Microsoft has had to watch the sales of its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system decline rapidly since its launch last year. Consumers and enterprise users that once expressed some interest in the platform are now giving it little thought or attention. So far, Microsoft hasn’t done a thing to stem the losses.
Of course, Microsoft believes things willchange over the long term. The company has inked a deal with Nokia that will see Windows Phone become the “principal” operating system in the vendor’s line of products. Windows Phone 7 “Mango,” a major update to the platform, is also scheduled to come out soon.
But neither one of those things will matter. Windows Phone 7 is dead. And the longer Microsoft allows its operating system to flounder on store shelves, the worse it will be for the software giant.
1. Sales are plummeting
If there’s any metric one can use to determine the health of a platform, it’s sales. And when it comes to Windows Phone 7, the operating system appears to be on life support. According to a recent report from research firm ComScore, Windows Phone 7 market share is down 38 percent. Over the next few quarters, it’s only expected to decline even more, according to market analysts. Microsoft believes that it can turn things around, but those who understand the mobile space better know that’s simply not the case.
2. Mango is taking too long
Windows Phone 7 “Mango”will offer several improvements to the operating system, including full multi-tasking and better Web browsing. But the update has taken far too long to arrive, and consumers that had previously been waiting for it are going elsewhere. Microsoft might have wanted to bring its operating system to the market last year, but it’s clear now that the smart move would have been to wait until Windows Phone 7 was ready. Until Mango launches, it’s just not ready to compete in today’s hotly contested space.
3. Consumers don’t care
As evidenced by ComScore’s market-share data, consumers don’t seem to care at all about Windows Phone 7. People around the globe are content to buy Android- or iOS-based devices, and leave Windows Phone products on store shelves. If consumers don’t care now, how can Microsoft ever expect to change the tide?
4. Nokia doesn’t matter
There are some people who say that Microsoft’s decision to ink a deal with Nokia to make Windows Phone 7 become the mobile phone vendor’s go-to operating system is a good idea. But further inspection reveals that it really won’t matter when things are said and done. Nokia is losing its appeal to both consumers and enterprise users. When it’s combined with Windows Phone 7, an operating system that many customers have already passed by, what makes anyone think that will change? Nokia is on its last leg as a mobile-market powerhouse and it won’t help Microsoft.
Microsoft Seems Out of Touch With Mobile Users
5. Enterprise users are looking elsewhere
Microsoft has long believed that the enterprise was central to its business. It would be hard to argue with that point. But in the mobile market, the corporate world is slipping away as IT decision makers look elsewhere for products. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry is still popular, and even Apple’s iPhone 4 is starting to make inroads. Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, is being ignored. That doesn’t bode well for its future.
6. It won’t be running on tablets
Microsoft is making the somewhat surprising decision to have Windows 8 become the company’s principal operating system on tablets. Microsoft believes that its advanced functionality will help it trump other competitors, such as Android or iOS. But it’s wrong.Windows Phone 7 would make much more sense on a tablet. Too bad Microsoft doesn’t see it that way.
7. The hardware is sub-par
Looking around the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem, it’s clear that Microsoft is at a disadvantage when it comes to hardware. Products from vendors lack the same level of design appeal and style that the iPhone 4 has. Even some Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S II, easily trump anything running Windows Phone 7. Perhaps, the time has come for Microsoft to enter the hardware space to try and change that. But based on its history, the chances of that happening seem slim.
8. It doesn’t understand today’s customers
Microsoft doesn’t appear to understand what today’s customers really want in their mobile products. As mentioned, the company isn’t controlling the hardware-design process, which is hurting its consumer appeal. The operating system, with its tile design, doesn’t fall in line with what consumers have grown accustomed to with other platforms. Worst of all, Microsoft’s delay in offering an updated operating system seems to indicate that the company doesn’t realize that people want well-rounded products sooner rather than later. At this point, it appearsMicrosoft just doesn’t understand today’s mobile customers.
9. It wants no part of the open-source community
It might be anathema to Microsoft, but welcoming the open-source community into its mobile fold could help save its operating system. After all, Android has succeeded on the back of open-source technology. Mozilla is planning to do the same with its upcoming mobile operating system. But Microsoft believes that being closed is its ticket to the future. It’s wrong. And things will only get worse because of that.
10. Microsoft’s reputation is slipping
In the technology industry, Microsoft has always been well-respected. But over the last year, as the company has continued to suffer with Windows Phone 7 issues, its reputation has slipped. Owners of the device have been frustrated with its update process. Some users have become disgruntled with the operating system because they expected an experience that’s more similar to iOS or Android. That has caused Microsoft’s mobile reputation to slip. Unless something dramatic happens in the coming months, the software giant might never return to its former level of respect among its mobile customers.