Luring Android Users to Windows Phone 7: 10 Things Microsoft Must Do

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-12-15

Luring Android Users to Windows Phone 7: 10 Things Microsoft Must Do

Microsoft finds itself in a very bad spot in the mobile market. The company's chief competitor, Android, is running away with the smartphone market. In the tablet space, Apple's iOS is the go-to platform for most consumers and enterprise users. Microsoft, meanwhile, is trying to make Windows Phone 7 a desired choice for consumers in the smartphone space. It also hopes that folks will be willing to wait for Windows 8 before buying a tablet.

However, Microsoft appears to be failing in its goals. Now, the company must do something to reverse its luck and prove once and for all that it knows what to do to be a success in the hotly contested mobile market.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, while there are several options available to it, only one has a reasonable chance of success-trying to lure current Android users to Windows.

Google's operating system might be the most dominant force in the mobile space, but it's also Microsoft's biggest threat. What's more, it's arguably the easiest operating system to criticize and convince customers to move back onto Microsoft's corner.

Read on to find out what Microsoft should be doing to lure Android users back to its products.

1. Focus on security

The biggest issue facing Android is its security woes. The operating system is increasingly being targeted by malicious hackers, and Google has been forced to remove many malware-tainted applications from the Android Market. Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, hasn't suffered so many security issues. If Microsoft wants to coax more folks to its mobile platform, why not point that out?

2. Strike better deals with handset makers

So far, Microsoft has been able to strike some deals with handset makers, like Samsung and HTC, but it appears those companies are saving their best products for Android. Microsoft can no longer allow that. Even if it has to give companies extra cash or better deals, Microsoft should find a way to get only the best handsets running its operating system.

3. Leverage Windows

Microsoft has a huge installed base of Windows users that, so far, the company has done little to exploit. The smart move now is to do everything it can to leverage the popularity of Windows to grow its mobile market. Microsoft might be doing that to some extent with Windows 8 and its "tiles" layout, but more needs to be done now.

4. Where are all the tablets?

Microsoft's inability to get tablets on store shelves has proven to be a real liability for the company. Tablets are gaining popularity by the day, and Android devices, like the Galaxy Tab 10.1, are winning new sales. Whether Microsoft likes it or not, the company must get Windows tablets to store shelves as soon as possible. It'll prove that it at least understands what consumers want and then it can start cutting into Android's market share.

Go Big, Go Negative in Marketing Campaigns


5. Developers, developers, developers

Applications are integral to the success or failure of any mobile operating system. Therefore, Microsoft must do everything it can to lure developers from Android to Windows Phone 7. The company's recent announcement that it will share 80 percent of application revenue with Windows 8 developers that make more than $25,000 is great, but it's not enough. Microsoft should share 80 percent revenue with developers, no matter what. The company can afford it, and the move will dramatically improve its relations with application makers.

6. Tell vendors to start innovating on product design

As mentioned, Windows Phone 7-based devices appear to be second-string product lines for many companies. But those troubles go beyond product specifications. Oddly, Microsoft's handset partners are selling products that lack compelling designs, and that's turning off potential buyers. Microsoft must start leaning on handset makers and emphasizing how important product design is. If it can do that, it can go a long way in changing the state of the mobile space.

7. Focus on Samsung

If there is any company that could prove integral to Microsoft's growth in the mobile market, it's Samsung. That company is delivering some of the best smartphones and tablets on the market, as evidenced by its Galaxy Nexus and Galaxy Tab 10.1, respectively. And although Samsung offers Windows Phone 7-based handsets, devices like the Focus can't generate sales like the Galaxy Nexus. It's time Microsoft focuses its efforts on Samsung to try and get the company to start caring more about Windows Phone 7 than Android.

8. The free phone giveaway is a good idea-keep it up

Microsoft's decision to offer free Windows Phone 7 devices to customers that have been burned by Android's security woes is a smart idea. It's something that Microsoft should not only continue, but it should add even more marketing muscle behind this promotion. Android handsets owners are displeased with the platform's security woes and it's about time Microsoft takes advantage of it.

9. Go negative in marketing campaigns

It's about time Microsoft starts getting tough with Google and Android. It's no secret the search giant can't stand Google. Furthermore, most would agree that Windows Phone 7 is a nicely designed and stable operating system. Why shouldn't Microsoft point that out and make it clear to anyone who will listen to its marketing that it believes Windows Phone 7 is a better operating system than Android? Microsoft needs to go negative against Android instead of just sitting back and hoping customers will come to its operating system.

10. Use Apple as a tool

Another important factor is for Microsoft to avoid trying to engage Apple in a marketing battle. Like it or not, iOS is a much better operating system than Windows Phone 7 and the iPhone is superior to competing handsets. So, rather than fight Apple, Microsoft should try to promote Windows devices as the best and most economical alternatives to Apple devices in its marketing and advertising. Regardless of what Microsoft does, it won't topple the iPhone anytime soon. So, it should accept that and try to make its handset partners' devices the second-place options in the market. At this point, it's the smart move.

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