Microsoft seems optimistic about Windows Phone's future chances. Is that optimism justified?
is set to outperform even relatively optimistic analyst projections over the
next two or three years, Achim Berg, vice president of business and marketing
for Windows Phones, said in comments reported by Bloomberg.
he termed market forecasts of Windows Phone seizing 20 percent of the global
smartphone market by 2015 as "conservative," according to that Sept.
You'd expect a
company executive to offer public optimism about a product. Nonetheless, the
idea of Windows Phone seizing more than 20 percent of the market is a little
bit startling, when you consider the aggressive competition offered by Google
Android and Apple's iPhone-not to mention Microsoft's current smartphone market
share, which most third-party analysts believe is on the decline.
fresh data from research firm Nielsen, Windows Phone owned 1 percent of the
U.S. smartphone OS market in July, lagging Google Android, the Apple iPhone, Research
In Motion's BlackBerry and even the increasingly antiquated Windows Mobile
expects its upcoming "Mango" update to alter the game. For starters,
the tweaked software platform offers some 500 new additions and features.
Second, Microsoft has secured commitments from a number of manufacturers-including
HTC, Samsung and LG Electronics-to build a new generation of high-end Windows
Phone devices preloaded with Mango. In theory, Microsoft's partnership with
Nokia, which has agreed to port Windows Phone onto all its smartphones, will also
extend Redmond's global reach.
To conquer the
lower end of the smartphone market, rumors suggest, Microsoft is prepping a
streamlined version of Windows Phone code-named "Tango." This chatter
stems in large part from an Aug. 23 posting on a Hong Kong-based Website
titled "We Love Windows Phone," which described Tango as a version of
Windows Phone for low-cost hardware, targeted at developing markets (such as China,
India, etc.). According to a Google Translation of the Website, Tango "is
not a major update." Supposedly, all this information was confirmed by
speakers at a Microsoft seminar in Hong Kong, after which bloggers and
journalists on this side of the Pacific quickly picked through the story.
Can all those
efforts reverse Microsoft's stagnation in smartphones? Some recent industry
turmoil could help boost Windows Phone's chances. Hewlett-Packard's decision to
shut down its smartphone line eliminates a nascent competitor and potentially
frees up a subset of developers to consider Windows Phone as their go-to
platform. Google's intent to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion could
alienate Android smartphone manufacturers and drive them to Microsoft's camp. It's an open
question, though, whether either situation will ultimate bend in Redmond's
Phone ultimately ends up fulfilling Berg's predictions, the platform faces a
long and hard road ahead.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.