Microsoft is planning to hold an Oct. 11 event to officially launch Windows Phone 7. The event is scheduled to showcase the company’s brand new mobile operating system and its partners’ line of smartphones and other devices. If anything is certain, it’s that the companies in attendance, especially AT&T, will do everything they can to try and prove that Windows Phone 7 really is the software consumers and enterprise customers want.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows Phone 7 might not actually be the most-desired software in the space upon its release. After all, Apple’s iOS continues to perform well in the mobile market. And Google’s Android platform is stealing much of the market share that Microsoft spent years building. And all that fails to mention that Research In Motion is still a major player in the enterprise.
Here are the 10 reasons why Windows Phone 7 will likely fail when it finally hits store shelves later this year.
1. No multitasking
Full multitasking won’t be making its way to Windows Phone 7. That omission could very well be the biggest issue the software faces and perhaps the most obvious example of Microsoft not fully understanding consumer demand. After all, it had years to get Windows Phone 7 right. And the single feature that consumers want most isn’t available in Microsoft’s latest mobile OS? What a mistake.
2. Android continues to dominate
Google’s Android platform has become the new Windows Mobile. In other words, it has been able to attract vendors and use the sheer number of devices available to steal market share away from companies such as Apple and RIM that attempt to perform well in the mobile market by offering devices of their own. Google’s strategy is decidedly Microsoft-like. And it’s probably going to hurt the software giant going forward.
3. The Motorola issue
Last week, Microsoft announced that it was suing Motorola over what it claims is patent-infringement in the company’s Android-based smartphones. By suing Motorola, Microsoft is trying to protect its own interests. But perhaps the move is short-sighted. Motorola is quickly becoming an extremely important player in today’s mobile marketplace. And by attacking it, Microsoft is potentially losing any leverage it might have in the future of bringing Windows Phone 7 to that company’s devices. It’s a mistake. And it’s one that Microsoft will have to live with for now.
4. Vendors aren’t lining up
Microsoft continues to say that several companies are on-board with Windows Phone 7, but that’s simply not true. The company does have a number of partners, such as Samsung and HTC, but it’s getting devices to store shelves that will prove to be its biggest challenge. And attempting to match the number of Android-based devices on store shelves anytime soon will be almost as difficult. Google has simply set a standard in today’s marketplace that Microsoft won’t easily match.
5. T-Mobile and AT&T aren’t enough
Microsoft plans to unveil Windows Phone 7 at an event showcasing devices next week. Reports claim T-Mobile and AT&T will play a role at the event, since Windows Phone 7 devices will be available on GSM first. Those players might be important in the mobile market, but they aren’t enough for Microsoft to make a mark. Microsoft needs help from Verizon. After all, that company has helped lead Android ahead. Why wouldn’t it also help Android?
6. The enterprise is losing faith
By allowing Windows Mobile to flounder on store shelves for so long, Microsoft has ostracized the single market that could save its brand: the enterprise. Over the past couple of years, Windows Mobile has been losing ground in the corporate world because the competition has been delivering better products that suit their needs. Whether or not Windows Phone 7 will do the same is anyone’s guess. But at this point, Microsoft will have a lot of digging out to do just to get back to where it was.
7. The Kin fallout
Microsoft’s decision to release the Kin smartphones earlier this year was arguably one of the worst strategies the company has followed in years. And their failure showed consumers how little Microsoft really understands about them. Going forward, consumers might remember that. And they might be concerned that they’ll get burned twice. If that happens, don’t expect Windows Phone 7 to sell so well out of the gate.
8. Copy-and-paste is important
Windows Phone 7 won’t have copy-and-paste when it launches on vendor smartphones in the coming weeks. That might not seem like a huge issue, but Apple’s decision to leave it out of iOS proved to be one of the most frequent complaints it faced. Smartphones are supposed to keep users productive. And copy-and-paste is central to that. Without it, Microsoft’s iOS alternative is hobbled.
9. The app issue
Apple currently offers more than 250,000 applications in its mobile marketplace. That’s certainly nothing to scoff at. And it speaks to how well the company has done at attracting mobile developers. Now, Microsoft is coming to the mobile space years behind Apple. And it too has to offer mobile applications that appeal to consumers. But it won’t be able to do that so easily. And trying to catch up to the App Store or even Android’s Market could take years.
10. The growing pains are coming late
Every mobile platform faces growing pains. Whether it’s Apple’s iOS, Android OS, or even BlackBerry OS, software goes through some trials before it’s right. But all of those platforms went through their growing pains years ago. Microsoft’s platform will face them this year when consumers expect a finished, polished product. That won’t bode well for the company’s smartphone OS sales.