Microsoft's Windows Phone has the attention of a significant percentage of consumers, according to a new analyst report. But the platform still faces a hard road ahead.
new report from research firm NPD Groups' Connected Intelligence service could
give Microsoft some reason to hope for its Windows Phone franchise.
Intelligence, which NPD Group bills as a service that "analyzes the
confluence of connected devices, access, and content," some 44 percent of
smartphone owners are considering the purchase of a Windows Phone 7 device.
being said, the service also suggests that Microsoft is facing significant
issues in the brand-awareness department, with some 45 percent of consumers
"still not aware of Windows Phone 7." Consumers cited a lack of awareness about
Windows Phone and OS ecosystem lock-in as prime reasons for not planning to
purchase a device running the platform.
Phone 7 has a way to go before consumers really understand what it is," Linda
Barrabee, research director for Connected Intelligence, wrote in a Sept. 20
statement. "But with the right marketing mojo, apps portfolio, and feature-rich
hardware, Microsoft could certainly improve its standing and chip away at
Android's dominant market position."
certainly understands the challenges facing Windows Phone. "We haven't sold
quite as many probably as I would have hoped we would have sold in the first
year," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently told the audience during the
company's Financial Analyst Meeting. "I think with a little bit more effort, a
little bit more energy, the level of enthusiasm from the customer base is high
enough we've just got to kick this thing to the next level."
also expressed hope that Windows Phone would eventually become "a very strong
third ecosystem in the smartphone world" alongside Google Android and Apple's
hopes that its upcoming Windows Phone "Mango" update, which includes some 500
tweaks and added features, will help attract additional customers to the
platform. Ballmer cited Microsoft's partnership with Nokia, in which the latter
will port Windows Phone onto its upcoming devices, as another cause for hope.
Nokia we have a dedicated hardware partner who is all in on Windows Phone," he
said. "They're working with us in exactly the way we described, to try to get
into new markets, find new price points, take a look at new hardware design."
has remained reluctant to share any hard sales data with media or analysts. The
platform received largely positive reviews from vendors, but research firms
such as comScore have estimated Microsoft's smartphone market share as
gradually declining over the past few months. During a July 11 keynote speech
at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference, Ballmer described Windows Phone's
market presence as "very small."
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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.