Microsofts Larger Ecosystem Strategy

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2009-10-06 Print this article Print

Sullivan asserts that Mobile 6.5 plays into Microsoft's larger ecosystem strategy.

"It's a nod to the broader platform strategy with Windows in general, where we think about the services we deliver as not about the PC or the phone, but about the three screens and the cloud," Sullivan said. "It's really the beginning of these notions that the phone is elevated to peer status on the broader platform level along with the PC and the Web, and to some degree with the TV through Xbox."

Because of that perspective, Microsoft is at least publicly unconcerned about the porting of its mobile functionality onto competing mobile operating systems. In August, Microsoft and Nokia jointly announced a deal that will make the mobile version of Microsoft Office available on Symbian, Nokia's mobile operating system. Analysts asked by eWEEK at the time suggested that the move could potentially harm Mobile's market share potential in the long term.

"I don't think the news necessarily hurts OEMs who have historically produced [Windows Mobile] devices, except that they can now expect stronger competition from Nokia," Chris Schreck, an analyst with IMS Research, told eWEEK in an interview. "If an OEM was wondering what platforms to support five years from now, the argument for continuing to pay royalties to license Windows Mobile just got a little bit weaker."

That's not the case, according to Sullivan, who says the porting of Microsoft programs onto other mobile operating systems is similar to the presence of Microsoft Office for Mac.

"We think about this long term, and the ability for people to build on an open platform," Sullivan said. "We don't rely on platform exclusivity and lock-in. You could make the argument that platform exclusivity arrangements have benefits, but we look a little longer term."

Microsoft is already planning to debut the next version of the operating system, Mobile 7, by the end of 2010.

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.

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