Why Microsoft Aims to Cut Back Its Smartphone Business

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2015-07-08 Print this article Print
Microsoft shakeup

For Microsoft to compete successfully against BlackBerry, it has to acquire, one way or another, the level of security and secure services that BlackBerry has spent years building. In addition, Microsoft would have to develop the global relationships BlackBerry has in place that serve it well in difficult times.

And it's worth noting that in those cases where Microsoft and BlackBerry have gone to battle, BlackBerry has been winning. The biggest recent case is in automotive electronics, where BlackBerry has just ousted Microsoft in Ford's Sync infotainment system. In that area, Microsoft has been plagued with substandard quality and operational problems for years.

While it's true that phones and automotive electronics aren't the same thing, it's also true that they're not that much different in some ways. What's also true is that Microsoft has a tough row to hoe in convincing enterprise users, both corporate and governmental, that they have a solution that goes beyond what BlackBerry, Apple and Android can offer.

While the Windows 10 ecosystem is a powerful weapon, it's only one weapon. When Nadella says the company needs to focus its attention on the short term, he's saying that he needs to find a way to make Microsoft's devices relevant again. This will mean making the Windows experience much more complete than it is today, and to offer the experience on mobile devices in ways that are much more compelling than they are currently.

But Microsoft still has to find a way to convince business users to adopt whatever Windows phones become in the future. The company is promising a new series of business apps for Windows phones, including the new Skype for Business Windows Phone app, which is replacing the business communications utility Lync. But there needs to be more than just apps.

One of Microsoft's challenges is the lack of good apps for business, and while Microsoft does have some, competitors have many more. Microsoft also has to find a way to convince the enterprise world that it has security at least as good as Apple and Android. Regardless of how good Windows Phone is, the perception is that security isn't a strong point. Perhaps, instead of major acquisitions such as the Nokia buyout, it's time for some partnerships, perhaps joining with BlackBerry for security.


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