With Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has laid down the gauntlet for its competitors. The company has proved that it wants to provide consumers and enterprise customers with a new-look operating system that delivers the same kind of functionality it brought to the market with Windows Mobile. So far, the company has been somewhat successful. In fact, recent reports suggest that Windows Phone 7 is sold out in many areas around Europe.
Whether or not Microsoft can carry that success to the United States is unknown at this point. The company will have to overcome fierce competition from Apple and Google in the mobile market. The onus will be on Microsoft to overcome those companies in the single national market that might mean more to Windows Phone 7’s success than any other.
But luckily for Microsoft, there is a way for it to enjoy success with Windows Phone 7. It will just take some time and a lot of effort.
Read on to find out what Microsoft can do to help Windows Phone 7 succeed.
1. Turn to the enterprise
Microsoft is trying to appeal to both the enterprise and consumers with Windows Phone 7. However, some critics say the company is catering more to consumers than enterprise customers. That could be a problem for Windows Phone 7. Microsoft is entrenched in the enterprise. Making Windows Phone 7 the go-to software in the corporate world could go a long way in not only supplanting RIM-the enterprise’s current leader-but also helping its fight against Google and Apple.
2. Keep pressing vendors
Ubiquity means something in the mobile market. The more vendors that install Windows Phone 7 on their products, the better. Devices from HTC, Samsung and others are a good start, but Microsoft must go elsewhere to find vendors willing to run its software. The more it can sign up, the more likely its operating system’s chances of thriving in the mobile space.
3. Bring out more effective advertising
Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 advertising is somewhat suspect. When the company first provided all the details on the software, it showed people using Windows Phone 7 devices while ignoring everything else going on around them. It looked more like a critique of smartphone use in general rather than a comment on what Windows Phone 7 can actually do to solve the problem. The result was a rather weak argument for why consumers should buy Windows Phone 7 products. Along the way, the enterprise gets left out altogether. Microsoft needs to improve its marketing efforts-now.
4. Get to work on true multitasking
Microsoft made it clear that full multitasking will not be available on brand-new Windows Phone 7 devices. That is not a good thing for Microsoft. Both Android and iOS have multitasking built-in. Although multitasking works better on iOS than on Android, they both work quite well. In order for Microsoft to be successful, it needs to bring full multitasking to its software sooner rather than later.
Making Windows Phone 7 a Success
5. Stay true to usability
Although some have taken issue with Windows Phone 7’s unique design, most folks who have gotten their hands on the software say that the fluid-grid style makes a lot of sense. They say it’s nice to not have the basic layout available on iOS or Android. If that’s the case with consumers all over the world, Microsoft should try to champion that usability. After all, the company with the best experience will likely win out. And if Microsoft can prove it has the best user experience, it can go a long way in reasserting itself in the mobile market.
6. Try not to be Microsoft
The last thing Microsoft should try to do right now is follow its typical strategy of releasing software to vendors and hoping that it sticks. Windows 7 is a much different product from Windows Phone 7. The company’s desktop operating system is heavily entrenched and a perennial favorite with customers. Windows Phone 7 needs to prove its worth in the mobile market. Microsoft can’t expect a Windows 7-like strategy to work with its mobile OS.
7. Play the Vista game–again
Windows Vista and Windows Mobile are extremely similar. They both failed to deliver the experience that consumers wanted. In many cases, customers either opted for the operating system they were working with or went with something other than a Microsoft product. However, with Windows 7’s success, Microsoft has proved that it knows how to overcome that adversity. It must do the same with Windows Mobile. It can acknowledge it wasn’t what it was supposed to be and then start focusing all of its efforts on Windows Phone 7. After all, if it worked with Windows 7, why can’t it work with Microsoft’s mobile OS?
8. Support the decisions
The last thing Microsoft should do right now is lose its strong support for what it created. Yes, Windows Phone 7 might have some flaws that should be addressed, but now is not the time to call attention to those. Microsoft should simply send its design team to their offices to improve the OS, while trying to prove to customers why Windows Phone 7 is such a viable option. Maintaining support for Windows Phone 7 is extremely important.
9. Don’t try to be Apple
Although Apple is wildly successful in the mobile market, it wouldn’t make much sense for Microsoft to try to be like Steve Jobs and Company. Apple delivers its products to customers in a specific way, and it nearly always succeeds at what it does. Microsoft delivers its products in its own specific way, and the company has been successful doing that. Now is not the time to lose focus on what Microsoft is all about. It has worked this far, and there is no reason to change that now.
10. Double down on third-party development
One of the first issues Microsoft will run into as it gets past worldwide launches and digs into growing Windows Phone 7 is the availability of third-party applications. Currently, Apple has hundreds of thousands of programs available in its App Store. There are more than 100,000 apps available in the Android Market. Microsoft’s store has a fraction of that. The sooner the software giant can close that gap and deliver hundreds of thousands of apps to customers, the better. It’s a matter of success or failure in the mobile market. It’s something that Microsoft can’t afford to overlook.