a wait-and-see approach.

10. Remember that the clock is ticking

Time is not on Microsoft's side. As Apple prepares to release the fourth generation of the iPhone and Google starts taking over the mobile business, the pressure is on Microsoft to change that. But that won't happen unless the company has a sense of urgency. Apple and Google already know what works in today's mobile market, and they're doing everything they can to be successful. Microsoft isn't. And the longer it waits to release Windows Phone 7, the worse it will be. Get to work on delivering the new mobile operating system, Microsoft. Time is running out.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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