Make Nice With Handset Makers

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-08-18 Print this article Print


5. Capitalize on disenfranchised vendors

Now that Google is acquiring Motorola Mobility, there's a lot of confusion in the marketplace among other Android vendors. How will they be treated once the deal is complete? Will they not get immediate access to Android? Will Google give preferential treatment to Motorola? Those questions won't be answered for quite some time. But in the meantime, Microsoft can capitalize on the confusion by offering those vendors guarantees of good treatment. After all, for now, the software giant doesn't have a hardware vendor of its own. It should use that to its advantage until it finally does acquire another company.

6. Get working on tablets

Right now, the second-place spot in the tablet market is wide open. Apple's iOS platform is succeeding because of the iPad 2, but no other device has really caught on. Because of that, Microsoft should consider doubling down on tablets. As Google gets distracted with Motorola, Microsoft can prove that it "gets" the tablet market. And in the process, it might be able to get itself into the second spot.

7. Make it hard on Google

It might not be the friendliest thing to do, but as Google starts working its way through the regulatory-approval process, perhaps Microsoft should make it hard on the search giant. It can complain, lean on lawmakers and generally just raise a fuss about the deal. It might not stop it from being approved, but if it can draw the process out and cost Google more cash, Microsoft will be able to tally a small victory in the companies' battle.

8. Think twice about the litigation

Right now, Microsoft is targeting a host of Android vendors, requesting that they pay the company a "tax" on every Android-based device they sell. Looking ahead, maybe Microsoft should stop that. As mentioned, the software company should be thinking about playing nice with Android vendors. The last thing it should want to do right now is sue them. Such a move might ruin any chance of Microsoft inking a deal with the other firms later on.

9. Invest heavily in software

One of Microsoft's biggest problems right now is that Windows Phone 7 just isn't as nice as Android, and consumers have so far been unwilling to adopt it. To address that, Microsoft needs to spend its billions in cash and start finding the talent to improve Windows Phone 7. The company might say publicly that the OS is where it should be, but everyone knows the truth. Windows Phone 7 is in trouble, and Microsoft-especially now-must get down to improving it.

10. Start upping the hardware ante

Arguably one of Microsoft's biggest problems has been the hardware running Windows Phone 7. Devices from vendors like Samsung and HTC have fallen short against better alternatives running Android and iOS. With Motorola on its way to Google, Microsoft needs to start leaning on handset partners to deliver better Phone 7 devices to customers. If they don't do so, the software company will need to offer better options itself. Hardware is central to success in the mobile space, and Microsoft cannot forget that.

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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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