Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Strategy: 10 Mistakes It Can Still Fix

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-10-06

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Strategy: 10 Mistakes It Can Still Fix

Microsoft is preparing to launch Windows Phone 7. The software is expected to be available on several different devices from a number of vendors. And it will likely deliver a more iOS-like experience than any other mobile operating system Microsoft has ever released.

But with its impending release comes several questions. Windows Phone 7 looks like a better operating system, but it's still rife with holes that could potentially derail the software before it even has a chance to compete. And let's not forget that Microsoft has left out several key features that could prove extremely troublesome for its operating system once it's made available.

Simply put, Microsoft has already made several mistakes with Windows Phone 7. But luckily for the software giant, it can address those problems right now. Read on to find out what mistakes Microsoft has made with Windows Phone 7 that it can fix. 

1. The multitasking problem 

Windows Phone 7 will not ship with full multitasking. In other words, those expecting the ability to switch between active programs as they currently can in iOS will be quite upset when they get their hands on Microsoft's operating system. Admittedly, that's a mistake that can't be fixed before launch. But when the firm announces the new operating system, it should make it clear that multitasking will be made available as an update in the coming weeks or months. The sooner the better. 

2. Partnerships 

Microsoft has so far inked deals with a handful of companies to build Windows Phone 7-based devices, including Samsung and LG. Although those firms are major in other areas of consumer electronics, they don't necessarily cause much excitement in the mobile market. Before Microsoft takes the stage next week, it should do everything it can to find a company that does excite customers. In fact, Motorola would be its best bet. 

3. The downright poor marketing 

Windows Phone 7 might not be officially available, but that doesn't mean Microsoft can't start a marketing campaign. When Motorola first announced the Droid, the company did a fantastic job of building up hype through marketing that didn't give the product's features away. Microsoft should follow suit. It's far behind Apple and the others in the space, so getting started on advertising now would make far more sense than waiting. 

4. The consumer focus 

Microsoft could be making a mistake with its desire to focus so much of its efforts with Windows Phone 7 on consumers. After evaluating the success Apple has had, that might seem like a good idea. But Microsoft is a decidedly corporate-focused company. That won't change anytime soon. It should first focus on the corporate world and then, only after enjoying success in that space, shift its attention to consumers. It's something the company should think seriously about. 

Microsoft Needs to Cozy Up to Verizon, Motorola


5. Flash 

Windows Phone 7 will not ship with Flash. That's a serious problem for Microsoft. Although Apple fans would say that Flash will cause security problems and it's really not needed, its integration with Android 2.2 tells a much different story. It makes the browsing experience on Android 2.2 much better. Microsoft should consider partnering with Adobe prior to its big announcement. If it can promise Flash sooner rather than later, it puts all the pressure on Apple. 

6. Get working with Verizon 

When Windows Phone 7 launches, it will be available on GSM carrier services. So, Verizon will not be offering Windows Phone 7 products out of the gate. That's a problem for Microsoft, especially since Verizon has doubled down on Android OS. If it's smart, Microsoft will do everything it can to partner with Verizon. The carrier is central to the success or failure of Windows Phone 7, and Microsoft must remember that. 

7. Fixing the Motorola problem 

Microsoft has sued Motorola over claims that the company infringes the software giant's patents in its Android-based smartphones. That lawsuit could damage Microsoft's ability to attract the top Android vendor in the market. Realizing that, maybe Microsoft should reconsider its lawsuit and start coaxing Motorola to its side. It won't mean that Motorola will drop Android, but if Microsoft plays it right, it can at least get the company's devices running its software. It's an issue that Microsoft needs to address soon. 

8. The half-Apple, half-Microsoft approach 

Microsoft is following a strange strategy with Windows Phone 7. On one hand, it wants as many vendors as possible to run its software on their devices. But on the other hand, the company is instituting draconian policies to ensure the look and feel of Windows Phone 7 isn't modified too greatly from device to device. It's an odd scenario where Microsoft is trying to be itself and deliver an operating system to vendors, but at the same time control their design process like Apple. It's a poor move that it should think twice about. 

9. The browsing issue 

Windows Phone 7 will ship with a mobile version of Internet Explorer 7. That is a huge mistake on the software giant's part. If nothing else, Microsoft should know that consumers don't necessarily take kindly to Internet Explorer 7. And they want something better. If the company is smart, it will take the stage next week and say that it will offer Internet Explorer 9 after an update is pushed to devices. It's the smart move. And it's something Microsoft should consider. 

10. The short-sightedness 

Windows Phone 7 looks awfully short-sighted. It lacks key features, it's a consumer-focused product from an enterprise-focused company, and it's not attracting vendors that see its potential over the long term. At its event next week, Microsoft needs to remove that short-sightedness from the product. It needs to show that it has a road map for success. And it must make it clear that it's willing to support the software over the long haul. It isn't making that case right now. And that alone could be pushing consumers and vendors away. 

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