Windows Phone 7 is in a state of crisis. At last tally, the operating system owned just 1.5 percent of the market, and its chief competitor, Android, had over half the worldwide market in its pocket. Meanwhile, handset vendors have been showing off Windows Phone 7-based products that have failed to match Apple's iPhone. Through it all, Microsoft has waited patiently in the hopes that something would change.
But nothing has changed. And the situation won't change unless the software giant starts making drastic moves to improve its position in the mobile space.
However, improving its position in the mobile market might not be so easy. Windows Phone 7 is largely viewed as a joke by consumers, and even enterprise users have been loath to adopt the platform. It's as if Microsoft has put its operating system into a corner, and it has done nothing to get it out.
Luckily for Microsoft, however, 2012 presents a fresh start for the company to try something new and put its platform into a better position to be successful. Read on to find out what Microsoft should do to address its Windows Phone 7 crisis.
1. Create a Nexus-like strategy
Google made the intelligent move to brand high-quality Android-based smartphones "Nexus." Although the company isn't developing its own smartphones, Google is playing a role in the Nexus product development. That's important. The Google brand is a big name, and it carries with it respect from consumers and enterprise users. Maybe Microsoft should develop its own "Nexus" alternative with hardware vendors.
2. Start playing nice with carriers
Microsoft hasn't been so nice to carriers over the last year. The company has pushed its software on device makers, told them how the hardware should operate and left carriers with all the risk of marketing those products. At what point will Microsoft realize that the sooner it starts to seriously help carriers the sooner it will see sales rise?
3. Give developers what they want
Developers are an integral piece of the puzzle for Windows Phone 7. If Microsoft can find a way to attract developers from Android to Windows Phone 7, the company can go a long way in improving the platform's chances of success. Coaxing developers will mean offering better profit-sharing plans. Improving the Windows Phone 7 app ecosystem might even require Microsoft to acquire some developers. Microsoft has a huge amount of cash on hand. It's about time it starts using it to improve its position in apps.
4. Buy a handset maker
Aside from apps,Microsoft should also use its cash to start the process of acquiring a handset maker. Whether it's RIM, Nokia or some other company, Microsoft must drop a few billion dollars to buy a big-name handset maker. It might ostracize other vendors, but if Google can do it with Motorola Mobility, why can't Microsoft follow suit?