Microsoft Recruits Vendor, Enterprise User Support
10 Ways Windows Phone 7 Series Trumps the iPhone
In the mobile business, all the talk surrounds the iPhone. Customers and industry insiders want to know what Apple is planning, what sort of innovations it will announce in its next installment, and whether or not any company even has a chance to compete with Apple's market-leading device.
In the past, the industry has been hard-pressed to find a real competitor to
the iPhone. Several "iPhone killers" have come along, including the
Palm Pre and BlackBerry Storm, but both devices have failed to live up to Apple's
product on any level. Even Android-based devices like the Nexus One have come
close but can't quite attract the kind of attention the iPhone does.
But there is a strong possibility that Microsoft's newly announced Windows Phone 7 Series will change that. The company has delivered software that looks nothing like the iPhone, even though it offers many of the same features. Perhaps most importantly, the software is capable of running on multiple carrier networks, which should only help its chances of attracting attention in the marketplace. By the looks of things, Windows Phone 7 Series is an extremely attractive option for consumers and the enterprise alike. And it beats out the iPhone in many ways.
Let's take a look at just how Microsoft's latest mobile OS bests the iPhone:
1. The interface
Unlike Android-based devices, the Palm Pre and just about every other touch-enabled device on the market, Windows Phone 7 Series doesn't follow Apple's recipe for touch-screen success. Instead, the software's interface includes a Zune HD-like functionality that should help users move around the display and more efficiently find what they're looking for. Plus, the software doesn't lock users into specific grids like the iPhone's software does, making it a slightly more fluid operating system. It seems that Microsoft looked at what was being done on the market and realized that there really is a better way.
Gaming is one of the fastest-growing sectors of the tech industry. And thanks to Microsoft's Xbox Live service, gaming online with friends is also growing at a rapid rate. Realizing both factors, Microsoft added a gaming element to Windows Phone 7 Series that could be the key application to differentiate the software from iPhone OS. Users will be able to communicate with their Xbox Live friends from their phones and even earn gamer points by playing titles on a Windows Phone 7 Series device. It's a nice addition that Apple's iPhone doesn't offer.
3. Built-in social networking
Although users can download social networking applications from Apple's App Store, Microsoft's OS comes with social networking built right in. After loading up the device for the first time, Windows Phone 7 Series users will be able to communicate with friends on Facebook, check status updates and add friends right from the device. The phones will even offer Twitter integration, making it easy to keep up with followers on that social network. Once again, it seems that Microsoft understood what its customers are currently doing and integrated that into its software.
4. A paid vendor model
Microsoft has caught some criticism recently over reports that it will be charging vendors to use Windows Phone 7 Series. Some have said that it's a mistake, since the competition doesn't charge vendors for use of their respective operating systems. I think that's a faulty belief. If vendors are willing to pay-which they seem to be-it could actually improve Microsoft's standing in the mobile market. Those vendors will likely push Windows Phone 7 Series devices harder, knowing they have more invested than they do in, say, Android products. By targeting vendor wallets, Microsoft might become the most important software provider to device makers. It was a smart move.
Microsoft Recruits Vendor, Enterprise User Support
5. Vendor support
Speaking of vendors, Microsoft has several partners that have already signed on to deliver Windows Phone 7 Series devices. That's especially important for Microsoft as it attempts to compete with the iPhone. We can't forget that the iPhone is a single product offered on a single carrier's network in the United States. Microsoft's software will be offered on devices from several device makers. The more options available to customers, the better the chances of those folks choosing a Windows Phone 7 Series device instead of an iPhone.
6. Enterprise support
Unfortunately, the iPhone doesn't target the corporate world nearly as effectively as it could. In many ways, Apple has marketed the device as a consumer product that might appeal to some in the enterprise. Windows Phone 7 Series is nothing of the sort. Thanks to several features, most notably SharePoint, corporate users who rely on collaboration in the workplace will be satisfied with Windows Phone 7 Series devices. Apple can't forget about the enterprise-it's what has made Microsoft so successful.
The iPhone is available through just one carrier in the United States. Worst of all, AT&T is widely recognized for having a less-than-stellar network. Windows Phone 7 Series devices won't suffer from that problem. Thanks to Microsoft's strategy and the number of partners it has attracted, Windows Phone 7 Series will be found on every major carrier network upon its launch. Availability is extremely important in today's mobile marketplace.
8. Music, movies and then some
Part of the reason why the iPhone has been so successful is its integration of iTunes. Users can download music, movies, television shows and podcasts directly on their device. Windows Phone 7 Series will be able to deliver the same shows, music and movies by way of the Zune Marketplace, which will be built into the software. But it adds an extra element that might give it a slight edge over the iPhone: All Windows Phone 7 Series products will have FM radio built in. The device also features Zune Social, giving users the ability recommend their favorite tracks to other Zune or Windows Phone 7 Series users. They're nice additions to the listening experience.
9. The Office element
Although Microsoft Office catches some heat from those who aren't too fond of Microsoft, it's still the chosen productivity suite for the vast majority of users across the globe. It's especially important to companies. Windows Phone 7 Series will have a full Office installation built in, meaning users can create, edit and share documents with others right from their device. The iPhone allows for some office productivity, but it can't match the Windows Phone 7 Series.
10. A sense of urgency
It might not be a specific Windows Phone 7 Series feature, but there is a real sense of urgency on Microsoft's part that should help the company in its battle with Apple. Windows Mobile's market share is declining at an alarming rate as the iPhone's market share continues to climb. The mobile space is extremely important to Microsoft, and losing that much market share to a major competitor is troublesome, to say the least.
At the same time, Apple knows that it's way ahead. It also understands that no other software on the market can match its own. There is little urgency for Apple to improve its operating system beyond the basic need (how long did it take for the company to build in copy and paste?). For now, that strategy has served Apple well. But it could come back to haunt the hardware company as Microsoft applies pressure and attempts to set the new standard in the market.